Bechtel still hiring 100 workers a week for Curtis Island LNG

Bechtel says it is still hiring around 100 people per week as the company forges ahead with the construction of three LNG projects on Curtis Island in Queensland.

The workforce for the projects is expected to peak in mid 2014 at 10,500, with the company saying 47% of those are local workers.

Bechtel general manager Kevin Berg said the original forecast had shown a peak of 8500 but that due to an accelerated schedule, the downturn in mining and the easing skills shortage in some areas, the figure had ballooned, The Observer reported.

"We currently have over 10,000 people working across the three projects and on the mainland," he said.

"We are approaching our peak and will remain at peak through mid-next year."

Berg said local residents were applying for jobs, with many joining the projects weekly.

"In fact, this week, we have more than 4700 local residents working on these projects," he said.

Berg said although the project was transitioning from civil works to the structural and mechanical phases of construction, there were still a number of critical roles up for grabs.

"These are pipefitters, special class welders, electricians and riggers," he said.

"We are specifically looking for people with three years experience in these fields in construction, heavy industry or maintenance operations."

In June, Berg said more than 28,000 people had registered interest for Bechtel trade roles, and professional vacancies had received up to 125 applications each.

The company came under fire earlier this year, with locals becoming increasingly disappointed when workers are sourced from other areas.

An outcry erupted on Australian Mining’s site with many people slamming the company for not hiring from inside the local community first.

“What a load of crap,” one reader wrote.

“I am a tradie boilermaker welder with experience in the construction industry 20yrs+ I have been applying for positions on all the LNG projects and I am still unemployed.”

But Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said current vacancies for trades workers were "highly skilled roles".

"I need to emphasise that the work we perform is demanding, heavy industrial construction," he said.

Currently Bechtel is running three major projects, including Australian Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG.

QCLNG is expected to be completed in 2014, while the other two should be up and running from 2015.

Bechtel recently revealed that $500 million has been paid in wages in the two years since work began on the plants.

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