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ODG Rail increases offshore recruiting due to new business


The ongoing business opportunities of electrical engineering group O’Donnell Griffin (ODG), part of Norfolk Group Ltd (ASX: NFK), has seen it strengthen its already active recruitment drive offshore.

“Business opportunities at the moment are extensive in rail and resources,” said O’Donnell Griffin Rail General Manager Mr Dave Howe, who is this month conducting interviews in the rail engineering sector in the UK.

Mr Howe said that the increasing squeeze on skilled workers in the engineering, electrical and rail industries is already a major issue for companies who are part of Australia’s national infrastructure rollout, whether projects are funded by Federal or State governments, or in conjunction with private parties.

ODG Rail was recently awarded $96.5 million for BHP Billiton’s RGP5 works in Western Australia’s Pilbara, bringing ODG’s total contracts for electrical and rail-related works on this development to more than $149 million since November 2002.

It is also an alliance partner in the $1 billion Novo Rail alliance urban rail upgrade in Sydney, winning Australia’s largest rail signalling contract.

O’Donnell Griffin Rail is the specialised rail division of O’Donnell Griffin, a 100 year old plus company who has worked on many major infrastructure projects and is presently expanding in the mine-to-market sector

Positions Mr Howe is seeking to have filled in the UK are predominantly in High Voltage distribution, OHLE and Signalling.

“We are now having to recruit overseas simply because of the shortage in skilled resources here in Australia to meet the demands of the works that are planned to be undertaken or currently being worked on,” he said.

“And the resources market is going to continue to get more and more restricted, with new major mining and LNG projects coming on, heading into the start of 2010.”

Mr Howe said this was the result of many years of minimal training being undertaken in Australia, and was also due to the obvious changes caused by outsourcing. Traditionally, local, state and federally run maintenance and operations departments were the ‘breeding grounds’ of industry specialists in previous decades, and were influential in maintaining the networks around Australia.

Mr Howe said ODG Rail is planning to recruit a number of staff in the UK recruitment drive, who would be expected to start work with in Australia in a staged program over the next 3 – 9 months dependent on availability and visa application approval requirements. The company has engaged a UK-based recruitment specialist to run the campaign which has seen a shortlisting of some 35 professional candidates.

ODG’s Divisional Human Resources Manager, Mr Craig Golds, along with his specialist HR team who assisted Mr Howe in putting together the international strategy, said “this international approach is consistent with the need to generally grow our rail skill base both internally and externally. The mix of specialist rail people coming into the wider ODG team will also further assist in helping to mentor the latest group of talented graduates from our specialist rail graduate program. This program originated in Victoria but we recently launched it nationally and see it as one of the cornerstones of growing our talent bank within the rail sector.”

Mr Howe said that O’Donnell Griffin was also highly respected in the mine-to-market sector for its focus on the critical issues and exemplary work safety record.

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