Thinking Outside the Box

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When it comes to skills shortages in the Northern Rivers sometimes you have to think outside the box, and outside the country.

Grafton based Migration Agent, Henk van der Merwe and colleague Pam Wells have been doing exactly that on a recent trip to South Africa.

Working with local and national businesses they identify skills required and develop strategies to attract skilled migrants to fill local positions and to grow local business profits.

Henk commented: “It’s a solution to a very real problem, we target specific skills shortages in the Northern Rivers that need to be addressed now. By sourcing skilled migrants we solve the skills shortage and boost the local economy.”

Driving 7500 km, conducting 178 interviews with a huge variety of applicants, the lessons and benefits of targeted migration to the region are clear for all to see.

The team from OZXchange were successful in attracting a strong group of professional people to local businesses, with the first engineer recruited on this trip arriving in the area in next month.
It’s not all one way traffic, the region is also attracting investment, OZXchange clients from the Limpopo province in South Africa are investing in integrated farming businesses in the Northern Rivers. Direct investments are currently topping $4.5 million.

Following a customer focused model that allows for confidential direct contact with client groups and their families, the team work through the barriers in the country of origin and in Australia. Very often it is the softer issues and removal of emotional barriers that drive successful recruitment of highly valuable migrants (see sample opposite) into this region, known for its sustainable living.

While rapid, unchecked, economic growth in South Africa has resulted in electricity failures and the closure of several large international projects, Australia remains the destination of choice for young professional families from all over the world.

Quenton Oates
Currently an independent consultant, Quenton has over 20 years business experience in roles including operations, management and executive consulting in Africa, USA, South America, UK, Europe, and Australia.

Quenton has extensive experience working with government organisations, international corporations and regional companies in industries that include finance, manufacturing, automotive, media and entertainment and technology.

While employed in the USA, Quenton, grew a strategic consulting practice from a core of 6 to a successful team of 80 consultants located across the USA and Europe.

A regular participant on panel discussions and guest speaker at business seminars, he also conducts executive training and coaching to individuals and teams.

Quenton has a Batchelor of Commerce Degree, a Marketing Diploma and an MBA.

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