Employer workshops

Allistair Adam
Allistair Adam
Venture Southland is working with Immigration New Zealand to run two workshops for southern farmers and other migrant worker employers next week.

Those attending will have the chance to learn more about policy changes to work and residency visas and they will also be able to learn more about the Accredited Employer Programme.

Workshops will be at Venture Southland's Invercargill offices on September 19 and 20.

Venture Southland's business service manager Alistair Adam said migrant employees and their families made up about 2% of the region's population, many of whom worked in the agricultural sector.

He said migrant workers and their families were an important part of the region's economy and they and their families formed a big part of many rural communities, including rural school rolls.

"There is a huge reliance on migrants," Mr Adams said.

Venture Southland will also hold a `Future of Work' seminar about the ageing workforce and its impact on employers and the region at the Kelvin Hotel tomorrow night.

It will be held in association with the Careers and Transition Education Association New Zealand. Mr Adam said it would look at the demographic changes expected in the workforce in the next 10 years.

"Southland has an ageing population.

"We have about 55,000 people in the workforce and by 2021, about 10,000 people will have left [the workforce].

He said that was one of the key challenges for primary sector and associated businesses in Southland.

"That will have an impact on the availability of staff for the agricultural sector in Southland," he said.

"The workshop will also look at future labour market requirements and understanding where future labour is coming from," he said.

In addition, they would be discussing how to encourage the next generation to consider the huge range of career pathways available in the primary sectors, and that did not just include farmwork, but working in associated industries.

"We need to be proactive and start planning about where people are going to come from and how to keep and retain staff."

Southland had a 2.9% unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the country, and there was a need for high skill levels across the sectors.

Venture Southland's "Southland Youth Futures" programme is designed to encourage young people to consider careers in the primary industries.

"We need to go to talk to kids really early on about what opportunities are in Southland.

"From year 9 and 10 they start to think about career options and what is out there.

"There is a huge range of jobs and opportunities in the primary and associated sectors."

He said 70% of the region's GDP came from exports of sheep, beef, dairy and the aluminium smelter.

"We need to start thinking of ways to attract and retain people.

"It is pretty critical for the region," he said.


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