Video case study shows how skilled migration worked for Moree business DD’s Engineering & Fabrication

DD’s Engineering & Fabrication director Donald Devney and boilermaker Savenaca Seeto from Fiji.
DD’s Engineering & Fabrication director Donald Devney and boilermaker Savenaca Seeto from Fiji.

A NEW case study shows how critical skilled migration can be to business growth, and what helps skilled migrants to settle in and contribute long-term.

That’s according to Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) chairman Russell Stewart, as the organisation posted a video online on DD’s Engineering & Fabrication in Moree.

The video features company director Donald Devney, and boiler maker Savenaca Seeto, who’s been working there for almost 11 years.

Mr Stewart said it was RDANI’s sixth case study on skilled migration and was important viewing.

“This case study shows how critical skilled migration has been for the growth of DD’s Engineering & Fabrication in Moree,” he said.

“It also shows why some skilled migrants settle in and contribute to our communities long-term.”

RDANI skilled migration project officer Gary Fry said the attraction and retention of skilled labour remained a real challenge for this region, particularly in northwest NSW.

“DD’s Engineering & Fabrication in Moree is a great example of why the skilled migration work of RDANI is vital to the economic development of our region,” Mr Fry said.

Unexpected challenges

DD’s Engineering & Fabrication is a home-grown business conceived and developed by a homegrown man.

It services mainly irrigation and broadacre agribusiness clients across remote north-western NSW and south-central Queensland. 

“When I first kicked off in 1994, I actually thought my hardest problem would be finding the work to keep me going, but I soon found out that finding skilled staff in a rural community was to be our biggest challenge,” Mr Devney said.

He said DD’s aimed to employ and upskill locals, and currently had a workforce of 15, five of whom are apprentices.

“They (the apprentices) often move on and we always need qualified, skilled and experienced staff who we can count on,” Mr Devney said.

“We have employed skilled migrant boiler makers since 2007 and our business has seen considerable growth as a result.”

Why Moree?

In the case study video, Mr Seeto details why he has settled in the town of Moree with his wife and seven children.

“Moree is a small town and there’s a lot of work around,” he said.

“We’ve been busy for the last 10 years.

“I prefer living here because the rent is so much cheaper than the city and, if we want to go somewhere on a family holiday, it’s easy to save up.

“In Moree, the lifestyle is very convenient.

“If I want to go to the shops or the school, it’s only a few minutes in the car.

“We only have two traffic lights in the middle of town.

“We’ve got everything we need here.”

Important contribution

Mr Fry said that in locations such as Moree, retaining skilled labour was as important an issue as attracting it in the first place. 

“As of August 2017, Savenaca Seeto had been working as a boiler maker at DD’s Engineering & Fabrication for almost 11 years,” Mr Fry said.

“He and his family are an important contribution to a regional community, as well as a growing regional business.”