Gunnedah Shire Council has teamed up with the Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry to address the shire’s skills shortages.
“The chamber of commerce has received a Business Partner grant for $5000 to conduct further detailed analysis in the form of a skills and opportunities audit,” council’s economic development manager, Charlotte Hoddle, said.
“This is a research project specifically aimed to develop mitigation strategies around accommodation and childcare availability in the Gunnedah shire. Work undertaken to date by the chamber has identified these issues as constraints on attracting and retaining skilled workers. A detailed audit, undertaken by a local specialist research team will determine the true scope of the issue.
“Importantly, understanding and then mitigating quantified issues around accommodation and childcare availability have been identified to us as the crucial first step in working across the shire to build capacity to attract and retain skilled staff. The benefits to the Gunnedah community will be evident with bottlenecks for skilled employment removed and retained.”
Ms Hoddle said the council and the chamber conducted a skills workshop at the end of 2017, which brought together 30 representatives from large and small businesses, employment providers, schools, training organisations, the council and community groups across key industries within our shire.
“The chamber of commerce, in conjunction with the council, are in the process of formalising a skills group sub-committee, to conduct further detailed analysis,” she said.
“The aim of the group is by working together to attract and retain skills and 'grow our own' skills. In the initial meetings, it has been made clear that understanding the scope of the perceived constraints (accommodation and childcare) is a vital first step for this group.”
In the Gunnedah shire, agriculture, forestry and fishing is the largest employer, generating 1,150 local jobs in 2015/16, according to the council’s economic profile.