The Limestone Coast has experienced a sharp rise in the number of job vacancies being advertised across the region.
Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast has been monitoring the situation and found that 461 local job vacancies were advertised during March, an increase of 6.7% from February.
RDALC Business and Workforce Development Manager Rachael Ashman said, as part of the Regional Work SA program, staff have been travelling the region, meeting with employers to discuss their workforce needs where they were finding “employers grappling to fill vacant roles, some giving up advertising all together”.
“As a part of the program, RDALC has been collating the jobs advertised from 15 websites and social media pages, as well as jobs vacancies found via meeting with regional employers.
All vacancies are then added to their website’s Job Board,” Ms Ashman said. “Through these interactions an unexpected find has been the exposure of some great examples of women in non-traditional roles. “We encourage women that are visiting our Job Board to consider roles that might have been traditionally considered ‘men’s’ roles.
“We are very proud of our region’s women and their employers that have looked beyond outdated norms and have embraced a diverse workforce. “In a competitive jobs market, businesses owners and operators in male dominated industries need to make sure they are an employer of choice and employing women in their workplaces is an essential first step.”
“So when job seekers are next looking at our Job Board, we encourage you to search a bit wider and see what is out there and for our employers – ignoring the value of a diverse workforce will see you left behind as the competition for good workers gets tougher.”
One such example of the diversifying workforce is skidder operator Emily Little, who has gained employment at LV Dohnt. Ms Little has embraced her role in the forestry industry and has received great support from her employer and her workmates. She is a third-generation forestry worker, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.
“It was challenging being so young and you have to move outside of your comfort zone,” she said. “It was daunting to start with, but I had so much support from the company and the teams I work with that it was easier. It does not matter here if your male or female, 21 or 50 years old, everyone helps everyone else.”
Ms Little said there were plenty of roles available that women might not naturally think of. “I would like to encourage others to take on jobs like this and would love to see more females in these types of roles,” she said.
“Just get out there and have a crack, it’s not for everyone – but you will not know until you try.” Ms Little said she realised “there are good hours, good wages and greater opportunities to set myself up for the future”.
Ms Little’s work ethic has been recognised by her employer LV Dohnt Green Triangle Operations Manager Gavin Dohnt. “We pride ourselves at LV Dohnt in training staff and supporting all of our people to achieve their best,” he said.
“We have three female operators in the forest at this time and hopefully another will be joining us shortly.” Mr Dohnt said that while they do not ordinarily take on staff that young into the forest area, Ms Little showed a passion and real aptitude for the job.
Greenfreight truck driver Maria Jusup is proud to be part of an industry that is traditionally considered a man’s domain. After making the move from a role at the Safries plant previously located at Penola, Ms Jusup decided to look for other work as Safries started to downsize and searched local papers looking at common roles being advertised.
After a week she saw there was a constant requirement for truck drivers so at her own expense, she undertook training and began driving. Ms Jusup said she would like to see more women in the industry.
“Just go for it – grab the opportunity, try and find a good company like this one and they will help you through the process and get you into driving,” she said. “Find someone – get permission to jump in the passenger’s side of a truck for a week or so and you’ll soon know if it’s for you.
“All of the people in this industry are respectful and good to be around so do not be afraid to give it a try.” Greenfreight Logging Operations Manager Cesare Rizzi would like to see more women enter the industry and encourages more women to get into driving larger vehicles.
The busy Plantation Treated Timber operation at Kalangadoo is proudly supporting young women in the industry with Jess Solly recently securing a role as a loader operator. Although Ms Solly had previously driven nothing larger than a Suzuki Swift, she wanted a gap year job that was not “sitting at a desk all day”.
“I have received great support and onsite training from (owner) Peter (Badenoch) as well as training from LITA,” she said. “My friends think it’s cool and, there are great opportunities for females in this industry. The pay is good, the staff I work with are respectful and very helpful and we have lots of jokes and fun.
“My family are really proud of what I am doing and it’s helping to set me up for a future in another role, but I would certainly come back to this region when I graduate if there are jobs available in my chosen field. “I would really encourage other women to look at jobs like this, you learn so much and as I say it can help set up your future.”
In addition, OneFortyOne is working hard to build a skilled and diverse workforce and developing its future leaders through its graduate program.