Funding Boost for Region’s Workforce

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FOUR Southern Tasmanian councils have teamed up to deliver better workforce employment opportunities in their regions after receiving $395,000 in funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF).

The grant will contribute to the employment of a workforce development coordinator for three years to identify workforce development activities that will address the region’s workforce capability and capacity gaps, and connect employers and job seekers to ensure they get the necessary training and education.

The Southern Central Sub-region group is made up of the Derwent Valley, Brighton, Central Highlands and Southern Midlands Councils.

Sub-regional group chair James Dryburgh from Brighton Council said the aim of the project was to increase the participation of local people and improve the skills and qualifications across the region’s workforce based on the Southern Central Sub-region Regional Workforce Planning Report of 2017 researched by KPMG.

“Given the region’s profile, the report told us that there was a significant potential workforce in the region that, with an increased level of skill, could take advantage of growing employment opportunities,” he said.

“We are confident this project will be a catalyst for greater engagement for our local community with education, training, employment services providers and employers.”

The workforce development coordinator will operate from the Southern Central Trade Training Centre in Bridgewater and will service the entire Southern Central Sub-region by helping connect job seekers with employers.

“We are using a similar, successful model that has been implemented by the South East Regional Development Association that addresses the needs of a large cohort of young people that can’t get access to training and importantly, the connection to employers who are looking for employees within our region,” Southern Midlands Council Alex Green said.

One of the coordinator’s main roles will be to identify the necessary training to enable the regional workforce to be job ready.

Derwent Valley Council Mayor Ben Shaw said it was about linking businesses with job seekers within the region and connecting people with the right jobs and training.

“It will help grow the community in terms of providing more employment opportunities for people in our region,” he said.

“Having trained and skilled people in specific areas that come from our region will also give a lot of our construction, farming and agricultural businesses more confidence in hiring them.”

The coordinator will also work with schools to develop employment pathways through more school-based apprenticeships, and engage with other organisations such as Skills Tasmania, TasCOSS, local PCYCs, local government, TasTAFE, the Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board and 26TEN.

“Despite having many hands-on skilled workers, we are disadvantaged in the Central Highlands because there is less opportunity to get the training for accreditation to apply for a position, making it difficult to seek employment,” Central Highlands Mayor Loueen Triffitt said.

“This project will provide opportunities for workers to gain national accreditation for their life-long skills, as well as support employers in our area to provide workplace training.”

Employers across the four local government areas interested to learn more about the project and who are keen to explore participation in this initiative provided by the TCF and partnering Councils are encouraged to contact project manager Andrew Benson at abenson@southernmidlands.tas.gov.au or phone 0429 852 730.