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As tradesmen flock to the mines business draws talent from overseas

Tuesday, 15th November, 2011

 By Erica Visser

 Local businesses are having to seek skilled labourers internationally due to competition from the city’s mining industry. 

Broken Hill Toyota Dealer Principal, Randall Ragenovich, said the mines were critical to the city’s success but that businesses such as his were suffering as a result.

“Obviously young lads are chasing money at the mine so we’re losing them,” Mr Ragenovich said.

“We tried to advertise locally but had little response; skilled labourers are that hard to get hold off.”

“I don’t think it’s a negative for the town; it’s just made it a lot harder.”

According to Mr Ragenovich, holding on to workers was another problem.

“What people do is use us as a stepping stone,” he said.

“I’ve spent up to $7000 in training in some cases and then there’s been an opening at the mine.

“If I had to pay someone the mine wages the service fees will go up so would make the town dearer to live in.”

Mr Ragenovich said that many other businesses were also suffering due to the worker shortage and getting employees from overseas could soon become a trend. 

“I’ve heard of other businesses having the same problem,” Mr Ragenovich said.

“I’ve heard other businesses like in metal fabrication that are looking at them as well.

“One other dealership is getting some and I think another is looking along those lines.”

But Mr Ragenovich said that the decision to employ two Toyota-trained technicians from the Philippines had been a plus for his business.

“One did all his training in Manila and one in the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

“My dealership just thrives on customer service; without these technicians we just didn’t have the man power.”

“What happened before was our dealership was booking cars in up to five to six weeks ahead and now usually within a week we can get someone booked in.

Mr Ragenovich said his business was now awaiting the arrival of another technician from overseas.

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