Bellingen Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Matters – May 2015

15 May

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Last week saw the kick off of the mentoring collaboration initiative between the Bellingen Chamber, the Education and Business Alliance and the local Bellingen and Dorrigo High schools.


This initiative ties directly to one of the chamber’s key strategic platforms, namely connecting businesses with the young people.


At the launch a number of experienced business people who have put their hands up to be involved, participated in a workshop about mentoring and engaging with young people.


The school principals, Paul Holding and Michael Bleakley hosted the meeting in preparation for the first meeting with those Year 10 students who have indicated a keenness to learn from the life (and business) experiences of some of the local business people as they start to consider important career and life decisions.


This year the program will have 12- 15 mentors and approximately 30 Year 10 students from the two schools. The program will be a combination of group discussions, presentations by the mentors and potentially 1:1 meetings as the need and opportunity arises over the year.


Interesting this isn’t just about “what subjects I need to consider”, but a more holistic focus on personal skills needed to succeed as well hear and understand that there are many pathways to a particular career or direction and young people shouldn’t be discouraged if one of those doesn’t play out as they may have hoped. The chamber would just like to acknowledge the efforts the principals for their vision and commitment to this exciting initiative.


As many people would know, with winter comes the chamber’s ‘Crazy Day’, this year scheduled for Saturday, June 20. This has been a long tradition in Bello (27 years in fact I believe!) of bringing some of the Christmas sale activity into the quieter winter months for our local retailers. This year looks to be another bumper with lots of big sale bargains and exciting offers … great time to buy that something you have had your eye on!


‘Fit for the Future’ for seasoned corporate workers is an often-hackneyed phrase masking a drive from the top to restructure, cut costs or some other less than pleasant change. Well the State Government has adopted the phrase when they commissioned an “independent review of local government” last year and reading between the lines, the potential for dramatic impact on local councils across the State is significant.


Pleasingly Liz Jeremy and her team have been transparent and consultative about how they are preparing to respond (they need to have the council endorsed plan back to State Government by June 30) and while the waters don’t look to be too rough for us in the Bellingen Shire, we shouldn’t underestimate the potential for this initiative to change how council operates in the region.


There is a questionnaire on the council website (separately sent to chamber members last week) and I would encourage all to complete it as the more input on what we, the local community, believe is important, the better. Don’t hesitate to contact the chamber on any of the above.