Thomas Foods will target skilled workers who can find their own housing
Murray Bridge's biggest employer will take a conventional approach to rebuilding its workforce despite the competitive jobs market, Sam Jones says.
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Thomas Foods International’s new Murray Bridge abattoir will be one of the most advanced in the world, filled with the latest automated technology.
But the company will take a more conventional approach to recruiting a workforce in the coming months, one of its executives has suggested.
Unlike another big local employer, TFI would not offer any pre-employment training to give locals a leg-up on jobs, plant manager Sam Jones said at a business breakfast last Wednesday.
“The target at the start will be to get some skilled people in,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get some of our old employees back to fill some of those roles to start with.
“As … we start to ramp our numbers up, then we’ll look at what we can do around filling those labouring roles and up-skilling external people.”
“We’re a meat business,” he said.
“We’re not into real estate.
“We’ll focus on what we know best.”
The Murraylands’ jobs market was incredibly competitive at the moment, Regional Development Australia’s Julie Bates told the 130-strong crowd at the Business Murray Bridge breakfast.
A lack of accommodation was keeping workers from moving into the region at a time when more and more were needed.
Almost 400 jobs had been publicly advertised just in the Murray Bridge district in August, she said, compared with 175 during the same period in 2021.
Retiring mayor bids farewell to business owners
Retiring Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis took the event as an opportunity to thank the businesses he had partnered with during his eight years in the job, and his time at RDA before that – Thomas Foods chief among them.
The “proud, safe, progressive” philosophy he had taken to the 2014 election had since spread throughout the council, as an organisation, and the community, he noted.
He urged the next generation of local leaders to add one more key word: diversification.
“Murray Bridge needs to diversify,” he said.
“We’re dependent on the food industries.
“We should support them, but we also need to really consider what things we (are) set well to do here, and go after them.”
Murray Bridge council chief executive Michael Sedgman also spoke at the breakfast, about the council’s priorities for 2022-23.
Business Murray Bridge’s next breakfast event will be on November 2.
Disclosure: The author is a Business Murray Bridge committee member.