A NEW project in Victoria is aiming to build a supply-chain recruitment pipeline for women and young people.

Deakin University researchers are working with the Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network (GRLLEN) on the project with support from the Australian government’s local jobs program.

The Supply Chain Talent Pipeline sets out to address misconceptions about supply chain careers by focusing on two underrepresented groups in the industry.

Patricia McLean, Deakin University senior research fellow – Supply Chain Talent Pipeline Project, said that the program uses a research framework developed as part of an iMOVE project commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

“It considers structural barriers to recruitment, retention, and promotion across the career lifecycle, looking at why women apply for roles, and the factors that affect them being recruited and going on to have a successful career,” Dr McLean said.

GRLLEN CEO and project lead Wayne Elliott said the project is an opportunity to tackle a long-standing workforce challenge in Geelong.

“In a fast-changing world, when many jobs are disappearing, supply chain can offer an exciting and future-proof career opportunity,” Mr Elliot said.

“Thanks to Covid, people know how important supply chain is, but they may not be aware of the broad range of career opportunities it offers.”

Mr Elliot said GRLLEN the program would raise awareness about work in the modern supply chain and provide training in key skill gap areas

“We will work with Workforce Australia providers, local education and community groups to link industry with job-ready applicants and work towards building a workforce for the future.”

Supply Chain Talent Pipeline program manager Jennifer Jones believes women are particularly well suited to supply-chain careers.

“Working in a supply chain role requires problem solving and negotiating skills, and strong time management and organisation – skills women tend to be very good at,” she said.

“We also know women are looking for purpose-driven work where inclusion and sustainability is valued, and where they have an opportunity to make a difference through their work, which is exactly what a supply chain career can offer.”

The project team intends to work with local businesses to develop a digital campaign to showcase the industry’s changing image and increase understanding of career opportunities.

It said it is developing e-resources and short courses which aim to encourage greater diversity and foster the inclusive workplaces that will support both recruitment and retention outcomes.