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6 December 2005
Visit a car repair workshop. The workshop doesn't have enough mechanics to repair all the cars, so they've decided to employ workers from overseas.
LINDY KERIN: Across the country there is work to be done but no one to do it and the Northern Territory is no exception. Take Kerry's Automotive Group, the Darwin car dealership and workshop.
CRAIG MORRISS: (General Manager Kerry's) The dry season comes up we will be just out of control if we don't get some new mechanics.
We have been using employment agencies and the newspaper and we have spent about $35,000 on it and haven't managed to employ one mechanic.
LINDY KERIN: Kerry's took on six new apprentices late last year but it will take a couple of years before their skills are up to speed. Craig Morriss says over the last four years it has been getting harder and harder to meet growing demand so the company was left with no other option than to look offshore. Next week seven mechanics from the Philippines will arrive in Darwin to work alongside Kerry's 28 other mechanics and apprentices.
CRAIG MORRISS: We have employed them for 12 months and we can renew it for two years if everything works out okay.
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 have 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 have seen 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.
LINDY KERIN: Vietnamese born Phuong Nguyen arrived in Darwin from Canada 18 months ago to work for the Darwin based oil and gas company Upstream Petroleum.
PHUONG NGUYEN: It is great country and has the same weather as my home town back in Vietnam. I hope I can stay here long because my job is here and it's a good place to stay.
LINDY KERIN: Mary Cunningham says she has seen a huge increase in the number of applications from employers wanting to recruit from overseas this year already.
MARY CUNNINGHAM: I think when you start to get employers asking you can you turn over, turn around applications or certifications while they stand outside your door and wait because they have to book the next flight for these people to come out, is a very, very clear indication of just how urgent the need is.
more information: do
A workshop is a room or building where things are made or repaired.
A place where cars or trucks are serviced or repaired can also be called a garage.
A mechanic is someone whose job is to repair engines of cars or other machines.
An employment agency helps match businesses with people they might want to employ.
more information: spend
Example: Our company took on some extra staff.
For examples you can listen to and more meanings of the phrasal verb take on, follow the link.
more information: take
An apprentice is somone who learns a trade while working for an employer.
†up to speed
To be up to speed means to have all the latest information about something or be fully competent.
Example: He's up to speed with all the latest technology.
Recruiting means finding and employing new workers.
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 from all my friends and they've said no. I'm going to try my brother as a last resort.
†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.
A shortage is when thereís not enough of something.
A trade is a skilled job that requires working with your hands.
Consumers are people who buy a product or use a service.
more information: see
†across the board
over the whole range of things†
Example: Prices have fallen across the board.