Warrnambool business representatives are welcoming a new Deakin University initiative to fill the region’s skills shortage and support business growth.
The DeakinTALENT Regional Skills Program was launched at Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre on Monday. It will lure graduates from the university’s five campuses to work and live in the south-west in a bid to fill job shortages.
Wannon Water managing director Andrew Jeffers and SED Advisory partner Robert Lane both said it was terrific. “It’s another avenue to get good quality people to apply for roles,” Mr Jeffers said.
He said Wannon Water would incorporate it into existing recruitment practices, benefiting the organisation and region while also “supporting Deakin University’s presence and success in our region”. Mr Jeffers said they employed lots of Deakin graduates. “Anything we can do as a region to make the university’s campus sustainable is a good thing for the region and it’s up to us as a community and as organisations in the community to support that."
Warrnambool City Council director of city growth Andrew Paton said the availability of skilled and semi-skilled workers “in the right areas” was critical to the region’s economic future. He said there was “no one size fits all solution” to growing the region’s workforce and a suite of long and short-term solutions were required. “The initiative is an excellent practical and low-risk example of how local employers, big and small, can fill specific skills needs to support the growth of their business.”
Mr Lane said SED Advisory worked with various organisations’ on business development and planning and said his clients often asked how to gain access to skilled employees. “It’s complimentary to other things we’re doing,” he said. “I think there’s a real talent pool out there and this gives us the opportunity to access it. We otherwise don’t have a connection to these people. I think it’s positive.”
Deakin University south-west Victoria chief executive Grant Sutherland said the DeakinTALENT team would work with businesses one-on-one to talk about opportunities, how it could fill certain needs and the strengths graduates could bring.