JOBS: Massive business expansion constantly needs workers

IT TOOK close to 500 people to make it happen but one of the city's most significant employees is running at maximum capacity - and they need all the help they can get.

A major expansion at meat processing plant JBS at Dinmore meant managers had to find hundreds of people to fill extra rolls immediately if the plant was able to process the extra cattle.

That was in February and since then 487 people have got a new job at the plant - but they still need more.

Production is at a two-year high.

Staff have sorted through 2276 resumes, held 350 information sessions, conducted 744 interviews and given 487 of those people a full-time job.

The Dinmore plant this year ramped up to nine shifts a week after cattle stocks improved last year off the back of an 18 month downturn.

JBS Northern operations manager Jason Reabel said cattle permitting, the ninth shift was here to stay.

"The end goal is to go to 10 shifts, two shits five days a week, but volume is the key to productivity," Mr Reabel said.

"We were talking about this July last year and we were able to operationally man the place in readiness for that. It is probably happened a bit quicker than we thought but 2018 is definitely ramping up."

Dinmore plant manager Lee Shepley said the plant was able to increase production to 3400 head a day, a level it has not been able to achieve for more than two years.

He said it was achieved through a massive jobs, employee up-skilling and training drive earlier this year.

"It was a big ask, we had to fill one chain on the kill floor on night shift and similar on day shift. There as a lot of training involved with that," Mr Shepley said.

"We were very successful in being able to do that and as of this week we were able to hit our target of 3400 killed a day, so 1700 a shift.

"Everyone has really dug in a have a go, that was the way it happened. We had the beauty of people being able to promote, we showed people from the bottom they were able to move up. We had a lot of labourers move up into slicers positions and skilled jobs. It was a good financial benefit for those people."

Recruitment coordinator Lynel Belcher said up to 10 people left the business a week, due to retirement, personal circumstances, health issues or family circumstances.

A regularly rotating work force means a pool of about 30 people need to be on standby at any time and at least 10 of those are moved into a position every week.

She said people needed to be ready and on standby to fill those gaps. Ms Belcher sorts through up to 50 resumes a day and says the company was constantly looking for more.

"We have a pool of people of about 30 who are ready to go," Ms Belcher said.

"We have to be well in front and pro-active, to be able to see what's coming.

"We could have 30 people leave next week and we're ready to go so we don't jeopardise the shifts or cattle numbers."

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$105m in wages

STATE-WIDE meatworks company JBS and its businesses are actively moving away from labour hire and offering jobs to full-time workers.

JBS at Dinmore is responsible for an economic injection of more than $3.26b a year.

The plant employs more than 2100 people who are paid in excess of $104m a year.

JBS director and head of corporate and regulatory affairs John Berry said the associated Primo plant at Wacol employed a further 1100 people.

He said the company was moving away from the labour hire model.

"We're a big employer in the Ipswich region and we are looking for the right people for the right jobs, it's as simple as that," Mr Berry said.

"Our model for Primo is to move from less of a dependence on labour hire and towards offering permanent employment for the right people."