Bendigo, which is the fourth largest inland city in Australia, has an unemployment rate of 30.4% – with 3,400 less young people in work since 2010. With numerous initiatives – both government and private – in place to give locals the greatest chance at career success in Bendigo is working towards combating their high unemployment rates through workforce development.
One third of local youth out of work
Bendigo’s Labour MP believes the unemployment rates in Bendigo are being affected by the 417-visa program – locking young local workers out of a job. Nearly 250,000 working holiday visas issued each year were contributing to the 2,500 unemployed young people in Bendigo.
“I am especially concerned that the low rates (of pay) these workers accept, while they may be award rate, are less than the local collective agreement, and in this way our local workers are being serious undermined,” she said.
But the region is doing everything in their power to up skill their locals.
A collaborative project between Kalianna School and La Trobe University gives students with learning difficulties the best chance at success. The Labour Government secured $1 million for the school in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget. Upgrades to Maiden Gully Primary, Marong Primary, Epsom Primary and Bendigo Senior Secondary College are on the cards too.
The Government is also backing their youth through a $300,000 jobs program, Career Horizons. This online resource has proven highly effective in linking Bendigo primary, secondary and tertiary students to work experience opportunities offered by local businesses and industry.
“These programs are about giving young people in Bendigo a kick-start to their career,” said Minister for Employment, Jacinta Allan.
Bendigo Access Employment is another great local initiative – a non-for-profit supporting people into ongoing employment. Working closely with business, government and community partners, a focus is on investing in developing skills for long-term success. Locals can access employment services and training, to better their careers.
Home to all businesses: SME’s through to multi-nationals
Bendigo is home to 7,700 businesses. The last decade has seen substantial growth in the finance and insurance sector, but the city’s retail, health care and manufacturing businesses are the strongest employers. Bendigo is also the headquarters for the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which is now a top 70 ASX-listed company and employs approximately 1,000 people locally across head office, six branches and two community bank branches.
Other major businesses include Rural Finance Corporation, Hofmann Engineering, Parmalat, Hazeldene’s Chickens, Bendigo Health, Latrobe University and Bendigo TAFE.
The city is connected to Melbourne and other regions by high-quality road and rail infrastructure. As the largest regional centre in the Loddon Mallee region, the city is expected to experience a relatively high growth rate compared to other parts of the region and regional Victoria as a whole.
The Regional Rail Link is designed to remove major bottlenecks in Victoria’s rail network by untangling metropolitan and regional tracks as they travel through Melbourne’s west. It will lay the foundations for future expansion of the rail network to meet the needs of Victoria’s growing population.
One of regional Victoria’s most progressive cities
Despite heightened unemployment, Bendigo remains one of the most contemporary cities in regional Victoria. With a healthy GRP of $5.4 and a Government dedicated to supporting its workforce, Bendigo is moving towards a fruitful future.
Bendigo is a great example of how workforce development is overcoming a skill issue. If you’re interested in a Workforce Action Plan for your industry or region, please contact Wendy Perry via firstname.lastname@example.org.