CHURCHES were top of the tour list for 12 new Scone residents, who arrived from the Solomon Islands this week.
The gym, sports grounds, library, race course, Glenbawn Dam, supermarkets and how to use an Opal card were also key points of interest for the newcomers.
Robert (Bobby) Junior Anisi, said he had already tried a meat pie, “I haven’t tasted anything like that before, it was very good!”
The young men are part of the Australian government’s Pacific Labour Scheme and were a good fit for employment at JBS, explained Craig Miller, plant manager for JBS Scone.
“It’s always a challenge getting employees, but we’ve had a really good response from the local community in the four years we’ve been here and we’ve seen more and more locals become part of our workforce, not only in labouring, but a range of skilled jobs such as accounting, quality, engineers, fitters, electricians, there are a lot of people out here, we have 442 people and we are always looking for great people,” said Craig Miller.
“We don’t compete against the mines, but we want to be an employer of choice in Scone, we do train people well in safety and have people leave for jobs in the mines, but we also get people coming from the mines who want an alternative to shift work,” he said.
“This program through the Australian government is a pilot and we were keen to get involved, we’re very keen to see the quality of the candidates, how they integrate into the plant at JBS and also how they integrate and work in the Scone community,” he said.
“This is important for them to give back into their communities and a lot of young people in the Solomons that would like to be part of this program and so they have a lot of weight on their shoulders for this to work too,” Craig said.
When briefing the newcomers, Craig spoke highly of the warmth and friendliness of Scone community and said jokingly he expected to hear “a zero homesick rate,” as they became involved in the community.
“They tell me they are all soccer players, but I will try and get them down to the Thoroughbreds and I was hoping to get some down to the Newcastle Knights – I’ll keep an eye out and if I pick any I can scout to the Knights I’ll do that,” laughed Craig.
The group are busy learning their way around town; the newcomers are readily identifiable, a difference not lost on them either.
“At home there are not as many white people,” smiled Bobby.
“Everyone has been so friendly to us, when we walk down the street people smile and greet us, it is very nice and makes us feel at home,” he said.
“It is a bit colder here than at home, but the landscape is beautiful and I am looking forward to going to a horse race, I’ve only seen it on TV and it would be great to go to a race,” he said.
“For me, moving to work here is to help make a better life for my family, especially for my younger sister she is still in school and my dad is already retired, so I have moved here to support her to go further with school,” he said.
Most of the workers have moved here to build a better life for their families and anticipate they may only be able to return home once a year, but are grateful to be able to live and work in Scone.
“I just want to say thank you to the company for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting to know the people in this town and that is the main thing,” Bobby Anisi said.
Apparently they are even going to take Craig’s advice and watch some local football.