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North Western Melbourne Priority Employment Area

Local Employment Coordinator
Terry Kennedy
978-0-642-78389-9 [PDF]

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The document must be attributed as the Regional Employment Plan – North Western Melbourne Priority
Employment Area.

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Regional Employment Plan......................................................................................... 4
Summary .................................................................................................................... 6
North Western Melbourne Priority Employment Area ................................................. 7
Goals and Strategies ................................................................................................ 11

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In the 2011-12 Budget the Australian Government announced that it would invest over $3 billion in
skills and training initiatives over six years through the Building Australia’s Future Workforce package
to deliver the skilled workers the Australian economy needs. As part of the package, the priority
employment area initiative was also extended for two years until 30 June 2013.
Local Employment Coordinators have now been appointed to 20 priority employment areas through
the priority employment area initiative. They will work closely with employers, employment services
providers, local communities and all levels of government to help drive local solutions to labour
market issues. This involves identifying opportunities, issues and helping to coordinate responses
from businesses, government and other organisations to put in place strategies to help address
Local Employment Coordinators are also responsible for the development and implementation of a
Regional Employment Plan that sets out their key goals and strategies to address unemployment,
skills and labour issues for their priority employment area.
The Local Employment Coordinator for the North Western Melbourne priority employment area is
Mr Terry Kennedy. Mr Kennedy has developed this Regional Employment Plan with support from an
Employment Project Officer and an Advisory Committee made up of key local stakeholders who will
work with him to implement the strategies set out in the plan.
The committee comprises key local stakeholders and includes:
       Mr George Osborne, Hume City Council
       Ian McMillan, Skills Victoria
       Mr Tony Coppola, Northern Melbourne RDA
       Mr Mick Butera, Northlink Employer Peak Body
       Ms Maria Axarlis Coulter, Department of Human Services
       Ms Wendy Schwedes, Kangan Batman Skills Recognition
       Ms Sue Le Greca, Western Melbourne RDA
       Mr Anton Mayer, Leadwest
       Mr Brett Luxford, Melton Council
       Mr John Stapleton, Skills Victoria
       Ms Maria Kouppas, Victoria University
       Ms Kerrin Kohnstone, Department of Human Services

DEEWR acknowledges the traditional owners of the North Western Melbourne priority employment
area and their elders past and present recognising their continuing connection to country. This

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regional employment plan strives to build and harness mutually respectful relationships and reflect
community priorities in education, skills and jobs development for the region.

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This Regional Employment Plan was developed by the Local Employment Coordinator for the North
Western Melbourne priority employment area in consultation with the associated Advisory
Committee. The Plan outlines strategies that target projects and partnerships that will significantly
improve employment outcomes, skill developments and workforce participation for different groups
of job seekers in the region.
The North Western Melbourne priority employment area faces a number of key challenges,

       a high concentration of employment in manufacturing, an industry sensitive to economic
       lower levels of educational attainments;
       a high proportion of the population from non-English speaking backgrounds; and
       high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment.
The Local Employment Coordinator, Terry Kennedy, will work in consultation with his Advisory
Committee and regional stakeholders to deliver projects and strategies that assist these
disadvantaged groups.
Projects will be developed in industry sectors that have the potential to grow, and will be
complemented by ongoing initiatives to link employers with Job Services Australia providers,
registered training organisations and community groups. These will include initiatives to provide
employment with the aim of ending the cycle of intergenerational unemployment, identifying
emerging skill needs and ensuring training can meet these needs, and providing employment and
training opportunities to individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
From the challenges facing the area the Plan identifies four (4) goals to address these issues along
with strategies to achieve them. The goals identified by the Local Employment Coordinator and
agreed to by the Advisory Committee are:
   Support employment, workforce participation and skills development including through
    maximising Government investment;
   Help retrenched workers transition into new employment and/or training;
   Facilitate employment and training opportunities for job seekers, including disadvantaged
    groups, with a focus on industries experiencing skills shortages; and
   Support and facilitate opportunities for young people to undertaken skills development activities
    and enter into employment.
The strategies outlined in the Plan are aimed at developing sustainable employment opportunities
and complement existing strategies in place in the region.
This plan identifies activities for the 2012-2013 Financial year.

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The North Western Melbourne priority employment area comprises seven Local Government Areas;
Hume and Whittlesea in the north and Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton and Wyndham
in the west.
The Federal Electorates of Gorton, Maribyrnong, Gellibrand, Calwell, Lalor, McEwen and Scullin fall
within this priority employment area.

Figure 1: North Western Melbourne priority employment area
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Employment and labour market participation
In February 2012 the unemployment rate in the priority employment area stood at 7.4 per cent,
substantially above the national average of 5.5 per cent. The average duration of unemployment
stands well above the national average also, at 41 weeks compared with 37 weeks.

                                   North Western Melbourne    Australia

 70%                                                     65.4%





 10%          7.4%

           Unemployment rate (%)           Participation rate (%)         Youth Unemployment Rate (%)
Figure 2: Unemployment and participation rates in the North Western Melbourne priority
employment area

Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed – Electronic Delivery February 2012 (Cat No. 6291.0.55.001). Unemployment
rate data are three month averages of original estimates, while youth data are 12-month averages of original data. The
priority employment area of North Western Melbourne is approximated by the combined ABS Labour Force Regions of
North Western Melbourne and Outer Western Melbourne.

The region’s participation rate fell over the year, down by 1.5 percentage points, to 64.6 per cent in
February 2012, just below the national average of 65.4 per cent. Just over 14 per cent of the
population in the priority employment area receive income support benefits, above the national
average of 12 per cent.
Youth unemployment is a large issue for the priority employment area. In February 2012 the youth
unemployment rate was almost two percentage points above the Australian average, at 13.1 per
cent compared to 11.3 per cent nationally. A key focus for the area will be to develop an online
portal which will aim to match local employer vacancies to local job seekers with the necessary skills.

The North Western Melbourne priority employment area has an estimated population of 941,167
people (ABS 2010 Estimated Resident Population data). The priority employment area receives
migrants under Australia’s refugee and skilled migration programs, and migration is one of the major
contributors to population increase within the region. Brimbank and Maribyrnong are the most
culturally diverse Local Government Areas in the country.
Almost half the working age population in the priority employment area is aged under 35, indicating
that attraction, retention and up-skilling of these workers will be important in order to keep these
people in the area and fill job vacancies. It will be important for the Local Employment Coordinator to
focus on employment for youth and up-skilling of the younger working age population to fill job
vacancies left by retirees and fill skills gaps as and when they occur.

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The North Western Melbourne priority employment area has below average levels of higher
educational attainment. Of the working age population, 14.4 per cent have completed a bachelor’s
degree or above, compared with 19.7 per cent nationally (Census 2006).
Lower levels of education can mean workers have less employment options and experience more
difficulties adapting to industry restructuring or job losses. A major challenge is to identify emerging
skill needs and ensure that training and education institutions can provide training to meet these
needs. There is also a need to combat the high level of youth unemployment by working to engage
young people in education and training more effectively to improve their qualifications and skills
Overall, the priority employment area is well served by schools, TAFE and university facilities. The
challenge is to continue to upgrade education infrastructure at the rate necessary to match the
population growth and emerging skill needs.

Industry composition
The priority employment area has a high concentration of employment in industries sensitive to
economic downturns, such as manufacturing and the retail trade. These two industries make up over
a quarter of the priority employment area’s employed labour force.
Manufacturing accounts for 17 per cent of total employment, compared with 10.7 per cent of total
employment for Australia (2006 Census). The local automotive industry is undergoing massive
change as a result of a slowdown of the global automotive industry, and the increasing demand for
cleaner and greener technologies. Increasing the diversity of manufacturing with new and emerging
technologies will build on the skills sets of job seekers and lessen the impact of economic downturns.
The retail sector employs 11.8 per cent of the region’s workforce. Construction,
Transport/postal/warehousing and health care/social assistance are other important areas of
The region has faced a large number of redundancies in the last 12 months, particularly in
manufacturing (a large number of these in the automotive industry) and retail trade. Reasons for this
include a downturn in business and product demand, company closure, administration or downsizing
and restructuring and review of businesses.
As noted above, the below average levels of educational attainment make it difficult for those
affected to adapt to these changes and move into employment where labour needs exist. A focus of
the region is to develop projects that up-skill both job seekers and those employees vulnerable to
industry closures, to help them adapt to the area’s changing skill needs and fill vacancies. This will
attract more globally competitive businesses into the area as more residents will be equipped with
the necessary skills and will also minimise the proportion of professional/tertiary qualified residents
having to travel outside of the area to work.

Jobs and skills in demand
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ (DEEWR) regular employer
surveys provide an opportunity to assess the impact of labour market fluctuations on employer
recruiting experiences. This provides useful information to help target or adjust activities.

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The occupations most commonly reported by employers in the North Western Melbourne priority
employment area as difficult to fill during the 12 months to February 2010 were:
Bachelor Degree or Higher VET Qualifications
 Registered Nurses*
 Advertising and Sales Managers
 Motor Mechanics*
Other Occupations
   Truck Drivers*
   Child Carers*
   Sales Assistants (General)*
   Other Factory Process Workers
   Sales Representatives
   Receptionists*
   Waiters
*Occupations marked with an asterisk were also reported as difficult to fill in the February 2010 survey.

Notwithstanding the above challenges, the North Western Melbourne priority employment area has
many opportunities to achieve employment and training outcomes. The Local Employment
Coordinator will work with stakeholders to develop projects and initiatives that demonstrate real
employment outcomes and benefits to the community.
In the Hume and Whittlesea Local Government Areas opportunities for employment in the
manufacturing industry will be maximised through the implementation of the iStep project. The
project will support the recruitment of disadvantaged job seekers into skills shortage areas in the
manufacturing sector, by matching employable candidates to suitable job vacancies. The project will
also assist individuals in accessing training and up-skilling opportunities if they do not possess the
required skills.
Social enterprises can provide opportunities for employment. For example one project within the
priority employment area has received funding to develop a feasibility study. The plan of the study is
to research, scope and expand a social enterprise, in a wholesale and retail nursery, as well as related
warehousing and logistics settings, which will pave the way for creating opportunities for people with
disability or vocationally disadvantaged people to engage in training and employment.
The study aims to increase the capacity of this social and disability enterprise to service a wider
cohort of disadvantaged job seekers and increase work experience opportunities for school students
attending special schools in the area.
The Health Care and Social Assistance sectors provide opportunities for employment as there is an
increasing demand for aged and disability care services. As the industry often has difficulties
attracting and retaining skilled staff, the Local Employment Coordinator will work with key
stakeholders to explore ways to promote training opportunities in this area and to expand job
opportunities for newly trained aged and disability care service workers.
Realising opportunities for young people to connect with employment and training opportunities is a
priority. A key focus for the area will be to develop an online portal which will aim to match local
employer vacancies to local job seekers with the necessary skills. Focus will also be placed on
developing and delivering projects targeting youth unemployment, by working with relevant
community organisations and stakeholders to improve support and identify available programs to
address the needs of young people.

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The Local Employment Coordinator and the Advisory Committee have identified four (4) key goals for
this Regional Employment Plan:

    Support employment, workforce participation and skills development including through
     maximising Government investments;
    Help retrenched workers transition into new employment and/or training;
    Facilitate employment and training opportunities for job seekers, including disadvantaged
     groups, with a focus on industries experiencing skills shortages; and
    Support and facilitate opportunities for young people to undertake skills development activities
     and enter into employment.
Each of these goals is also underpinned by the broader strategy of building and strengthening
relationships between stakeholders including Job Services Australia providers, Registered Training
Organisations, the Department of Human Services - Centrelink, local employers and the three tiers of
government – local, State and Australian. The Local Employment Coordinator will meet regularly with
these stakeholders to share information regarding existing initiatives, programs and services and
identify opportunities to work collaboratively to develop projects which will maximise employment
and training outcomes for local job seekers.

Goal 1: Support employment, workforce participation and skills development
including through maximising Government investments
1.       Promote the Australian Government Job and Skills Expos to increase job seeker and
         employer turnout at the event by:
        presenting at local business meetings and conferences to enlist employer support and
        promoting the event to employment, education and training institutions and students to
         encourage attendance;
        building upon the event to increase employment opportunities and networks; and
        reviewing the outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of the event and to make
         improvements to future events.
2.       Promote Australian Government programs available to employers to develop their
         workforce and find employable candidates for recruitment by:
        working with stakeholders to provide relevant information and contacts for businesses and
        presenting at local business meetings and conferences and actively engage with employers;
        participating in/leading cross-sectoral collaborations, particularly those led by place-based
         organisations such as local governments and the Department of Human Services.
3.       Help businesses, community organisations and individuals access Australian Government
         programs and initiatives by connecting them to assistance. This includes:

        organising information sessions for local businesses and individuals on how to apply for
         government contracts; and
        identifying local partnership arrangements targeting employment and training, contribute
         information and ideas for improving outcomes.

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4.       Promote the Australian Government’s Language Literacy and Numeracy Program to young
         people, Indigenous job seekers and people from non-English speaking backgrounds
         through employment service providers, the Department of Human Services and
         community organisations to address language, literacy and numeracy skills gaps and
         employability skills gaps by:
        working with stakeholders to develop, translate and distribute fact sheets tailored to the
         North West Melbourne priority employment area;
        promoting the program through the local non-English media;
        working with local Job Services Australia providers, community organisations, Youth
         Connections and School Business Community (SBC)* Partnership Brokers to make use of the
         program; and
        identifying blocks to participation in the Language Literacy and Numeracy Program and liaise
         with stakeholders to address the issues.

Goal 2: Help retrenched workers transition into new employment and/or
1.       Promote Australian Government programs and initiatives that can assist retrenched
         workers transition to new employment and training as part of a package of information
         covering local, state and Australian Government programs of support by:

        developing, in partnership with DEEWR state office and union representatives, an
         information pack and presentation to deliver relevant information to affected workers;
        delivering information sessions with state and union partners as well as Job Service Australia
         and registered training organisations to employees in the workplace before their last day;
        working with unions to present to workers who have already left employment.
2.       Help implement a more streamlined process of identifying soon-to-be retrenched workers
         and connecting them to employment opportunities by raising awareness to employers
         about the support available to retrenched or soon to be retrenched employees and seek
         their participation in initiatives that streamline the transition from their workplace to a
         new workplace seeking similarly skilled employees by:

        working with DEEWR State Office to provide relevant information n pack for businesses;
        presenting to local businesses who have identified upcoming retrenchments; and
        engaging with employers to improve processes and practices.
3.       Respond quickly to staff retrenchments by:
        keeping in regular contact with key stakeholders, such as DEEWR and local governments, to
         obtain early notifications of staff retrenchments; and
        consulting key stakeholders regarding a process to be implemented when staff
         retrenchments occur.

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4.       Identify ways to be more responsive and pro-active in connecting soon-to-be retrenched
         workers to new employment in similar or other sectors by working with state government
         and union representatives. This includes:
        identifying DEEWR programs that can support such initiatives;
        identifying programs offered through Skills Victoria and the Victorian Department of Business
         Innovation that can support the roll out of Recognition of Prior Learning in targeted industry
        promoting to those workers up-skilling and re-skilling to take advantage of work
         opportunities in skill shortage areas such as aged care, health, boiler making and
         plastering/painting; and
        identifying the role of Local Government Area Economic Development Departments in
         supporting such initiatives.
5.       Assist retrenched workers transition into further employment by:

        facilitating information sessions regarding retraining and/or employment options; and
        identifying positions available from within the same industry or those that require similar skill
         sets that may require some retraining by working with local employers.

Goal 3: Facilitate employment and training opportunities for job seekers,
including disadvantaged groups, with a focus on industries experiencing skills
1.       Connect disadvantaged job seekers to sustainable employment in industries with identified
         skill and labour shortages by
        working collaboratively with Job Services Australia providers, Disability Employment Service
         providers, peak bodies and local, state, federal governments to develop strategic responses;
        joining existing strategic collaborations at the local level across each local government area in
         the priority employment area whose priority aligns with this goal to strengthen efforts and
         maximize outcomes;
        identifying Australian Government and state government programs that can be accessed to
         support initiatives.
        developing projects to support strong initiatives through the Flexible Funding Pool.
2.       Identify employment opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers and service gaps that
         need to be addressed across the employment, training and community services sectors by
         working closely with the Department of Human Services Better Futures, Local Solutions
         team. This includes:
        as a member of the Local Advisory Group, work with the Department of Human Services
         Government Action Leader (GAL); attend community consultations; and contribute to the
         work of the Local Advisory Group (LAG);co-presenting with the Department of Human
         Services to all local Job Service Australia and Disability Employment Service providers on
         locally developed collaborative employment and training initiatives and opportunities to
         address gaps in support to job seekers;
        linking the Department of Human Services into local employment initiatives; and
        developing opportunities in consultation with GAL and their LAG and assisting in their

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3.       Make effective use of the Local Employment Coordinator Flexible Funding Pool (FFP) by:

        liaising with stakeholders to identify funding gaps that, if filled, would result in employment
         for disadvantaged job seekers;
        developing funding proposals where needs fit within the FFP guidelines; and
        consulting with local stakeholders to identify ways in which the FFP can assist with helping
         address transport barriers to participation in work preparation and employment.
4.       Help disadvantaged groups enter into employment by assisting in the establishment,
         development and continuation of social enterprises. This includes:
        providing information and assistance, where appropriate, to research, scope and expand
         social enterprise in the priority employment area;
        contacting stakeholders and establishing connections to foster cooperative relationships and
         commitment; and
        promoting such initiatives and seeking assistance/commitments for training, job
         opportunities or financial help by liaising with stakeholders in the region.

 Goal 4: Support and facilitate opportunities for young people to undertake
skills development activities and enter into employment
1.       Assist in the development and delivery of projects targeting youth unemployment by:
        improving support to disadvantaged young people in schools so they can complete year 12 or
         equivalent by working with Youth Connections and Partnership Brokers;
        addressing the training needs of young people by assisting key stakeholder to identify local
         Vocational Education and Training programs; and
        facilitating partnerships to support social enterprises by working with relevant stakeholders.
2.       Help match job seekers to employer vacancies by creating a Local Jobs for Local People
         system. This includes:
        creating an IT supported system that can readily link local people to local jobs by leveraging
         the work already undertaken in pockets of the PEA such as Building Melton Together, iStep,
         SEED, St Albans Connect and Jobs on the Go;
        encouraging employment opportunities and employability development programs for
         disadvantaged young people by working with local governments involved with the Local Jobs
         for Local People system; and
        encouraging the promotion (through the system) of job opportunities generated from new
         business development by liaising with employers in the region.

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