Gas skills shortage looms for Gladstone as industry changes

EXPERTS have flagged of a skills shortage that could hit Gladstone's LNG industry as Australia's resources sector shifts from construction into operations and as major oil and gas projects come online, 

The Resources Sector Skills Needs 2013 report released by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency examines the shifting demand for industry skills between now and 2018.

The report flags that work in oil and gas operations is likely to increase by 57%, while mining operations employment is likely to steadily increase by 7.4%.

But the numbers aren't all good news for Gladstone - the biggest job decline will be in resources project construction, which could see jobs peak at 83,324 workers in next year, and plummet to just 7708 in 2018.

Currently, the LNG construction workforce in Gladstone is at more than 10,500 workers, with that peak set for downturn from mid-next year.

While 47% of those roles are currently sourced locally, AWPA chair Philip Bullock warned that the region shouldn't expect the same proportion of production jobs to be local.

"As our resources sector transitions to an operations phase and we embark on major liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas projects, resources companies will face challenges in recruiting workers with the required specialist operational skills and experience," he said.

"Global competition for skilled workers is increasing and with a long lead time required to develop critical skills, industry, government and education and training providers have an opportunity now to work together to develop responses to meet these skills challenges.

"Workforce planning needs to proceed quickly to ensure domestic workers are available to fill time-critical shortages in the second half of this decade."

While Curtis Island LNG proponents have been training workers for post-first-gas, less than half have been local.

And current graduates fall well short of the operations workforce required.

The AWPA report, released earlier this month, highlighted plans for a $21million gas training centre in Gladstone as a good example of circumventing skills shortage.

But last week, the Federal Government axed funding for the initiative.

Topics:  curtis island gas gladstone lng skills shortage

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