Jobless Curtis Island tradie 'trapped' after building dream home
FOR the first time in his life, Bruce Taylor feels trapped.
The qualified electrician has spent the past six months desperately searching for a job, yet he still considers himself as one of the "luckier ones" in Gladstone.
According to the latest statistics, Mr Taylor is one of 7600 people who were looking for work in the region this year.
Mr Taylor says he's not far away from seriously thinking about leaving Gladstone, the place he's called home for 21 years.
But having built a new home in Kirkwood, he said he feels "trapped".
Its a story that's haunting the Gladstone region, with construction work dwindling after many residents purchased or built homes.
"The only thing that's stopping us (from relocating) is we have a house here, and we know we won't make our money back from selling it," Mr Taylor said.
While confidence could be growing in Gladstone's property market with more people buying homes, it's still far from a sellers' market.
"We're sort of trapped at the moment," the 52-year-old said.
"We're lucky I wasn't one of the young silly ones working on the island who blew their cash, instead I invested into a house.
"I'm luckier than the others, I know that, I was on the island for a few years and my partner works.
"But it's definitely starting to get tight now, money is running out real quick."
Since Mr Taylor's wife has full time work he's not eligible for the dole and he said money was starting to "dry up".
"There's a few of people who I know of that are struggling (in Gladstone)," he said.
"A lot of people who I used to work with are doing FIFO to Darwin or Western Australia.
"That's the problem, I could get a job relatively quickly if I wanted to go FIFO but I don't think it would be any good for the marriage.
"But if things keep going the way they are then I'll have to think hard about it."
Mr Taylor has been serious about applying for jobs for the past six months.
While he's applied for everything from retail to trades assistant and electrical work, he said he had only received one call back.
He said he believed more needed to be done to help mature-aged job seekers.
"I'm 52, I've never been unemployed in my life before," he said.
"I think there's plenty of government programs for young people searching for work, but not as many for people like me."
"I never thought I'd be in this position as a qualified electrician."
Mr Taylor was one of the thousands of people who worked on Curtis Island during the construction phase of the three liquefied natural gas plants. He helped run a temporary power station on site.