“It was always planned for the Greater Things Happen Here regional development strategy to focus on attracting new residents and employees to the area. With the easing of COVID-19 now is the right time to attract those living in metropolitan areas to relocate to our region”, suggests Kim O’Keeffe, Mayor Greater Shepparton City Council.
Under the Greater Shepparton Great Things Happen Here banner, a Great Careers + Lifestyle Working Group has created a regional workforce development plan to support local businesses to attract and retain workers, particularly for difficult to fill positions. The Working Group comprises representation from Goulburn Valley Health (GV Health), GROW Greater Shepparton/Committee for Greater Shepparton, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, GOTAFE, The Lighthouse Project, Murray Dairy, Agriculture Victoria, Goulburn Valley Young Professionals, Ethnic Council Shepparton & District, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Goulburn Murray LLEN, as well as a range of Council Departments.
“The group has focussed on strategies that encourage people to move to our region to work and live and assist in addressing skill shortages, attract specialist and assist with hard to fill roles,” explains Fiona Le Gassick, Council’s Manager Communications & Engagement and Working Group Chair. “With GV Health needing to fill up to 450 health and support jobs in the coming years, there is a need to look outside of our region to fill such a high volume and variety of roles.”
Following the work undertaken by the Working Group, the attraction and retention strategy is ready to go, so here is how we are telling everyone the reasons why it’s a wise decision to move to make Greater Shepparton their home.
- A one-stop-shop website
- Mid-career professionals attraction
- Community Connector Co-ordinator Pilot Program
- Inspiring our local young people
- Attract – Connect – Stay HR Workshops
A one-stop-shop website
The Greater Shepparton Great Things Happen Here website has been updated and now features a dedicated Careers and Lifestyle page.
The page is a one-stop-shop providing all the information and contacts needed for someone thinking about moving to the region or someone who has just arrived and needs assistance settling in.
All local businesses are encouraged include the link on their own websites or send the link to prospective employee candidates. The webpage is also a good resource for our Real Estate Agencies for when they have people from out of town looking to buy or rent a property.
Mid-career professionals attraction
A video/TVC featuring our very own Adam Furphy and Tess Simkin is currently showcasing all the reasons why people should work and live in Greater Shepparton. The messaging of the video/TVC leverages the “working from home” scenario created by COVID-19.
The video/TV also has a specific focus on highlighting positions available that employers are struggling to fill in such industries as agriculture and horticulture, building surveying, engineering, health and teaching just to name a few.
The TVC will air in the Bendigo, Albury, southern New South Wales and regional Victoria windows, while the online video will specifically target audiences (or geo-target) via display messaging on Seek, LinkedIn, Facebook, online news site, YouTube etc.
The campaign also includes advertising and editorial in The Australian (Careers and Weekend Magazine), The Age and Herald Sun, along with promotion via the Moving Media Mobile Video Billboard being strategically placed in the likes of Melbourne, Geelong, Albury and Bendigo.
Community Connector Co-ordinator Pilot Program
Based on research from the University of Melbourne focusing on the attraction and retention of health workers to regional and rural areas, the data indicated that if a new employee to an region fails to feel connected to their new community within the first 12–18 months of relocating, by year two they resign from their position and leave the area.
In presenting this data to a range of local employers and industries, they indicated that they experienced the same issues with attraction and retention as health based organisations.
In response to these challenges the Greater Careers + Lifestyle Working Group identified the opportunity to create a position to assist new employees to the area to feel welcome and assist with connecting and integrating them with their new community.
The Community Connector Co-ordinator position has just been funded as a pilot for six month via the state government’s Working for Victoria program.
The position will provide a service to support employees contemplating applying or accepting a position with a Greater Shepparton business or organisation or those who have already accepted a job and are needing to move to the region to undertake a role.
The position is designed to facilitate the employee’s and/or their partner’s/family’s assimilation into our community and to create meaningful opportunities to connect with others in the region so they not only feel welcome but will eventually call Greater Shepparton home.
“This role will be a real asset to GV Health as it will assist with the attraction and retention of staff at GV Health by providing valuable support in integrating staff into the local community, create lasting connections and developing a lifestyle foundation that will encourage them to stay in the area long-term”, suggests Matt Sharp, GV Health CEO.
“We are dedicated to recruiting highly skilled and qualified staff that support the health and wellbeing needs of our community. By collaborating with the Community Connect Co-Ordinator GV Health will be able to enhance our attraction and retention support for potential candidates and staff who join our team”.
“With GV Health’s expanding services and facilities due to our major capital redevelopment project, COVID-19 response, Local Public Health Unit and mental health services, we will have a number of clinical and non-clinical roles that need to be filled over the next few years. The Community Connect Co-ordinator will be pivotal in supporting the transition into a regional lifestyle and embrace all that our wonderful community has to offer.”
“We are very excited to have appointed well known community champion Fiona Smolenaars to this position”, explains Fiona Le Gassick. ”Fiona is very well known and respected for her efforts and commitment to supporting and nurturing members of our community, and her networks will be extremely advantageous in helping those new the area settle in, feel part of and be an active member of the Greater Shepparton community.”
To discuss how Fiona can assist with a recruitment process or a new employee to the region please contact her on 0468 562 826 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspiring our local young people
Another key focus of the Great Careers + Lifestyle Working Group has been “growing our own” workforce.
As an initial step, a series of 15 second youth videos were launched in November in the lead up to our young people finishing the 2020 school year. The videos share the stories of several of our wonderful local young people detailing why they have elected to study, work and live in Greater Shepparton. The videos aim to give our young people some “food for thought” regarding the nature and breathe of jobs available in Greater Shepparton and how they can under studies locally to kick start their career.
The videos are 15 seconds to appeal directly to the demographic, and have been shared via SnapChat, TikTok and Spotify (audio only) to target our local young people. TV is also being used to create awareness and further educate parents and carers of reasons to study, work and live in Greater Shepparton. Careers featured in the videos include:
The videos have been provided to local career advisers and secondary schools to help support their discussions with students regarding their future.
To view the full video playlist, please visit the Great Things Happen Here YouTube channel.
Attract – Connect – Stay HR Workshops
In March, businesses will have the opportunity to participate in Attract – Connect –Stay workshop series targeting HR specialists. The workshops will be delivered by Dr Cath Cosgrave who specializes in researching the success factors of attracting and retaining health workers in regional Australia.
The workshop will provide insights into recruitment and retention challenges, and will deliver strategies and processes for local businesses to attract best candidates for the job and help secure them as long-term employees.
More information regarding the workshop series will be available shortly.
“I would like to commend the Great Careers + Lifestyle Working Group for their efforts and taking a strategic and sustainable approach in how we can attract new workers to the area particularly for industries t having difficulty finding the right person for the job”, explains Mayor O’Keeffe. “While we have locals looking for work, the activities of this group focus more on the difficult to fill positions or those that require highly specialised skills that may not be currently available here.”
“The reasons to create a fulfilling life in Greater Shepparton are endless, and we hope those who are inspired to move here will fall in love with our region and add to the richness of our community. I would also encourage our community to extend a warm welcome to those new to our area and even take them under your wing. You just never know if this may lead to a new life-long friendship or even a new business venture”, suggests Mayor O’Keeffe.
“I also encourage our business community to get behind these initiatives and make use of the resources produced by the Working Group. As we all know recruitment is big business and can be resource and time intensive. The resources produced by the group are there to help put Greater Shepparton on the map as the place to work and live, and hopefully help make recruitment a little easier for you.”