Clear pathways in health services for future employment
PROVIDING pathways for young people to train is important if we want to increase the likelihood of them staying in the Valley.
"Education priorities should be around technical skills like plumbing, electrical trades and carpenters, and in health and allied health skills," demographer Bernard Salt said.
Mr Salt said these roles already made up two of the three biggest industries in the Clarence Valley and capitalising on that was an important part of growing the local economy.
Mr Salt explained the Clarence Valley was under-provisioned compared to the rest of the country in the education and training sector and professional services, which meant there was plenty of opportunity for growth.
Though the biggest employer in the Clarence Valley was now healthcare and social assistance, the rate of aged-care expansion and the continued roll-out of the NDIS would ensure that continued for years to come.
Education providers needed to offer courses that dovetailed with those industries and there were signs providers in the Clarence Valley were doing that, with TAFE at Yamba providing a Certificate III in individual support (Ageing) and at Grafton a Certificate III in individual support (Disability).
To take advantage of the opportunities these industries bring, people need to think big. The network of allied health professionals working within the aged-care and NDIS systems was large and education institutions needed to be flexible enough to respond to the growth.
This would go some way to ensuring local people could take up new roles and Mr Salt explained the key success was showing kids there was a viable pathway to success at home.
"People often tell me about a 'famous test cricket captain who came from here' which I always find very off-putting," he said.
"Because what it is saying to me - and must also be saying to a 16 year old - is that in order to be successful by the measure of the community, you need to leave this town and do something well elsewhere."