The adage ‘if you build it, they will come’ is certainly ringing true in regional NSW.
When it comes to rural employment, more people are creating their own jobs to help keep local communities strong – and youth is a big driving factor.
Latest figures reveal since the last election 360,900 jobs have been created, of those 114,900 jobs were in regional areas, with the unemployment rate in regional NSW (5.8 per cent) now lower than our cities.
“It is about being job creators rather than job seekers, is how communities will thrive,” said Birth Beat boss Edwina Sharrock.
Six years ago, Mrs Sharrock, also a midwife, had a plan – revolutionise the way expectant mums and their partners all over Australia and around the world prepare for birth. It wasn’t an easy path, but she launched Birth Beat last year, an online platform for childbirth classes.
Not only has she created a job for herself but for others within her Tamworth community. She has now employed a full-time staff member as well as local sub contractors including a graphic designer, technical team and media group.
Mrs Sharrock said if people are considering starting their own business they should engage their local business chamber.
“No single thing works for every person, some people need to up-skill, others study, but with hard work you can get through,” she said.
Dave Mailler, who is a director of solar construction enterprise, Meralli Projects, says an important part of his business was to help retain young people in regional and rural areas.
The business partnered with BackTrack, a not-for-profit group that works with at risk teenagers to get them back on track with skills so they gain employment.
Mr Mailler’s company now employs 11 staff with an additional 22 expected for a new project west of Moree.
“Small business is the economic driver of the nation and it’s important governments recognise rural and regional Australia as powerhouses of the economy,” he said.
The State Government recently announced the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund will go to five priority areas including water security, digital connectivity, passenger road and rail, freight linkages and activation business precincts.
“This Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund is for our young people to build the business foundations that will provide a secure future for those who will be working and living in our regional towns for generations to come,” said Deputy Premier John Barilaro.