Redundant manufacturing workers search for jobs in mining sector

Former employees of Gympie manufacturing firm JH Smith and Sons who lost their jobs last year have decided to look for mining jobs.

The ABC reports that JH Smith and Sons was the second biggest employer in the South- East Queensland town. When it went into liquidation, sixty seven people became unemployed.

About half of those workers have since found new jobs, but the other half have decided to head west to Chinchilla by bus to look for work in the mining sector.

According to local employment coordinator Gabrielle Keating, they are skilled workers and they are going to check out the opportunities.

“Nobody can hand anybody a job. It’s about trying to give them opportunities and connect them,” Keating told the ABC.

“We haven’t got a magic job to hand them but the more we give them the information on how to go about it I think is the best way.”

Such a transformation from one industry to another is not always a simple task. It is a question of workers listing their skills and qualifications and seeing if they are in demand and transferrable to mining.

The idea has been floated elsewhere in Australia in the recent past.

According to the Chief executive of the South Australian Chamber of Mining and Energy (SACOME), the mining industry needs more infrastructure investment if it is to continue to be a major employer into the future.

“To advance projects, we need critical pieces of infrastructure which would bring projects forward and create thousands of jobs in construction and thousands of jobs in the operating periods of the mining as well,” Kuchel told ABC Rural last year.

“Of course, those pieces of infrastructure don’t just create jobs now, but would create jobs for the next hundred years.”

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