Industry expo to help local businesses build a resilient future

CCIC Board Chairman, Peter Crane, and CCIC Executive Director, Frank Sammut.

The Central Coast Industry Festival and Expo, starting in August, is shaping up to be the largest industry event held in the region with 50 exhibitors, high-profile keynote speakers and nine free capability-building workshops on offer.

Held at Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi, from August 22 to September 3, the festival is organised by Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC), a not-for-profit organisation helping industries unlock growth opportunities through relationship building and collaboration.

CCIC Executive Director, Frank Sammut, said he applied for a grant under the Commonwealth and NSW Governments’ Disaster Recovery funding released in early 2020 to host the event.

“We’ve been wanting to do an event like this for five or six years,” Sammut said. 

“When the bushfire funding was released in early 2020, I saw an opportunity, mainly as it was centred on helping local industry build resilience against future disruptions, and that underpins everything we do.

“Part of our charter is to create employment, and the best way to do that is to make businesses secure and show them how to grow and connect them with the government.”

Sammut said the festival would include nine content-rich workshops designed to educate and upskill local manufacturing and food businesses to develop resilience against future disruption.

One of the highlights will be a three-day expo from September 1 to 3, where 50 of Central Coast’s best local food, beverage, agriculture and advanced manufacturing companies will come together to showcase their products and network to identify potential opportunities to collaborate.

Sammut said day one would be for the industry, day two for students and education providers and day three for the general public.

“The main goal expressed by exhibitors is to attract and recruit people,” he said.

“I am hoping they generate interest, not only on the education day but also the community day where some mature-aged people might see opportunities in manufacturing and industry for a career change.”

Workshops on offer will also include Grant Writing, Business Planning and Risk Mitigation, Innovation, LEAN Manufacturing Fundamentals, the Circular Economy and a full-day Supply Chain workshop.

All workshops will be free to attend for industry participants; however, registration is recommended as numbers will be limited.

CCIC Board Chairman, Peter Crane, said the festival would bring manufacturing and industry to the forefront and raise awareness about the sector’s significant contribution in terms of employment, the economy, innovation and the circular economy.

“A lot of people have a view of the Central Coast as a holiday destination or a place to retire,” Crane said.  

“Many don’t realise that manufacturing is the third largest contributor to our economy, delivering $3.4 billion a year and employing just under 2800 people.

“Manufacturing can provide you with a great set of transferable skills and can set you up for a fantastic career path…if we can attract more people that haven’t yet considered manufacturing as a destination, everyone will be richer for it.”

For more information, head to the festival and expo website at centralcoastindustryfestival.com.au

Hayley McMahon

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