Regions to benefit from workforce planning project

FOUR southern Tasmanian councils have received almost $400,000 in funding to improve their regions’ employment options. The three-year grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund is primarily for the appointment of a workforce development coordinator whose job will be to more clearly align job seekers with the needs of potential regional employers.

The councils working together are the sub-regional group consisting of the Brighton, Central Highlands, Derwent Valley and Southern Midlands Councils. The councils have worked together successfully as a group on a range of projects for the past 15 years.

Chair of the sub-regional group, Brighton Council’s James Dryburgh said the grant success would result in the creation of additional and better jobs for people in the regions.

Chair of the sub-region group James Dryburgh
Chair of the sub-regional group James Dryburgh

“We believe our project will boost regional growth and lift the living standards and strength of our community. What we will be doing is about people being productive and enjoying what they do, whether they are employers or employees,” Mr Dryburgh said.

The successful grant application follows on from recommendations in the South Central Sub-Region Regional Workforce Planning Report into workforce planning, undertaken by consultants KPMG three years ago.

Mr Dryburgh said the report analysed the region’s economic and social profile, current workforce capability and capacity and as well as educational offerings, projected future workforce needs and common and industry-specific strategies and initiatives to address workforce capability and capacity gaps.

“Given the region’s very low socio-economic profile the report told us there is a significant potential workforce in the region that, because of social and educational disadvantage, has been unable to take advantage of growing employment opportunities. At the same time, the report found employers in existing and emerging industries are frustrated at not being able to find enough suitably trained and qualified local employees.

“That is why we, as a group, believe it is vital the report’s recommendations be implemented to lift our region’s population out of its very low socio-economic status and help local businesses to grow by employing more local people. The TCF grant will help us go a long way to achieving this.”

The primary objective is to appoint a workforce development coordinator for the sub-region, working to a project management committee. The coordinator will act as a go-between for job seekers and employers, identifying the needs of both groups and bringing them together. One of the coordinator’s key roles will be to connect job seekers with appropriate training and education to suit specific employment opportunities.

“It’s vital we strengthen education and industry links and align training to industry needs to make sure we can bridge the gap between both job seekers and employers,” Mr Dryburgh said.

The coordinator will also work with schools to assist in developing specific pathways through more school-based apprenticeship training, better linkages between education and employment through those apprenticeships and arrange or facilitate work experience placements and referrals.

Working with business and industry, the coordinator will develop a register of existing and new employer requirements and identify workforce development activities to address the region’s workforce capability and capacity gaps.

Mr Dryburgh said the new role will ensure the councils are working proactively to lift employment opportunities for people in their municipalities while providing potential employers with suitably trained, employment-ready employees

“We are confident this will fill the ‘missing link’ between education and training organisations, employment providers, the three tiers of government and employers.

“Our sub-regional group is extremely grateful to the Tasmanian Community Fund for recognising this need and providing the funding which will provide increased employment options for both job-seekers and employers in our region who otherwise may not have had those opportunities.”

The Tasmanian Community Fund is an independent Fund that supports and strengthens Tasmanian communities by distributing funds to those communities