The Sweetest Job campaign, which last year resulted in nearly 200 locals gaining work in the strawberry industry, has been expanded to deliver jobs in the wider Food and Agribusiness industry. The expansion follows investment by the Queensland Government under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.
Sunshine Coast Council is proud to again support The Sweetest Job initiative which is being led by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Moreton Bay in partnership with Growcom, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, the Food and Agribusiness Network, Moreton Bay Regional Council and local farmers and food processing operators.
Sunshine Coast Economic Development Portfolio Cr Steve Robinson said agribusiness injected $670 million into our local economy and was one of the seven high-value industries identified in the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy.
“The industry is vital to our local economy and it is incredibly important that we support our processors with a skilled and sustainable workforce,” Cr Robinson said.
“We saw some fantastic outcomes for strawberry growers following The Sweetest Job campaign in 2016 and 2017 will see more people employed, not just on farms, but across the agribusiness supply chain.
“The aim is to further increase the number of local people employed in seasonal work, and upskill 120 jobseekers in horticulture, logistics and food processing to meet demand for ongoing, skilled positions.
RDA Moreton Bay Chair Shane Newcombe said the new The Sweetest Job campaign and project aimed to take advantage of the wider employment opportunities available in the food and agribusiness sector and associated supply chain.
“Feedback from industry during the 2016 campaign told us that a project incorporating an industry skills component would be welcomed by local employers, particularly for meeting the need for entry-level skilled positions,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Thanks to Queensland Government investment and support from our partners, we have delivered on this with training in horticulture, logistics and food processing qualifications available for project participants.
“This is in addition to the seasonal picking and packing jobs on strawberry farms which will again be open to local Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay residents looking for work.
“For local growers, the additional Skilling Queenslanders for Work investment means there will be more resources behind the training, selection and screening of workers to ensure growers, food processing firms and other food and agribusiness employers to get the right people with the right skills.”
This year The Sweetest Job will again connect with local community organisations, Centrelink and job active clients, and other employment services providers to open up job opportunities to people who are struggling to find work.
In addition to the accredited training, there will be comprehensive support provided to help people overcome personal and work-related challenges
“Sunshine Coast Council is very pleased to be supporting this project by providing resources to support the training and development of project participants so they gain the skills local employers need,” Cr Robinson said.
Food and Agribusiness Network General Manager Emma Greenhatch said the expansion of The Sweetest Job campaign would be a great opportunity for food processing companies and industry supply chain firms, such as transport and logistics operators, to increase the skills of their workforce and benefit from associated productivity gains.
“We would love to see The Sweetest Job initiative contribute to our local food and agribusiness industry being more competitive in national and international markets,” Ms Greenhatch said.
“Success here will not only create more job opportunities for the industry, it will also grow the broader food and agribusiness economy and help to attract new investment to the region.”
Minister for Training and Skills, and Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath said the State Government had contributed $33.8 million across Queensland to help job-seekers get trained and find work.
“We want to open doors for local job-seekers who have faced various barriers in their life,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“Projects such as The Sweetest Job offer exciting opportunities for job-seekers to gain new skills and meet local industry and employer needs, and drastically increase their chances of getting employed.”
The first project intake in the Sunshine Coast region, which is now open, will focus on food processing and logistics.
The campaign is being delivered by Stones Throw, the company behind the JobShow and other innovative local employment initiatives.
Jobseekers and local employers are encouraged to register their interest at www.thesweetestjob.com.au