Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Too little, too late? Skilled workers a dying breed in Darwin?

More than 20,000 workers are needed in Darwin within the next five years according to one of Australia’s leading project management specialists.

Living Planit Managing Director Lesley Bentley says more than 50 per cent of skilled jobs aren’t being filled and that’s before Inpex and other resource projects start demanding workers.

Speaking at the Northern Territory Major Projects Conference 2011 today, Ms Bentley will give the dire warning to government officials and explain the impacts of a skills shortage on the delivery of major projects.

“Darwin has the slowest take-up of jobs anywhere in the country and we need to start tackling the jobs shortage now,” Ms Bentley said.

“Today I’ll be asking if already it’s too little, too late and paint a picture that Darwin needs to become a training hub for skilled workers.”

Lesley’s comments follow BHP Chairman Jac Nasser’s projection that 60,000 workers are needed in the Pilbara region alone to deliver the iron ore projects on time.

“With a lack of skilled workers, pressure builds and too few people try to do too much,” Ms Bentley said.

“Ultimately it affects timelines, teamwork, project quality and the bottom line. Without enough skilled workers the project will be a failure.”

Ms Bentley has more than 20 years industry experience and spearheaded the Project Office under then NSW Assistant Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, on the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption.

Lesley’s address at 4pm today coincides with the launch of a Living Planit Training Centre in Darwin tomorrow.

Living Planit will offer workshops, short courses and more advanced training in project management to workers in Darwin.

Twitteque: Skilled workers a dying breed in #DarwinNT? #topend

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Five things to consider before you let #qantasluxury turn you off Twitter

One of the sad things that will emerge from the #qantasluxury Twitterstorm is that social media is likely to be accused of further damaging the Qantas brand.

For those who missed the commotion, Qantas launched a competition via its Twitter feed Tuesday morning offering a free first class pamper package – including Qantas pyjamas – to the Tweep who could come up with the most creative description of their dream luxury flight experience. Answers needed to include the hashtag #qantasLuxury.

Within minutes, the hashtag was hijacked by those venting their anger at Qantas for everything from the grounding of planes three weeks earlier to every frustration they had ever experienced while flying.

If you are not on Twitter yourself, just Google #qantasluxury for a peek at what has been going on.

Some commentators were quick to jump on the “failure” of Qantas’ social media strategy.

It would be a shame if this incident were to scare off jumpy executives already spooked about using social media creatively in their own companies. Facebook, Twitter and the multitude of other social media applications available today are a powerful way for them to engage directly with customers and the broader community.

If the #qantasluxury debate is making you think twice about your own social media strategy, first consider five questions:
  1. Is there an advantage to bringing a debate about your brand out into the open where you can listen, respond and engage rather than allow the anger to fester in backyards and around office water coolers?
  2. If the “timing was bad”, as some commentators would have us believe, how long after a crisis should you wait until you creatively engage with your community again?
  3. Can the choice of words you use change the outcome? Would a word other than “luxury” have worked better?
  4. What’s really going on here? Customer backlash is not created by social media. Twitter simply provided the platform for customers to vent their spleen publicly. The fact that they are participating in the debate at all is a signal of something much deeper going on.
  5. Is this really damaging the brand? The jury is still out on this one. It’s easy to be spooked in the first few hours of the furore but as time goes on we’re likely to see more measured debate about how this social media exercise is really going to impact on Qantas’ reputation.

 Twittercue: 5 things to consider before you let #qantasluxury turn you off Twitter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cars beat buses and trains in Northern Territory Brolga Tourism Awards

A small business offering digital audio travel guides for self-drive tourists in Outback Australia has won a prestigious 2011 Northern Territory Brolga Tourism Award in the category of Specialised Tourism Services at the weekend.

DIY Tourguide’s GPS triggered iPhone app, MP3 and CD audio tours are the first of their type and this niche product for the Northern Territory reinforced its acceptance by the marketplace by rising to the top of the Brolga Award category over national companies offering tourist products for buses and trains.
The Brolga Awards are the tourism industry’s highest accolade and recognises tourism businesses that strive for excellence in every area of their operation. Winners represent the best products and services in the Northern Territory.
“I am thrilled to receive the Brolga Award and see innovation and small products recognised,” said Alice Springs based Laurelle Halford, who is the director for DIY Tourguide and the only employee in the business. She is also Creative Territory's Alice Springs consultant.
“More and more tourists coming to the Outback are travelling independently in their own or rental cars rather than in a group with an on-board tour guide, meaning they miss out on vital information to help them fully appreciate the region.
“We wanted to better entertain self-drive tourists and help them to interpret the Outback landscape as they drive through it and not see the centre of our country as an empty, barren place.”
Along with CD and MP3 tours, DIY Tourguide’s unique iPhone application offers detailed, location aware audio commentary over a distance of hundreds of kilometres giving self-drive tourists a new appreciation of the region as they travel.
“For the tech-savvy tourist lack of mobile phone and internet coverage in Outback Australia no longer needs to be a barrier to accessing latest technology.”
Ms Halford says work is underway to expand the company’s self-drive routes beyond the West MacDonnell Ranges and between Alice Springs and Uluru to other routes across the Northern Territory and Australia.

DIY Tourguide is one of the many Brolga Award winners who will represent the Northern Territory in the Australian Tourism Awards in Cairns on 2 March 2012.

Twittercue: DIY Tourguide app helps Alice company win Brolga Tourism award. #alicesprings #topend #tourismnt