Yara Pilbara chooses families over FIFO

Yara Pilbara has announced a new recruitment drive aimed at attracting workers and their families to WA’s north-west with sweeteners that include free housing, international training and a family friendly roster.

In direct contrast to the fly-in-fly-out phenomena, Yara Pilbara is constructing 60 homes in Karratha for new employees and their families.

Chief Executive of Yara Pilbara, Mark Loquan says the practice of “living local” is better for workers as well as the company.

“We believe having our people here in Karratha, in close proximity to our plants makes sense for us. It promotes continuity in our operations, and for those of our team members with families it means they can be together and share in being part of a larger community,” Loquan said.

Yara Pilbara is the operator of one of the world's largest ammonia production facilities located south of Karratha.

The company is also currently building an $800 million technical ammonium nitrate (TAN) plant on the neighbouring site.

The joint venture operation, run with Orica and Apache, is expected to begin producing around 330 000 tonnes of AN annually by mid 2015.

Yara will be the operator of the plant while Orica will manage sales and distribution.

Site preparation works at the plant began in November 2012.

In addition to providing housing for the plants employees, the Norwegian-owned company will be offering overseas training opportunities to some of the new hires in countries including Spain, Chile and Sweden.

Twenty-nine year old father of three, Jonathan Luck moved his family to Karratha from Western Sydney to work on Yara Pilbara’s ammonia plant about twelve months ago.

“I couldn’t do fly-in-fly-out. Working for Yara, I’m fifteen minutes from home, I’m home every night and home on the weekends. You just can’t beat the lifestyle” said Luck.

Luck signed on with Yara Pilbara after being retrenched by Shell when the company shut its Sydney refinery.

He says the closure of Shell, in addition to the slowing manufacturing sector in NSW, meant that job opportunities were drying up in Sydney, prompting him to look for work in either Queensland or Western Australia. He says moving to Karratha was the right decision.

“We’re five minutes to the beach here, whereas in Sydney we were over an hour and a half away. We used to be half an hour from Woolworths and Coles, but here we are five minutes away. We just love the lifestyle, we are so close to everything” Luck said.

Yara said Karratha is quickly becoming a destination of choice for families due to significant investment in the town’s infrastructure in recent years.

It says the Karratha Leisureplex is popular with locals for its swimming pools, gymnasium and aqua-play facilities.

While the town has also invested in new schools, childcare facilities, sporting clubs and cafe’s, and is in close proximity to a number of pristine beaches.    

Jonathan’s wife Vanessa is a stay-at-home-mum to four-year-old Genevieve and two-and-a-half year old twins William and Josephine. She says they are happy in the town.

“It’s a great place for families. There is so much to do up here and it’s a brilliant place to raise kids. It has a real community spirit. Genevieve goes to dancing and swimming lessons and the twins go to aqua-tots” Luck said.

Yara is currently seeking to hire fifty people in its next wave of recruitment, to work on the TAN plant, currently under construction. The company is looking for shift superintendents and operational staff.

Some of the new recruits will visit Madrid in Spain for four weeks of theoretical training, Chile for two weeks and Sweden for two weeks of plant operational training.

“Yara is part of a global company which has developed stringent and continuously increasing safety standards over a century of experience which are applied to each location around the globe” Loquan said.

Yara Pilbara is the subsidiary of Yara International ASA, which is the world’s largest producer of ammonia and a world leader in the production of TAN. The company has had significant experience in operating TAN plants since 1965 and has an excellent track record in safety and innovation.

Yara International ASA has operations and offices in more than 50 countries and sales to more than 150 countries across the globe.

Despite Yara International ASA being well recognised overseas, Luck had never heard of Yara Pilbara before he was approached by a recruiter. He encourages others to apply for the positions on offer.

“Definitely come and have a look and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  There’s boating, fishing, four-wheel-driving, there are so many activities and fantastic facilities. Once you get here you realise Karratha has a strong community and is a really great place to live” Luck said.

Anyone interested in finding out more information or applying for a position can visit www.yara.com