OUR SAY: Rising to the job loss challenge

THE challenge of finding jobs for more than 500 Electrolux workers has been set out in the context of an economy that creates about 350 jobs annually. While certainly not insurmountable, it will take a concerted effort.

Yesterday’s launch of the Central West Jobs Expo has sent a reassuring signal to Electrolux workers that government at all levels is taking concrete steps to help them prepare for new employment.

The staging of the expo also tells employers the next two years is a time to consider the gaps they may have in their skills base and how Electrolux workers might fill them.

And there should be no doubt that co-operation and forward planning between governments and business is crucial if the Electrolux workforce is going to be retained in Orange.

Creating at least another 150 jobs in the local economy is certainly a challenge. If the jobs which are currently being created are not suitable for the Electrolux workforce the task ahead becomes that much greater.

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That is where the jobs expo is so important. With 30 businesses already registered, Electrolux staff will be able to gauge what sort of job vacancies are likely and what new skills they may have to learn to make them competitive in the job market.

For some long-term employees, facing the challenge of re-skilling will be daunting. Others may find that they have transferable skills which are in demand.

This Friday, representatives from the Department of Employment and NSW State Training Services will provide Electrolux staff with more detail on the nature of job opportunities in the region.

There may be some sobering news on the nature of the local labour market, but there is also time for Electrolux staff to use the information to reposition themselves ahead of the factory’s closure.

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