Case Study

Renewable Energy

Sourcing a diverse, local workforce with local partners and traditional land-owners

The Challenge

Our client is a future focused energy solutions business launching one of Victoria’s largest solar farms

We were tasked with recruiting and employing a diverse and strictly local workforce of 300 people. The farm was remotely located, with a relatively small local pool of workers to source from.

Stakeholders included the local community, unions and traditional land-owners and the challenges included:

Skill Shortages

During construction, there were an additional 3 solar farms being built within the region, resulting in significant inflation of pay rates for Electricians and a lack of available skilled workers.

Population Demographics

The population of Mildura is approximately 53,000 people and the main industries revolve around farming and agriculture. Workers from a construction background were limited.

Sourcing from a regional town, we found a lot of candidates did not have the right working documentation at hand and required additional time to source the correct documents to present.

Short Timeline

Our client required 6 onboarding dates over an 8-week period to onboard around 250 workers. There was a subsequent emphasis on compliance and ensuring candidates were job ready before they commenced.

Ability Gaps

Candidates were required to complete online registration forms. A proportion of the pool were not candidate literate and required hands on assistance to complete registrations causing a drag on the recruitment process.

Solutions

Despite the challenges, Chandler Macleod’s team of experience workforce solution providers overcame and exceeded expectations. Using a unique range of solutions, we sourced a diverse, local workforce in the required time using a combination of:

Partnering with Community Organisations

Partnering with community organisations was vital to ensure local residents were provided with employment opportunities. In conjunction with Beon Energy Solutions, we worked with a variety of local community stakeholders including Job Active Providers, local councils and local Tafe Provider, Sunraysia Tafe, to assist long-term unemployed back into the workforce. We partnered with the Jobs Victoria Employment network to employ 40 local employees.

Providing Additional Training Opportunities for Inexperienced Local Workers

To overcome the high proportion of local workers coming from outside the construction sector, we put together a 5-day pre-employment training course tailored to the solar industry. The program was tailored specifically to help educate candidates on how a solar farm is built, as well as understanding their safety processes and systems.

Supporting Apprenticeship Programs

By partnering with Sunraysia Institute of Tafe and Beon, we were able to support 25 apprentices through the application process and successfully onto site, creating opportunities which may not have otherwise been available.

Providing Additional Incentives for Completion of Projects

To assist with attracting and minimising turnover, due to skill shortages, we designed a sign on and completion bonus scheme for electricians which assisted in attracting and minimising turnover for the client.

Results

“Approximately 70% of the workforce have never worked on a solar farm before and at the end of this project they will walk away with new skills and experience for future employment in the renewable energy industry.” – Michael Lamble, Project Lead

  • Chandler Macleod are looking at two additional projects, commencing within the coming months within this region, which will allow us to transfer the workforce over for ongoing employment. This will include the 28 apprentices and trainees.
  • Approximately $10 million, in wages, was injected into the local community from this project.
  • 15 employees came from JVEN
  • We had approximately 105 candidates, that were employed throughout the course of the project, that came from a Job active network.
  • We employed 31 people (17% of the workforce) who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background