NSW and Queensland collaborate to help boost workforce development in Australia’s regions.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) offices in Hunter and Townsville recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to develop the workforce of Queensland’s North and North West region. RDA Townsville & North West Queensland will share the expertise RDA Hunter has developed over the 10-year life of its industry-skilling workforce development projects to support industry and economic development in the region.

Like RDA Hunter in NSW’s Hunter region, RDA Townsville & North West Queensland, in partnership with Townsville Enterprise Limited, identified opportunities to leverage Townsville’s situation as a hub for the Australian Defence Forces and defence jobs and industries. A skilled workforce to support jobs growth is a priority project for the region and one for which it looked to counter-part, RDA Hunter, for advice in addressing.

The MOU will see RDAs Hunter and Townsville and North West Queensland work together to build on the strengths of RDA Hunter’s STEM initiatives. The partnership will result in the roll-out of a North and North West Queensland program that: increases the uptake of STEM subjects at the region’s high schools; increases student awareness of employment pathways; facilitates student opportunities for hands-on experiences in industry; and establishes student mentoring and network opportunities within the region.

“RDA Townsville and North West Queensland’s STEM workforce program objectives match the Hunter’s, so it is logical for us to share the knowledge we’ve gleaned over many years of success in developing a skilled, homegrown Hunter Workforce with our RDA colleagues,” said RDA Hunter’s Executive Officer & Director of Regional Development, Mr Trevor John.

“Building capacity across regions contributes to a stronger Australian economy and RDA Hunter is extremely supportive of collaboration through the national RDA network to help build confident regional economies. We’re working with as many RDAs as we can to share the valuable expertise we’ve gained since 2009 to support industry-led workforce development and we’re hoping to learn many new lessons from other regions as well.” Mr John continued.

“The RDA Hunter program provides us with a great foundation to build upon. We can learn from its successes, adapt it to suit out local industries like defence, mining, agriculture, advanced manufacturing and IT and apply it across our vast region as a pilot for the north,” said RDA Townsville and North West Queensland’s Chief Executive Officer Ms Glenys Schuntner.

“We have engaged locally with key stakeholders from industry, education and government sectors and have been overwhelmed with the level of interest and support to take this initiative forward to address an emerging skills shortage and the future of work in the region,” Ms Schuntner continued.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a national network of 52 committees made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the development of their regions.

This Australian Government initiative brings together all levels of government to support the development of regional Australia. It is funded by the Australian Government and by state, territory and local governments in some jurisdictions. It is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.