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Published 16 August 2012 05:01, Updated 16 August 2012 06:56
Some employers do embrace overseas-qualified engineers. Santos’s natural gas export project, Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas, first became aware of them in 2009 after it was contacted by the Brisbane North Institute of TAFE.
“We were pleased that there was another talent pool,” Santos GLNG manager for production operations, Paul Rice, says. “Many of these workers are very experienced in their particular trade.
“These workers have the qualifications and skills to undertake the role and it comes down to previous experience, ability to deliver and commitment to the job.”
Since then, Santos has given work experience to 20 engineers and subsequently employed “about half”, with qualifications in environmental, civil mechanical, petroleum, process and electrical engineering.
Shareholders in Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas include Total (France), Petronas (Malaysia) and Kogas (Korea) and the project has people from these companies working on it.
This has created an awareness of cultural difference in the workplace, Rice says. He doesn’t think enough Australian employers appreciate the skills foreign engineers offer.
“Their experience may not be within companies that are well known in Australia, so it may be difficult to understand the individual’s depth of experience and match that in terms of the experience required for the particular job,” he says.
“It would be worth promoting this pool of Australian skilled people especially with the
number of people that will be needed to build the large number of resource projects in train in Australia.”