Chris Hemsworth popped in to the Northern Rivers office for a visit 

Sorry to do that.  It’s crazy the lengths we sometimes go to get just the smallest bit of attention isn’t it?
But now that I do have your attention grab a cup of tea and catch up on a few of the happenings in the Northern Rivers and some of our other articles that may just be the answer to some of those curly business issues you have on your list.  

Northern Rivers Regional Business Awards

Congratulations Northern Rivers! We have a record number of entries into the Northern Rivers Regional Business Awards this year, with 102 entries from businesses across the region.  From the Tweed to Grafton, from start-ups to scale ups, from micro to large business, the calibre is of a high standard and certainly something for the Northern Rivers business community  to be really proud of.
Finalists will be announced in the Weekend Star on Saturday 28 September and the Awards Gala Dinner will be held on Saturday 19 October 2019 at the Ballina RSL Club.  Please email samantha.mearns@nswbc.com.au if you would like to secure your tickets.

Small Business Month

October is Small Business Month and we are on a mission to celebrate the wonderful achievements of our local businesses. We want to encourage business leaders to use this month to connect with each other and prioritise professional development.  To assist with this endeavour, we will be doing business profiles on our Facebook page and highlighting all the great events across the region that you can attend.  For more information make sure you like our Facebook page Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber and also check out the event webpage www.smallbusinessmonthnorthernrivers.com.au to book into the many events scheduled.

Future Northern Rivers

The NSW Business Chamber is very pleased to be involved in the partnership group driving the Future Northern Rivers initiative.  Future Northern Rivers was the brainchild of the Northern Star team, who invited Bernard Salt to present and provide social commentary on the future of the Northern Rivers.   If you have an interest in Bernard’s presentation, or the series of articles written by the Northern Star team, please just drop me a line.  Following the challenge from Bernard Salt, for the Northern Rivers to be ‘Outrageously Ambitious about 2040’, we held a Think Tank session with a group of leaders to further define our ‘Outrageously Ambitious Future Ideas’.  Whilst a good number of ideas were put forward, the group that I facilitated determined that the Northern Rivers should be a Global Technology Region.  Do you think we are on the cusp of developing our ‘global technology region’ credential and capability?  I would love to get your feedback on this and will also flag one of our Small Business Month luncheon events on this very topic for 25 October at Elements of Byron (pop into your diary – and the official invite will be with you soon).

Commonwealth Budget ideas for NSWBC pre-budget submissions

As you know, advocacy is a critical part of the work the NSW Business Chamber undertakes to support our members.  Over the year we make many submissions to State and Federal Government agencies on policy issues, to champion changes that enable our businesses to growth and thrive.  Investment in enabling infrastructure, skills and employment support as well as business investment programs (such as R&D and innovation) are among the areas we focus on.  We would like your feedback for anything you would like to see in the Commonwealth Budget, as the Government normally calls for pre-budget submissions in November/December.  I am really happy to have a conversation about this one and welcome a call any time (0419 260 220).

NSWBC 2019 Workforce Skills Survey

The NSWBC released its Workforce Skills Survey results recently, and the data is certainly a wakeup call. The survey highlighted the need to invest in our workforce to ensure they have the skills to fill the 82,000 vacant jobs across the State that are not filled due to skills gaps.  Some insights for the Northern Rivers include: 
  • 54% of businesses reported skills shortages with 1.4 roles currently vacant in each business
  • Top reasons behind skills shortages were - unable to hire suitable staff (45.8%); existing workforce do not have the right skills or knowledge (29.2%) and business expansion/growth (29.2%)
  • Main reasons cited for not being able to hire suitable staff – no suitable applicants due to lack of appropriate skills (41.7%); no suitable applicants due to lack of experience (37.5%); no suitable applicants due to lack of qualifications (20.8%)
  • Business impacts due to skills shortage – 66.7% increased workload for existing staff and difficulties meeting customer service needs 41.7%
  • 43.5% said they expect to experience skills shortage over the next 12 months 
  • Over 40% are interested in an apprentice or trainee (including school based)
  • 65% of businesses had employed a young person (aged under 24) in the past 12 months
  • Preparedness – 20% well prepared, 28% prepared, 52% somewhat prepared
  • Impact qualities – due to persons professionalism 64% and due to persons soft skills 56%
  • How can we prepare young people for the workforce – more development of soft skills 62.2%; more information available about employment requirements 40.5%.
You can find the survey here 

To help address skills 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 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.

Kind regards,
Jane Laverty – Regional Manager Northern Rivers, NSW Business Chamber