Aussie companies wary of high-paying pitch

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2014

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An Australian training company manager has told how she wanted nothing to do with a man pitching high-paying mining jobs, saying he was "not reputable".

Coromandel man Frank Allan Yeates, 61, is accused of taking people's money after guaranteeing bogus job opportunities in the Australian mining industry.

Yeates has pleaded not guilty to carrying on a business, AAAjobforyou NZ Ltd, with intent to defraud and making a false statement.

All charges are related to alleged offending between February 28 and June 30, 2012.

Yeates says he is being falsely accused and the circumstances were out of his control.

Yeates held 11 seminars in Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Papakura for people hoping to work in Australian mines.

Jacqueline Choquenot, training manager at Construction Skills Training Centre (CSTC) in Brisbane, said her company was approached by Yeates stating that he had clients that needed a transfer of licenses - from New Zealand to Australia - so that their previous qualifications could be recognised there.

She recalled having a "brief", possible 10 minute conversation, with Yeates and agreed letting him to leave his pile of resumes for an assessment of cost.

However, their dealings were short-lived after a further discussion with Yeates.

"We felt that Frank Yeates was not reputable."

When questioned by Crown Prosecutor Rebecca Mann why that was the case, Ms Choquenot replied that it was "his manner in which he approached CSTC".

"He seemed to have a big urgency about the process that he wanted to take place and we felt we would not enter into any contract. We deal with clients that are wanting to come over and who contact CSTC directly. That is how we would have operated."

When asked if CTSC could guarantee jobs, Ms Choquenot said "no, none whatsoever".

"Mr Yeates has made reference to CSTC but we had no agreement, no verbal agreement, no written agreement at any point."

iMinco general manager Craig Devonport said he did meet with and spoke on the phone with Yeates on many occasions. Mr Devonport said he was enthusiastic about what Yeates was offering and even told him that his website - AAAjobforyou - had 12,000 hits.

However, Mr Devonport ended his association with Yeates after getting phone calls from New Zealanders who had heard iMinco mentioned at meetings and asking whether they would actually be guaranteed jobs.

"I can't guarantee that . . . we're not a recruitment company we're just a training organisation . . . things just weren't adding up and then all the stuff came out in the media."

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Mr Devonport said he couldn't even guarantee Australians jobs, let alone New Zealanders, and applicants could submit hundreds of resumes to prospective employers.

Mr Devonport said the resumes Yeates gave him would not have got them jobs in the industry anyway as they weren't up to scratch.

Vivian Burgess, of iVivid Works, helped set up a logo for Yeates' business, before being asked to set up an email address and website.

In questioning from Ms Mann, Ms Burgess said she had an agreement where she was to be paid $2000 per week for her work, plus $30 for every curriculum vitae which was "polished" at Yeates request.

She eventually stopped working for Yeates at the end of May 2012 after the amount of unpaid wages and services totalled $10,905.51. The trial continues.

- Waikato Times

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