Workforce Development

Access to skilled workforce is a major and intensifying issue in regional Australia. There are varying contributors: geographic dispersion and limited mobility make it difficult to address shortfalls within regions; opportunities and drivers for education and training may be limited or unavailable; it is difficult to attract workforce from urban regions – the attraction problem; there are net outflows of skilled workforce from regional Australia to urban regions - the retention problem; COVID restrictions had curtailed the supply of backpackers and agricultural worker from overseas; current regional growth means there are increasing needs for more skilled employees.

A particular issue is the provision of suitable workforce for major developments in northern Australia, where there are challenges to provide both the direct workforce involved in development and operation of new agricultural, mining and services sectors, but also the provision of the indirect workforce required. The unique characteristics of northern Australia mean that standard models to predict workforce needs are not very applicable, and that it is simplistic to assume that new workforce can be imported from outside the region. CRESC  has the capability and skills to develop and lead large scale workforce development and human resource management.

Key areas of research and activities include:

  • Workforce analysis
  • Predicting direct & indirect workforce needs
  • Understanding future workforce requirements & competencies
  • Model workforce supply option
  • Develop strategies and translation pathways
  • Policy analysis and development

Research projects

Modeling demographic change and resource needs in small villages in Sweden's northern sparsely populated areas

Lead Chief Investigator - Professor Dean Bradley Carson

Theme leader

Delwar Akbar standing in front of a brick wall smiling

Theme leader - Associate Professor Delwar Akbar - Director, CRESC

Associate Professor Delwar Akbar is a regional economist and research leader in supply and value chain research, who has been working with rural and regional industries and businesses to improve their productivity and sustainability. His research during the last decade has focused predominantly on rural and regional economics, value chain analysis, property and health economics, economic impact assessment and regional development. Along with other researchers, he has received significant levels of funding support (approx. $5.5 million) through Category 1-4 grants.  He has integrated economic models with supply chain, services and planning models. Recently, he has been developing and testing collaborative business models that could bolster rural economic dynamics and international trade. Over his academic career, he has been involved with more than 60 research and consultancy projects, and published over 110 refereed papers and project reports.


Bruce Highway
Rockhampton North
QLD 4701
Phone: +61 7 4923 2316