From Student Visitor to New Resident Professional: Growing our Regions Workforce

A regional bus trip late last year has evolved into career changing opportunities for university graduates. In September 2021, Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) partnered with StudyAdelaide to deliver an immersive regional tour, connecting 47 students, and recent graduates, with local employers experiencing workforce gaps.

Visiting Kingston, Millicent, Mount Gambier, Naracoorte and Keith, the 3-day regional showcase received overwhelming interest from both students and local businesses, with skilled graduates meeting local employers, and seeing a little of what the Limestone Coast has to offer.

“More than 830 students registered an interest in the Limestone Coast visit, and we have a wait list already for our future tours,” said StudyAdelaide Chief Executive Karyn Kent.

“Through the tour the students had the chance to chat one-on-one with potential employers, visiting locations that we hoped they would one day call their workplace. It was also an opportunity to see some of the beauty and diversity that our region offers,” said Evan Flint, RDALC Chair.

Having recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Dan Herath was one of the touring students and is now working for Union Dairy Company (UDC) in their purpose-built, state-of-the-art milk processing plant at Penola.

“The RDALC staff were thoughtful to provide me and my university colleagues with opportunities catering to our specific industries. I had a huge interest of stepping into the food industry. RDALC referred me to food related companies around the area and followed up throughout the process of securing my graduate job at UDC”, said Mr Herath.

UDC Chief Operating Officer Andrew Wellington was only too happy to be part of the regional tour. Employing approximately 45 skilled workers, including process workers, production staff, laboratory technicians, and management, UDC has found it increasingly difficult to attract skilled employees to the area.

“We are fortunate to have a positive relationship with RDALC and it was through this relationship we were introduced to Dan who was seeking practical experience to support his future ambitions. In a great outcome for us, Dan is now working for our company full time,” Mr Wellington said.

RDALC and StudyAdelaide are partnering again on visits scheduled for late June and early July, bringing students from engineering and health care disciplines to the Limestone Coast. RDALC encourage businesses interested in participating in the program to contact Hayley Rowe, Project Support Coordinator, to discuss how the program can support them. Reach out via our email address info@rdalc.org.au