I recently caught up with the  Economic Development Unit of COGG (Enterprise Geelong as we’ve known it for the last 5 years). This unit:
– Supports Small Business
– Assists Companies To Thrive in our Region, and
– Is looking towards innovative means by which it can assist organisations gain and develop its workforce, both now and into the future.

To this end we had a furious idea exchange, but particularly with regards to the challenge presented by Greater Geelong’s skills in shortage.

Often I am asked by individuals outside of Geelong who have heard of the closures of a blue collar icons, if I have a large jobseeker database. The answer is “yes”! We have over 20,000 prospective job seekers who have been added to our database, since Harvest’s launch in Geelong in 2009. However, there is a clear disconnect between those individuals that are on the “hunt” and the skills the organisations in our region are now seeking. Here are some key shortages:

  1. Legal and Accounting
  2. IT&T
  3. Data, Data Analytics and Business Analytics
  4. Insurance specialists
  5. Advanced skills in procurement, logistics and supply chain
  6. Other Professionals – Health, Education
  7. Apprentices
  8. Tourism and Hospitality

In this article I’ll break down the top three:

Legal and Accounting

Deakin has the most amazing School of Commerce and Law which graduates our budding law and accounting professionals. The challenge has been that many of Geelong’s small to medium size companies have not bedded in this fraternity from graduation. As such, our law and commerce graduates fly the coop and once they bring industry skill and experience our employers are crying poor. If we commit early to rearing our graduates we may not be faced with the brain drain (especially at the alarming rate we see currently) to Melbourne and the enourmous challenge of trying to lure our lawyers and accountants back to the region.

IT&T

This has been on the agenda from the start of this decade. Geelong is a major small business hub and with that comes the need for websites and apps at a furious pace. The Web and App Developers struggle to find talent and our uni and tafe courses are not embedding these practical skills. Many of these employers are retraining students who have completed certificates, diplomas, degrees and more just to punch out code for a website.

This challenge is now in all facets of IT as technology projects become the highest priority for a number of the region’s larger employers and the pool is too small from which to draw the expertise.

These organisations have no choice but to import in from elsewhere or delegate projects (for a hefty fee) to IT project companies who bring the resources to bring about the technological advances these companies seek.

There needs to be a greater focus on bridging the industry’s need with course deliverables. Technology changes daily and our insitutions need to be highly responsive – responding rapidly with courses that suit industry’s need today and tomorrow.

Discplines in Data: Data Analysts and Business Analysts

Part of the way in which industry has developed and continues to seek to optimise its business is to be across all facets of its business – both internally and externally. The beauty is, with so much software, systems and reporting in place, the information is now well within a savvy CEO’s reach. This has opened up new roles, en masse, for Data manipulation, interpration and reporting specialists.

This is a relatively new title that has popped up and while some major organisations have had such roles in place for some time, it’s still a new science. When new disciplines hit, on a large scale, there are no courses that really have developed to deliver this skill. Because of this, many individuals from IT, finance or business operations who bring an analytical bent have moved across to these positions.

We now need our academic institutions to pivot. In addition to providing information on how to use a system, students now need to learn how to maximise the information at their finger tips, understanding how to draw data, analyse and apply it so that key decision makers are gaining practical, real time data to make dynamic, yet informed, key decisions moving forward.

If you have skills in this area and are yet to find your role of choice in the Geelong region please go to our jobs page here to register your interest.

Enquiries on Harvest’s findings into the Geelong’s Job Market can be made to Director, Maree Herath or our marketing and communications team.

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