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StudyAdelaide and RDA Murraylands and Riverland help solve skills shortages in regional South Australia

StudyAdelaide and Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland play matchmaker as local employers meet international students.

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StudyAdelaide and Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) played matchmaker with 48 international students and graduates today heading to the Murraylands region to meet with prospective employers with available workforce opportunities.

Approximately 54 per cent of international students have indicated they intend to live and work in South Australia after completing their studies.

StudyAdelaide Chief Executive Karyn Kent said StudyAdelaide and RDAMR had received overwhelming interest in the tour from both students and employers.

“More than 400 students registered an interest in the Murraylands visit, and we have a wait list for future tours,” Ms Kent said.

“Research of our student database in December indicated that more than 50 per cent of international students would consider working in a regional area outside of Adelaide. Therefore, on the one hand we have thousands of students keen to find employment and willing to look outside of greater Adelaide. And on the other hand, we have major regional employers dealing with skills shortages and gaps in their workforce.”

RDAMR Regional Manager Vanessa Leigh has been working closely with employers to identify opportunities and skills shortages across the Murraylands and Riverland regions.

“Through our partnership with the State Government’s Real Work Real Experience program, the RDAMR team have been connecting with employers directly to discuss their immediate needs and explore opportunities into the future and across hidden jobs,” Ms Leigh said.

“In March alone, we uncovered hundreds of vacancies across many industry sectors including health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, retail, manufacturing and agriculture. Clearly Murraylands and Riverland region has great job opportunities, and what we will showcase to the international students is that these jobs are located in great places to live.”

For this first regional tour, RDAMR identified two key industry sectors with existing skills shortages:  tourism and hospitality; and health services including nursing, disability and aged care.

The students travelled by bus to the region where they were welcomed by the RDAMR team and briefed by community leaders on job opportunities and the benefits of living and working in the region.

Students interested in tourism and hospitality visited and meet with local tourism operators including SeaLink and the Bridgeport Hotel in Murray Bridge, and The Bend Motorsport Park, Rydges Hotel Murray Bridge and Riverside Hotel Tailem Bend.

Students interested in health sector employment met with management from organisations including Aminya Village in Mannum, Centacare in Murray Bridge and ac.care, also in Murray Bridge.

Almost 25,000 international students remain in South Australia despite the impact of COVID. Student research indicates that 37 per cent of students engage in part-time work, and the same number volunteer in the community.

Ms Kent said that based on the strong interest from students, StudyAdelaide and RDAs were planning similar tours to other regions in coming months.

“We surveyed international students about their interest in regional employment, and it was quite clear that if we presented them with information and opportunities they would be more likely to consider working in regional SA,” she said.

“It’s a win-win all round. International students both gain employment – often in sectors that would otherwise have skills shortages – and create employment – with every three international students in South Australia creating one local job.

“International education was South Australia’s largest export in 2019, worth $2.145 billion to the South Australian economy.”

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