A survey designed to help Cessnock City Council understand the region’s workforce needs, skills shortages and training needs is underway.
Through the Cessnock City Skills Audit, local business owners are being asked to complete a survey and inform the council about the skill shortages they experience when operating their business.
More than 400 businesses have participated so far, and council’s goal is to get to well over 1000 businesses to complete the survey.
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent encouraged businesses to ensure they support the initiative by completing a survey, saying it is the first step of a “very exciting and important project” for the local economy.
“All information collected from these surveys will be analysed and used to inform future training programs, as well as drive future initiatives that support businesses and more importantly, sustain local jobs,” Cr Pynsent said.
Council will work alongside training and education providers, chambers of commerce and businesses to establish training programs that directly address the local skill shortages identified in the survey.
These programs will target groups that face higher barriers to employment including unemployed residents, youth, Indigenous persons and people with disability.
The program will also identify how governments, training bodies and institutions can return value to businesses by planning and providing programs to develop a future workforce with specific attributes required by businesses.
Cr Pynsent said the connection between businesses and the tertiary education sector is the missing link.
“This is not only a local matter, the separation of training outputs and business workforce needs is an internationally recognised issue,” he said.
Cr Pynsent said the benefits of addressing training needs will be felt across the entire business community.
“We are taking a holistic approach to economic development in our local economy, constantly looking at ways to remove barriers to growth of business and remove barriers to unemployment,” he said.
Surveys are due to be completed by March 31 and can be accessed online at advancecessnock.com.au/skills-audit.
Call council’s economic development manager Jane Holdsworth on 4993 4257 for more information.
RELATED CONTENT: Council launches Youth First Program Toolkit