A regional overview of SA and VIC based valleys and their accompanying workforce

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Barossa Valley, SA

The Barossa Valley is home to some of the world’s strongest contenders when it comes to the food and wine industry. Activities affiliated with the Barossa’s tourism and food industry are world-renowned and bring national and international business to the state.

The Barossa Valley has a relatively low unemployment rate, and a productive, young workforce. Work participation is high, despite a below-average level of education and post-school qualifications.

It has above average proportions of school-aged and younger children and people aged between 45 and 64 years.

Over 40% of the Barossa’s population work outside of the region – often travelling into Adelaide’s city centre and surrounding business districts. This results in a lower unemployment rate in comparison to more remote valley districts.

Trades, production and labouring occupations are popular within the valley, and the region holds an above average household income.

Regional leadership training is encouraged within the area, with programs readily available to develop skills in hospitality, business, food & wine, and community development.

Clare, SA

Similarly to the Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley and surrounding districts have strong output across food, wine and tourism industries.

In contrast, Clare has a focus on local produce, supporting small local farmers and developing a culture of small business operations in opposition to the Barossa’s serving to a global market.

This hasn’t come without its challenges. Regional Development Australia (RDA) launched a Supply and Demand Strategy to address a range of issues small businesses faced within the district.

A brand strategy was also launched, to put a focus on marketing activities for the district- showcasing local produce to entice more international visitors to the district.

Future opportunities exist for mining jobs through a RDA partnership with Rex Minerals, which will conduct a skills audit within the area and provide a training & education program to 12 local participants.

La Trobe Valley, VIC

The La Trobe Valley has traditionally been recognised as the centre of Victoria’s electricity industry, which is derived from one of the largest brown coal reserves in the world.

La Trobe Valley is also at the centre of a large forestry industry which services Australian Paper’s pulp and paper mill and other sawmills.

With a recent economic transition, the region has experienced high job loss, unemployment rates and individuals experiencing transitions to different industries.

Health care and social assistance employs the highest amount of people within the valley, followed by retail trade and manufacturing.

A large number of workers (7,459) within the La Trobe Valley have obtained education at a certificate level, with half of that amount having reached a degree level (3,316).

In comparison to the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley, which highlights somewhat concentrated industries in food, wine and tourism, La Trobe Valley demonstrates a diverse workforce spanning across a wide variety of industries and skill levels.

Goulburn Valley, VIC

Goulburn Valley has a thriving food, agricultural and wine industry, similar to the Barossa Valley in SA.

Despite this, youth unemployment in the area was recently highlighted as being one of the worst rates in the nation- hovering around 17.5%.

Fruit growing and dairy are two primary industries operating in the area.

The SPC Ardoma plant which is located in the Goulburn Valley is one of the world’s largest fruit canneries.

Seasonal work is common in the area, with the SPC plant alone employing upwards of 1500 people in-season, and 400 off-season. It accounts for around 40% of the country’s tinned fruit and exports to 60 foreign countries.

Yarra Valley, VIC

The Yarra Valley, also a wine district is situated on the outskirts of the Melbourne, conveniently only an hour’s drive from the CBD.  It is populated by many young families and 21.5% of the population is made up of youth (0-15 years).

The retail trade industry holds the highest employment rate in the district, followed by education & training, and manufacturing.

Statistics indicate a high percentage of people working casual and part time hours, with a large number of workers indicating they fall into the category of working 1-15 hours of work per week.

Technicians, trade workers and professionals are the most popular form of occupation within the area.

Between 2006 and 2011 there was a significant growth in jobs for health care and social assistance.

Workforce development in valleys

Regional Development Australia (RDA) and councils in South Australia have developed programs for regional areas to engage disconnected individuals with skill development and training.

The Skills for Jobs in Regions program “prepares people for further education and sustainable employment through projects which combine career services, accredited and non-accredited training, individual and family case management, structured mentoring, and post-participation and post- employment support”.

Programs such as these can be implemented as workforce development strategies however the key is understanding the workforce demand, future industry mix and critical job roles.

To assist with this process, you can contact Wendy at Workforce BluePrint for a consultation and strategy that suits your region. You can reach Wendy, Head Workforce Planner at wendy@wb.switchstartscale.com.au.

March 2015.

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