Author Archives: Inwork International


Here we are in a world with extreme skill shortages in an international skills race where skills and experience carries a high price tag and we are literally watching the best tradesmen and professionals in the world walk off into the retirement sunset.

We aren’t even trying to harness this critical resource to help train the younger more inexperienced workers.

I am constantly amazed at how management waves goodbye to someone who has been the backbone of their business for decades and then complain that the ‘greener’ professionals have not got the where-with-all to do the job.

These ‘Baby Boomer’ professionals are mostly between the ages of 55 and 70 years of age and most of them can’t work out why they are being pensioned off. Frankly so am I!

Understandably, there may be some restrictions in certain industries however I haven’t yet seen anything that cannot be overcome. Some industries are suffering chronic shortages and yet it has not dawned on them to use this rich resource to their advantage.

I learnt my trade from a 60 and 65 year old and have been cited many times to be the best at what I do, and this is why – I learnt from the masters. I learnt to fly from a 71 year old who I believe was sharper than me! My doctor was 75 before he decided that he didn’t want to work anymore so he hung up his stethoscope.

When I fly with an airline anywhere in the world I would like the reassurance that whoever is in the cockpit has the experience to get me to where I am going safely. It would also be reassuring to know that he was giving the benefit of this experience to a younger pilot at the same time. In the same way when I get my new home built I would like to have the construction supervised by someone with many years experience.

So, where does that leave our younger generation who cannot gain employment because they do not have sufficient experience.

A tradesman/professional is an equal combination of two things, qualifications and experience. Without one of these two components you cannot gain employment in any given industry. The latter is where there is a huge gap internationally.

CEOs and management need to understand the following formulas:



The biggest crime of the last two decades is encouraging our young people to gain an education in industries where they will never find work.

Author: Ralph Hunter


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4 Essentials of Life

In order for a person to survive anywhere on earth they must have three essential commodities: food, water and shelter.

These are the basics for sustaining life.

In order for a job seeker to survive an increasingly demanding Australian workforce and sustain employment, there is one more essential – a driver’s licence.

For those not familiar with the Australian environment we are a nation that is not clustered in high density in a small confined area, but generally speaking, spread like vegemite – thinly over a wide area. This is because we have lots of available space. However, it comes at a price to our young jobseekers. Unfortunately our infrastructure is such that we do not have enough available transport and a high percentage of the workforce must drive to work.

As a result of road fatalities in mainly the 17 – 25yr old age bracket, requirements for gaining a driver’s licence have become tougher and tougher. Only a few short years ago a young person could get his or her driver’s licence within 6 months with maybe only 20 hours as a learner driver. Now they must complete at least 100 hours of supervised instruction/practice, submitting a logbook to Government authorities before actually taking a driving test. The cost to the learner for this whole process can be anywhere from $4000 to $7500 depending on how much assistance they receive along the way. This figure would increase greatly should there be any decision to increase the number of supervised practice hours that has been discussed already.

For a young person this can be prohibitive even for those with a part time job. For those who have parents ‘game’ enough to venture in the family car with their learner at the wheel out onto the OPEN ROAD, they will find it somewhat easier financially. However, this places enormous strain on family relationships. I have known of grown men who have undertaken therapy after such experiences.

The point I am making here is that we have now introduced another major requirement into our job seekers portfolio – a driver’s licence. It again widens the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. If a job seeker does not have a driver’s licence, let alone a car, it reduces the number of jobs they can apply for by 50%. Among those jobs requiring a driver’s licence, 60% will need a manual driver’s licence, not the automatic driver’s licence that a lot of young people find easier to manage.

So, where to from here? Safe and alive versus employed and independent?

This is a tough decision for our young people.

My question is, where is our government dollar best spent? High level industry training programs? Or helping these people get to work in the first place?

No real point in having a qualification if you can’t get to work or not able to drive in your job.

Aren’t we putting the cart before the horse again?


Ralph Hunter

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Tradies to Become First Class Graduates from Secondary Education

“They are dirty, sometimes smelly and quite often very noisy”.

Believe it or not this was a comment from someone during a street-side interview on television recently!

For far too long society has held the view that anyone who graduates from high school and becomes a tradesman is regarded as a second class outcome and therefore they (including the author) are second class citizens.

Yes, you guessed it, the first class outcomes are those who graduate from high school and go to university. After all isn’t that what going to Year 12 is all about?

Somewhere back there, about thirty years ago, we completely lost the ‘educational plot’ and somehow brainwashed everyone to believe that Year 12 + University Education = Success. Therefore, Year 12 + Trade Training must = Failure? That’s right, that’s exactly how we all felt and how we are still treated.

Let me give you some facts which might surprise you:

• Electricians now need Maths B to at least B+ level in Year 12 to even be competitive in an apprenticeship interview.

• Car Mechanics are now called Automotive Technicians and will generally do a 4 year Apprenticeship which will include Auto Electrics and then will qualify with 2 trades. Their training includes extensive computer/electronics studies.

• Builders these days face extremely complex codes and regulations which are a part of their Trade Training (so that your house doesn’t fall down).

• Chefs must undertake at least 5 – 10 years training and experience and pass through at least six levels of Cookery before being recognised as a Chef.

These are just a few examples of us second class citizens who actually keep the country running.

No wonder we have mounting skill shortages. I have counselled students and their parents who have been in a quandary as to what their sons and daughters should do when faced with the dilemma of choosing a career.

So what is a Career? Is that taking up a Trade? So what is a Vocation? And what is a Profession?

Did you know that Airline Pilots are not classified as a Profession? No, apparently they are under the same classification as a Train Driver and why not I say.

What a crazy situation we have created for our children leaving school. If I finish Year 12 and want to become a Baker, or Butcher or House Painter is this going to be okay? Will Mum and Dad be angry? Will they let me?

No wonder we have no Tradesmen left!

As a result of chronic and growing skill shortages in Australia, Tradies are about to become First Class Graduates and First Class Citizens.


Ralph Hunter

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Queenslanders avoid hailstorms as no Panel Beaters to fix cars.

Severe storms are causing motorists to stay at home due to longer waiting times to repair cars.

As skill shortages continue to grow across Australia motorists are taking more precautions to avoid storm and hail damage to their cars.

The Smash Repair industry is in the grip of a nation wide shortage of Panel Beaters and Spray Painters as a result of schools refusing to introduce young people to this ongoing and lucrative trade.

While schools persist in introducing students to construction trades such as woodworking and metalworking, the Smash Repair industry has all but tried up for local talent.

Employers are turning to 457 Visa holders to fill the gaps in their businesses to be able to overcome the shortfall and keep their doors open. This situation is a short term solution to a very long term problem as the speed at which the shortages are growing far exceed Australia’s ability to import workers.

In a country that runs on wheels it is devastating to see second, third and sometimes fourth generation businesses having to close their doors due to not being able to find local talent. In most cases, these businesses are experiencing a growth in their work expectation that cannot be met with current staffing resources.

We need the educational institutions and parents working together with business and industry to recognize exactly what is going on in our own business communities and encouraging young people to take up these trades.

The Smash Repair industry offers long term, well paid jobs giving security for workers and their families.

How does your job security compare to this?

Ralph Hunter

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Australia Needs Skilled Workers Fast

Free Trade Agreements benefit Australian Business

While the rest of the world is fighting over what went wrong economically, Australia has wasted no time in planning for its future. The recently acquired Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Japan and China are testimony to this.

The newly elected Liberal/Coalition Government has secured new trade relations with its Asian trading partners. Our Government’s newest Free Trade Agreement, confirmed on Monday 17th November 2014, is with our biggest trading partner, China.

As the balance of economic power shifts to the Asia Pacific region, Australia is set to become the ‘food bowl’ for Asia. These Free Trade Agreements mean that Australia will be providing more than minerals, oil and gas to its Asian neighbours. In an historical first, it will provide horticultural products (fresh fruit and vegetables) as well as agricultural products (beef, lamb and poultry) to feed a continually increasing Asian population.

In return, we will be purchasing motor cars, technology and other manufactured products at a greatly reduced duty free price.  This offsets the recent announcement of closure of the automotive manufacturing in Australia.

To date, Australia has only produced enough fruit and vegetables to feed its own population, with only canned products sent overseas.  This Agreement will mean that our productivity for horticultural products will have to grow by at least 100% of its current production rate.  While the Asians can produce technology and cars cheaper and quicker, Australia has the land, climate and farming techniques to feed countries with at least ten times its own population.

What does this mean for Australia?

It means business, trade, productivity and jobs.  However, Australia does not have sufficient skilled and willing workers to facilitate this commitment.  Therefore, this country will be looking to our overseas partnerships to assist with the ever increasing need for skilled manpower.  Australia simply does not have the population to do this alone.

If you are considering a long term investment in yourself, your family and your future, now is the best time to move to Australia.


Ralph Hunter

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