ARARAT manufacturing enterprise AME Systems is desperately seeking skilled workers for its growing business.
AME Systems managing director Nick Carthew has called on the state and federal governments to help support the business to find skilled migrant workers and attract them to regional Victoria.
“At the moment we have 30 jobs that urgently need to be filled, but they need to be filled by the right people,” he said.
“We’re always chasing full-time operators for skilled jobs, but we can’t seem to attract or keep staff.”
The business currently employs about 40 Filipino workers, as well as people from countries such as India and Pakistan.
“We have been working with both the state and federal governments through Regional Development Victoria for the last two years asking for them to consider extensions for 417 working visas,” he said.
“At the moment, employees on those visas are only allowed to work a maximum period of six months with one employer.
“I’ve had multiple communications with state and federal government members, and our former Ararat mayor, looking for support about making decentralisation a major policy to attract people to regional Victoria.
“We have asked for a policy change in the migration standards, so when people migrate here they are encouraged to come to regional Victoria first.
If we can’t get people to build our products then we won’t be able to put money back into the local economy.AME Systems managing director Nick Carthew
“We’re also asking for an immigration work agreement to bring people in from specific countries such as the Philippines.
“Ararat has a large Filipino and Muslim community, so there are already support systems in town for new migrants.”
AME Systems employs about 400 staff members over its Ararat and Bayswater locations, as well as 50 employees in Malaysia.
“Our business has grown about 60 per cent in the last 12 months, and we’re forecast to need to fill upwards of 150 more jobs over the next two years,” he said.
“We have to make a choice – if we get the support we need, we’ll be able to grow our business in Ararat, putting money back into the local economy.
“If we don’t, then we might be forced to move our expansion overseas to South East Asia.
“We want to help support and grow Ararat and provide job opportunities for people.
“But if we can’t get people to build our products then we won’t be able to put money back into the local economy.
“I’ve even written to the Prime Minister about looking for support from the federal government.”
Mr Turnbull is yet to reply to Mr Carthew’s letter.