Townsville will soon be home to a new place-based pilot program aimed to change the way communities buy and employ within rural and regional areas.
Delivered in partnership with CQUniversity and ArcBlue, a specialist procurement consultancy, Q-SEED aims to create a socio-economic framework that funnels local spend, social procurement and inclusive employment practices back into the community.
ArcBlue Senior Consultant, Petra McLoughlin says the program will leverage social procurement and local supply chains to generate greater opportunities for those in the Townsville community who are experiencing barriers to employment.
“A program like Q-SEED aims to bridge the gap between industry requiring staff and the community, supporting Townsville residents into meaningful and sustainable work,” says Petra.
“It aims to bring government, organisations and industry together to review how they procure goods and services, alongside how they recruit and retain staff. We do this through tried and tested methods established in other regional areas.”
Petra says there were several factors that made Townsville the top pick to pilot the first Q-SEED program, which, if successful, will see them look to replicate and extend the model to other regions of Queensland.
“There is a significant amount of investment planned over the next 10 years in major projects and in the renewables space, and according to stakeholders we engaged with, there are skills shortages that most industries are experiencing currently,” says Petra.
“It makes sense to work with the Townsville community to address this now before further major projects land.”
An integral part of the project’s development phase is engaging with Townsville-based stakeholders to help develop target outcomes and identify supporting opportunities.
In light of this, CQUniversity and ArcBlue ran a 2-hour collaborative workshop in early September to further understand the scale and nature of the socio-economic challenges in the region.
Program Manager for Social Innovation at CQUniversity, Steve Williams, encouraged interested community members to attend, and contribute to collectively develop and address any gaps that might be missing.
“We welcome the involvement of anyone who has the responsibility for procuring and buying in businesses and organisations, along with those who have hiring responsibilities. Or if you are a business that is looking to win more local work and wants to secure more staff, we want you there,” says Steve.
“These models work best when everyone focuses on moving the dial one notch, so collectively, we can have a large impact in the community.”
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