Working in collaboration with the District Council of the south east region of South Australia in 2011, Jody Elliott as The Resource Channel developed and piloted a model to create a regional fly in, fly out hub in the area.
The pilot not only demonstrated the high level of interest in the south east region to engage in fly in, fly out but has also identified skills highly aligned to mining and resource construction demand at the time.
The outcome was a comprehensive report for the region which enabled employers to assess that the region offers the types of skills they require. Because the report also included an analysis of airport and airline capability, it offered a quick, simple and effective option for employers to move in and commence recruitment.
The pilot identified a number of outcomes as highly relevant to the mining and resource construction sectors. These included the fact that 47% of all survey respondents were trade qualified (with the majority of trades suited to both operational and construction project requirements), 34% had relevant Operator/Driving skills and licenses, and 24% had experience working in the industry – 9% of those current at the time of the survey.
72% of all respondents indicated they were very interested in FIFO from the region, with 62% saying they would consider travelling between five and eight hours to reach a site, the maximum time offered in the survey.
Respondents also indicated a preference for working longer stints away, which aligns with construction rosters.
Approximately 66% of respondents indicated they lived within one hours driving distance of Mount Gambier Airport.
Respondents cited the ability to do FIFO work without relocating as the most appealing factor of the FIFO Hub Initiative. This, together with the age profile and the average number of years in the current industry for survey respondents, suggests a significant opportunity for an employer or employers to engage a highly skilled, experienced and stable Australian workforce going forward.
The model was designed to enable future employees to retain their home base where their families, friends and support infrastructure exist, and at the same time, alleviate pressures on other mining locations already struggling with the supply of housing and infrastructure.
The south east of South Australia was identified as a logical location to pilot the program because it boasts outstanding trade, engineering and operator skill sets from the transport and logistics, building and manufacturing industries.
A number of employers visited the region shortly after the program was launched and the area continues to be promoted by Jody and the District Council as an option for employers.
During the program, Jody presented to more than 700 people over 13 education sessions around the region and appeared on local radio and television daily to provide the community with updates and an opportunity to ask questions.
In October 2012, Jody Elliott accepted the Mining Australia Community Interaction Award on behalf of The Resource Channel for the pilot program.