On behalf of our local NSW Business Chamber team, I wish to pass on a big congratulations to all finalists and winners at the annual Murray Riverina Regional Business Award. The Awards were held on September 6th at the amazing Temora Aviation Museum. 

The Riverina Murray finalists embodied the innovation and commitment to excellence we have all come to expect from this great region. The winners listed below will now progress to the NSW State Business Awards in Sydney on November 22nd. Best wishes and luck to all.

Winners - 2019 Murray-Riverina Regional Business Awards

Excellence in Micro Business
Bella Vita Riverina Tours

Excellence in Small Business
Laser Clinics Australia Wagga Wagga

Excellence in Business
Staughton Group

Excellence in Social Enterprise
Deni Play on the Plains Festival

Start Up Superstar
Townsend Veterinary Clinic

Outstanding Employer of Choice
Charles Sturt Campus Services Limited

Excellence in Sustainability
Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod
Outstanding Business Leader
Tim Martin, Tumut River Brewing Co

Outstanding Young Employee
Meghan Fisher, Vinnies Services Deniliquin

Outstanding Young Entrepreneur
Isabella Del Vecchio, Laser Clinics Australia 

Local Chamber of Commerce
Wagga Wagga Business Chamber

Excellence in Export
Borambola Wines

Excellence in Innovation
Staughton Group


Skills Shortages a huge issue for NSW

Over half of businesses in NSW are experiencing skill shortages, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber. Results of the recent survey were released to coincide with National Skills Week in August. 

The Workforce Skills Survey findings are clear - more must be done to train the next generation to ensure the economy has the requisite skills to sustain existing and future economic activity.

We must as a business community commit to actions necessary to ensure we have the workforce of the future and that we engage with students, jobseekers and businesses more effectively.

Here in the Riverina Murray around 60% of survey respondents indicated they are experiencing skills shortages, while nearly 67% said they were unable to hire suitable staff. The apparent mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require need to be addresses, starting with ensuring that schools are making students aware of, and promoting, the breadth of options available during and post schooling. We need to provide more exposure to meaningful work experience, as doing what we’ve always done isn’t working – we have a ‘perfect storm’ of stubbornly high levels of youth unemployment while businesses are crying out for staff!.

To help address skill shortages in NSW, the Chamber is calling for: 
  • Doubling of the number of school-based apprenticeships delivered in NSW each year (currently QLD delivers almost 4 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. 

The new Regional Industry Education Partnerships will hopefully go some way towards increasing school, student and family engagement with local industries but we must do even more to develop ongoing partnerships. Over 70 per cent of businesses surveyed reported they would be interested in supporting more school students into work, and over 40 per cent are interested in employing more apprentices and trainees, so the time is ripe for change.

Kind regards, 
Andrew Cottrill – Regional Manager Murray Riverina, NSW Business Chamber