Young classical musicians will be performing at events across the Hunter thanks to a new support program.

The money comes from Newcastle City Council’s Support for Arts and Cultural Organisations program.

The Newcastle Youth Orchestra (NYO), Catapult Dance and The Lock-Up were announced as the first recipients for the funding.

“The project based funding is designed to support the growth and vitality of Newcastle’s arts and cultural,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

NYO’s project includes over a dozen public performances over the course of its two-year grant period, professional development opportunities for its musicians, expanding its performances beyond Newcastle to Singleton and the Central Coast, and the purchase of new music.

Orchestra Manager Sally Ebert said the organisation was grateful for the opportunity.

“NYO is a relatively new organisation, we’re entering our sixth year, and this support will help us take our performances to the next level and cement our reputation in the region,” Ms Ebert said.

While the first round projects are getting underway, other Newcastle based arts and cultural organisations are invited to apply for the second round of funding, with expressions of interest now open.

The next round of funding will be allocated to two eligible organisations for projects to commence in the 2018-19 financial year. A total of $100,000 is available, subject to final adoption of council’s annual budget for 2018-19. An organisation may apply for up to $70,000 per year for up to three years.




I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?


Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.




NEWCASTLE could become Australia’s answer to Nashville if Mick Starkey and the city’s tourism chiefs can bring their dream for the city’s nightlife to reality.

Mr Starkey, the operator of the Stag & Hunter in Mayfield, is pushing a bold plan to bring together the pieces of the city’s music scene into a unified attraction that can drive tourism into the city.

Rather than focusing entirely on offering acts places to play, Mr Starkey said he wanted to make the city a place for musicians to develop, live, record and prosper – in turn boosting the economy. His vision has garnered backing from the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group.

Chairman Gus Maher said making the city a cradle of creativity had broad appeal. “Both young and more mature travellers participate in the arts, which live music typifies,” Mr Maher said.

“They will stay overnight, eat, drink and spend in local venues – all of which contributes to economic development and jobs.”

Mr Starkey pointed to storied music cities like the country music capital and New Orleans as examples where “people travel the world to go there”, saying many of the raw materials already exist in the city.

He said he was hopeful the NTIG backing would help the idea spread. “There’s many spokes in this wheel and they can be the group to bring it together,” he said.

“We’ve got some amazing talent that isn’t being seen,” he said. “There’s all these ancillary industries too, we’ve got a number of studios that are doing amazing things.”

“Whilst it currently exists on a smaller scale, I want us to be recognised internationally and not only draw people from Newcastle, Sydney and NSW but from around the world.”

Mr Starkey said he wanted to form a working group and lobby MPs to create a new story around the city’s nightlife that would attract visitors. “For 10 years it’s been touted as a bloodbath,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily about trading hours, I think it’s about messaging, saying that we are a great and artistic area.”

While he conceded building the reputation would be a “slow-burn”, he said the benefits would branch out far beyond the music scene.

“People talk about how great Newcastle was in the ’80s and fostering these great bands … times have changed but we want to encourage that,” he said.

“If collectively we are marketed in a way for people who come to see live music and original music, there’s going to be benefits to that.”



The University of Newcastle has been named as one of seven institutions that will lead a new $2million NSW Cyber Security Network announced today by the NSW Government.

“Cyber security is an evolving threat and that’s why we’re partnering with some of the country’s best and brightest researchers to ensure systems within government and the private sector are resilient and fit-for-purpose in 2018 and beyond,” Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said.

“This is also an opportunity to boost our growing cyber security workforce and promote the importance of STEM. The global market for cyber protection is forecast to be worth $170 billion by 2020, and NSW is in a unique position to be a jobs hub for this emerging sector.”

University of Newcastle Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall said the University of Newcastle had a depth and breadth of talent to bring to the Network via its Advanced Cyber Security Engineering Research Centre (ACSRC).

“This Network will facilitate access to, and development of, multiple technologies, applications, models and policies, vital to tackling the current challenges in privacy and security that Australia faces.”

“We’re delighted to be able to call upon our research strengths in this space to contribute to such a high impact collaboration between universities, government and industry.”

The NSW Cyber Security Network will:

  • identify solutions to emerging cyber security challenges;
  • train specialist graduates and develop a skilled cyber security workforce; and
  • provide industry with strategic and operational advice on cyber security threats.

Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane said: “This initiative takes the state’s strength in cyber security R&D across public universities and research institutions, and connects it with government agencies and businesses experiencing cyber security challenges.”

The initiative has been welcomed by key industry groups, including AGL Energy, the NRMA and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The Network’s inaugural Chair will be Mr Neville Steven AO.

The founding universities of the Network are: UNSW Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, the University of Wollongong, the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University. The Network complements the NSW Government’s NSW Defence Innovation Network and the NSW Smart Sensing Network.



Newcastle business owners looking for compensation to reduce the impact of light rail construction have instead been offered advice and assistance from a service that’s already available to businesses across NSW.

It was NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs’ main offer of help to more than 120 business people she addressed in Newcastle on Wednesday at an emotionally-charged meeting that ended with shouting from the floor. Ms Hobbs also offered to be part of a new working group to help businesses in the coming months and said Newcastle traders that required mediation wouldn’t face the $750 fee that the final stage usually costs.

 But several CBD business owners spoke of the hardship that they and their neighbours had faced since construction had closed large sections of Hunter Street. They called for better access, compensation and a greater effort to draw people back into the city.

Paul Murphy, who owns Churchills Carpet Court, argued that the state government should make low-interest loans or grants available to businesses, similar to what was offered in the wake of the 1989 earthquake. Traffic engineer Ron Brown said the difficulties people currently faced driving into the city was “a big obstacle”.

Ms Hobbs said the situation in Sydney, where the government was granting rent relief to businesses in the light rail construction zone because of delays, was different from the Hunter’s situation.

While she was “not ruling out” advocating for a grant, loan or compensation program for Newcastle businesses, she cautioned that extensive investigations would have to take place before she would approach NSW Treasury.

“I appreciate the fact that you believe you are going through a disrupted period in your lives – and you are,” she said. “One of the difficult things is you have to live through it.”

Ms Hobbs said business owners were entitled to four free consultations with Business Connect, a support service available across NSW that can help sort out cash-flow problems, give social media advice, provide mediation and contact landlords on behalf of business owners.

Late in the meeting when Ms Hobbs was referring to the expected benefits light rail would bring to the city, an audience member yelled: “if we’re still here”.

Another attendee followed: “Newcastle businesses will be doing great when it’s all done, but they’ll be different businesses”.

Hunter Development Corporation CEO and Revitalising Newcastle project manager Michael Cassel also took questions and gave an update on the progress of the light rail project.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the issue of assistance for businesses was “unresolved and something we are going to have to work on”.

Mr Hawes and executive manager of business advocacy group Newcastle Now Michael Neilson – whose groups organised the meeting at the suggestion of Ms Hobbs’ office – both said the key to getting through the difficult period was working together and “looking forward, not looking back”.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Hawes said “there was a lot of emotion in the room” and business owners had delivered a clear message.

Call for access, not more advertising

If you ask Bernie Hockings, easing the pain of light rail construction for city businesses isn’t about getting the job done quicker – it’s about doing it “better”.

Mr Hockings, who owns Metro Cycles, was one of several frustrated business owners who made their feelings clear to NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs at a meeting on Wednesday. His comments came after Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel assured the gathering that the job was being completed as quickly as possible.

Mr Hockings dismissed suggestions from the crowd that loans or grants should be available to affected businesses – he said improving access to businesses should be the top priority.

“I don’t want more advertising, I want access. Do it better, not faster,” he said. “If you paid me to get out of my lease and out of the city, I would.”

He told the Herald he had been hesitant to speak up because when he had in the past, internet trolls targeted his business’ Facebook page.




Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.


1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.


4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.


5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.


The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.




Worried what your boss thinks of you—if they like you, trust you, and think your contributions match up to their expectations?

If so, you’re not alone. Considering you’ll end up spending 10 years of your life at work, getting along with your boss is not only critical to succeeding in your career, but matters for your overall happiness and engagement at the office.

With that in mind, here are three easy ways to develop an effective, productive, and mutually rewarding relationship with your manager (even if they’re a tough cookie to crack):

1. Stop Using Email to Have Important Conversations
Is email your go-to forum for everything? In certain cases, it could be hurting your relationship. Even if it’s your manager’s favorite medium, it’s time to break the pattern of always relying on this.

Opt for in-person meetings if the conversation’s beyond a task or agenda-setting item—for example, if you’re asking for something or apologizing for a mistake. Not only is it just polite, it’ll most likely lead to a more productive discussion and help ensure you and your boss are truly on the same page.

“All of us are the worst possible version of ourselves in digital media,” adds Celeste Headlee, journalist and author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. “We might think we are persuasive in email, but scientifically, we are so much more persuasive in person.”

2. See Your Relationship With Your Boss as a Two-Way Street
Too often, we see ourselves as the executors and our managers as the creators of work, forgetting that our manager is also responsible for their own assignments.

So, if you want to immediately improve your relationship, ask them this simple question: “What can I do for you?” By opening up this conversation, you open the door for them to delegate projects they may not have otherwise considered. And, taking on stretch assignments can improve your visibility and lead to career advancement.

3. Be a Good Recipient of Feedback (and Ask Pointed Questions)

Get in the mindset that you want actual, honest feedback—and be physically ready for it.
Even if the feedback seems insensitive, kindly explain how the approach hurt your feelings, but then ask questions to get at the root of the problem, making it clear you really do want to improve. If you’re a good feedback recipient, your boss will be more likely to share valuable advice with you, which will ultimately help you grow.

And, if you’re finding that you only getting positive feedback, ask your manager to be more specific, or try mentioning something you wish you’d handled differently.

“If you open a dialogue with self-reflection, you give your boss—who might be uncomfortable giving you criticism—the opportunity to go on the learning journey with you,” advises Denise Cox, VP of Technical Services at Cisco Systems.

Finally, don’t wait for periodic reviews to get constructive feedback. If you can, ask your manager to schedule time to meet one-on-one weekly or monthly.

Research by Gallup shows that 50% of employees leave their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career,” which means building the right kind of relationship with your boss can make a real difference to your job satisfaction and career progression. Plus, it’ll make your friends and family find you much more enjoyable to be around outside of work.




Newcastle City Council has welcomed a $5 million Australian Government grant to deploy digital technology to make it easier to move around the city and run it more efficiently.

The Smart Move Newcastle project, part of Council’s Smart City vision, will integrate digital technology in vehicles and infrastructure to deliver a more convenient multi-modal transport system and yield productivity and energy efficiency gains.

In addition to the $5 million contribution, Newcastle City Council together with partners will contribute $10 million. Key city partners include Keolis Downer, the University of Newcastle, Eighteen04, CSIRO and RDA Hunter.

The federal funding will support a range of initiatives including:
• A pilot electric vehicle hub on the city fringe with chargers for electric cars and e-bikes for hire
• On-demand bus transport offering a more personalised service
• Autonomous vehicle trials
• Bus stops with technology to provide users with real-time information, such as when the next bus is due and how many seats are available
• Roads and intersections with real-time traffic analysis to give emergency vehicles green lights and commuters a heads up on traffic jams
• Inroad sensors to provide data on parking availability via apps
• Sensors in buildings to monitor and manage energy use and provide business insights
• Cameras in smart light poles to analyse cloud coverage and estimate solar energy production

The announcement follows the NSW Government’s $10 million commitment to the $17.8 million Hunter Innovation Project (HIP) in September last year.

The HIP is now delivering smart city infrastructure throughout Newcastle’s CBD and will establish an innovation hub for researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to commercialise ideas and promote economic development.



Hunter Young Professionals (hyp) is seeking community champions, thought leaders and change agents for their 2018 board.

The local networking organisation specifically targeting young professionals is looking for individuals who are passionate about their cause to join the organisation with enthusiasm, desire and focus.

President, James Callender said a position on the hyp board provides opportunities to challenge one’s self, meet new people, learn new skills and advocate for the growth and direction of our local community.

 “2017 has been a strong year for hyp. Our membership continues to grow as young professionals gravitate towards the annual learning journey that we facilitate. The 2017 impact journey featuring local and national keynote speakers saw record event attendance and new venue activation,” James said.

“We have come a long way this year and we are looking forward to seeing and experiencing where the new board will take the organisation in 2018.”

Nominees for the 2018 hyp board are expected to combine their acquired skill set with a desire to learn, collaborate, facilitate and grow as a professional. The organisation supports four key focus areas of communications, events, membership and sponsorship.

To be eligible to nominate for a board position and vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), it is a constitutional requirement that you are a registered voting member of HYP and between the age of 18 and 40. HYP membership is free.

Nominations are open for the 2018 Hunter Young Professionals board until 31 December. Voting will take place at the organisation’s AGM on Tuesday 30 January 2018 at Queens Wharf Hotel.

“If you want 2018 to be a year of change, challenge, reward and recognition, nominate yourself for the hyp Board,” James said.

“It’s a chance to learn, contribute to the community and inspire others.”




For Tourism Hunter chairman Will Creedon, the Newcastle 500 Supercars event was a success before a single race was run on the weekend.

“People are starting to see the significance of events,” Mr Creedon said, “and the emergence of the visitor economy. That is really, really satisfying. A lot of people in our region have been harping about what tourism can do. This is one of the events. It doesn’t matter if it is Supercars. It is how we have set ourselves up.

“A lot of people have worked hard. Some will never be known. I want to thank them. By having such a major event it allows us our next step.”

He offers a bevy of events in Newcastle and the Hunter over the past 10 years that have proved the region has the infrastructure in place to hold a major event like Supercars. He reels off a list of acquired strengths – volunteers, police, business support and industry. And the events that preceded Supercars: Special Olympics, World Youth Games, Asian Cup and home-grown festivals like Steamfest in Maitland.

Mr Creedon’s busy mind is already focused on the next big thing.

“Our first major event just happened to be Supercars,” he said. “The thing is, it’s the first major event. That is really important. For me, it is about where do we set ourselves up for in the future.”

One creative idea floated by Creedon: why not take advantage of the massive temporary infrastructure and road closures put in place for the Supercars event, perhaps as early as next year. The concept: immediately after the Supercars host a convention around engineering technologies and other smart technologies, drawing the best from Asia and the Hunter region.

He is also an advocate for the property along Newcastle’s foreshore from Nobbys lighthouse all the way to Wickham coming under separate management.

“I believe we need an authority to program and drive that area,” he said. “I’m not talking buildings, I’m talking about activities, events, things that enrich our everyday lives. By default, it will enhance cruise activities. It will enhance the reason to live here.”

Mr Creedon envisions it as a “global playground” capable of drawing 400,000 visitors on a weekend.

Turning the old Newcastle train station into a vital tourism drawcard is essential, he said. “It’s not about the built form. You can be really clever there.”

He said the location could be “our Statue of Liberty”.

So many changes in the past five years have already contributed to Newcastle becoming a buzz city to others around the nation and world, he said.

“We don’t know how great we are, and how great we can be,” he said.



NEWCASTLE’s pedigree as a pub rock city is on show as part of a museum exhibition celebrating its heyday.

Rock This City offers a glimpse through time to the sweaty band rooms of pubs and clubs around the city in the 1970s and 1980s until February 4.

It features acts like The Heroes, DV8, A Rabbit, Total Fire Band and Live Wire.

The exhibition features objects from the era, gig posters, outfits and video footage. It also covers the infamous Star Hotel riot of September 1979.

The Newcastle Museum exhibition shares its name with a book by professional historian and researcher Gaye Sheather published last year.

It came together through more than 20 interviews with musicians including Mark Tinson (A Rabbit, The Heroes), Greg Bryce (DV8), Dana Soper (The Magic Bus) and former journalist and musician Leo Della Grotta (Baron).

Ms Sheather helped curate the showcase of the city’s glory days of live music.

She told the Newcastle Herald in 2016 that the period laid a foundation for bands like The Screaming Jets and Silverchair.

“I guess the environment had changed by then and Triple J has become national, so there was more scope for bands to play to greater audiences,” she said.



The University of Newcastle (UON) has attracted $12.2m in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding to investigate some of the nation’s and world’s greatest health challenges.

Announced today by the Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the NHMRC funding for Newcastle will support 17 research projects and three fellowships.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the NHMRC’s support for Newcastle’s researchers was testament to the University’s reputation for conducting world-class research.

“The University of Newcastle boasts some of the most accomplished, innovative and internationally-renowned minds in health and medicine,” Professor Hall said.

“Today’s announcement by the Australian Government bolsters Newcastle’s outstanding research performance in stroke and fertility, and acknowledges our strengths in research delivery across respiratory diseases, cancers and, mental health and substance use.”

“Research carried out at UON benefits not only the Hunter community, but also creates impact both nationally, and worldwide. Today’s announcement of almost $12 million in new funding will allow our academics to continue to lead the way in health and medical research.”

The NHMRC funding announcement includes support for the following projects:

$1.4m to Professor Amanda Baker and her team to develop Quitlink: Accessible smoking cessation support for people living with severe and enduring mental illness. This project will use the peer workforce, whose development in mental health services is a national priority, to bridge the persistent gap between mental health services and Quitline.
$385,000 to Dr Chantal Donovan and her team to target remodelling in COPD, chronic asthma and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). These diseases have enormous socioeconomic burdens in worldwide, and are amongst the most common, debilitating lung diseases, characterised by a loss of lung function leading to severe breathing difficulties.
$870,000 to Associate Professor Christopher Dayas and his team: Cognitive inflexibility and the development of pathological habits in brain diseases.
$1.1m to Professor Murray Cairns and his team to examine complete genomics for mechanistic insight and precision treatments of schizophrenia.
$640,000 to Professor Murray Cairns to investigate the network biomarkers of traumatic stress resilience and sensitivity. This project will explore why some individuals exposed to trauma respond adversely while others do not. Traumatic stress is a significant precursor for chronic mental and physical illness, which collectively represent a substantial burden of disease globally.
$650,000 to Associate Professor Brett Graham and his team who will determine how a recently discovered network of nerve cells in the spinal cord contributes to extreme, persistent pain, and explore how it could be targeted to provide pain relief.
$1m to Associate Professor Christopher Grainge and his team to investigate whether bronchoconstriction (airway narrowing) worsens asthma.
$925,000 to Professor Philip Hansbro and his team explain the role and potential for therapeutic targeting of toll-like-receptor 7 (TLR7) in emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
$905,000 to Professor Phil Hansbro and his team to define the roles and targeting interferon-epsilon as a new therapy for influenza in asthma and COPD.
$820,000 to Dr Gerard Kaiko and his team to investigate functional characterisation of novel metabolites in asthma and identification of new biomarkers.
$175,000 to Dr Heather Lee and her team to target cancer-initiating cells with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors, which may lead to the prevention of cancer progression.
$405,000 to Associate Professor Joerg Lehmann and his team: First ever system to continuously and directly measure the internal anatomy to guide breast cancer radiation treatment under deep inspiration breath hold.
$530,000 to Professor Brett Nixon and his team for their project: Elucidating the role of epididymosomes in the transfer of fertility-modulating proteins and regulatory classes of RNA to maturing spermatozoa.
$450,000 to Dr Kirsty Pringle and her team to explore the factors that inhibit the trigger of preterm birth, the single largest cause of death in infants. This may lead to the identification of novel treatments that have the potential to delay the onset of preterm labour.
$510,000 to Associate Professor Rohan Walker and his team to investigate paralysis of microglial (a type of cell located throughout the brain and spinal cord) in post-stroke neurodegeneration (SND): help or hindrance?
$490,000 for Associate Professor Rohan Walker to assess stroke induced disturbances in glymphatic clearance: implications for brain repair?
$675,000 Professor Xu Dong Zhang for their project: Role of lncRNA IDH1-AS1 in regulating c-Myc driven-glycolysis and tumorigenesis.
The NHMRC also announced three Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships to UON researchers:

Associate Professor Gillian Gould, School of Medicine and Public Health ($180,000)
Mrs Rachel Sutherland, School of Health Sciences ($180,000)
Dr Kate Bartlem, School of Psychology ($180,000) – offered under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Next Generation Clinical Researchers Program from the MRFF Health Special Account.
Professor Christopher Grainge is a Staff Specialist in Respiratory & General Medicine at Hunter New England Health. Dr Rachel Sutherland is Nutrition Manager at HNE Population Health. Dr Kate Bartlem is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at HNE Population Health.




KURRI KURRI High’s innovative new teaching model could be replicated across the state, after the school’s staff held a conference to share their findings with 150 NSW teachers.

Principal Tracey Breese said teachers from across the Hunter, Sydney and as far away as Cobar and Wagga Wagga packed into Newcastle City Hall for the three day Project Nest conference, which is being held with support from UK based organisation EOS Education.

“Some of the teachers are completely gobsmacked with what we’ve done,” Ms Breese said. “It was a big jump off the cliff for my staff and community, but we’ve seen great results and such excitement in the year six kids who are coming to our school.”

Ms Breese joined the school mid-2016 and worked with staff and input from EOS Education to develop a new model of teaching, where year seven students attend classes for just three subjects underpinned by developing their literacy and numeracy skills: STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), Quest (covering history, geography, English and art) and Lifestyle (comprising personal development, health and physical education, sport and health). Students learn from three teachers for each subject and in medium and small groups, depending on tasks. Students must then complete projects that demonstrate what they have learned. They don’t sit tests, except for NAPLAN. “The skillbase we’re giving students is about taking knowledge, using knowledge and representing it in a different way,” she said. “Kids are learning they have to be able to work with other people and to be responsible for and self regulate their own learning.”



Fact: Working with other people is hard. Even when you like them.

And over the years, I’ve tried different strategies to improve relationships (or, at the very least, prevent myself from freaking out in people’s faces).

But then, last year, I started going to therapy to deal with a situation outside the office. And I was surprised to realise that a lot of the advice I was getting could be applied to the workplace, too.

In fact, by using these therapist-approved strategies, I’m able to deal with difficult work situations much better now. So, before you let co-workers drive you up another wall, here are three new things to try.

1. Validate the Person’s Feelings Before You Do Anything Else

You know that passive aggressive co-worker who drives you nuts? Dealing with their behaviour can be super annoying!

Now, most of us don’t need therapy to recognise that we don’t have any control over others’ moods or behavior. But, instead of getting irritated about it, my therapist taught me a trick that makes that reality way easier to accept. All I have to do is imagine why someone might be acting the way they are, identify how I would feel if I were in their position, and then validate that feeling.

For example, if a client asks me to turn a project in sooner than we’d initially agreed and then gets annoyed when I say no, I’ll first try to identify why they might be making this request. Maybe their boss is putting pressure on them. If that were me, I’d be feeling really stressed out. And, I’d be disappointed if my request for an accelerated deadline were turned down. So, I’ll tell my client, “I imagine that this is probably disappointing for you.”

I know it sounds a little hokey, but this works wonders. By trying to empathise (even if I think the person’s wrong) and then validating what they’re feeling, I’m able to shift my attitude from frustration to empathy.

And, the client feels heard, too. Nine times out of 10, they’ll calmly reply, “Yes, I do feel disappointed.” It’s like identifying the feeling takes the hot air out of the situation. I’m then able to reiterate that I can’t accommodate an earlier deadline without things escalating.
2. Say What You’re Actually Thinking—and Say it Clearly

When I used to find myself in an awkward situation, I’d usually scramble to make things less awkward as quickly as possible. This usually meant bending over backward to make the other person happy, with no regard for my needs or feelings.

Now, I use a simple formula that I learned in therapy to clearly and concisely make my point:

the change I’d like + why the current option isn’t working + why my preference is better

For example, I had a client who said she hated my proposal. I’m perfectly fine with constructive feedback, but telling me you hate something doesn’t help me at all. So I said, “I’d like us to communicate with each other more respectfully because telling me you hate something doesn’t feel constructive. I’d prefer if you provided me with specific feedback about what isn’t working for you because that’ll help me to to deliver the work product you’re looking for.”

She immediately apologised and we were able to get on the same page from there.

As I’ve become more comfortable telling people what does or doesn’t work for me, being more assertive has gotten less scary. Even better, it’s made my working relationships stronger and more honest.
3. Set Boundaries

I’m a recovering people pleaser with a serious compulsion to say “No problem!” without even thinking. This usually leads to me feeling stressed and resentful, which isn’t good for me (or fair to my co-workers).

Getting comfortable with setting boundaries has made a huge difference. When a client asks me to sit in on a last-minute meeting or my boss wants me to work late, I now pause and consider whether or not it’s something I am willing and able to take on. If it’s not, I simply say, “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.” If it makes, sense, I’ll offer up a reason or an alternative solution. But sometimes, no just means no.

I’ve learned that setting boundaries can also be a proactive exercise. I’ll often tell new clients up front that I don’t check emails over the weekend or that I need a full 24 hours to respond to new requests. Managing expectations and setting boundaries from the start helps me to avoid annoying or uncomfortable situations in the future.

In no way am I suggesting that you should start saying no to every request from your boss, or setting ridiculous boundaries with your co-workers. These relationships are two-way streets, and you’ll sometimes need to bend to accommodate others.

I also understand that not everyone can turn down their manager when she asks them to work late or to avoid email all weekend—everyone’s boundaries will be different. But, learning about these strategies has made it way easier for me to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll work for you, too.


Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes say new ferry stops at Stockton and Wickham should be a “very strong part” of the state government’s transport master plan for the Lower Hunter.

The state government’s Draft Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan lists new ferry stops in Newcastle as an “initiative for investigation in 10 to 20 years, subject to business case development”.

But Cr Nelmes said a new ferry wharf to service Stockton’s 4000 residents, airport commuters and Port Stephens should be a priority, along with a stop near the new Wickham transport interchange.

Hunter Development Corporation is understood to have included a future Wickham wharf in its planning for a stretch of vacant Honeysuckle waterfront land near the marina.

“Linking passengers from the expanding suburbs north of the Hunter River, and from Newcastle Airport, directly to the interchange would certainly create a better commuter experience for those passengers, especially workers who commute daily for work,” Cr Nelmes said.

She said a new Stockton wharf could be built near the refurbished North Stockton Boat Ramp.

Newcastle City Council announced last week that it was investigating doubling the size of the car park at the Stockton terminal, from 120 to 250, and introducing paid parking. It has included a north Stockton terminal in its feasibility study.

The Newcastle ferry service catered for more than 450,000 passengers in the past year, according to Transport for NSW Opal card data, although the true number could be significantly higher.

Transport for NSW told the council in June that a draft of the 40-year Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan would be released in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Exploring options for an additional ferry stop at north Stockton would naturally ease pressure on the Stockton terminal, and the surrounding commuter car parking, as well as providing a great option for commuters travelling to Newcastle from north Stockton and Port Stephens,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Ultimately, expanded ferry services should also be a very strong part of the NSW government’s integrated transport plan for Newcastle, along with all other modes of transport required to assist Newcastle transition from a great regional centre into an emerging global city.”

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp also urged the government to include the Wickham interchange in its short-term thinking, saying 10 to 20 years was far too long to wait.

Supercars will use the existing Stockton car park and parkland to the west and east as a paid parking area during the Newcastle 500 weekend in late November.



You’ve likely heard the advice to add numbers to your resume bullets. It helps recruiters really picture the impact you’ve made in your position, and it frankly just sounds more impressive.

See for yourself: Which person would you hire?

Person 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project, and developing computerized material take-off sheets.

Person 2: Initiated and managed tracking systems used for the Green District water decontamination project, saving $125,000 on the overall project through a 30% decrease of staff allocation time.


Of course, I know what you might be thinking: Sounds great, but what if I just don’t really work with hard numbers? Maybe you’re in a role that requires softer skills, or maybe you don’t have hard data or sales reports to pull from.

That’s OK! Truthfully, no matter what you do, you can add some numbers and data to your resume to give it that extra touch.

Here are three ways to quantify your experience without being in an inherently quant-y field:

1. Range

Not knowing the exact figure for things is often a big deterrent for using numbers in resumes. But one way to overcome this is to use a range.

It’s perfectly fine to not know exactly how many clients you see a month or how many calls you take a week, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still quantify it.

Give it your best estimate, and the range will show that there is a bit of leeway. And, of course, focus on your impact.

2. Frequency

Now that you know it’s fine to use a range, one of the easiest ways to add some numbers is to include how frequently you do a particular task (after all, that’s a number that applies to pretty much everyone).

This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations—a hiring manager will be able to see just how much you can handle.

3. Scale

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Employers across the board care about money—and saving it. Including the frequency of your actions give a great sense of scale, but an even more eye-catching way to do this is to talk about the bottom line.

Think about all the things you do that ultimately save your company money, whether it’s streamlining a procedure, saving time, or negotiating discounts with vendors. Multiply those actions by how frequently you do them, and pop them into your resume bullets (remembering, again, that rough numbers are OK).

Numbers make such a huge difference in resumes—no matter what your work involves.

So, the next time you’re polishing your resume, try adding a few numbers to quantify your work and see how they really drive home the impact you’re capable of making.


You’ve waited months for this moment—the chance to prove your worth to your boss and get a leg up in your career.

Let me break it to you: You won’t get what you want if you don’t prepare properly. In fact, your review will only go well if you get organized and collect all your information before the talk.

So, with that in mind, here’s what you need to do the night of your next performance review to put yourself in a great position for a productive conversation that’ll get you ahead in your career and get you on your boss’ good side:

1. Learn How to Respond to Feedback

You know not to yell (right?). But do you know there are ways to respond to negative feedback that actually make you look good?

You’re going to want to pay attention to the following because it’s possible you’ll receive some not-so-great feedback. And even if you’ve been doing fabulous work, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to receive some form of constructive criticism (no one’s perfect, after all).

First, as Muse Career Coach Emily Liou points out in an article about handling negative feedback, own up to your mistakes and be ready to offer a solution or show initiative to do better.

And, says Muse Writer Rich Moy, avoid blurting out things like “I didn’t realize that was wrong” or “It won’t happen again!”

2. Collect Your Accomplishments

Think you deserve a raise?

It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.

3. Review Your Current Goals

Did you set goals at your last review? Or, do you have some personal ones of your own?

Either way, reviews are a great time to look back at what you were hoping to accomplish and see if you, well, actually did them.

If you met your goals, what did you learn along the way? Which ones are you most proud of? How can you build on them in the future?

And if you didn’t achieve them, how far did you get? Did your priorities change? What held you back? What can you do differently going forward?

Jot down some notes to discuss further with your manager when you meet. Which leads me to…

4. Set Some New Goals

Now that you know how far you’ve come, now you can decide where you want to go.

Do this by setting some realistic, yet ambitious goals. Consider the following:

What skills would you like to master by your next review?
What responsibilities do you want to take on?
What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
What weaknesses would you like to improve upon?
What goals would you like to continue to build on?
What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running?

5. Prepare Any Lingering Questions

Especially if one-on-one time is rare in your office, reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered. It could be about the status of your team or department, or the goals of the company, or possibilities for career growth (like budget to get some professional development help).

6. Prepare for a Tough Conversation

Maybe your boss will bring up some serious concerns. Maybe you even seen a performance improvement plan coming. Or, maybe it’ll be a normal review on your manager’s end, but you’re going to have to raise your hand to discuss bigger issues.

For example, now’s a good time to talk about the fact that you’re bored in your role or you’d like to consider an internal transfer.

Having these conversations is hard! But being prepared makes it a little easier.

7. Pat Yourself on the Back

Finally, give yourself some credit for making it to this big milestone. Sure, it happens every year, and you may not even receive anything special except for a simple “Great work” from your manager, but you’ve made it through what was probably a busy, exhausting, or even tumultuous period—look back on it, pat yourself on the back for everything awesome you did, and know you’re going to kick even more butt after this review.


Now all you have to do is double-check your review time (in case you have a jam-packed day), lay out a slightly-nicer-than-usual outfit (it doesn’t hurt), and get some beauty sleep.

And no matter what happens, because you’ve prepared, you’re sure to handle it like a champ.



Newcastle’s heritage buildings will get a hand from the state government with funding.

Nobbys Headland will receive $39,000, while the Maritime Museum will get more than $64,000 for projects that “increase community interaction and participation” with heritage.

The museum said it plans to use its funding for an animation project, which includes a 360-degree 3D virtual reality exhibit.

Income generation, activation options and flexible interpretive spaces will be explored for the headland.



Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:


It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”


It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.


It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.


Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.


MORE than 400 job seekers with a disability have been hired by Hunter businesses in the past 12 months, according to leading employment services provider, APM.

APM has been promoting the benefits of employment for people with illnesses, injuries or disability, and supporting employers in the region, since 2002.

Since October last year the company, which is Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services (DES), achieved 426 successful job placements for throughout the Hunter.

As well as supporting job seekers through applications, interviews and training, the service works with employers to match potential employees to positions in their business.

APM’s Regional Manager for DES, Kate Falkenmire, said their teams work with job seekers from all backgrounds and with a range of disabilities to seek out the sustainable employment options across the region.

The service also helps local businesses access government wage subsidies and access funds for new equipment, workplace modifications or training required to assist a job seeker when they start work.

The Smith Family Trust owner Doug Smith recently hired job seeker Shane Riley through APM. Shane is the fifth person he has employed through the company and Doug said he regularly makes use of the support APM offers.

“They assisted with the end-to-end recruitment and have been providing regular support for over six months for my employees in the workplace,” he said.

Building on the success of their DES program, APM recently launched its first service to specifically help young job seekers across Hunter and the Central Coast.

APM YES (Youth Employment Services) looks to engage school leavers and people aged 15 to 24, and help boost their prospects of finding employment after leaving the classroom. While also helping local businesses fill their hiring gaps.



The Hunter Region’s lack of highly-paid jobs could be greatly improved with a much bigger injection of state infrastructure funding, a leading academic says.

This lack of higher incomes meant less consumption and less opportunity, University of Western Sydney Professor Phillip O’Neill said

Only 6 per cent of Hunter residents earn more than $2000 a week, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

The Hunter is slightly ahead of its regional neighbour, the Central Coast, an area where 5 per cent of citizens earn that kind of money.

In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, 17 per cent of people make more than $2000 a week.

Professor O’Neill, who teaches geography and urban studies, said there was an absence in the Hunter of “very highly paid professional services occupations, in particular law and finance”.

The decline of heavy industry like BHP and the sale of coal mines to global corporations added to a lack of senior positions, he said.

An exodus of senior positions in the region’s public sector since the 1980s and 1990s was also a factor.

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter had its positives, including a world-class university and TAFE, but “a lot of graduates from those institutions are forced to leave the region” to get good jobs.

Other attractive attributes included Newcastle Airport, the M1 motorway and Newcastle’s harbourside location.

But by world standards, the region was not competitive enough, he said.

He said it was difficult to think of any solution, other than a concerted government effort to attract a core of quality employers.

“There are good lessons in Australia to how governments can build concentrations of work,” he said.

“One is the Barangaroo project in Sydney.”

He said the NSW government had built infrastructure and partnered with the private sector to create this precinct.

“Barangaroo will yield 25,000 high-quality professional services jobs,” he said.

“If it takes that sort of effort to generate that number of jobs on the edge of Sydney Harbour in the middle of a global city, why would governments think that jobs can somehow spring up spontaneously in a regional city without similar effort?”

While the NSW government is spending $650 million to revitalise Newcastle, it is spending much more at Barangaroo.

Additionally, it is spending billions on the Sydney Metro rail system, which will have a station at Barangaroo.

“Every successful professional services conglomeration has excellent amenity for workers and high-speed transport and telecommunications connections,” Professor O’Neill, who lives in the Hunter, said.

Investment in Newcastle was “unbalanced because it’s biased towards residential”.

“It’s high quality residential and, no doubt, it’s the type of development that would attract qualified young professionals,” he said.

“But we don’t see the type of commercial and infrastructure development that significant employers would be looking for to invest in downtown Newcastle.”

As such, apartments would more likely attract retirees than workers, he said.

Newcastle City Council said it had, for years, been working with Hunter Development Corporation, Urban Growth and the Department of Planning to revitalise the city centre.

“Council has also examined the future role of Wickham, adjacent to the new commercial core, through the recently released master plan for the suburb,” a spokesman said.

“The vision sees Wickham evolving into a diverse and dynamic mixed-use precinct.

“As part of the master plan, proposals are being considered to increase building heights along the rail corridor to help promote the growth of employment opportunities, including service industries.”

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter was evolving into “a broader service-based economy”.

“The sorts of jobs that are typical of a population-based service sector aren’t highly-paid positions,” he said.

“They also include a higher proportion of casual and part-time positions.

“This gives you a larger number of people in the $20,000 to $30,000 a year bracket – almost certainly they are part-time and casual workers.”

The ABS figures show that 30 per cent of Hunter residents earn $15,600 to $41,600 a year.

Professor O’Neill said the coal industry had provided numerous jobs worth more than $100,000 over the last decade.

“Those coal numbers have backed away in recent years,” he said.

“There isn’t a high concentration of occupations in the Hunter that pay in excess of $100,000 per annum, at least as far as wages and salary earners are concerned.

“If anything, the likelihood of finding those jobs is diminishing.”



NEWCASTLE Library will close for almost a fortnight as part of a restock and upgrade.

The War Memorial Cultural Centre, which houses the library, is receiving a grand re-opening to mark its 60th anniversary.

It will shut from October 3 until October 14 as part of the works, which begin September 30.

The local history library will also be closed ahead of the October 16 re-opening.

“This is an exciting time for Newcastle Library as the final work is done on its transformation into a facility befitting the digital age,” Newcastle City Council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said.

“The original design and layout of the facility catered to manual record keeping of the 1960s and a catchment area of around 150,000 people, so it’s a timely upgrade ahead of the building’s Diamond anniversary.”

Work started in April to modernise the library, including a “makerspace’ showcasing digital technology on the first floor.

The building will also accommodate collaborative work and study areas under the $1.3 million changes.

Space to read and research will grow about 85 square metres, with quiet spaces and a children’s zone also included.

The after-hours return chute will remain open to accept the return of items during the 11-day closure.


jobs people

When you are thinking about career options, it can be helpful to know where the jobs will be.

Australia’s population is changing. The population is getting older, more females are in paid work, and the number of school aged children is growing. Demand is likely to grow for aged care, childcare, home based care, and education services.

Housing construction, investment in infrastructure (like roads, railways and airports), tourism activity and the international education sector are expected to stay strong.

The number and type of JOB OPENINGS available in the future will depend on things like

  • turnover (workers leaving their job to do things like study, move to another job, care for a family member, retire or travel)
  • demand for goods and services
  • demand for resources
  • changes in technology

Industry Outlook
Over the 5 years to 2020, the department expects the LARGEST JOBS GROWTH will be in

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Education and Training

By 2020, there will probably be FEWER JOBS in

  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

These are important industries and turnover will provide opportunities for workers with the right skills.
Some parts of these industries (like Food Product Manufacturing) are expected to grow.

Career Outlook
The department expects there will be many new jobs for Professionals, Community and Personal Service Workers.

Some of the JOBS EXPECTED TO GROW the most are

  • Registered Nurses
  • Aged and Disabled Carers
  • Accountants
  • Electricians

Some jobs need more training now than they used to (like Child Carers in day care centres), and most of the new jobs created over the next few years will be higher skilled. There are millions of lower skilled jobs and these can be rewarding careers or pathways to other jobs.

Employer needs can change quickly. Workers who are willing to learn, gain experience and build their skills will be well placed to find and keep a job.



THE Grateful is, well, grateful.

The “one for one” pay-it-forward bouquet business launched barely six months ago by Newcastle mums Gemma McBurnie and Jessica Shuwalow has reached a milestone.

The online floral business has delivered more than 500 of its bouquets to the John Hunter Hospital and Ronald McDonald House thanks to the support of local businesses and individuals.

The Grateful works on the concept of allowing clients to buy a bouquet knowing that another similar bouquet will then be donated to the hospital.

“It’s almost like it’s become bigger than us, The Grateful has its own legs and we are just keeping it going, the community support has been amazing,” says Mrs Shuwalow.

“And when you go to the hospital, people come running up to say thank you and that we’ve made their week, so it’s taken off.

“It’s not really about the numbers [of bouquets] but it’s about the impact.”

Friends Mrs McBurnie and Mrs Shuwalow began their venture late in 2016, determined to run a business that “removes transactional consumerism” and allows customers to bring cheer to themselves and others.

Hunter businesses soon learnt of the venture and many take part in a subscription program where they receive a weekly bouquet for their office, home, clients or employees and then sponsor a particular area of the hospital or Ronald McDonald House where their donated bouquet goes.

At the end of each week following the delivery of their donated bouquets, participants receive an ‘feel good’ email update with some pictures and a story about their donated bouquet, which businesses can then share with their network.

Mrs Shuwalow said the business has grown organically – both she and Ms McBurnie have young children and have not actively promoted it – and relied on word of mouth: “For us it’s not about the money so far, it’s been more about the cause.”

And the community has rallied to the cause.

“We’ve had people calling to offer jars or vases which we use to put the flowers in, or just to donate, it’s been overwhelming,” she says.

“People feel so good with the concept, it puts things in perspective, like ‘Hey, I can afford flowers if it’s once a week or yearly but I can share that’, because there is someone else always worse off than you, so be grateful for the good things.”

The Grateful supports local florists in sourcing its blooms and its founders plan to open a bricks and mortar store in Carrington with the same concept, this time dealing in homewares and clothing.



Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has called for the the state’s new fleet of regional trains to be built in the Hunter.

On Monday Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced the replacement of the entire regional train fleet and the construction of a new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW.

Expression of Interest will soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the trains and the new maintenance facility, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred location.

It has prompted Ms Hornery  to call for a commitment from the government to build the trains locally.

“This government has a track record of kicking workers while they are down, after last year announcing that the $2.3 billion project to build the new fleet of intercity trains was being sent overseas,” she said.

“Now we see the government announce the replacement of the Regional Rail Fleet and there is no commitment to build these trains locally.

“We have that capability right here in the Wallsend electorate. Our local workers can build these contracts on time and on budget.

“The government should commit to build them here.”

A tender process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019. The announcement also mentioned the “use of private financing” for at least part of the project to replace 60 XPT passenger cars, 19 diesel locomotives, 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.

The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider. The new trains are expected to be completed in the early 2020s.



Things are looking up for Hunter mining, and that means growth, investment and jobs.

Just over 12 months ago, the commodity markets turned upward, including a significant rise in the price of both thermal and coking coal.

This resurgence in the coal price has driven healthy economic activity in the Hunter, as lower production costs secured during the downturn have boosted productivity and helped miners lock in the benefits of rising prices.

In a further boost for Hunter mining, the rise in commodity prices has been complemented by a strong ongoing demand for local coal. The 2016 Port of Newcastle export figures highlight the strong global demand for our coal, with record tonnage exported through the Port last year.

China increased imports of NSW coal by almost 9 per cent to over 24 million tonnes in 2016. Chinese demand for NSW coal has grown strongly in the past six years – from just 1 per cent of NSW coal exports in 2007 to 14 per cent of all NSW coal exports within a decade.

This growing demand has continued into 2017, with Coal Services data showing exports to China in April 2017 already up 29 per cent compared with the same time last year.

Demand for Hunter coal is also increasing across a range of other Asian markets. This reflects the deployment of more coal-fired power generation capacity across the region, including new advanced technology High Efficiency Low Emissions coal-fired power plants. For example, there was a 71 per cent increase in the volume of NSW coal exported to the Philippines in 2016, and a 12 per cent increase in exports to Thailand.

After several tough years of a cyclical downturn, the recovery has boosted activity and confidence in the Hunter mining sector. Several mines previously on care and maintenance have re-opened, and a number of expansion projects have been approved recently in the Hunter.

Importantly, we’re seeing improved business conditions and a return of confidence in the sector translate into jobs.

Coal Services figures show an increase of almost 700 coal mining production jobs in the Hunter since the recovery in prices began to take hold in August last year. Across NSW, the almost 20,000 coal production jobs recorded in April 2017 was the highest level since the end of 2015.

This positive jobs growth is extremely welcome, particularly in the Hunter. It will boost confidence and economic growth and stimulate additional employment across the almost 3700 Hunter businesses that supply the mining industry.

With rising demand for our coal across traditional markets and the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, there will be growing economic opportunities for the Hunter, provided we get the policy settings right in NSW.

The NSW Government has made progress in meeting its commitment to halve planning assessment times for major mining projects. While there is still more be done, if we can lock in policies that support the mining sector in the Hunter we can build on these positive export figures, attract more investment, and create more jobs.


Bluemercury ceo

Many of the most successful people have gotten job interviews down to a science.

They’re not in the habit of wasting time with dumb or irrelevant queries.

In fact, they often have one favourite go-to question they like to ask. This typically reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.

Check out the questions 10 business leaders love to ask candidates:

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

According to the biography ‘Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,’ the Tesla and SpaceX CEO likes to ask candidates this riddle to test their intelligence.

There are multiple correct answers, and one is the North Pole.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

One of Zappos’ core values is to ‘create fun and a little weirdness,’ Tony Hsieh, CEO of the company, tells Business Insider.

To make sure he hires candidates with the right fit, Hsieh typically asks the question: ‘On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?’ He says the number isn’t too important, but it’s more about how people answer the question. Nonetheless, if ‘you’re a one, you probably are a little bit too straight-laced for the Zappos culture,’ he says. ‘If you’re a 10, you might be too psychotic for us.’

Another question Zappos usually asks candidates is: ‘On a scale of one to 10, how lucky are you in life?’ Again, the number doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re a one, you don’t know why bad things happen to you (and probably blame others a lot). And if you’re a 10, you don’t understand why good things always seem to happen to you (and probably lack confidence).

Facebook HR chief Lori Goler

Business Insider previously spoke with Lori Goler, Facebook’s president of people operations, about how the social media giant recruits top talent. That’s what this question is all about — on a perfect day at work, what activities allowed you to ‘get in the zone’ and do great work.

She recommends that people interested in working for Facebook apply to roles that play to their strengths:

‘They should just apply,’ Goler told Business Insider. ‘We hire people every day who just apply to the website. We love meeting people that way. Jump right in.’

Paypal co-founder and Clarium Capital President Peter Thiel

PayPal cofounder, managing partner of the Founders Fund, and president of Clarium Capital Peter Thiel always looks to hire people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, reports Business Insider’s Aaron Taube.

To do this, he always gives job candidates and the founders of companies seeking an investment this interview prompt: ‘Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

In a 2012 interview with Forbes, Thiel said the reason he loves this question is: ‘It sort of tests for originality of thinking, and to some extent, it tests for your courage in speaking up in a difficult interview context.’

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explains in his new book ‘The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,’ that he isn’t a fan of the traditional job interview, reports Business Insider’s Richard Feloni.

‘Obviously a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn’t need to waste time on an interview,’ Branson writes. That’s why he likes to ask: What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?

Dropbox founder Drew Houston

Drew Houston, the 33-year-old billionaire founder of Dropbox, tells Adam Bryant of The New York Times that he has five questions he always likes to ask job candidates:

1. Who is the best in the world at what you do?

2. Who are your influences?

3. What have you learned in the last year?

4. If you were able to sit yourself down 10 years ago, what advice would you give your younger self?

5. What are the most important lessons you’ve taken away?

As Business Insider previously reported, Houston explains that these questions help him discern if a candidate is passionate about constantly improving. ‘I’m drawn to people who really love their craft, and treat it like a craft, and are always trying to be better and are obsessed with what separates great from good,’ he tells Bryant.

Paramore founder and EVP Hannah Paramore

Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore, a Nashville-based interactive advertising agency, told the New York Times’ Adam Bryant that this is one of her favourite questions.

‘I’m looking for how deeply instilled their work ethic and independence are versus entitlement,’ she tells Business Insider. ‘If they worked part time in high school and college because they needed to, especially in jobs that were just hard work, that shows a huge level of personal responsibility. I love people who have to patch success together from a number of different angles.’

Charlotte Russe president and CEO Jenny Ming

Tell me about your failures.  A good answer to this question is important because it means that the candidate isn’t afraid of taking risks and will admit when things don’t work out, says Jenny Ming, president and CEO of clothing store Charlotte Russe and former chief executive of Old Navy.

‘It doesn’t even have to be business; it could be life lessons. I think it’s pretty telling. What did they do afterward?’ she says. ‘How did they overcome that? I always look for somebody who’s very comfortable admitting when something didn’t work out.’

People always like to tell you about their successes, she explains, but they don’t always want to tell you what didn’t work out so well for them.

Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck

As Business Insider previously reported, luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck’s interviews tend to only take seven to 10 minutes.

She has on query she likes to ask in particular, she previously told Adam Bryant of The New York Times.

Her question for potential hires is: ‘What’s the biggest impact you had at your past organisation?’

‘It’s important that someone takes ownership of a project that they did, and you can tell based on how they talk about it whether they did it or whether it was just something that was going on at the organisation,’ she told Bryant.

Jigsaw head of research and development Yasmin Green

Yasmin Green, head of research and development at Jigsaw, Alphabet’s tech incubator formerly known as Google Ideas, wants to hire creative, independent thinkers, so she gets candidates to think on their feet by asking them how they’d manage an imaginary ice-cream stand.

‘I’m curious to see how people deal with ambiguity and whether they can have fun while thinking on their feet,’ she says.

Green says that to land a job at Google, you also need to ‘be prepared to challenge the premise of the question.’



Hunter tourism operators are set to receive a boost in education.

The state government has announced it will increase the number of free webcasts available to support the growing need for online learning in the rural and regional tourism sector.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the number of webcasts available in the Hunter would triple, as part of the program by Destination NSW.

The program, which includes 18 online training events, aims to help tourism businesses develop, promote and sell their products ore effectively.

“This expanded program of online webcasts and webinars allows Hunter tourism operators to log in, learn, and ask questions of tourism experts, from a location that suits them,” Mr MacDonald said.

“In 2016 Destination NSW found 73 per cent of all webinar attendees were from rural and regional NSW.

“The focus of this year’s program is to create more online and on-demand content, which is user-friendly, convenient, accessible and free-of-charge.

“If, for some reason, tourism operators can’t log in for the live webcast, they can always log in later to view the presentation at a time that suits them.”

Tourism and Major Events Minister Adam Marshall said the workshops had a “how-to” focus.

“As a result of last year’s NSW First program and the advice and support of experts from the state’s tourism agency, we are now seeing 37 new tourism products being offered in international markets, and more than half of those new tourism products come from rural and regional NSW,” he said.



A VISITING British planning expert and the state’s chief planner have both described Newcastle as a place on the verge of great things at a planning workshop at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.

London-based Professor Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White spoke at length about the opportunities and challenges facing Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region at the workshop, hosted by Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Brendan Nelson and attended by about 80 people.

On his first visit to Newcastle, Professor Clark said he was surprised by what he’d seen, compared with what he’d heard beforehand.

“I thought I was coming to see a city in decline, full of challenges, but when you look at all of the things that are happening right now, it’s already full of opportunities,” Professor Clark said.

Mr White, who took the top planning job in NSW after a long career in local government in Queensland, said Newcastle was in effect the opposite of Canberra. Whereas Canberra had been “planned to death, Newcastle had no metropolitan plan”.

Both men talked about a need to develop long-term plans that could be broken down into phases, and which took notice of change as it happened.

Mr White said planners had done quite well until about 10 years ago in managing cycles of change, but the big “structural disruptions” caused by digital technology were creating “change on a scale we have never seen before”.

Both men said the old method of planning, where industry, residential, health, education and retail were each concentrated in their own zones was no longer working. There were limits to what planning could achieve but a Greater Newcastle Metropolitan plan – together with a single regional voice to back it –  was a necessary first step in promoting the region to governments and employers, as well as potential residents and visitors. The workshop heard Professor Clark would return to Newcastle later in the year as work on the metropolitan plan continued. Asked about better rail links to Sydney, he said there was a risk they might initially suck jobs out of Newcastle but the benefits would eventually work in both directions. Light rail and the CBD university campus meant Newcastle was already on the path to renewal.


HV unemployed

The Hunter Valley Tourist Centre in New South Wales is normally a hub for wine tasting and getting directions, but is now offering career routes for the region’s unemployed youth thanks to an innovative employment program.

The Cessnock Council-run program at the visitor centre provides on-the-spot training and courses, such as the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), to young people searching for employment.

It was established after the region was discovered to have one the highest levels of youth unemployment in the state. In 2015 more than one in five young people aged 20 to 24 were without work in the region.

Economic manager for Cessnock Council, Jane Holdsworth, said the visitor centre was the perfect location for training on the job.

“We have the ability with retail, with the visitor services, we have a wine centre and we have a cafe here, so it’s ideal to have all the kids to come in here and to learn all sorts of things,” she said.

She is now calling for the program to be rolled out nationally, saying it has had a 100 per cent success rate in its infancy.

‘We all found jobs within a week’

One participant in the $100,000 youth employment program, Kirra Moore, 20, said without the training she would still be desperately job hunting.

“I was in the course with four other people and we’ve actually all found jobs a week out of finishing,” she told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

It is programs like these that have helped the unemployment rate fall by more than 10 per cent in the region.

But in the NSW region of Shoalhaven, where youth unemployment sits at 21 per cent, young people are crying out for whatever help they can get.

Brendon Reed is 21 and jobless, and wishes opportunities like those in Cessnock were extended across the state.

Youth employment at historic low

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment rates of people aged 20 to 24 are at an historic low at 39 per cent in 2016, down from 54 per cent before the global financial crisis.

The figures, averaged out over 2016, show the hardest places to get work are all in Queensland, including outback Queensland which has a 29 per cent youth unemployment rate, Cairns (28 per cent), and Wide Bay (24 per cent).

Federal Labor spokesman for employment, Brendan O’Connor, said the Government needed to be doing more to help school leavers and university graduates be fully equipped for working life.

“It is critical the Government focusses on providing opportunities for young people and the only way to do that is grow the economy to instil business confidence to make sure [business owners] are employing [young people].”

In April the Turnbull Government will launch its internship program that will offer four to 12 weeks in unpaid work for jobseekers, but Mr O’Connor said he was concerned the program could be rife for exploitation.