Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock and Lake Macquarie City Council CEO Morven Cameron were declared joint winners of the Business Leader of the Year Award at the Hunter Business Awards at NEX in Newcastle on Friday 26 August.

Awards were presented in 17 categories before nearly 600 people at a gala event sponsored by the University of Newcastle.
It was a big night for Newcastle Airport, which also took home the President’s Award, the major award for individuals, companies or organisations that have added a special value to business efforts in the Hunter region.
The Kristen Keegan Young Business Executive Award was won by Martin Corrigan, an operations superintendent at Port Waratah Coal Services.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year was Jade Chislett, whose company Just Like You Dolls creates custom-made dolls for children with disabilities who wear medical devices.
Out of the Square Media won the Contribution to the Region Award, in recognition of the self-funded ‘passion projects’ it has created to promote the Hunter, such as its Region Ready and Feel Inspired video productions.
The record number of entries this year produced a high-calibre field of finalists who illustrated the great strength and diversity of business and industry across the region, from start ups and micro businesses to major organisations across a range of sectors.
Winners in most categories will progress to the State Awards 

The full list of winners is on the Chamber website.

Skills shortages hit in the Hunter

Over half of businesses in NSW and the Hunter region are experiencing skill shortages, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey, released by the NSW Business Chamber. 
Results of the survey were released to coincide with the start of National Skills Week. The findings show more must be done to train the next generation to ensure the economy has the requisite skills to sustain existing and future economic activity.
About 55 per cent of businesses surveyed in the Hunter region reported skills shortages, although the figure for the Hunter excluding Newcastle was 64 per cent – the second highest of all regions.
The prospect of shortages over the next 12 months was also a significant concern for businesses in the Hunter beyond Newcastle, with 61.4 per cent nominating impending shortages as an issue, compared with 43.4 per cent statewide.
Hunter businesses surveyed reported the highest number of vacancies per workplace, with an average of seven FTE (fulltime equivalent) vacancies. One quarter of Hunter businesses reported that the skills shortage was having a significant negative impact on their business, compared with 20.3 per cent statewide.
The most common reason for skills shortages reported by businesses across the Hunter was a lack of applicants with suitable skills.

To help address skill shortages in NSW, the Chamber is calling for:
  • A doubling of the number of school-based apprenticeships delivered in NSW each year (currently QLD delivers almost four times as many as NSW).
  • Industry-based careers advice for students and parents from year 9 for all schools across NSW.
  • Increased utilisation of existing TAFE facilities and resources to boost training outcomes.
Coming Event

Hunter Business Mining

As a mining powerhouse, Glencore has around 5,000 direct employees throughout the Hunter Valley. One of the region’s main economic contributors, the business spends in excess of $1.5B across more than 3,000 local suppliers each year.
Darren Oliver, Group Manager of Procurement, will provide an insight into Glencore Coal’s procurement activities and opportunities for local businesses to partner with the mining organisation in its ongoing delivery of product to markets across the globe.
Date: Friday 27th September
Venue: Noah’s on the Beach
Time: 12.00pm for 12.30pm start – 2.00pm
To book, click here.

Kind regards, 
Bob Hawes – CEO Hunter Business Chamber