Hundreds of jobs available in the Murraylands, but thousands will compete for them

Employers are "screaming" for more workers, employment facilitator Christine Willersdorf says, despite high unemployment.

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Hundreds of jobs are still available in the Murraylands, despite the COVID-19 pandemic – but more than 2000 people are looking for work.

Major employers were “screaming” for more workers, employment facilitator Christine Willersdorf said.

At a meeting of industry experts on Tuesday, Ms Willersdorf – contracted by the federal government to work with job seekers and employers across the Murraylands and Riverland – said opportunities did exist with the likes of Thomas Foods International, Big River Pork and Adelaide Mushrooms.

Convenience retail, sheep shearing and the upcoming grain harvest also presented opportunities, the meeting heard – especially as agricultural workers from New South Wales and New Zealand were unable to come to South Australia at present.

“We’ve got plenty of work in the Murraylands,” Ms Willersdorf said.

“It just depends whether individuals want to go and do that work.”

She also acknowledged that many job seekers needed some pre-employment training to build their confidence and basic skills, such as the Regional Employment Trials she had overseen during the past year.

The bigger problem, though, was the sheer number of jobs needed.

In the Murray Bridge district alone, 1840 people received the Jobseeker unemployment benefit in June, up from 1247 in February.

The situation was particularly troubling for young people, Ms Willersdorf said, including the more than 250 Youth Allowance recipients in the district.

“There’s a hopelessness ... a lot of their jobs have been closed down and they’re feeling it,” she said.

“We need to … encourage them that we will recover from this, and they will have future careers.”

Photo of Christine Willersdorf: Peri Strathearn.