AgriFood focuses on regional Australia

Posted by Josette Dunn on 1st October 2010

AgriFood Skills Australia believes its innovative regional pilot programs offer a model for the 55 new Regional Development Australia committees announced yesterday by the Federal Government.

The regions were at the forefront at AgriFood’ national conference, Australia’s Regions: Australia’s Future, attended by 200 delegates in Melbourne last week. With the agrifood and resources industries being pivotal to the nation’s economic future, presentations by industry and enterprise leaders identified the importance of attracting highly skilled people to work and stay in the regions. The conference saw an outstanding example of regional community and employer leaders working together to address impediments in meeting regional workforce needs.

Programs such as the Make it Work model in Narrabri, north-west NSW, engage local employers, industry, government and community leaders to address cross-industry attraction and retention issues for the region. The result has been a key focus on skill development and productivity for local workers and employers, including finding work for a group of unemployed people due to complete innovative cross-industry traineeships. This equips trainees to be job-ready to take up jobs in a range of industries.

AgriFood’s focus is on developing and implementing sustainable skills and workforce development solutions to meet industry and enterprise needs, in collaboration with industry, government and regional communities.

AgriFood CEO Arthur Blewitt said:
“We are committed to bringing workers, industry and communities together to solve training and employment problems and contribute to the growth and productivity of the regions. The inclusion of local government into the mix has delivered good results. It’s not just about skills for young people; there’s an increasing awareness that older workers and those considering retirement to the country will play an important role.”

The conference focused on solutions that will afford regional communities greater support and responsibility for meeting this challenge. “While the economic outlook – both short and long term – looks good, investment in training remains a key ingredient for success,” said Mr Blewitt.