Projects & Works

Recruitment campaign attracts hundreds of applications

Published: 23 Aug 2019 4:05pm

Recruitment for specialist staff to help deliver an additional $30M-plus in projects for Wagga Wagga is underway, with early signs showing plenty of interest in the roles.

Wagga Wagga City Council has started its recruitment campaign for 17 new positions including engineers, project managers, construction supervisors, business analysts and procurement staff.

Nine of the positions have the option of being located in Sydney and working remotely for Wagga Wagga City Council in a shared office space with the NSW Government Special Activation Precinct team and State Development Corporation.

“The goal is to attract the best staff we can, and then demonstrate why living in Wagga Wagga is brilliant,” Council’s General Manager Peter Thompson said.

“It’s a proven path with both medical professionals and former defence staff falling love with our region once they start working here.

“We haven’t been able to get these staff to locate to Wagga Wagga in the past, despite advertising and working with recruitment agencies. This is a new option. We are trying something new.

“The recruitment is underway and I’m pleased to say the idea has generated 300 applications already.

“The end goal is to get these vitally important projects off the ground, and to provide another entry point for people to experience the regional city lifestyle with the option to relocate here.”

Why establish an office in Sydney?

Council has sought to fill numerous engineering, project management and various other specialist roles in the past years.

While there has been some success, the pool of applications has been limited, and in some cases, Council has been to the market on three occasions for key positions and not found suitable candidates with the required level of technical skill and expertise.

The roles advertised are specialist roles and successful applicants will be given the choice of working in Sydney or Wagga Wagga.

“They can relocate at any time once they have experienced the great lifestyle a regional city offers,” Mr Thompson said. “For families and couples, it also gives their partner time to find appropriate work in Wagga Wagga or to factor in their children’s schooling before they move to Wagga Wagga. It takes all the time and finance pressure off that decision.”

How does an office in Sydney benefit Wagga Wagga?

Up to nine positions may be located in Sydney or Wagga Wagga. They are highly technical roles, for example engineers, project managers and construction supervisors.

“We now have more than 300 applications for these roles,” Mr Thompson said.

In August 2018, the NSW Government identified Wagga Wagga as an area of significant growth with a vision for increasing the population to 100,000 residents under its 20-year plan for the region. Wagga Wagga is currently experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with significant grant opportunities being offered through State and Federal funding.

Specialist staff are needed for Council to increase its capacity and deliver more projects and works for the community. Council currently has about $30M of projects waiting on the technical staff to help deliver them.

Council staff will also be working side-by-side the NSW Government’s Special Activation Precinct team in the same office space. The State announced Wagga Wagga’s Bomen industrial area as a Special Activation Precinct in early 2019. These precincts ‘turn off’ normal planning legislation, replacing red tape with red carpet to attract new businesses and grow existing industry.

“At the end of the day, this initiative is about attracting the best skilled staff we can to relocated to Wagga Wagga and call our region home,” Mr Thompson said. “Offering an ‘all or nothing’ decision is what regional councils have done before.

“Right across the state, there is a common voice that there is a skills shortage. What we are trialling is a new idea – the right person for the job can accept the job and work for us without moving.

“Once they get to know our region, the lifestyle, the affordability and everything else it offers, they can move here.

“A family doesn’t need to uproot itself on the back of one job without knowing the area. They can take their time, make their own decision, plan their own path and find a better life without pressure or time constraints.

“We believe in the Wagga Wagga lifestyle absolutely. This is just a new idea for introducing people to our city. We now have at least 300 skilled infrastructure specialists who say they are interested.”