Western Sydney is Australia’s third largest economy with approximately 240,000 local businesses. It is a unique region with a richly diverse community. With a population of over 1.6 million it is often referred to as the second CBD of Sydney.
With the decision to introduce the second Sydney Airport at Badgers’ Creek, the area will see significant growth over the coming years. Once complete, it has been reported the new airport will generate 20,000 jobs with a focus on attracting local people including apprentices, knowledge workers and a diverse workforce including indigenous people and people with disabilities.
In addition to the airport, The Australian and NSW Governments, together with eight local governments of Western Sydney, signed the Western Sydney City Deal. The City Deal is a 20-year agreement to deliver a once-in-a-generation transformation of Sydney’s outer west – creating the ‘Western Parkland City’.
The Western Parkland City will create thousands of new jobs across a wide range of industries. The airport and Aerotropolis will attract infrastructure, investment and knowledge-intensive jobs, and the benefits will flow into education, retail and hospitality, that will enhance the city and build growth. A Sydney Science Park project will be built adjacent to the airport site. The Science Park will be an epicentre for research and development with thousands of knowledge based jobs, students and residents.
In addition, the NSW Department of Industry is developing a world class aerospace and defence industries precinct. Encompassing the physical and virtual cluster of the aerospace, defence and related industry businesses along with research and development facilities and training institutions.
The creation of an Aerospace Institute in the Aerotropolis will be the immediate focus of skills and education planning. The Aerospace Institute, located at North Bringelly will include a world class science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) university, a high performance secondary school and an advanced vocational education and training (VET) facility.
This major infrastructure development will provide a jobs boom in Western Sydney, the likes we haven’t seen for some time. However, the opportunities available for candidates in a wide range of industries will be challenging in the current skill shortage market – specifically within trades, manufacturing and industrial. Adecco Australia’s Parramatta office is positioned within the growth zone and is already beginning to see a ground swell interest in the development of the area. With development of this size, there are many flow on effects that the jobs market will experience and the shortage of candidates in the trades and general labourer market will prove challenging. The housing boom in the area required to provide to the increasing population will need many skilled trades professional and demand for these skills is already sky high. Adecco has always held a long-term view of opportunities in Western Sydney and has partnered with organisations whether small, medium and large and within both the private and public sector to support local talent find employment.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business have outlined major skill shortages across New South Wales for Technicians and Trades workers based on Q4 2017 results. To combat this shortage, employers need to start considering what is required of them to attract quality, skilled candidates to their businesses to manage growth.
Upskilling and reskilling your existing employees is a step that is worth considering. This is a great way to keep employees engaged, provide continual learning opportunities and fill those positions where you haven’t been able to recruit ideal candidates. Many younger employees want to know their development pathways within the business. Identifying your emerging talent and having an open discussion about how you can ensure they are getting the development they need to proceed through their career paths is imperative.
Furthermore, new candidates want the work they do to be meaningful and challenging with opportunities to work on projects outside of their BAU roles. Projects such as the development of the Western Parkland City will certainly provide different opportunities for all businesses involved in the development. For candidates to be a part of building a new city, will be an opportunity that may only be available once in their lifetime and therefore is an opportunity to grab with both hands.
The Federal Government has made a commitment to local employment targets. At least 30 per cent of employees during construction and 50 per cent of employees when in operation will be residents of Western Sydney. There is also targets for Indigenous employment, social employment and procurement. In late 2017, former Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphomassane advised that Corporate Australia still has a long way to go to reflect Australia’s diverse cultural make-up, where 14 per cent of the population is of non-European descent. Diversity targets such as those the Federal Government has committed to in Western Sydney are important and aligned with the diversity and inclusion programs that Adecco Australia and many others have. The population of Western Sydney is the most multicultural in all of Australia, predominantly of a working-class background. Many of the current residents of Western Sydney will be well positioned to experience much career success with the development of the Western Parkland City.
Western Sydney is no doubt positioned to be the growth region of New South Wales but also Australia. To see this region, grow and prosper will not only provide economic benefits for now, it will also benefit future generations. For those of a younger generation, the educational advantages of being part of this community will be supreme. New facilities relating to VET and STEM provide many opportunities for further growth of this community and building new qualified candidates who will in the future, help halt the skill shortage issues we are experiencing today.