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Local skills need local projects: Hunter manufacturer

The managing director of Warners Bay-based Cowan Manufacturing has called the Hunter's conditions the worst seen in 50 years, due to a shortage of major infrastructure projects.

The Newcastle Herald reports that Bob Cowan, managing director of Cowan Manufacturing, has said the shortage of projects has seen local skills disappear and a number of companies go bust. Cowan’s company has had 20 redundancies in the last eight months.

"We have dropped our workforce like everyone else but we are fortunate to still do a lot of military and defence work and we've just won another export contract, but it's extremely concerning," he told the Herald.

"I can't see enough being done to improve infrastructure in the region which creates employment. There is nothing even short-term for youth coming out of school in apprenticeships and that is of great concern – we've already been through skills shortages and we'll have them again, if we are not careful."

Cowan advised governments to procure locally, conceding that this might be at a premium but would support local companies and skills.

Cowan Manufacturing’s business includes specialist welding, general metal fabrication and the manufacture and installation of decompression and recompression chambers.

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