What future for our region?

by Andy Bryenton

Looking to the future can be inspiring or frightening — it’s a matter of perspective. The problems to tackle in years to come are the flip side of opportunities for growth, prosperity and better living. Smart forward planning is the key to avoiding pitfalls on the road to success. Many local businesses are facing up to the biggest commitment of all — making sure that their team will not only have the right skills for today but the agility and focus to handle change in the future.

It’s all about learning. Around the world, businesses realise a simple fact — to adapt in the fast-paced world of modern technology is to thrive. To stagnate is to wither away and disappear. That’s why the biggest asset of the modern business is staff who can learn on the job, updating their skills to meet the challenge.

That ethos is to be found right here, in our small towns as well as the big city. In businesses as varied as motor mechanics, engineering operations, agricultural contractors and retail stores. At the foundations, a new generation of apprentices is being trained by forward-thinking bosses, who value longevity in their trade. These will be the electricians, plumbers, panelbeaters and builders (for example) who take care of our children’s generation and the fact that our local tradespeople are accredited to teach means that their skills are nationally recognised as top notch.

The commitment to adaptation and training goes beyond that, however. Many companies and professional organisations run programs of continual training, often having participation as a prerequisite to maintaining a top-level accreditation or status. It assures a thorough knowledge of the latest engine technology in the auto trade, for example, or the best practices in building. From apprentices up, businesses who incorporate learning into their culture outperform the competition in the long run.

What does that mean locally? It means we should rally behind those of our local companies who have made a commitment to training the next generation. To support locals who are making the effort to ensure that here in Selwyn, the knowledge base and skill level inherent in our business community is truly cutting edge. After all, think about the changes in the workplace, in auto and electrical technology, in computers and communications we have seen in just a few decades.

Support the visionaries among us now, to ensure that our region thrives tomorrow.