Work­ing to at­tract staff

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By David Rak

Some of the bright­est minds in Co­bram and district gath­ered last week to dis­cuss how to at­tract and re­tain staff to meet fu­ture de­mand.

Staffing the Fu­ture Fo­rum was a com­mu­nity-wide ini­tia­tive in­volv­ing Co­bram District Health, lo­cal busi­ness, coun­cil, police, vets and the gen­eral com­mu­nity.

Co­bram District Health was ap­proached by Cath Cos­grave from Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, whose re­search looks at the prob­lem of at­tract­ing suit­able pro­fes­sional staff to ru­ral ar­eas.

Co­bram District Health com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Bruce Nay­lor said staff at­trac­tion and re­ten­tion was a sub­ject that all com­mu­nity lead­ers un­der­stood.

‘‘One of the major is­sues Dr Cos­grave’s re­search pointed to is so­cial in­clu­sion, and the good news is there are so­lu­tions if we work to­gether as a com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Nay­lor said.

‘‘I was over­whelmed with the sup­port for this ini­tia­tive. It was par­tic­u­larly heart­en­ing that the at­ten­dance re­flected such a broad sec­tion of the Co­bram com­mu­nity.

‘‘Events like this are crit­i­cal in stim­u­lat­ing the con­ver­sa­tion around a com­mu­nity ven­ture to­ward pro­mot­ing and strength­en­ing our ap­proach to at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing pro­fes­sion­als.

‘‘It is also im­por­tant to work through op­tions that will as­sist peo­ple to be­come em­bed­ded mem­bers of our com­mu­nity in a timely man­ner.’’

Mr Nay­lor said fol­low­ing the meet­ing, sev­eral key ac­tions were de­cided as the be­gin­ning of a strat­egy to sup­port the in­tro­duc­tion and so­cial con­nec­tion of pro­fes­sion­als in the area.

‘‘We aim to es­tab­lish an on­line com­mu­nity reg­is­ter of events with the goal of it be­ing op­er­a­tional by the end of the year. A work­ing group to help nur­ture that idea was also estab­lished,’’ he said.

‘‘This will in­clude sur­vey­ing other ex­ist­ing net­works such as Sun Coun­try Net­work, Co­bram Busi­ness and Tourism or the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Pro­fes­sion­als Net­work for part­ner­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘Some other ideas were a fish out of wa­ter event for new ar­rivals, per­haps as a wel­come to town at the be­gin­ning of next year, and in­for­ma­tion packs about Co­bram to be pro­vided on the day peo­ple start work.

‘‘Other ideas put for­ward in­cluded the devel­op­ment of a list of men­tors for new peo­ple and fam­i­lies, part­ner­ing across or­gan­i­sa­tions and a multi-cul­tural day fo­cused around an ex­change of food.’’

A date is yet to be de­cided for the work­ing group to meet, but all com­mu­nity and busi­ness mem­bers are en­cour­aged to at­tend.

Tak­ing the ini­tia­tive: Com­mu­nity mem­bers turned out in force for the Staffing the Fu­ture Fo­rum.

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