Attraction and Retention of Skilled Workers
The Welcome to Bundaberg project is based on research and evidence-based programs to assist regions in the attraction and retention of skilled workers. Our articles Moving to Bundaberg and The Road to Relocating are all part of how as a community led organisation, Wide Bay Kids, may help new residents feel like they belong when making Bundaberg home.
In regional Queensland, attracting and retaining skilled workers is crucial for economic growth and development. In Bundaberg it is an important part of creating a cohesive community. Some of the traditional strategic priorities that are often adapted by government and educational bodies are listed below.
However, we believe there is another element that is often overlooked, and that is the element of community. We believe it is the whole of communities responsibility to invest, support and engage everyone to strengthen regional workforce. By working together community groups, organisations and individuals can identify common challenges, pool resources, and develop targeted strategies to attract and retain skilled workers.
Recommended Community Priorities
The community plays a vital role in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce. Here are some ways the community can come together and contribute to this:
- Create a Belonging Community Culture: Foster a sense of belonging within the community by promoting inclusivity, diversity, and a welcoming environment. Embrace individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and celebrate their contributions. Encourage community members to actively participate in community activities and events to build connections and create a sense of community pride.
- Empower Local Industry Champions: Identify and empower individuals within the community who are passionate advocates for local industries. These industry champions can play a vital role in promoting the region's strengths and opportunities, attracting skilled workers through their expertise and networks. Provide platforms and support for these champions to share their knowledge, engage with potential talent, and showcase the region's unique attributes.
- Promote Outside-of-Work Buddy Networks and Social Events: Encourage the formation of buddy networks or social groups that connect skilled workers with locals outside of work. These networks can provide opportunities for newcomers to establish social connections, explore the region, and integrate into the community. Promote social events and activities that bring together community members and skilled workers, fostering relationships and a sense of community belonging.
- Foster a Whole Family Approach to Attraction and Retention: Recognise that attracting and retaining skilled workers often involves considering the needs and support systems of their families. Develop family-friendly policies, services, and amenities that cater to the well-being, education, healthcare, and recreational needs of families. This holistic approach can enhance the appeal of the community as a place where both skilled workers and their families can thrive.
- Use Evidence-Based Frameworks and Strategies Familiar with Community Engagement: Utilise evidence-based frameworks and strategies for community engagement that have been proven effective in attracting and retaining skilled workers. Implement strategies based on engagement findings to ensure initiatives are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of skilled workers and the community.
By implementing these initiatives, the community can actively contribute to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce. By fostering a sense of belonging, empowering industry champions, facilitating social connections, considering the needs of families, and using evidence-based strategies, the community can create an environment where skilled workers feel valued, supported, and connected. This collaborative effort will not only benefit businesses and industries but also enhance the overall well-being and prosperity of the community.
- Enhance Education and Training: Collaborate with educational institutions to ensure the availability of relevant programs and courses that align with the needs of industries in the region. Develop partnerships to offer internships, apprenticeships, and work-integrated learning opportunities, providing practical experience to students and fostering a talent pipeline.
- Promote Regional Advantages: Highlight the unique benefits and opportunities that regional Queensland offers. Showcase the region's natural beauty, lifestyle advantages, affordable cost of living, and a supportive community to attract skilled workers seeking a desirable work-life balance.
- Develop Industry Clusters: Foster the growth of industry clusters or specialisations within the region. Encourage collaboration between businesses, educational institutions, and government bodies to create an ecosystem that supports innovation, knowledge sharing, and career advancement, making the region an attractive destination for skilled workers.
- Support Small Business Growth: Recognise the importance of small businesses in regional Queensland and provide support to foster their growth. Offer mentoring programs, access to funding, and business development resources to help small businesses attract and retain skilled workers by providing competitive employment opportunities.
- Invest in Infrastructure: Develop and maintain modern infrastructure in regional areas, including transportation, utilities, and digital connectivity. Reliable infrastructure enhances the appeal of the region for skilled workers, making it easier for them to commute, access amenities, and engage in remote work opportunities.
- Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Create an inclusive environment that values diversity and respects individuals from different backgrounds. Encourage businesses and the community to promote diversity in their workforce, foster cultural understanding, and provide equal opportunities for all.
- Facilitate Networking and Professional Development: Establish networking platforms, industry events, and professional development opportunities within the region. Encouraging ongoing learning, knowledge sharing, and networking creates a vibrant professional community that attracts and retains skilled workers.
- Collaborate with Government: Engage with government bodies to advocate for policies and incentives that support the attraction and retention of skilled workers in regional areas. This can include initiatives such as targeted immigration programs, regional investment incentives, and infrastructure funding.
- Monitor and Evaluate: Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of attraction and retention strategies. Collect data on workforce trends, employment rates, and feedback from businesses and skilled workers to identify areas for improvement and refine strategies accordingly.
By focusing on these strategic priorities, regional Queensland can create an environment that attracts, supports, and retains skilled workers, contributing to sustainable economic growth and a thriving community.