Workforce development to be a focus of Connect 2015
  • Monday 20 July 2015

The Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce has announced a range of informative industry discussion sessions focusing on workforce development have been added to the inaugural Connect 2015 event program.

Event Chair Ross Hepworth said the July 30 workshops — sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council — would further bolster the extensive program, which includes various keynote speakers, educational business panels and networking opportunities.

“The Connect 2015 event concept has evolved from the traditional business expo of years past and, using feedback from local business owners and operators, has been designed to meet the needs of the Sunshine Coast business community,” Mr Hepworth said.

“Many local businesspeople have indicated industry-specific information would be of particular interest to them, so we have invested a lot of time and thought into developing a suite of discussion sessions covering the key industries on the Sunshine Coast.  The discussions sessions are also open to those in the industry not already attending the full Connect 2015 program.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the free sessions would address the seven high-value industries (tourism, sport and leisure; knowledge and professional services; aviation and aerospace; clean technologies; health and wellbeing; education and research; and agribusiness) outlined in council’s Sunshine Coast—The Natural Advantage: Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033.

“As our regional economy grows, these targeted high-value industries will present opportunities for local, domestic and global investors to expand an existing business; invest in a new business; or even relocate a business from elsewhere to our Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The challenge for many organisations is having the right people with the right skills in the right place, so the workforce development industry discussion sessions will teach business owners and operators how they can develop their workforce to take advantage of future opportunities.”

Mayor Jamieson said members from Sunshine Coast Council’s Industry Advisory Board and economic development team would discuss the key workforce development issues in each industry, including those raised through the most recent business confidence survey.

“Participants will also engage in a professional discussion with human resources expert Sally Desch, of HRM Contracting & Consulting, and Jenny Butler, from the Skills Shack, who will guide attendees in getting the best from their staff members and building a skilled and sustainable workforce.”

While the workforce development industry discussion sessions form part of the Connect 2015 program, all members of the local business community are welcome to attend this component of the event free of charge. Bookings are essential and can be made by emailing

Tickets to the broader Connect 2015 event — including keynote presentations from Deborah Hutton, Arron Wood and many more high-profile businesspeople — cost $199 and can be purchased at

The event will be held on July 30 at TAFE Queensland East Coast’s Mooloolaba Campus, and the full program can be viewed online.