Engaging, empowering and co-designing drought preparedness activities with agriculture, industry, community stakeholders is core to the SQNNSW Hub. Included also within this focus though is community wellbeing and workforce capability.
Before looking at workforce capability solutions though, it is important to first focus on the individual. What are the needs of a worker or business owner? What are their concerns, their goals, and relationships? Everyone is an individual and when looking at wellbeing and employability, this is important to remember as the foundation of community and workforce development.
A key part of this is collecting and curating existing knowledge and resources. The Hub will not “reinvent the wheel” but we will endeavour to increase awareness of and interaction with existing programs, projects and resources. If you have information to share, please contact me at Jennifer.Luke@usq.edu.au.
Wellbeing and Employability. What’s the relation?
People who feel more in control of their decision making are more likely to have high levels of self-confidence and greater motivation, which encourages more meaningful and fulfilling lives both in general wellbeing, and in work (paid or volunteer). People derive meaning from various stages in their life, so as to connect to what is both personally meaningful and of purpose, and that includes a focus on one’s wellbeing and readiness for either career engagement or identifying opportunities across the lifespan.
Changing social factors, environmental factors and unpredictable events are all influences on a person’s life as well as that of a whole community. Encouraging and understanding the need to develop skills and support the growth in attitudes that will allow people the opportunity to prepare for changing societal conditions and attain meaningfulness in work and life in general is a core link between wellbeing and employability.
Purposeful lives and meaningful work
A personal and authentic connection between the work you do and your broader life purpose – that is what provides meaning. Meaningful work and a sense of purpose is central to mental health and wellbeing which is why the SQNNSW Hub has a focus on researching, co-designing, and developing resources within Wellbeing & Employability and of which my Research Fellow role within the Hub is aligned to. Assisting communities in both their own wellbeing and career needs as well as how they can support others is core to the goals of the Wellbeing and Employability activity within the SQNNSW Hub.
Next stage – resource design and online toolkits
In recent months I have had the fantastic opportunity to speak with many stakeholders that included SQNNSW Hub partners, community members and associated researchers. The conversations revolved around issues identified within their communities regarding wellbeing or workforce development, and the emerging themes included limited housing, succession planning, attracting workers, digital literacy and the stigma that many community members feel around seeking help.
The strongest message, however, was about Hub co-designed projects needing to have strong value proposition for communities and remember to include the identification of local support groups (and individuals) who are providing personal or work-related support to others.
The development and delivery of co-developed online wellbeing and employability resources and events will be specifically targeting communities impacted by drought. Resources will focus on reducing stigma around mental health and associated wellbeing or employment issues as well as overcoming barriers to seeking professional help. With easy access to these online resources, it will help farmers, rural residents, and support workers to identify and address effects of drought-related stress that either they are experiencing or are supporting others in.
These resources will be co-designed with SQNNSW Hub partners or collated from projects that other stakeholders agree to share for distribution.
If you have information to share, would like to participate in the mentioned toolkit resources or just want to connect in and say Hi! - please contact me at Jennifer.Luke@usq.edu.au.
The Hub received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.