LOCAL manufacturer AME Systems has decided to do something about the accommodation shortage in Ararat by purchasing the recently vacated Rex Hotel.
AME Systems Managing Director Nick Carthew signed the contract last week for the Rex, with plans to refurbish the upstairs accommodation area to house new workers.
For some time, AME Systems has struggled to find enough workers in the local area, with a chronic lack of accommodation a key factor.
It’s understood 30 workers will be accommodated at the Barkly Street hotel once renovations are complete.
Mr Carthew said work has already started. “We only signed contracts last week. We’ve got a 30 day settlement and we’ve got control of the building now under licence and we have builders in there as of this morning (Tuesday) beautifying the place;’ he said.
“This building will house about 30 people which is why we have bought it and it’s being beautified now in preparation for new staff.” Mr Carthew said the added accommodation will help attract the workers needed at AME Systems.
“We’re doing remarkably well, we’re on a rapid growth phase at the moment where we just can’t get the workforce we need to meet customer demand,” Mr Carthew said.
“The only option we have really got to sustain our organic growth is to bring in a workforce or put the work somewhere else and obviously we don’t want to put the work anywhere else so we’re choosing to invest in the town and that’s what we’ve done,” said.
Mr Carthew said he “called in a few favours” to get builders on site in record time. ‘When you treat your suppliers the way AME does you can call on a favour when you need it. We look after them and they look after us,” he said.
“At the moment we’re focussing on the accommodation section and I’ve got people interested in the bottom restaurant and bar section of the building. I’m not quite sure what we are going to do there yet,”
“It may end up being an AME project that turns into a multi faceted venue. It might turn into a sports bar and fine dining area,” he said. Ararat Rural City Chief Executive Officer Tim Harrison has praised the new venture.
“The fact Nick is able to create 30 new beds for workers is a fantastic outcome, it does help to sure up his business a bit because we all know he has been suffering a bit during this period because he hasn’t had an adequate workforce,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in this space (additional accommodation) but it’s good to see a positive move like this which takes us in the right direction,” Dr Harrison said.
Story from the Ararat Advocate