Alliance will tackle Far Northern labour drain
A MINING, agricultural and civil construction alliance has been formed in the Far North to try to stem the one-way flow of skilled workers to the resources sector.Innisfail Canegrowers, Eco Civil Solutions and Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in a move to address the competition for skilled labour.
While the alliance will help create pathways for skilled farm and civil construction workers to move into the resources sector, it will also provide a way for employees to move out of mining and back to towns and cities and into rural and civil earthwork jobs.
Civil Contractors Federation Far North chairman Phil Cassell said Rio Tinto Alcan was fast to recognise the sector was draining the pool of skilled labour and wanted to participate and help "recycle" staff.
He said they would help workers wanting to get out of the sector to return to their home towns and find new work using their skills in new rural and civil construction jobs.
In the same way, the civil and cane-growing sectors would create pathways for workers to obtain skills to enter the mining industry, Mr Cassall said.
Innisfail Canegrowers chairman Joe Marano said the agreement would increase interest in cane harvesting jobs.
"Traditionally the sugar industry has struggled to provide employment because of its seasonal nature. This is a real opportunity for employees to secure employment all year round and give them access to training for skills relevant to the civil and resources sector," he said.
Mr Cassell, a director of Eco-Civil Solutions, said his company had hired farm workers with haul-out operator experience for truck driving roles.
He said their skills during wet weather and conditions were invaluable.
"Considering we suffer three to four months each year of wet season weather, I believe these skills will allow us to continue our work during this period. We can offer skilled persons a career pathway to the resources industry," Mr Cassall said."
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