COVID-19 Workforce Support
with Tamilyn Brennan FNQ Employment Coordinator
The emergence of COVID-19 has created a very different environment today from what we were expecting for 2020. Our regional labour force has experienced significant upheaval and uncertainty reigns, but there are opportunities emerging for innovative and enterprising individuals and businesses.
While many workplaces have temporarily ceased operation and sadly some that will close permanently as a result of Covid-19 impacts, we continue to need trained and prepared people in a number of industries including retail, transport and logistics, agriculture, local manufacturing, public safety and of course the health sector.
There may never have been a time before in Australia when so many government programs are on offer. Our ever-changing situation has also resulted in a heightened level of interest and engagement with these programs and initiatives – and in many perspectives and interpretations of their use and value.
If you have lost your job or been stood down (there is a difference) there are financial supports available through the JobSeeker allowance which has been temporarily expended during the changed conditions under Covid-19. In addition to income support, there are also many things you can be doing to plan for the future. As businesses pivot and adapt to provide necessary goods and services in this time of crisis, new roles are emerging. Check in with jobactives as the funded employment service providers for updates. You can also go to the new Jobs Hub at https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/jobs-hub and use the Search Jobs By Location button to find what roles might be available in the Cairns region. When you get to the job detail read it carefully to make sure it is in the Cairns area.
Local recruitment agencies are very actively engaged linking local employers with suitably skilled candidates. This is the time to look at the sum of your skills and experiences outside of the boundaries of your usual employment and local recruiters can help you to do that.
www.whatsnext.employment.gov.au has advice on what you could do with your skills and Stronger Transitions which is a package of assistance that can help you to find new jobs and train for the future may be useful for you now: https://www.employment.gov.au/stronger-transitions
If you are just starting out and planning your work life, go to https://jobsqueensland.qld.gov.au/anticipating-future-skills/ to get an idea of what industries, occupations and qualifications will be needed in Cairns in 2022. There is a useful data tool at the bottom of this webpage for the statistically minded.
For employers there are many assistance and support measures being announced, so rather than try to list them the trusted sources are https://www.business.qld.gov.au/ which includes a small business hotline number and a business impact survey as well as a regularly updated list of the measures available; and https://www.australia.gov.au/#business_amp_employer_information_. This includes the latest on the newly passed JobKeeper payment to support employers to retain staff during this time of limited trading.
To ‘Keep it in Cairns’ go to www.keepitincairns.com.au or https://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/council/covid19/hotline or phone 1300 396 102 during business hours. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce and CCIQ have good advice being published and otherwise available for direct individual advice.
As Employment Facilitator for the Cairns region Tamilyn Brennan is contracted by the Australian Government to help employers and jobseekers connect using the various programs and initiatives at hand and to help develop solutions to local workforce challenges.