ALEX Gonzalez is asking the million dollar question, and he's not happy with the answers he's getting.
The Yeppoon 23-year-old says he has spent the past six months and more than $5000 looking for a job in the mining industry, but has been turned away because he has no experience or sought-after trade qualifications.
He is worried he won't get his foot in the door before his inductions and coal board medical expire.
Fed up, and losing confidence in the industry, Alex yesterday erected a sign on Rockhampton's Yeppen roundabout in protest, asking where the unskilled mining jobs were.
His sign was a response to state government advertisements and industry talk indicating thousands of skilled and unskilled workers were needed to fill jobs in the industry.
Alex said he was hoping someone would prove him wrong and offer him a job, or at least, other people looking for work would put their hands up and tell of their struggles.
Alex's Sunshine Coast friend Mark Freeman erected a similar sign on a busy overpass recently, and both unemployed men had the chance to meet Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe late last week.
But they were not happy with his response.
Mark, a sign writer, is in the same situation as Alex and has spent $6000 looking for work; maxing out his credit card and mounting overdue bills.
He even wrote a letter to mining magnate Clive Palmer, but that went unanswered.
Alex said: "We couldn't tell them anything new, they knew everything that was going on."
"I told him (Mr Hinchliffe) there were issues with how people get into the industry, because they are a son of someone, but he disagreed with that."
Alex, a tiler by trade, said he was looking for a new career for the next 30 years and was willing to move anywhere, but after more than 400 online applications, he had only gained one interview.
He said to get work in the industry he needed experience, but he couldn't get mining experience until he got a job.
Alex said he even lost work in plastering because he took days off to gain a black coal competency in driving dump trucks.
He has also passed the generic coal induction training course and a coal board medical.
"I have driven out to Blackwater and Emerald looking for a job and I will be going to Mackay looking for more jobs," he said.
"Whatever it takes; if I have to sleep in the car I will."
As he struggles to gain employment in the industry, the State Government is stressing Queenslanders will get the first crack at the more than 38,000 extra mining jobs available over the next five years.
After Alex's meeting, Mr Hinchliffe said employment in the resources sector would be a "moving feast" for some time, with engineers and construction workers needed to build mine infrastructure before mine workers were needed to operate on site.
MINING JOB WANTED
- Alex Gonzalez says he can't find a job in the mining industry
- Has black coal competency in dump trucks, generic coal induction and a coal board medical
- Minister met him and Mark Freeman