TWO employment businesses have taken a step to simply the process for Vanuatu workers to head to Australian farms.
International Mobility Services (IMS) and Vanuatu Pathways have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with hopes of increasing labour supply capacity across Australia.
The formal partnership between the organisations will facilitate the availability of job-ready people to fill skill shortages being experienced across Australia due to the impact of COVID-related closed borders.
IMS is a Timor-Leste registered company based in Dili and is part of the Philotimo Group. The group was founded by Australian entrepreneur and industry stalwart, Themelina Kassiou, affectionately known as Tammy Kassiou.
The Philotimo Group overarches a number of complementary businesses, providing leadership, expertise and services across the training and job placement sector to a broad range of industries.
Vanuatu Pathways is an organisation that provides recruitment out of Vanuatu for industries in Australia that require skilled workers on a temporary basis. It recruits from all islands and locations in Vanuatu.
IMS chief executive officer Marcia Kelly said governments need to respond urgently to the critical skills shortages and delays due to COVID-19.
"Skill shortages plague many regional and remote areas of Australia with employers urgently requiring workers to assist with operations and their business," Ms Kelly said.
"This MoU between IMS and Vanuatu Pathways is a step in the right direction towards building the capacity of workers between countries.
"While IMS has pre-screened candidates ready to mobilise to Australia to assist with specific industry work and skill shortages from existing partnerships with Timor-Leste, this new arrangement will provide an additional source of job-ready workers available to come to Australia from Vanuatu.
"Many Australian industries that have previously relied on overseas workers and backpackers to complement their workforce are struggling to operate and function at full capacity due to closed borders.
"This partnership will provide Australian regional employers with access to workers from within the pacific region and importantly deliver job and economic benefits to one of Australia's most valued regional neighbours.
"IMS and Vanuatu Pathways are working together to develop an extensive COVID safe plan for all workers to assist them on their arrival to Australia."
She said the business was thrilled to enter into the agreement with Vanuatu Pathways.
"Our two organisations have been built and founded upon incredibly similar values and visions, which is why we are a natural fit. We see the partnership benefitting both countries enormously," Ms Kelly said.
Cofounder of Vanuatu Pathways Joanne Wade said the organisation's work had focused on the seasonal worker program for the past five years providing opportunities for people across Vanuatu to source employment overseas.
"We match skills and interests to roles and opportunities with employers in Australia. The outcome is that we are able to provide much-needed job opportunities to the people of Vanuatu while also providing employers in need of assistance with talented and enthusiastic workers," Ms Wade said.
"Australian employers across a number of industries including crocodile farming, chicken farming, wine growing, horticulture and agriculture, and hospitality, desperately need workers to help them maintain and grow their operations.
"Through our partnership with IMS, we will be offering job-ready support to candidates once they complete mandatory interviews and screening. Successful candidates then receive a letter of offer from an Australian Approved Employer.
"We then assist and support each candidate to make sure they are ready to head down under."
The program involves job placements for up to nine months. When workers return to Vanuatu, they are considered highly skilled and reputable workers that have the opportunity to return to Australia or utilise the new training in Vanuatu.
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