Oil and Gas News

Thousands of workers needed to boost WA recovery

The demand for skilled workers is set to increase in the Western Australian resources sector over the next 12 to 18 months, according to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of WA.

An additional 8000 skilled workers will be needed in the state until the end of 2020 and into 2021 to underpin economic recovery, assuming current COVID-19-related restrictions remain in place until the end of the year.

The preliminary forecast modelling by CME assumes the continuation of COVID-19 restrictions, including interstate travel, through to the end of the year.

As a result, CME foresees an increase in competition for key skills, such as traditional trades and experienced technicians, front line supervisors and maintainers, and safety and medical support services.

CME chief executive Paul Everingham said the WA resources sector had reaffirmed its commitment to employing locally, where possible, as it looked ahead to these identified additional skilling needs to underpin the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

“In response to COVID-19, companies moved early and decisively to relocate thousands of their employees and contractors in critical roles to WA, with companies offering incentive packages to make the move permanent,” Everingham said.

“The skills migration to the West brought on by COVID-19 has been nothing short of phenomenal. The vast majority of WA’s interstate FIFO workforce of around 5,000 have made the move west, some individually, others with their families at very short notice prior to the state border closure in April.”

The WA resources sector is among the state’s major employers, with a workforce of  120,000. BHP has filled hundreds of new positions locally for the extra roles it advertised across its operations in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“BHP recently welcomed 125 WA apprentices and trainees into its ranks as part of a new national training program that will help to bolster Australia’s skills base and create new career pathways into the mining sector,” Everingham said.