THE WORLD of work on the Mid North Coast has changed dramatically in the past six months with unemployment soaring to heights not seen for many years.
So it is timely that as the region moves forward, post-COVID, there is something to guide how the new job landscape might work.
Regional Development Australia's (RDA) North Coast NSW Employment Strategy and Action Plan was launched on Wednesday by Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan. The plan is the result of months of collaboration between RDA's Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers branches.
RDA Mid North Coast director Kerry Grace said events had created significant challenges in the job market and it was time to develop new opportunities, as well as the training programs needed to make sure the workforce was ready.
"This plan is about working with businesses, hearing what they are saying and then developing actions to ensure the necessary changes are being made," Kerry said.
She said the strategy was originally designed to address youth unemployment, which was running at 23.3 per cent in the region.
"But we saw the issues were the same regardless of age and that the links weren't there to offer sustainable pathways to jobs generally.
"The onset of COVID accelerated everything and has given this strategy a much higher profile. We will be working with all levels of government as well as businesses to see what is not working and how we can change that."
She pointed to tourism as an example of how certain skills, such as customer service and hospitality, were potentially transferable to the aged care sector.
"We are looking at what alternatives there are for people - in tourism there is the low season, so what can be done to offer better sustainability."
It will focus on industry and identified opportunities as opposed to starting at the other end (the jobseeker) which is typical of the current eco-system.RDA's Kerry Grace
In launching the strategy via Facebook Live from Bellingen, Mr Conaghan said RDA's plan offered a targeted approach to what had previously been a very fragmented area.
"In the past there has been a scattergun approach with programs coming in from the outside - this is targeted and involves all levels of government, it will look at where the job opportunities are and what roles different organisations can play.
"Business models are changing and businesses are adapting - this is a holistic approach that is a game changer because its focus is local."
The strategy can be downloaded from the RDA's website.