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Aussie entrepreneur assisting Timor-Leste workers in job ready training to address skills shortages in Australia

Themelina Tammy Kassiou

Themelina Tammy Kassiou

Aussie entrepreneur, Tammy Kassiou, is training up East Timorese workers to bring them to Australia to help businesses desperately in need of temporary workers.

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE, June 10, 2021 / -- Timor-Leste based Aussie entrepreneur, Tammy Kassiou, is training up East Timorese workers in preparation to bring them to Australia to help businesses desperately in need of temporary workers. The move is being celebrated by many Australian farmers who are urgently calling out for help to maintain and pick their crops.

Skill shortages plague many regional and remote areas of Australia, with employers urgently requiring workers to assist with operations and their business. Themelina Kassiou, affectionately known as Tammy Kassiou, founder and chairperson of respected global employment business, International Mobility Services, known as IMS, has pre-screened candidates ready to mobilise to Australia to assist with skill shortages.

“Through my company IMS in Timor-Leste, we have interviewed and pre-screened job ready workers who are available and eager to come to Australia to work in these regional and remote areas,” Ms Kassiou said.

According to Ms Kassiou, the idea is a sensible one and aligns with Australia’s close relationship with Timor-Leste. Australia and Timor-Leste are close neighbours, with a shared history and strong people-to-people links. Australia has been at the forefront of international support for Timor-Leste since its independence in 2002, and remains Timor-Leste's largest partner in development and security.

“We are committed to helping support the economic prosperity of Timor-Leste, which is even more important as their economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme flooding that hit the country’s capital in April 2021,” Ms Kassiou added.

“International workers help fill labour gaps in Australia’s towns and farms by providing access to a reliable and productive workforce. Labour mobility benefits Australia as it boosts economic activity and competitiveness in rural and regional areas. Due to border closures, there are currently very limited numbers of Australian workers and backpackers that are available to work in these roles, which is why our initiative in Timor-Leste is so critical for Australian farmers in accessing appropriate candidates for workforce shortages and jobs.”

IMS is a Timor-Leste registered company, based in Dili. It was established in response to increased employer demands to supplement local skills shortages by sourcing workers to support overseas industries. With locations in Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Pacific Islands, Philippines, Mozambique, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Europe, IMS has the global network to satisfy a broad range of labour mobility needs across multiple country markets.

Jonathan Moss of Mossmont Nurseries said, “Times are tough and more workers are required to keep the supply chain flowing. We need dedicated staff that can work with our horticulturists to care for our trees from seedling, right up until full growth and they’re ready to be shipped to farmers around the country. Our stone fruit and almond trees are shipped to growers nationwide.”

Mossmont Nurseries was established in 1853 in the gold mining area of Bunninyong near Ballarat in Victoria, and has been employing Timor-Leste people for more than five years.

“On any given day we will be 10 to 15 workers short for our site to be running at full capacity, and this is simply due to the skill shortage in the region. It is impossible to keep up with demand, remain profitable and be competitive in the marketplace without a strong workforce. We need workers to manage and care for the trees before they’re shipped out to plant and cultivate year in and year out. The injection of Timorese workers into our company over the last five years has been lifesaving at Mossmont Nurseries,” Mr Moss added.

“IMS is so passionate about supporting our country’s farmers, growers and producers, and we owe Tammy and her team an immense amount of gratitude for their ongoing commitment to rural Australia. These Timor-Leste workers will be placed immediately into fulfilling roles and supportive teams where they will be incredibly valued. Our trees are ready to be harvested and we need all hands on deck – these workers will be instrumental in helping our company overcome skill shortages and moving forward with seasonal work. We’re incredibly grateful for that.”

IMS is dedicated to creating policies and practices that safeguard international workers against worker exploitation, and prepare them to live and work in Australia. IMS has implemented a stringent premobilisation and reintegration program to ensure its workers are informed and equipped to successfully work in Australia and raise the profile and reputation of Timorese workers.

IMS is ensuring that every participant has the correct VISA and is vested with the training and skills to be productive members of society and excellent workers.

“IMS has made a number of short courses and resources available to our workers, and their prospective employers so that the transition into the Australian workforce is as seamless and encouraging as possible,” Ms Kassiou explained.

IMS is working closely with stakeholders in Australia and Timor-Leste to initiate strategies to reduce COVID-19 risks and other barriers to engagement.

“The safety of everyone affected by our workplace activities is central to our business philosophy. We invest heavily in safety through specialist personnel and training resources to create an environment that encourages and empowers our people to place their personal safety and that of their colleagues above all other priorities. Our commitment to eliminating the risks associated with COVID-19 is at the forefront of the mobilisation of workers,” Ms Kassiou emphasised.

IMS partners with Industry Safety Assessment and Training (ISAT), also founded and chaired by Ms Kassiou, in order to put its jobseekers through relevant training and skills development courses, including vocational education, trade skills, English language, safety, first aid, and over ten thousand other online courses. ISAT directly links to IMS after training delivery so that candidates can be included in possible selection for recruitment and jobs. Additionally, IMS can provide candidates with the opportunity to upskill if there are any identified gaps. ISAT provides training specific to the industry or project need, including horticulture, IT and computer skills, food handling, tourism and hospitality, meat processing, civil and building construction, mining, oil and gas and workplace health and safety.


Tess Sanders Lazarus, Chief Publicist
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