For Want of a Worker

Business, Economics and Management


RDA also require a statement from the student addressing the following selection criteria:

  • Applicability of postgraduate thesis topic and previous experience to project focus of mapping the workforce system in regional and rural areas.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills, including ability to present information in a clear and succinct format that is easy to read and interpret.
  • Excellent analytical, information literacy and synthesizing skills.

Please send this directly to Justin Mabbutt ( after you submit your application.


Due to funding requirements, students must have Australian or New Zealand Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will automatically be deemed ineligible for this project.


Regional Development Australia (RDA) Grampians is a committee that supports regional initiatives to drive economic development, accelerate capabilities and leverage sector strengths. Leveraging their unique position, RDA Grampians is an independent voice for the Grampians region with an integrated approach that promotes industry and government collaboration.

RDA Grampians works in partnership with the community, business and all levels of government across the local government areas of Ararat, Ballarat, Hepburn, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Golden Plains, Pyrenees, Moorabool, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack.

RDA is an Australian Government initiative that brings together all levels of government to enhance the development of regional Australia. In Victoria, RDA is also backed by State Government, and is supported by Regional Development Victoria – the Victorian Government’s lead agency responsible for rural and regional economic development.


  • Opportunity to work with a diverse group of stakeholders including CEOs and leaders of communities
  • Build your knowledge of workforce attraction strategies and apply your research skills to a real world problem
  • Further collaboration may be considered


RDA Grampians has identified that workforce attraction and retention is a significant issue for many employers across different industry sectors in the Grampians region in Victoria. This issue is not unique to the region and is experienced across many regional and rural areas across Victoria and Australia.

There is substantial information and intelligence that already exists in various literature on the workforce attraction and retention issues in the Grampians region. However, this information is held in a variety of different sources, is presented in different ways and is often focused on specific industry sectors or geographic sub-sectors rather than as a holistic representation of the issues across the region.

RDA Grampians is undertaking a three-phase project throughout 2020 that will see it develop a comprehensive evidence base of existing information on workforce attraction and retention in its region.

Once this evidence base has been established, it will then be undertaking a ground-breaking system practice approach to comprehensively map the workforce “system” in its region. This system mapping approach will identify all the players, drivers and relationships in the workforce system, and identify where the system is failing to achieve meeting the workforce needs in attraction and retention. The systems mapping will be undertaken by an expert on the methodology and will be informed by targeted workshops with various key stakeholder groups.

The outcome of the systems mapping will determine the third and final phase of the project, which could include action plan development, communications to key project stakeholders and/or advocacy for further support for more detailed systems mapping.

  • Provide a consolidated evidence base of all existing publicly available peer reviewed research and public sector information and statistical data relating to workforce matters in the Grampians region of Victoria.
  • Present this information in a literature review format that will be easily transferable and applicable to subsequent phases of the project, including systems mapping.
  • Identify and provide recommendations regarding identified gaps in terms of research and data for this issue.


If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills, including ability to present information in a clear and succinct format that is easy to read and interpret;
  • Excellent analytical, information literacy and synthesizing skills;
  • Fluent written and spoken English; and
  • Access to a personal computer on which to work (desk space could be provided at an office in Ballarat if required).


It is expected that the PhD candidate will produce the following deliverables:

  • Draft copies of the literature review at key points in time (outlined in Timelines & Milestones).
  • The final literature review including a reference list as a soft copy word document.
  • Soft copies of all materials referenced in the literature review (i.e. in an online shareable folder).


The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours. The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Host University or Ballarat, VIC
3 months
APR - 1204



Suggested Internships


East Melbourne, VIC
Physiological Measures of Hearing Perception Using Function Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

VOCONIQ (APR – 1346)

Brisbane, QLD (Will consider internship being completed at student's university)
National Surveys on Nuclear


Sydney, NSW
Economics of Preventative Dental Provision in Australia