Tackling skills shortage needs a broad approach: Brunel Energy

A CAMPAIGN to help the Western Australian petroleum industry attract more skilled labour must do much more than promote the state’s lifestyle, location and technical excellence, according to Brunel Energy's Perth general manager Simon Cullum.

“Whilst WA is undoubtedly an amazing place, so are a number of other energy centres around the world, including Dubai, Scotland and Canada – each offer equally wide choices for lifestyle, location and technical excellence, depending on what your actual lifestyle preferences are,” Cullum said.

“WA does not have a monopoly on attractiveness, and our industry is not alone in its shortage of skilled personnel. Certainly many centres of oilfield activity face the same problem.”

Cullum said he would like to see government, big companies and peak bodies cooperating on promoting WA to petroleum professionals, but it had to be recognised that the state was struggling with perceptions of remoteness and relatively high taxes.

“As an international contracting services organisation talking to thousands of technical personnel worldwide each year, Brunel receives far more questions from potential candidates on these issues, than lifestyle alone,” he said.

“In the short term, local training and development requirements aside, the reality is that the level of investment employers and other concerned parties are willing and able to make to bring in the skills required, and their ability to truly access global markets, will have the biggest impact on how attractive coming to Western Australia will be.

“In the longer term, the concerted efforts of government, industry bodies and employers should address both the positive and the negative perceptions of moving to WA, and develop a response based on these equally important considerations.”

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