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Gladstone shines the spotlight on skills shortages

Gladstone is suffering from a skills shortage.

Gladstone businesses have joined forces to examine ways to solve the region’s skills shortage.

According to an APN Media report, more than 70 representatives from a range of organisations in different industries attended a recent meeting to discuss strategies in which to create and attract a skilled workforce to the area.

The forum – entitled Search for Solutions: Skilling Your Workforce in the Gladstone Region for 2013 and Into The Future – was organised by Gladstone Area Promotion and Development.

The event, which highlighted how the region has suffered a skilled labour shortage since its industrial boom two years ago, shone the spotlight on apprenticeships in Gladstone, as well as traineeships and other training solutions.

Joanne Smith, manager of Xtreme Engineering, said the company recognised the importance of developing skilled employees, and has eight apprentices on board at the moment.

Last month the federal government announced that it was extending its Kickstart Initiative to include several engineering trades in a bid to grow Australia’s qualified workforce.

From January 25, employers who take on engineering apprentices will now receive an additional $3,350 on top of the existing $1,500 commencement payment for eligible companies.

BUSY At Work chief executive officer Paul Miles said the federal government’s decision to extend the Kickstart scheme is exciting news for employers.

“This new initiative will help give jobs to a new generation of budding engineers and shows that the government puts a high value on support for small to medium sized businesses.”

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