Access to skilled workers is the biggest problem facing AEM Consolidated managing director Jack Hahn, including being unable to train apprentices locally. Jack shared his views on skills, along with operating conditions, in the December quarter Business SA – William Buck Survey of Business Expectations, winning himself an iPad.

The March quarter survey has just opened, and we want to know what you think of the discussion around lifting the minimum wage and how it could impact your business, along with whether you’ve been impacted by the banking Royal Commission, and how you’re faring this year.

Jack bought AEM Group 23 years ago, after starting life as a sheep farmer and shearer before moving to the city and into real estate and owning a liquor store. He has been a member of Business SA for more than 30 years.

AEM specialises in the supply and repair of electric motor, pumps, generators and trailing cable to the mining, oil and gas and defence industries. It also supplies and repairs explosion-proof motors for the mining and oil and gas industries.

AEM supplies pool, irrigation and pressure pumps for the domestic and rural sector.

AEM is the only licensed business in South Australia certified to work with motors in hazardous environments. AEM provides a wide range of services to their clients from various industries across the nation, travelling further west than Ceduna, north to the Northern Territory, and in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

AEM has grown its business from having five staff to 28. Its employees are a veritable United Nations – with staff from India, England, the Philippines, the US, Hong Kong and New Zealand. The team focuses on three elements of business: customer service, culture and communication.

Working in such a specialised field has its drawbacks, and Jack said that taking on an apprentice was almost impossible because South Australia’s TAFE system does not provide training in electric motor rewinding. He would have to send apprentices to Bendigo, proving costly.

AEM has helped many workers on visas to come to Adelaide but has also encountered problems with their qualifications – which don’t come under the electrician banner – not featuring on the Federal Government’s skills shortage list. With AEM undertaking work on submarines and in mining – both growth areas – he wonders where the skilled workers will come from.

“Our biggest problem is not being able to find skilled tradespeople, Jack said. “It’s pretty hard to grow your business.”

See the original article from Business SA.