Finding staff in Freo’s lean staff market

Like we did, no doubt you too noticed the Get Job Ready, Learn Barista Skills and Your Management Pathway advertising emanating from City of Fremantle and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce in recent weeks.

Does this all mean what we think it means, that businesses around Freo are struggling to find staff for all sorts of jobs? Surely not!

Chrissie Maus

So we asked Chrissie Maus, the wonderfully energetic CEO of the Chamber, if we could meet to get a handle on what’s apparently happening around Freo jobwise, which Chrissie kindly and readily agreed to do.

The first thing Chrissie did was share with us official State employment data as of 4 April 2024 for the Perth South region (bigger than Freo but including Freo and indicative of the state of the employment market generally), which discloses there were 496 responding employers in the 12 months to February 2024, of whom 52% were recruiting or had recruited in the past month. Of these recruiting businesses, 54% had difficulty recruiting. By comparison, 50% of employers were recruiting in Greater Perth over the same period, of whom 53% had difficulty recruiting.

It turns out that employers in Perth South were most likely to report the following reasons for recruitment difficulty:
• Lack of suitable applicants
• Lack of applicants
• Undesirable working conditions/hours
• Applicants lack experience.

Certainly, talking to Chrissie, members of the Chamber are reporting these very same reasons for recruitment difficulty locally.

One beauty business, for example, has reported difficulty in finding the well qualified employees they had no trouble recruiting 5 years ago.

Even Fremantle Prison is desperately understaffed at the moment.

And local success story, Rottnest Island ferry operators Sealink, are also challenged in recruiting and retaining great staff.

Here are some extracts from the official government stats telling the story –

Well, one response to the lean Freo staff market has seen the State Government agency Tourism WA partner with City of Fremantle, engaging Fremantle Chamber of Commerce in the process, to help those without jobs to get job ready, learn barista skills for example, or consider pathways into management they might not have considered. And all for FREE!

Here are the details. You might like to get along to some or all of these programs or know someone who might like to.


Barista Basics is a half day training session that’ll educate participants on the essentials of becoming a world class barista.

Participants will be introduced to successful cafe business owners and be presented with the importance of a barista in the hospitality environment, plus the opportunities that becoming a barista could provide.

The course will cover the exploration of the fundamentals of the coffee machine, temperature gauges, beverage variations, flavours, and necessary safety information in a hands on environment.

Optional Extra – Introduction to Coffee Art

Participants can stay for additional time to learn how to create coffee milk-foam art that will take your skills to the next level.

Date: Friday, 12 July 2024
Time: Group A 9 am – 1 pm; Group B 2 pm – 6 pm
Location: Meet at Fremantle Chamber of Commerce (then participants will move to Fremantle cafe location)

Register here. No cost.


Aimed at current hospitality and tourism workers looking to upskill, this highly sought-after training at the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce will include development of skills on people management and basic HR, including managing complaints, handling conflict and problem-solving frameworks.

Training will also include a VIP session with leaders in Fremantle’s hospitality and tourism industry where different management pathway options will be discussed.

Participants will undergo training accompanied by real life scenarios, before undertaking a Q&A with Fremantle business owners, allowing our participants to connect to business owners directly and ask vital questions to ensure they are on the right track for success.

This is a full day course that focuses on preparing young adults to step up to the next stage in their Tourism & Hospitality career to a successful managerial role.

Date: Friday, 26 July 2024
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Boardroom, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce
Presented by: Professor Dr Sean Ridley

Register here. No cost.


This first workshop will prepare participants with essential customer service training, interview preparation skills, presentation advice, plus LinkedIn and CV development to ensure that they stand out when applying for a role.

Participants will be introduced to high-profile professionals who’ve been successfully operating local businesses in the Fremantle region. Participants will also experience a tourism and hospitality career taster activation.

This workshop is the perfect opportunity for young adults entering the workforce to better educate themselves upon opportunities in the growing Tourism & Hospitality sector.

Date: Friday, 23 August 2024
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Boardroom, Fremantle Chamber of commerce

Register here. No cost.

We will look forward on reporting later on how things went.

By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News


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