In 2013, my work as a lecturer and researcher at Deakin involved interviewing first year students to find out how they were adjusting to university life. Some of them were studying forensic psychology and had worked hard to get into their course. They told me their concerns on how many jobs there were likely to be for them at the end of their studies. To address their concerns, I conducted research in collaboration with these students and found only one job per year in the whole of Australia! They were angry and disheartened. “You know what would really help”, observed one, “is if we could have some kind of app that told us where the skill shortages were before we chose our careers!” It was a light bulb moment! What would help our Geelong young people to have real dreams for their future career?
Looking back, in 2013 our region was transitioning from heavy industry to a new more complex industrial landscape. It seemed like the perfect time to gather this information together and put it in the hands of our future regional workforce. Little did I know, just across town, the GRLLEN was working on a pitch for a bricks and mortar careers centre to do just that. When their funding bid was unsuccessful, CEO Annie Ryan was disappointed but ready to hear my alternative proposal: “Let’s build an app!” Over the next few months, the vision caught on.
We shared the ideas through live action research exchanges. Careers teachers, students, their parents and industry peak bodies told us they were keen to have a place to share real time data about the future of our region. Careers were changing faster than even experts could keep track off. ” So in 2013 we knew the time was right!
Using a Uworkin talent community model already trialled by the Melbourne Maribyrnong LLEN, we created Geelong Careers website and app. We quickly added eight more talent communities, representing the top trending regional industries:
- Food & Fibre
- Careers that Move
- Careers in Caring
- Careers that Teach - ICT Careers
- Careers that Build
- Advanced Manufacturing Careers
- Eat,Stay, Tour Careers.
In the eight years since, we have added 40 top performing career pathways to Geelong Careers. We have consistently collected data showing us where the jobs are in our dynamic and fast growing region and we use this to inform our future workforce on the reality of career pathways available to local job seekers.
We've created a podcast - My Brilliant Geelong Career, entirely focussed on sharing the real career outcomes from local people right here in Geelong, a Teacher Toolkit linked to Geelong Careers and aligned with curriculum, career hero videos plus an ongoing, significant pool of monthly updated data. We want all our career seekers to have real career dreams that come true, to help build the workforce for our dynamic regional economy.