Council going Down Under for staff

For years they have supplied us with chilled lager, daytime soap operas and Dame Edna Everage.

Brisbane, Australia

For years they have supplied us with chilled lager, daytime soap operas and Dame Edna Everage. Now a North council is going Down Under to try to draft in qualified staff to plug gaps in its workforce.

And if the scheme proves a success, people in Berwick could soon find their applications for new conservatories or extensions being dealt with by a team of Australians.

The council found it was up against a national shortage of qualified planners in the UK when it needed to fill gaps in the department.

A recruitment agency supplied temporary staff from Australia, where the planning system is similar to England's.

Now the council has turned its focus down under to recruit a permanent member of staff. Council chief executive Jane Pannell said: "We have before temporarily employed, through an agency, a number of Australian planners as an interim arrangement because planning in England and Australia is very similar.

"A marketing agency in Brisbane, Australia, called Feisty Empire also contacted us to see if we would like to try a new way of recruitment advertising, provided by them in this country, at no increased cost.

"We therefore decided to try this approach because of the problems nationally, and as part of the deal Feisty Empire promoted our vacancy in Australia."

Berwick already has links to Australia after signing a twinning arrangement in 1982 with the town of Casey, 40km south-east of Melbourne in Victoria state.

Now council bosses have also asked their contacts there to advertise the planning vacancy to its 180,000 residents.

The authority will be looking through the applications received by the October 16 deadline to see whether the idea has worked.

"We will be able to assess if this opportunity has led to a rush of applications from Australia. Applications from this country are of course more than welcome," Ms Pannell said.

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Craig Moore

Sporting and sub-tropical

Brisbane, in Queensland, on Australia's east coast, is the country's third biggest city, with a population of almost two million

It has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters. Its average monthly temperature varies from 20.4C to 29.1C and the highest temperature recorded is 43.2C. The city is famed for its botanic gardens and Portside Wharf.

It has teams in all the major interstate competitions, including the Brisbane Broncos in the National Rugby League, the Queensland Reds in the Super 14s Rugby Union, the Brisbane Lions in Australian Rules, the Queensland Roar FC in the Soccer A League, the Queensland Bulls in Cricket and the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League.

Famous sons include Newcastle United defender Craig Moore. The Bee Gees formed in Brisbane in 1958.

Slang words include cobber for friend, sheila for woman and barney for a fight.

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Gadgies live with history

Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the most northerly town in England, enjoys an average annual temperature of about 8C.

The town has a population of 11,665. Noted sites include its 14th-Century walls, among the finest in Europe, and its bridges, Old Bridge, the Royal Tweed Bridge and the Royal Border Bridge on the River Tweed.

Between 1147 and 1482 the town changed hands between England and Scotland 13 times and the town's football team, Berwick Rangers, plays in the Scottish Football League.

Famous sons include Newcastle United defender Peter Ramage (pictured) and England footballer Trevor Steven. Actor Henry Travers, born there in 1874, was best known for his role as Clarence the angel in It's a Wonderful Life.

Berwick was the first parish in which John Knox, the 16th-Century Scottish religious reformer who founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, became a preacher in the Church of England.

Local words include gezza or gadgie for man and jougal for dog.

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