The Women in Business Regional Network was well represented at a Ministerial Roundtable in Victor Harbor recently to look at opportunities to increase the number of apprentices and trainees in South Australia.
Of the 30 at the roundtable event about half were women including network members Leanne Reynolds (Goolwa Foodland/Veg Out), Leanne Farr (BCS Electrical/NECA), Sonya Lorenz (Metal & Stone Jewellers), Carolyn Jeffrey (network founder), Julie Irwin (Encounter Business Management), Moira Jenkins (City of Victor Harbor mayor), Victoria MacKirdy (City of Victor Harbor), Taryn Richardson (JaDs Hairdressers), Rosemary Killip (Switched On Learning) and Gloria Parkin (Hamper Warehouse).
Other representatives around the table included local employment and training organisations, Business Victor Harbor and the three local councils – City of Victor Harbor, Alexandrina and Yankalilla.
Heading up the roundtable was the SA Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni, supported by key representatives from his department and the Member for Finniss, David Basham.
Mr Pisoni spoke about the state government’s desire to encourage more trainees and apprentices in the state to help meet key performance criteria set by the federal government.
Network founder Carolyn Jeffrey said the network was currently running a survey among members and supporters which had revealed a large number of women in business in regional areas were considering engaging a trainee or apprentice in the next 12-24 months.
“The survey is still underway but already more than 30 per cent have indicated they’re considering employing someone. So far, that represents about 70 additional potential traineeships or apprenticeships across the state,” Carolyn said.
“We’re also in talks with government agencies and other organisations to develop projects whereby some of our members and supporters might be able to share an apprentice or trainee, recognising that the majority are microbusinesses, so may need the help but be unable to support an additional person for five days a week.”
Three of the network members – Carolyn Jeffrey, Leanne Reynolds and Leanne Farr – had a further opportunity to discuss employment and training issues over dinner with the Minister following the roundtable.
“We’re very pleased that state government agencies, and others, are starting to realise the importance of engaging with women in business in regional areas of SA and I’m hoping the network can play a key role in being this conduit for feedback,” Carolyn said.
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