More heads on deck, rather than hands on deck, is how Lindsay Cane sums up the future needs of our regional workforce.
Among those who will speak at our upcoming The Next Crop forum, Ms Cane, also the chief executive officer of Royal Far West, says regional Australia needs its emerging workforce to include more people who are innovative and can take risks.
The Royal Far West has a focus on early intervention in childhood development to provide the best available solutions to a child’s health and wellbeing challenges.
It is all about setting that child up to get the most out of its education.
“If you take a 15 year view, we want that five-year-old dysfunctional kid to grow up to be a 20-year-old functional adult who can run a cotton farm,” she said, as an example.
... we want that five-year-old dysfunctional kid to grow up to be a 20-year-old functional adult who can run a cotton farm- Lyndsay Cane, Royal Far West CEO
The mix of jobs and their necessary skills in regional areas is changing, spurred on by technological advancements, a shift away from more traditional hands-on labour, and changes in how farms are run.
What this change might look like and how communities can adapt will be a focus at our next forum, to be held at Grenfell on Thursday, April 5, at the Grenfell Bowling Club.
The discussion will start at 5.30pm, with The Land facilitating discussion.
The event is the second to be held in a series of eight forums hosted by The Land and Good Fruit and Vegetables.
The loss of next-generation talent, essential services and political clout resultant from rural-to-city migration are familiar problems for regional communities.
The Next Crop is about how these communities might reverse decline, bring vibrancy to its main street and attract industry, families and skilled labour.
The forums are a ‘town hall’ type event where all members of the community are invited to attend to listen, as well as join in the discussion about what rural communities can do to help themselves to thrive.
The events include free entry and your questions and participation are encouraged.
The speakers at each town have been identified either by The Land or the local community as somebody who has brought positive change or ideas to an industry, or to their town.
The initiative will involve eight forums across eight months, having started in March 2018.
At our first forum, held at Cooma on March 1, we got an excellent insight into how digital communications were changing access to education in regional areas, as well as how local businesses were adapting to and succeeding online.
Among those who visited Cooma for the evening, hoping to pick up some new ideas and grow his network, was Temora Shire Council’s economic development officer, Craig Sinclair.
He said he came away delighted, with names and phone numbers and a calendar sporting future dates, where new speakers will help spark discussion of issues.
Mr Sinclair said last month’s announcement by ANZ it would close its branch in Temora showed that now was the time for regional NSW to draw on its existing talents to meet new challenges.
Another discussion point was whether Cooma could maintain its momentum in five years as the Snowy 2.0 project was completed.
Australian National University director and Energy Change Institute Professor Ken Baldwin said one of the biggest concerns parents had was what kind of job their kids would find.
“The truth is our economy is in transition, and our kids must be highly skilled, highly adaptable and technology literate to compete in the world,” he said.
“It is vital that we train and retrain our workforce to deliver on improving the participation, productivity, innovation and growth efforts required for the nation.”
At other towns, The Next Crop initiative will look at how businesses and towns can prepare for the Inland Rail, succession on the farm or in the main street of town, how to develop a career from a rural area, as well as issues such as energy, health and education, infrastructure, the future of jobs in agriculture and what rural communities should be doing now to adapt to and take advantage of change.
Other locations where you can join a forum include Armidale, May 3; Griffith, June 7; Moree, July 5; Cobar, August 2; Yass, September 6, and Lismore, October 4.
The event’s gold sponsors include Statewide Sheds, Local Land Services, NSW Farmers and Dow AgroSciences.
Silver sponsors include Elders and NSW Department of Planning and Environment and bronze sponsors include Akubra, Kings School, Harbour ISP, Inlon, Ipstar, and the Country Womens’ Association of NSW.
The Land will livestream the forums to our Facebook audience of 78,000 followers.
Entry is free and finger food, tea and coffee will be provided. A lucky door prize will also be drawn on the night at Grenfell, so bring along your business card to drop in the bowl.
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