“Great South Coast food & fibre businesses, including a vibrant service and support sector, need skilled staff at all levels across a myriad of careers and occupations. The Great South Coast Food & Fibre Council will invest in increasing demand and develop conditions so a supply of skilled young people are attracted to enter career and education pathways in food & fibre. Today in 2018, the supply of skilled and qualified staff across the whole range of careers in the food & fibre sector is an impediment to growth and investment. “
There is a clear need to build education standards in the food & fibre sector to provide appropriate skills and availability of staff for a successful and thriving sector into the future, a sector that continues to innovate, increase productivity and output.
Unfortunately, even with 60% of the region’s GDP coming from agribusiness, skilled labour shortages across the sector are providing a brake to development. The poor visibility and promotion of the sector’s career pathways and opportunities are to blame for this.
To address this, the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Council believes a holistic approach is necessary to nurture young people from early primary through formative years to focus and inform them as to the opportunities that exist in the sector. The use of role models to make the sector more attractive is important.
The long-term goal is to attract the full cohort of young people to a range of professions in the food and fibre sector in the Great South Coast so as to equip our food and fibre industries with skilled employees but just as importantly to provide rewarding careers that are on offer up and down and across our sector. To this end, the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Council has allowed for a dedicated, high energy professional marketing and promotion executive to be appointed to promote our diverse industry and career pathways to our young people in the region. The outcome will be a change of image and perceptions about our food & fibre industry in the community and our schools.
Secondly, by mapping out the career pathways within the region the resultant matrix will show the skills required across all food & fibre sectors as well as providing career pathways up and down food & fibre supply chains providing a plot of pathways across and through education and vocational streams.
Support for policy and streams to attract people to the region to take up jobs across all the sectors is a key to short term skilled capacity constraints. Supporting, where appropriate, migration and encouraging regional settlement from migrants is firmly part of the agenda.
Repositioning the poor image of agriculture and its professions to one where it is recognised there are a broad range of attractive professional food & fibre occupations with similar standing as other professions, trades and pursuits is the key aim of the Council. This repositioning must be done for traction to be made in attracting young people (and their parents) to consider and adopt education and skills pathways.
For a snapshot of Great South Coast Food & Fibre’s work into promoting careers locally:
Food & Fibre Careers Promotion and Pathways Full Report: