SKILL SHORTAGE: Unfilled jobs leave businesses 'hamstrung'
WARWICK businesses are desperate to employ young, qualified professionals but a shortage of skilled workers is holding them back from opportunities to grow.
A number of local businesses find themselves staring chances for expansion right in the face with increasing demand for services.
But the ability to flourish is hampered as businesses struggle to recruit tertiary-qualified staff into full-time roles.
The Physiotherapy Centre director Josh Hay said it was a serious issue for a number of Warwick-based businesses.
"We are wanting to better meet the needs of the community and continue to grow our range of services," Mr Hay said.
"But the frustrating thing is that ends up being limited by access to staff."
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said it was a nation-wide issue for regional areas, despite the council's effort to market the region to young professionals.
"We have our economic development staff going to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Townsville, to give presentations about out region and what we have to offer," the mayor said.
But the skills shortage affects industries that rely on labourers as wells.
Choice Flooring owners Dan and Robyn Kuhn face similar problems in finding qualified floor layers who are willing to live and settle in the region.
"Using sub-contractors for that type of work means you can be limited by their availability and willingness to travel," Mrs Kuhn said.
"If we were able to get full time staff it would be easier for our business to take on work because you would know confidently when you have your layers working."
As new developments come online, Mrs Kuhn said she a shortage of full-time workers meant her company was missing vital opportunities.
The successful flooring company has even begun to look overseas to fill the hole in skilled labourers.
"We have started training apprentices but that is a long-term investment and doesn't help us meet the demand that is happening now."
Mr Hay said the lure of the city could blind professionals from realising the lifestyle benefits of living in regional areas.
"The region is already attractive," he said.
"Property is affordable, there is no traffic, we are close to beautiful national parks and wineries.
"It's about how we communicate all that and get that message across and I am 100 per cent supportive of any initiative to grow the region."
Cr Dobie said the relationship with the University of Queensland through the Warwick Solar Farm would open opportunities to advertise the region to students.
The newly-appointed Southern Downs Youth Council was also providing councillors with advice on how to attract and retain young professionals.