4th Dimension in Dealing with Australian Skills Shortages.

Posted on: 25.05.2012    08:57:34

As an international recruitment agency it is sometime difficult to provide the local perspective for international job seekers and therefore we occasionally host articles from our international agents around the globe.

Here is such an article from Ralph Hunter of Inwork, based in Brisbane

“In order for a person to survive on earth anywhere they must have three essential commodities: food, water and shelter.
These are the basics for sustaining life.

In order for a job seeker to survive in an ever demanding Australian workforce and sustain employment there is one more essential – a drivers license.

For those not familiar with the Australian environment we are a nation which is not clustered in high density in a small confined area, but generally speaking spread like vegemite – thinly over a wide area. This is because we have lots of available space however, it comes at a price to our young jobseekers. Unfortunately our infrastructure is such that we do not have enough available transport and a high percentage of the workforce must drive to work.

As a result of road fatalities, in mainly the 17 – 25yr old age bracket, requirements for gaining a drivers license have become tougher and tougher. Only 4 – 5 years ago a young person could gain their license within 6 months with maybe only 20 hours as a learner driver. Now they must complete 100 hours of instruction/practice, submitting a logbook to Government authorities before actually taking a test.

The cost to the learner for this whole process can be anywhere from $4000 to $7500 depending how much assistance they receive along the way. This could double if the rumors of an increase in logged hours to 200 hours is made law!

For a young person this can be prohibitive even for those with a part time job. Those who have parents game enough to venture into the family car and out onto the OPEN ROAD will find it somewhat easier however this places enormous strain on the relationships. I have known of grown men who have undertaken therapy after such experiences.

The point I am making here is that we have now introduced another major requirement into our job seekers portfolio – a drivers license. It again widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots. If a job seeker does not have a license, let alone a car, it reduces the number of jobs they can apply for by 50%. Of those jobs requiring a license 60% will need a manual license not the automatic license which a lot of young people find easier to manage.

So, where to from here? Safe and alive Vs employed and independent! This is a tough decision for our young people.
My question is: Where is our government dollar best spent, on high level industry training programs or on helping get to work in the first place?

No real point in having a qualification if you can’t get to work or be able to drive in your job!

For international job seekers looking into Australia the vastness of the continent needs to be appreciated. You can literally pop the whole of the European land mass inside Australia and have room to spare as shown in this illustration. It is also another illustration of the law of unintended consequences within Australia exacerbating skills shortages as according to a recent article in the Australian it is leading to increased urbanisation amongst skilled migrants as well as the locals.

Ironically for international job seekers the conversion of an existing license into a local license is relatively painless just like it is in Europe and elsewhere and our strong recommendation is that international job seekers should consider this 4th dimension when seeking international placements.


Author: Chris Slay

Skills Provision will allow our articles/quotes to be reproduced on other formats as long as full accreditation is given.