Migrants and employers in the Wimmera will now get the support to meet current and future workforce needs, thanks to a new initiative.
Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford announced a $480,000 grant in the Victorian Parliament for Nhill Learning Centre to deliver the Wimmera CALD Workforce Industry Partnership project, an official press release said.
The grant will allow Nhill Learning Centre to employ a workforce development officer and a multi-lingual liaison officer to provide services to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) employees, their employers and prospective employers in the Wimmera.
With the Wimmera’s ageing and decreasing population, many employers are experiencing labour and skills shortages, but attracting migrants to the region has proven to be a successful way to tackle this problem.
In 2009 Luv-A-Duck responded to its labour shortage by encouraging Karen refugees to settle in Nhill. With support from the company and the community, that settlement has grown to make up 8 per cent of the Nhill population.
The Wimmera CALD Workforce Industry Partnership will involve 15 employers and approximately 150 CALD employees across the Wimmera.
The project will identify skills gaps and implement learning strategies for CALD employees, and identify future employment and education pathways. It will provide workforce diversity and provide businesses with labour to meet their future workforce requirements to grow their businesses.
The $640,000 project is also supported by Hindmarsh Shire Council, Australian Wildflowers, West Wimmera Health Service, Sherwell Ahrens Manufacturing, Oscars Furniture Manufacturing, G&M Kennedy and Toh Mae Pah.
The project is supported by the Labor Government’s Regional Skills Fund, which supports initiatives that increase skills, boost community resilience and create new jobs in rural and regional Victoria.
Pulford said, “We’re so proud to support the Wimmera in its successful and ongoing efforts to develop skills to meet the needs of local employers.
“This is a wonderful program and we’re always thrilled to support migrant families make regional towns like Nhill in our Wimmera a home for all.
“This project will help address local job shortages and build a supportive workplace for people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds.”
Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said, “This initiative is proudly backed by our Regional Skills Fund and we hope to see the project flourish so that similar initiatives can be investigated for other Victorian communities.”