The lure of local lifestyle will take centre stage as Capricorn Enterprise moves to phase two in the development of a Central Queensland jobs portal.
It comes at a critical time for local industry, with more than $4 billion in infrastructure projects stretching workforce availability in the Capricorn region, according to regional economic development manager Neil Lethlean.
The local economic development group launched the online Work in Central Queensland platform in 2020 to support regional business in their recruitment of key personnel.
“Across all projects our focus has been on local content however, understanding the magnitude and overlapping of projects, local business/industry and associated workforce (both skilled and unskilled) has been stretched to the maximum,” Mr Lethlean said.
“Acknowledging the urgent need to support regional business in the recruitment of workers Capricorn Enterprise worked closely with web developers uWorkin and recruitment specialists Hughes et al to develop and launch the Work in Central Queensland web site offering free job marketing to regionally based businesses in the recruitment of workers.” (Visit HERE)
Multiple highway projects, Defence facility upgrades at Shoalwater Bay, the Rookwood Weir construction, the $1 billion Clarke Creek wind farm and work supporting the major Carmichael coal mine development are among the major projects rolling out.
Bringing the lifestyle benefits of the region to the fore was key in an era where the decision to move for a job was more likely to involve the family unit rather than being based on the career opportunity for an individual, Mr Lethlean said.
He said marketing the variety and availability of local services such as health, education and training, cultural and sporting events, real estate, transport and social activities helped ‘value add’ to the range of job vacancies.
“Also, city dwellers and international aspirants (in general) have very little knowledge and understanding of life and work in a regional centre, so it is essential that regions market the lifestyle and liveability benefits of the area,” he said.
It ties in with Capricorn Enterprise’s membership in the Regional Australia Institute’sRegional Activators Alliance – a key force in rolling out a national awareness campaign to promote opportunities to live, work and invest in regional Australia.
“Despite the national economy being reliant on the productivity of regions, regional Australia has long been the ‘poor cousin’ when it comes to sustainable financial and social support,” Mr Lethlean said.
“Resulting from the COVID pandemic and globalisation, the world as we know it continues to shift and the complexity for businesses, communities, governments and leaders alike is real. The economic and social impacts continue to be divergent across the nation – which offers both opportunities and challenges.”
One of these opportunities was the ‘Regionalisation of our nation’ – a strategy to ensure more Australians lived, worked and invested in regional Australia, building a national movement to see significant societal shift in Australia and helping to rebalance the population, he said.
Another priority for Capricorn Enterprise in 2021 is continued support of the Queensland Local Content Leaders Network.
“Building local business capability and capacity is key in driving positive regional development outcomes,” Mr Lethlean said.
“By focussing effort on building business (supply chain) capacity as part of local
procurement policies, governments and businesses are contributing to a sustainable cycle of regional economic development.”
He said procurement models which focused on the contextual relationship between a project or operation and the adjacent or impacted communities were likely to be more successful than those which applied an arbitrary geographical boundary.
“The definition of what defines a local business is also critical,” he said.
“Rather than limiting the definition to a business with local ownership, there is merit in supporting businesses who make a significant contribution to local economic activity and employment through the strength and depth of local supply chains.”
Mr Lethlean also lists securing funding to undertake a CQ Region Future Employment Study as a top priority for 2021. This was critical for the retention of school leavers across the region, he said.