A business forum last week looked at ways to attract apprentices to help solve the skills shortage.
A business forum last week looked at ways to attract apprentices to help solve the skills shortage. Alistair Brightman

Bosses look at ways to attract apprentices, develop skills

MORE than 70 representatives from a diverse range of local businesses attended a forum to discuss the future of trainees and apprentices in the Gladstone region last week.

The theme was Search for Solutions - Skilling your workforce in the Gladstone Region for 2013 and into the future.

At the Gladstone Area Promotion and Development event, Peter McDuff, the Central Queensland director for the Education Training and Employment Department, gave an update on the State Government's response to the Skilling and Training Taskforce.

Actions for this will be released this July.

A panel of speakers discussed solutions to the skills shortage which has plagued the Gladstone region since the industrial boom was relaunched two years ago.

Joanne Smith, manager of Xtreme Engineering, said that of 45 employees they employed eight apprentices to develop the skills they needed in their business for the future, which worked well.

The business had had only had three apprentices not complete their trade since 2008.

Jennifer McGuire from McCosker Contracting said their policy was to recruit locals and families, which was working well, and to offer accommodation when recruiting skill sets that McCoskers couldn't source locally.

Don Andrewartha said he was developing an incentive scheme for his electrical apprentices to keep them after completing their trade.

Fast tracking apprentices was not seen as a solution by Terry Purcell from Purcell's Lineboring and Engineering, who said he and his staff then had to spend a lot of time getting skills up to the required level he needed in his workshop

Geordie Lawrie from G and D Lawrie Builders was concerned apprentices were not getting enough training to produce quality tradesmen.



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