GPs, Nurses, Engineers and Accountants: the Riverina needs YOU

Blog Post
October 2, 2019
March 5, 2024

Your Future is here

With the waves crashing on Wagga Beach, the billowing water flowing from Paddy’s River Falls, and the poignant pines ready to envelop your senses along the Sugar Pine Walk in the Snowy Valleys, it’s no wonder Riverina’s unemployment rate has been steadily dropping over the last 12 months! The word around Australia’s best kept secret is starting to get out, with more and more people making a tree change to our neck of the woods. But with more than 480 roles currently available on RDA Riverina’s Jobs Riverina Community Board, an expected population growth and ageing workforce nearing retirement, it's estimated we'll need to fill 10,000 new skilled roles. In fact, we need skilled workers across a variety of roles; and we need them now!

Hot Spots: Why do we need more workers? What jobs are in demand? Where are they needed?

If you’re in the Riverina and have a paid position in fishing, agriculture, forestry, healthcare, social assistance, manufacturing, retail or education and training, then you’re one of about 41,000 locals working in our region’s top employing industries – comprising over half (54%) of all jobs in the area. There is also a need for more skillsets such as welders, electricians, veterinarians, farmers, business analysts and engineers (electrical, mechanical, industrial and civil) to name just a few.

As our community continues to attract new residents and visitors every day, it’s natural that our community services area is stretching to accommodate the increase in population. But couple that with our ageing workforce (and many nearing retirement in the next few years), we’re faced with a very real need to attract highly skilled professionals in health, trades and professional services.  

Who are we looking for? Well, highest on our radar right now are allied health workers, GPs and nurses, but as a growing community, we’re really looking across the board at all skill sets and proficiencies.

Where do we need them? While none of our towns are exempt from needing skilled workers, there’s more attention on filling roles in Temora, Hay, Leeton and Narrandera.

Why do we need them? As well as the expected increase in our population, one in four (27%) employers in the Riverina are planning to increase their staff numbers over the next year. They need people to fill these roles, but many employers are struggling with recruitment and retention. Generally, the consensus amongst employers is that there’s either not enough applicants or there’s a lack of technical skills required.

We recognise these difficulties for local businesses, and this is a focus area for us at RDA Riverina and Country Change. Our Grow Our Own program is available to employers to help attract, develop and retain local talent, but this is only one piece of the puzzle. It takes time – years even - to nurture fresh talent and develop their skills, so this is an employment strategy that will sustain us into the years that come. It’s a long-term solution, so we need a more immediate solution in the meantime. And that means we need people with the right skills to call the Riverina region home.

Benefits of relocating to the Riverina

Skilled migration is one part of a multi-faceted approach to tackling our skills shortages. But we don’t think we’ll have a hard time selling in a sea or tree change! What’s not to love about our community? Just look at all the benefits that come with moving away from the big smoke:

  • Less traffic – did you know a Commuter Pain Index was studied in 2010? In Australia, Sydney had the highest score, with Brisbane and Melbourne not too far behind. Who wants to start and end the day stuck in traffic? Not us! And we’re pretty sure not you! With open roads and less congestion, we proudly take this stress away
  • Less expensive – from cheaper houses to rent or buy, and a general lower cost of living, by living and working in the Riverina you have more opportunities to set yourself up for future financial success
  • Community – remember the days when you could ask your neighbour for a cup of sugar? Where everyone else is leaving anonymous notes on car windscreens around the country, we’ve retained that community spirit where being a neighbour meant just that, being neighbourly
  • Economic contribution – we’re on a mission to create and support 100 new start-ups in the region by 2020. So, if you have a big idea, the Riverina is the place to launch!
  • Get back to nature – swap the city smoke for country charm and the yoga studio for the great outdoors. Let your toes touch the sandy beach and your lungs breathe in the air of the Rock Nature Reserve

Follow in Richard’s footsteps

In 1997, on good advice and in blind faith, Richard Allsopp opened an auction company, Rundles in Wagga. Reflecting on his business decision some 22 years later, Richard tells us with a quiet nod to the past, “it turns out, it was a pretty good idea”. We think so too Richard, we think so too!

As a prominent businessman, investor, and the RDA Board Chair, Richard has an impressive two decades of experience in the Riverina business community! He knows firsthand the need to attract and retain skilled workers, and his biggest tip is to sell in the lifestyle, not just the job.

Richard says working in the Riverina is a win-win for workers. “So often these days, especially if you’re in Sydney, you get one or the other - work or lifestyle. You often can’t have them both in harmony. But here, your work affords you your lifestyle. Not just money to buy you your home or get that new car, but the time to enjoy those things.”

Richard says many tree and sea changers end up getting back up to 10-hours a week by simply cutting out their commute time. “It’s not even about saying they can knock-off work to catch their little one play soccer, it's about showing them that they can be the local soccer coach! That they can be fishing before the sun goes down on a weekday. Or that they can start up their side hustle and still find time to sleep!”

To follow in Richard's footsteps and set yourself and your family up for a wholesome lifestyle without the exorbitant living costs of some other cities, check out the current jobs on offer or speak to a County Change representative. And come for a visit - you might just stay for the rest of your life!

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