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Employer helps PALM workers steer towards bright future



While the rules of the road for our Pacific neighbours can be very different to Australia’s, one business in Mt Cotton is making sure its international workers are safe and reliable drivers in Queensland.


Leading poultry producer Golden Cockerel is the host employer to more than 50 workers brought to Australia by PeopleIN's labour solutions business, FIP Group, under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme. And Golden Cockerel's Safety Manager Danielle Watson says safe driving is just one area where they work hard to help workers from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to become familiar with the differences between Australia and home. 


“Ensuring the workers understand the rules and are comfortable driving in Australia is an example of the support provided outside of the workplace,” Danielle said.


“Addressing immediate workplace understanding is obviously important but we recognise ensuring they adapt to their new environment is also essential for both them and us.”

Cherie Graham is FIP Group’s site manager at Golden Cockerel. She says before PALM workers begin driving, they are tested to ensure they possess the skills to be safe motorists on Australian roads.


“Driving conditions are very different in Australia to their home countries and the biggest challenge are roundabouts and traffic lights. Where it’s needed, we have applied for funding for driving lessons,” Cherie said.


“For those who want to get their Australian driver’s licence, but have never held one at home, we guide them through applications for their learner’s permit and take them to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to apply.”

It’s this commitment to workplace integration and safety, prioritising onsite support, effective communication and cultural awareness, that’s helped create thriving a workplace for all employees.


Golden Cockerel’s Chief Human Resources Manager, Cecil Fernandes, says the decision to work with FIP Group to recruit international workers wasn’t one the business took lightly and they went into it prepared for the responsibility to help workers acclimatise to a very different lifestyle to the one they were used to.


“I travelled to Fiji with FIP Group to support recruitment operations for the first 53 PALM workers myself,” he said.


“We followed a similar process to any recruitment here locally, where I had a conversation with each potential worker. We discussed their lifestyle, goals for working in Australia and skills and experience”.


Close collaboration between Golden Cockerel and FIP Group ensures the workers are supported on an ongoing basis.


"FIP Group’s Site Manager Cherie does a really great job looking after the PALM workers, keeping them on track, and helping them with things that they're really not used to here, that wouldn't happen back home,” Danielle said.


“It's great to see the workers are enjoying this experience, they’re happy and love coming to work. It’s reassuring to know Cherie is providing the additional pastoral support to the workers as well.”

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