Keeping farmers’ skills in play

Communities have more options at hand than they might realise in finding skilled labour

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There may be opportunities for farmers retiring from the farm to transfer their business skills into jobs in town, helping to meet some of the demand for skilled labour in country towns.

There may be opportunities for farmers retiring from the farm to transfer their business skills into jobs in town, helping to meet some of the demand for skilled labour in country towns.

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The place to start with creating jobs or finding skilled labour is identifying what options are already available, albeit, with a few tweaks to what a community is already doing.

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The average age across country towns and communities varies considerably. Cooma, where the first The Next Crop forum will be held, is younger than most at 43.

Knowing this can be a good point at where a community can start with job creation. 

Regional Australia Institute CEO, Jack Archer, says there are two parts to the ageing picture.

“More older people are staying in the workforce, but how do you keep them in the workforce, especially if they need to transition off the farm,” he said.

Mr Archer said this demographic had skills that could be redirected to fill the needs of local businesses. This was an important aspect to filling the skills gap in regional communities.

The second aspect was the opportunities in servicing the growing demands for ageing communities, which could create new jobs for younger people.

Mr Archer said it was up to each town to identify these opportunities, the area they could service, and how they could therefore capture a slice of the jobs this growing sector could generate.

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