A jobs expo held in Grafton in late August connected people looking for work in the Northern Rivers region with potential employers seeking motivated staff.
The expo was a collaborative effort between the Department of Jobs and Small Business, Clarence Valley Council, NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers and local employment service providers.
As well as helping local people looking for work in the Grafton area to connect with employers, the expo aimed to assist employers to find the right people for their business.
Youth unemployment (15-24) in the Coffs Harbour–Grafton area currently sits at 22.9%, yet some local businesses are saying they have difficulty finding suitable staff, according to Employer Liaison Officer Mark Almond.
Mark, who helped organise the expo, said more than 280 job seekers attended the expo and were exposed to opportunities in a number of industries.
‘One of the pleasing aspects of the expo was the buy-in from the major players in the local business community who were prepared to think outside the square and engage in the event,’ Mark said.
‘As a result, there were job opportunities aplenty at the expo — for tradies, administrative officers, support workers, managers, hospitality workers, apprentices and trainees.
‘Representatives from Serco and John Holland for the new Grafton Correctional Facility, the Pacific Complete consortium, who are constructing the highway upgrades, and Downer Group, who are rolling out the NBN, and other large local employers all attended.’
One of the big local employers is shipbuilding company, Harwood Marine. Managing Director, Ross Roberts, attended the expo and said it has already yielded positive results for his business.
‘The day after the expo we had three new employees who have already undertaken workplace inductions,’ Ross said.
‘All up, we have secured four willing workers who are proving to be very productive staff.
‘The expo was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase what we do and to look for potential employees.’