Forward thinkers: Team Worrimi members Amanda Murray, Tyler Plowright, Teegan Bell, Adam Fisher, Kate Thomson, Jude Sneesby and Trudie Larnach with HunterNet chief Tony Cade (blue suit).STEMMING the “brain drain” from the Hunter and attracting more talent, skills and businesses from outside the region.

The task for the record number of teams in the 2018 edition of HunterNet’s Future Leaders program was not easy, but HunterNet CEO Tony Cade said the five teams rose to the challenge.

“We received fivepractical and innovative submissions, all of which are able to be implemented and could help arrest the brain drain of the region,” he said. “The program is very fortunate to have such a high calibre judging panel and a group of mentors focused and committed to the development of our regions young leaders.”

At a recent gala event Team Worrimi was named winner of the Future Leaders 2018 program with its Ninety° submission. The team comprised Kate Thomson (n Business Lawyers),Teegan Bell (Newcastle Airport),Tyler Plowright (Pacific National), Jude Sneesby (Hunter Industrial Ceramics),Amanda Murray andAdam Fisher (both from Amp Control) and its mentor was Port Waratah Coal Services executive Trudie Larnach.

In its winning presentation, Team Worrimi said the Hunter wassuffering from a brain drain of degree qualified young people away from the region, with many lost permanently to the region. It said the ramifications of the exodus were manifold, but the economic implications for the development and maintenance of a modern, service-based economy are significant.

Its proposal addressed two confined but critical aspects of thebigger issue.

It undertook to provide market research services to ensure that both students and business have the information they need to identify areas of growth, potential skills shortages and to enable better matching graduates with areas of demand.

“Ninety° will also provide student placement services in a number of guises to link students with business,” it said. “This will ensure students complete tertiary education with the experience, skills and connections necessary to find jobs in the Hunter and with opportunities for career advancement to retain them in the region long-term.”

Team mentor Ms Larnach said while other student placement programs and market research organisations existed, the Ninety° point of difference layin its unique combination of the two –a focus on the social and economic sustainability of the Hunter region and the deep relationships it would form with key stakeholders.

Ms Larnarch encouraged businesses to encourage their“shining stars” to participate in the “engaging and practical” Future Leaders program.