Bechtel’s workforce 9000 and growing

THE massive workforce building Gladstone’s LNG network has grown to 9000, with construction giant Bechtel still searching for another 500 highly skilled workers.

When Bechtel first began the mammoth task of building LNG facilities on Curtis Island, it thought its peak workforce would be 8800.

But as the project ramps up, it has surpassed those numbers, and is still looking for more workers – specifically special class welders, electricians, fitters, riggers and instrument technicians.

While the company has always recruited locally, with about half of its workforce hailing from the Gladstone region, it is now casting its nets further afield for these specialist roles.

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said the company’s own analysis and planning showed there would always be a local shortage in areas such as special class welders, instrument fitters, electricians and riggers.

“You simply can’t put anyone into these roles,” he said. “It would be like putting a square peg into a round hole.

“A special class welder isn’t a welder or a boilermaker. They are like chalk and cheese. We need to find the appropriately skilled person to perform the work.”

Bechtel has recently been running recruitment drives in Sydney, Melbourne and even Launceston in Tasmania.

In many cases, potential candidates are actually tested prior to employment to ensure they have the skills set required.

“I need to emphasise that the work we perform is demanding, heavy industrial construction. It’s not residential or light commercial or building construction and the experiences you gain performing that work don’t always transfer over,” Mr Berg said.

Currently there are more than 28,000 people registered on Bechtel’s database for trade roles, and as many as 125 applying for individual professional vacancies.

Mr Berg’s advice to jobseekers was to make sure their resume stands out.

“Many applicants for the roles have the same level of experience and skills, and others may be even more suitably qualified for the specific role,” he said.

“Our hiring process isn’t random or the luck of the draw. We spend considerable time and effort looking for the best possible candidate for each position.”

Mr Berg said having the qualifications specific to the role were vial and ensuring details and references stack up. He said good reference checks were particularly important and often made the difference.

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