‘Think Regional’ takes next step towards pledge

When Anna established her HR business in Nowra on the NSW South Coast 8 years ago, she immersed herself in the local community to understand the social fabric and build lasting relationships. She was struck by the sheer number of local businesses, the vast variety of industries and the world class nature of many of them. Despite this, and the many incredible lifestyle offerings of the region, Anna was surprised to learn that young people are often encouraged to leave for the bright lights of the city as soon as they get the chance.

Census data supports evidence of this mass exodus… Historical figures consistently show a drop off in numbers from the 15–19 years age bracket to the 20-24 years bracket (differing only in 2021 when COVID saw more young people 20-30 sticking around than ever before).

Furthermore, Anna would often hear skilled people visiting the region on holidays say; “I would love to live here but what would I do for work?” Or, “where would my kids go to school?” She was stunned by the lack of awareness around the career and quality education opportunities that exist.

When Anna began to have these conversations, she was President of the Shoalhaven Professional Business Association – a not for profit organisation aimed at attracting and retaining professionals in the Shoalhaven. She learned about the work of the Regional Australia Institute after coming across the ‘The Future of Regional Jobs’ paper in 2019, which noted the false perceptions about regional employment opportunities. It aligned with her own experience, causing her to become a founding member of the Regional Activator Alliance and an active contributor in the ‘Move to More’ campaign as well as the ‘Rebalancing the Nation’ efforts.

It’s worth noting that before moving to the South Coast, Anna worked as an Executive Recruiter in Sydney for multinational corporations. These companies spent huge dollars promoting their ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) and in matching the right skills for their business. Anna would head hunt individuals, learn about their career goals and values before matching them with a suitable company. The EVP of these companies was well understood and attractive. She realised that the Employment Value Proposition of regional towns is not as well understood. That there has been far less investment in this, or clear promotion of the opportunities available – compared to metro areas. She knew addressing this gap had to be part of the solution.

For five years Anna worked on a business case and has recently held the first industry launch of ‘Think Regional’, including its first target area ‘South Coast Careers.’ Anna’s experience on the South Coast and her background in Executive Recruitment has helped shape a platform that will promote the EVP of regional areas like the South Coast, showcase the careers, industries and pathways available – all without creating extra work for the employers featured.

Think Regional’ will build the employment brand of regional Australia from the inside-out, ensuring that regional opportunities are as well known, understood and attractive as those in metro areas. It aims to ensure regional businesses have the people skills, capabilities and capacity to realise their fullest potential. Think Regional is an RAI member and has pledged to help drive jobs and skills by reducing recruitment difficulties and increasing the number of skilled workers in our regions.

To read the pledge or learn more about Think Regional visit: https://rebalancethenation.com.au/RF/RF/Pledges

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