Internationally acclaimed manufacturer Digga Australia is battling to overcome a shortage of skilled workers. The Australian-owned Yatala-based company now employs 250 people, Australia-wide, but Digga Chief Executive Officer, Alan Wade, says the operation desperately needs another 20 more skilled workers to meet with the high demand for the Digga product, both for the domestic and international markets.
"At a time when unemployment in Queensland is running at more than 7%, we desperately need more qualified fabricators, boilermakers, laser and press operators and CNC machinists. In recent months, we have really stepped up our recruitment efforts but there is a national shortage in the number of qualified and skilled tradespeople... Outside of our normal recruitment efforts, we have placed posters at TAFE colleges and shopping centres, advertised via online and social media platforms and used multiple employment agencies. We have also been posting on community pages on Facebook.”
"Digga has a 12,500sqm factory in Yatala that has a dozen CNC machining centres, as well as multiple saws, gear cutters, robotic welders, brake presses, laser cutters and a plasma cutter but we cannot find enough skilled employees to meet demand.”
Digga manufactures more than 70 different types of attachments including auger drives, auger bits, trenchers, grass & brush slashers, pallet forks, road brooms, and loading ramps. Digga is also the manufacturer of the Kanga Loader, another Australian-made product for the Mini-Loader market, very popular in the hire and rental sector, landscaping and general contractor market. The company sells its products through a network of over 300 dealers in 60 countries.
Mr Wade said COVID-19 was a major contributor to the skills shortage, which was affecting manufacturers throughout Australia.
"The manufacturing industry in Australia is currently very strong due to customers looking to Australian manufacturers to shore up their supply chains because Chinese imports are not flowing reliably. Not only are we an Australian Made product but we are an economically viable solution to their imported product... This has increased demand in the sector for skilled tradespeople, while at the same time businesses can no longer source additional employees from overseas.”
Mr Wade said Digga, which also has operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, was experiencing the same issues overseas. He added that another major cause of the problem was that the boilermaker trade was no longer as popular as it was in the past.
"Ideally, the company could start bringing more apprentices to help boost youth employment, but we are consistently hearing from trade colleges that these trades are not as popular... The number of students coming through TAFE in these areas is very low because younger people are more interested in construction trades.”
Mr Wade urged any qualified tradespeople who were interested in a career at Digga to contact the company as soon as possible.