GENERAL Manager Bechtel Gladstone Kevin Berg responded yesterday to questions about the company's efforts to employ local workers.
The questions came after Electical Trade Union state organiser Craig Giddins said Bechtel was overlooking local qualified electricians while hiring fly-in-fly-out electricians.
Mr Berg's answers are below;
1/ Are there local qualified electricians being passed over for FIFO and foreign workers?
100% of our electricians working on the Gladstone projects are from Australia. Of those, more than 50% are Gladstone locals including 18 apprentices working in the electrical field.
We currently have some openings for electricians on our projects. The recruitment team is keen to talk to anyone with the appropriate skills and experience to fill these positions.
However, our construction program means we need certain skills at certain stages. We will have a greater need for experienced electricians later in the construction phase of these projects.
2/ How does Bechtel ensure it is getting as many local tradesmen as possible?
These projects have always employed local workers first, then state-wide, then nationally.
In fact, this week Bechtel launched a local recruitment campaign to ensure local people were aware of our local employment strategy. We are only advertising locally at the moment to ensure we have captured as many local people as possible that may have the skills required to work for us on these projects.
We actually have our recruitment team at the Kin Kora Mall on Thursday nights and Saturdays to talk to those interested in working for us. I would encourage anyone interested in a role with Bechtel to come along and talk to them about what skills and experience they have and how they could fit into the Bechtel team.
3/ Does Bechtel have plans to bring in foreign electricians?
Our current demand for electrical workers is being met in Australia and that will always be our priority.
We employ locally first, then look statewide, then nationally. We will only employ foreign workers as a last resort. 100% of our electricians on the projects are from Australia.
In fact, we do have some openings for electricians. As with all open positions, our recruitment team is keen to talk to anyone that has the appropriate skills and experience in the required field.
It is very important that they have the right skills. Not every electrician has the correct skill set to work in the construction industry.
4/ What about the suggestion workers on the Yarwun 2 project have not been given jobs on the LNG projects?
All electricians with the appropriate skills and experience will have the opportunity to work on the projects at some stage. Timing of the construction program dictates when we need certain skill sets. Many people have transitioned across to the LNG projects from other Gladstone projects including Yarwun 2. We do have some open positions for electricians currently, so we are keen to talk to anyone with the correct skills and experience.
Currently more than 3000 people, or 51%, of our entire workforce are locals. More than 88% of our workforce comes from Queensland, 8% from outside Queensland and 4% are Bechtel international professionals who have relocated to oversee work for our customers.