Resources boom draining skills from supporting industries

THE past three to five years has seen the resources boom drawing heavily from skills availability and poaching skilled tradespeople away from the more traditional engineering environments, according to Trojan Workforce’s Queensland state manager, Scott Sobey.

Sobey said as workers move to the booming regional resource areas to chase the increased incentives, training and credentials, industries supporting the resources sector were suffering.

“It has been a gradual thing, but in the last three to five years we have been really noticing the resource boom has been drawing heavily out of the skills availability, particularly in the engineering and industrial sector,” Sobey said.

Following massive growth in the resource sector, Sobey said mining companies were now more accepting of base trade skills because of the high demand.

As boilermakers, welders and fitters take the opportunity to expand their experience by entering the resources industry, other engineering and industrial sectors are losing their skills base.

A lot of the industries that support the mining sector are suffering, especially in regional engineering workshops, according to Sobey.

As far as strategies are concerned, Sobey said a lot of the supporting industries were now looking at temporary work visas to bring people in from overseas.

Sobey predicted that while pay incentives were attracting people to the resources sector now, it would not be enough to attract and retain workers into the future.

“Industry will have to up the ante on training and skills development to bring newcomers up to standard and add to their skills base.”

International Longwall News