Some of the region's biggest employers are joining forces to support young peoples' future career choices to help train, attract and retain their next generation of workers. The Community for Careers: Business Action Group launches in December 2023 and will help employers work together to improve training and job opportunities for young people. Group members will help plan career education and experience-based programs for teens, harness ideas and enthusiasm to help to create and run programs. The action group is a Neil Porter Legacy initiative and will bring together representatives from various industries including professional services, farming and agriculture, trade, automotive, sport and recreation, retail and other areas. Dairy giant Saputo regional operations manager Craig Wallace said the Allansford factory had 700 workers and local employees were more likely to stay. "Being such big businesses, there's great opportunities and lots of different jobs," Mr Wallace said. "You start on the factory floor and you can move into various roles. There's a lot of opportunity at a big factory." Business advisory Sinclair Wilson principal James Castley said it was always looking for quality candidates. "Whilst our accounting staff are tertiary educated, we've got 120 staff with varying qualifications, backgrounds and education so there's many pathways in," Mr Castley said. "If a generation stays here or is attracted here, the (economic) multiplier effect and the benefits just can't be measured so hence why we're involved (in the action group)." Beyond Bank community development manager Grant Howland said he wished something like the Neil Porter Legacy was around when he was younger to help his early career decisions. "I think what Matt does to engage the youth is fantastic," Mr Howland said. Midfield Meats training co-ordinator Kylie Clarke said she had teenage children and understood the challenges in choosing school subjects and potential career options, especially when many hadn't set foot in a workplace. She said Midfield, which employs 1400 staff, wanted to attract and retain employees and it regularly hosted school site tours to highlight its variety of roles and career paths. "We want to showcase our business and what we have here," Ms Clarke said. "What the potential is and what they can aspire to because it's such a hard decisions and university isn't for everyone. "I don't think people know how generous businesses are with giving their time. "If a child wants to do a week's work experience businesses will do everything they can for that child to experience it." Carter Group CEO Karis Britton has been working with Mr Porter for the past 12 months. She said every job, regardless of the industry or role, provided transferable skills and students shouldn't have to decide what they wanted to do straight away. "It doesn't matter what time in your life you're in," she said. "The opportunities are going to come and you'll feel what (career or position) you're connected to and want to make a move on. "I don't think that you need to have a timeline or (ATAR) score put to it. You can do what you want to do, you just need to find the right pathway to suit your way of learning." She said there were plenty of opportunities in the south-west and people didn't need to leave the region. "I think there's a misconception that you can't get what you want to achieve in your own backyard and you can." Matt Porter from the Neil Porter Legacy, which works with the region's schools and industry to give students experience in as many careers as possible before making choices, said group members would meet about four times a year. Mr Porter said NPL already worked with many businesses and the group would formalise it and "harness the collective enthusiasm of local business people and put it into action". An informal meeting will be held at Warrnambool's Pavilion on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 5pm for interested business owners and representatives to learn more. There is no cost to join.