The Peel region's economy is population-based and service-driven, and heavily characterised by tourism, hospitality, retail and small construction employment opportunities. There are also a high percentage of sole traders, small family and micro businesses, as well as a relatively high portion of low paying jobs.
Our population growth in the Peel, although providing some growth for our local economy and service industries, has historically exceeded the required job growth to support it. Therefore, a large portion of the region's residents travel outside of the region to their place of employment.
These issues, as well as skills, education and workforce development challenges, contribute to the gap between our population growth and our employment statistics.
The long term solution to Peel's complex issues around employment are not quick fixes and require a long-term focus on moving the region's economy from a population-driven, service-delivery nature towards a more export, strategic, innovation and trade-driven economy.
While it's heartening to know there are many strategic projects and initiatives that create jobs and support new industries in the region for the future, we're also working hard on developing strategies with a focus on people finding work and being supported to expand their education and skills now.
It is a unique and complex time with many people experiencing uncertainty in terms of employment, but there are a number of services available to help people find work and not lose hope. It's so important that those in difficulty are aware of services available locally and reach out for support, and that as the conditions of the local economy change, these services and initiatives adjust to meet changing needs.
With the skills and education of our local workforce playing a key role in the recovery of our local economy, it's wonderful to know that South Metro TAFE in Mandurah are offering a number of courses completely free of charge or at reduced fees. Much work goes into gathering input from industry and business to identify the very skills required in workers now and in the future to ensure they're offering people skills that are in demand.
The Mandurah campus also incorporates the Peel Jobs and Skills Centre which provides free careers advice, as well as advice for apprenticeships, traineeships and other employment assistance.
Another service available through the Department of Education Skills and Employment is the Harvest Trail Services which links workers with seasonal harvest jobs in rural and remote locations across Australia.
These locations do not normally have adequate local labour supply to meet seasonal peaks in employer demand, so this initiative can offer job seekers the opportunity for work and new careers in agriculture, and employers a screening and matching service to fill positions.
Our regional Employment Facilitator is also on-hand to bring job seekers, employers, employment service providers and higher education and training organisations together as part of the Local Jobs Program.
Maryanne Baker, the South West WA Employment Facilitator, can assist with upskilling and employment pathways, job change and employment, providing advice and links to resources.
Of course these are just a few of the resources that are currently available and I encourage those needing support to reach out and utilise these avenues, but to also find out what else is available that could assist in your particular situation. The Mandurah Jobs and Skills Centre is a fantastic place to start in finding out about support available, as well as the local Shires and City of Mandurah.
Paddi Creevey is the chair of the Peel Development Commission.