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9 December 2005

Friday review - Work

Look back over some of the week's stories and learn some words relating to work.


On today's review English Bites we're going to look back over some of the week's stories.

We're going to learn some words relating to work, and then we'll talk about word groups.

But let's start by looking again at our story on migrant workers in Australia. We'll hear from some business in the Northern Territory who can't find local workers, so have been hiring workers from overseas.


LINDY KERIN: Recruiting workers from overseas is for many companies a last resort but it seems to be a sign of the times.

JON BAKER: (Territory Construction Association) We've got major skill shortages with all trades from block layers, plaster fixers, electricians and plumbers, to the extent we having to see increases in costs to consumers. We're seeing consumers having to wait longer to get the jobs done.

LINDY KERIN: Mary Cunningham runs the Territory Government Skilled Migration Program.

MARY CUNNINGHAM: (DBRD) The skilled shortages are almost common across Australia although the Territory has some unique ones, particularly in relation to the health in remote areas. Trades areas, I think the whole raft of trades, you can start at the construction trades, electrical trades, across the board.


They're talking about recruiting workers from overseas to work in Australian businesses.

To 'recruit' means to find new people to work in a company or organisation.

'Recruiting' means finding and employing new workers.

Businesses are employing workers from overseas, because they can't find enough skilled workers in Australia.

There are skill shortages in all trades.

A 'shortage' is when there's not enough of something.

And a 'trade' is a skilled job, one where you work with your hands.

So there are not enough workers who have a trade, who can work with their hands.

He lists some of the trades in which there is a shortage of workers.

There aren't enough 'mechanics, block layers, plaster fixers, electricians and plumbers'.

So businesses need workers for the car industry, in the construction, or building, trades and in electrical trades.

Now let's hear what some businesses in another area are doing about the worker shortage, this time in a rural community in Victoria.


KATE ARNOTT: To tackle the worker shortage the Grampians Pyrenees Regional Development Board has come up with a novel solution. In a Victorian first it's formed the Seasonal Worker Network, which is made up of employers, TAFE colleges, job networks and labour hire companies.

The network aims to train 80 locals who can be employed across a number of seasonal industries and end up with full-time work.

DUNCAN HANDLEY, PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR: They could go from the wine industry. The pruning side of things takes place from, say, June to September during the year. They can finish in the vineyard then and then go into a period of shearing, then they could maybe move back into the vineyard through summer doing some vine training, and then maybe move into the meat-processing side of things through late summer.


In this region, they have come up with a new solution.

There are many local businesses that offer seasonal work.

Seasonal' means occurring during a season only, not for the whole year.

'Seasonal work' is work done during part of the year.

For example, fruit picking is seasonal work. There's only work to do when the fruit is ripe. It's seasonal.

Thre is a new program that aims to 'train', or teach, 80 locals.

It will teach people to have the skills that are needed in the local area.

Once people have been trained, they can work in a number of seasonal industries.

The word 'industry' describes the people and activities involved in a type of business.

'Seasonal industries' are those that take place only at a certain time of year.

So people are trained to work in a wide variety of businesses that need workers at certain times of the year. Because the workers are trained to do many different jobs, they can have full time work.

They do many different types of jobs.

They might work in the wine industry, pruning from June until September.

'Pruning' means cutting plants so they grow better.

Then they can spend some time shearing.

'Shearing' refers to cutting the wool off a sheep.

They can work in the vineyards again through summer doing 'vine training', making the vines grow properly.

Then through late summer they might work in 'meat processing', preparing meat for sale.

Each of these jobs only lasts for a few months, but if someone has the skills to do them all, they can be employed full time.

OK, now let's look at another of this week's stories. It was about a team of Welsh shearers that came to work in Australia.


The Welsh mountain sheep and crossbreeds they normally shear are very different. They carry around 2 kilos of wool compared to a merino, which can carry up to 6 kilos.

MALE: The one boy had shorn merinos before but the other one had never seen merinos, so he had quite a shock.

MALE: I am shearing now on the neck, we are not used to the wrinkles.

PATRICK EMMETT: When the world championships start in Toowoomba next week, merinos are what everyone has to shear. So this week has seen some intensive practice and the sessions have attracted interest from near and far.

Local shearing contractor Pete Smith is the man who arranged for the Welsh team's outback training session.

With blade shears still used in Australia to prepare prized sheep for sale, he saw it as an opportunity to pick up a few tips on technique.

PETE SMITH: These fellows are world class, so it gives our blokes an opportunity to pick up from the best.


The shearing team is visiting an outback farm in South Australia.

Local shearing contractor Pete Smith is the man who arranged the visit.

A 'contractor' is a person hired to do a certain job, for a certain price.

Contractors aren't employees. They are hired just to do a particular thing. They have a 'contract', or agreement, to perform the service.

Tradespeople are often contractors. For example, plumbers, electricians and builders.

But here, Pete Smith is a 'shearing contractor' - he provides shearers to local farms to work during the shearing season.

He arranged for the Welsh team to have an outback 'training session' -time spent practicing to shear Australian sheep.

So notice the many the different forms of the word 'shear' we've used today.

Shear has got noun, adjective and verb forms.

The verb forms are 'shear, sheared or shorn'.

The adjective is 'shearing', like a 'shearing shed'.

And the noun forms are 'shearing, shearers and shears'. (See the spotlight for Monday's story, 'Welsh Shearers' for more about the word 'shear')

And that's all for today. You can find all this week's stories below:

Welsh Shearers
Migrant Workers
Seasonal Jobs
Baby Centre


story notes

recruiting
Recruiting means finding and employing new workers.

last resort
If something is a last resort, itís the last thing to try. It's something you try when everything else has failed.

Example: I've tried to borrow money form all my friends and they've said no. I'm going to try my brother as a last resort.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

sign of the times
If something is a sign of the times itís something that shows what life is like now.

Example: It's a sign of the times that people don't bother having land line telephones any more.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

shortages
A shortage is when thereís not enough of something.

trades
A trade is a skilled job that requires working with your hands.

consumers
Consumers are people who buy a product or use a service.

across the board
over the whole range of things

Example: Prices have fallen across the board.

network
Here, a network is a group of people who have some connection.

across
Here, across means in every part of or in all of.

seasonal industries
Seasonal industries are those that take place only at a certain time of year.

end up
To end up is to finish in a situation or place after a series of events.

Example: You'll end up without a job if you're always late.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb end up, follow the link.
more information: end up

full-time work
Full-time work is work that takes up five days of the week.

pruning
Pruning means cutting plants so they grow better.


shearing
Shearing refers to cutting the wool off a sheep.


vine training
Vine training is making the vines grow properly.

meat-processing
Meat processing is preparing meat for sale.


Welsh
They are from Wales in the United Kingdom.

crossbreeds
A crossbreed is an animal or plant that is a mixture of breeds or types.
The opposite of a crossbreed is a purebred, an animal or plant from one breed or type. Purebred sheep like merinos usually have better and thicker wool than crossbreeds.

shear
To shear means to cut wool or hair off something.

shorn
Here shorn is the past participle of the irregular verb shear. Follow the link to find out more and to listen to examples.
more information: shear

intensive practice
Practice is the time spent doing something over and over again, so you get better at it.
Intensive means involving a lot of effort in during a short period of time.

shearing contractor
A contractor is a person who is hired to do a certain job, for a certain price. They have a contract, or agreement, to perform the service.

Pete Smith is a shearing contractor. He provides shearers to local farms to work during the shearing season.

training session
time spent practising

saw
Saw is the past tense of the irregular verb see. Follow the link to find out more and to listen to examples.
more information: see

pick up
learn

Example: Children pick up languages more easily than adults.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb pick up, follow the link.
more information: pick up