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Positions available! Finding workers in regional towns

Regional communities are rich with job opportunities, so what prevents people from abandoning the concrete jungle to take advantage?

Research out of USQ suggests it has less to do with money than you might think.

Professor Peter McIlveen leads the ACCELL Research Team, an international collaboration into career employability and learning.

“It is very difficult to attract people from the big cities into regional communities,” Professor McIlveen said.

“For some, Queensland starts and ends in the south-east corner and similar city and country divides occur across the country and around the world.”

For USQ and ACCELL, the problem isn’t necessarily a lack of career or entertainment options but the need for a sense of belonging.

“Our research shows that it’s not just about money or promotions. There is a need for a connection within community and being able to say ‘I am a local’,” Professor McIlveen said.

“Regardless of how many years they've lived there, what matters is this sense of belonging, that ‘this is my place’.

“The answer resides around challenging metro-based people to choose a regional town as an opportunity to grow their career, while gaining more meaning out of work and community life.”

Professor McIlveen said a multi-sector response was needed to shift populations.

“It's a real problem for regional employers, in particular if they want to attract and retain talent,” he said.

“Take Toowoomba for example – a success story of industries growth, not just within the regional city itself, but outside as well.

“But how do we attract people and how do we retain people? How do we develop the talent of people already here to ensure they've got a long career in regional Australia?

“We’ve been working with Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) and Toowoomba Regional Council with a number of research projects.”

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man in purple shirt and tie smiling
Professor McIlveen said a multi-sector response was needed to shift populations.