#WORKANDWANDER in the Wheatbelt!
Working in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia offers people a range of benefits, as listed below:
Opportunities for Upskilling and Promotion
While there are a range of small to large private, government, and non-profit sector employers in the Wheatbelt, many of the job openings in the Wheatbelt are with small to medium businesses and organisations.
In these businesses you aren’t just a number, you’re an important part of the team.
As an additional bonus, you also get opportunities to learn, diversify your skill set, and gain promotion.
I moved out to the Wheatbelt 12 years ago and secured a job in a very small local government. My position covered a diverse range of duties, and I found opportunities to take on new duties that gave me additional skills, including setting up a new museum with a team of volunteers and successfully writing grants to fund local events and infrastructure. As a result of my work in this job, I then secured employment managing a non-profit organisation in the area. If I had stayed in Perth and continued with my job at a Federal government department with over 20,000 employees, I may not have had the same opportunities.
For me, another benefit of working for smaller businesses and organisations is that I am not constantly frustrated by the bureaucracy that comes with large corporate or government entities.
I have also found that technology has made lots of goods and services more accessible to me, even when I lived over three hours from Perth in the eastern Wheatbelt. For example, my internet connection has enabled me to work from home with a couple of jobs I held, and allowed me to access online training and education opportunities to increase my skills and access further employment opportunities.
The Wheatbelt offers a more affordable lifestyle than metropolitan Australia.
Housing (both to buy and rent), sporting facilities, sporting club memberships, entertainment and meals out are all better value in the Wheatbelt than they are in the city.
This is partly due to the fact that businesses running restaurants and hotels are not as hamstrung by high rents as they are in the metropolitan area. Country Pubs offer more generous meals and beverages and charge less for them than their city counterparts.
Socialising at the end of the working week also does not carry the high price that it can in metropolitan areas, with weekend entertainment considerably more laid back and also easier on the wallet. If there happens to be a show on at the local theatre, you won’t have to shell out for parking as well, or pay $100 for a single ticket to the show.
Live in a Friendly & Safe Community
What I love most about living and working in the Wheatbelt is the friendliness of the locals.
When I moved up to the Eastern Wheatbelt in 2008 and started working in my first job in the area everyone I met welcomed me with a smile and made time to introduce themselves. Since then I’ve loved being known in a community. This is because when I’m having a bad day and I run into someone I know at the local supermarket who gives me a smile and tells me a joke, I feel lighter.
I’ve worked and lived in a number of Wheatbelt towns since then and I’ve always felt safe, with low crime rates a characteristic feature of Western Australia’s Wheatbelt.
The friendliness of people in rural areas is observed in many other parts of the world. Personally, I’ve always theorised that people were friendlier because when there are less people in a community, each person within that community is valued more. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that this is the case.
As in other parts of rural Western Australia, people in the Wheatbelt also often give you a wave or a bush salute when they cross paths with you on the road. I absolutely love this, because it never fails to lift my spirits.
Live Closer to Nature
Being closer to nature and breathing fresh air is good for all of us.
Research supports this fact. Science Daily reports that in 2018 the University of East Anglia assessed data from over 140 studies carried out in 20 countries to see if nature really does improve our health. Study Lead author Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett commented that the study found that, “Spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.” (University of East Anglia. “It’s official – spending time outside is good for you.” Science Daily, 6 July 2018).
Working in rural Western Australia provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy some space and fresh air as well as the amazing natural beauty to be found in our enormous state.
The Wheatbelt is peppered with stately granite rocks to climb, as well as huge nature reserves for those who enjoy hiking, camping, or simply sitting around a campfire enjoying a barbecue with friends.
Also, most nature reserves and granite rocks are free to visit in the Wheatbelt, so such inspirational places are far more accessible and affordable for families than they are in other parts of the state.
If nature isn’t your thing, that’s fine. Unlike other parts of Western Australia, in the Wheatbelt there are lots of towns within easy driving distance of each other, so there is always plenty to see and do close to home once you’ve knocked off work for the day.
The Wheatbelt is a Great Place to Raise Kids
The Wheatbelt of Western Australia is a great place to raise small children, for many of the reasons already mentioned.
Plenty of space to play in nature, friendly and safe communities and cheaper family outings all make the Wheatbelt a great choice for raising young children.
In addition to the above advantages, small country primary schools often have smaller classroom sizes, and children benefit from the leadership opportunities they can access in smaller school communities.
Sporting opportunities also abound. Active kids and active parents benefit from a little known secret: there are a huge range of sporting facilities in Wheatbelt towns, and these facilities are of excellent quality. Most Wheatbelt towns offer a swimming pool, football and cricket oval, netball court, hockey field, tennis courts, golf course, and bowling green. Some towns even have motorcycle clubs and pony clubs to cater for the tastes of yet others. As an added bonus, the Wheatbelt climate features lots of sunshine and temperate winters, which is ideal for people who enjoy their sport.
Another advantage for working parents is that kids are included in everything in the Wheatbelt. The whole family goes to the local Pub for a meal and the kids play happily with other local children while their parents have a drink with the adults.
Close to Perth but Still Far Enough Away
Western Australia’s Wheatbelt encircles the Perth metropolitan area, offering a great rural lifestyle that is still close enough to the city.
The Wheatbelt is only between 1 and 4 hours’ drive to Perth on sealed roads, depending on what part of the Wheatbelt you live and work in.
This gives you the best of both worlds. You get to work and live in a friendly community without neighbours right on top of you, and instead of negotiating constant crowds on the commute to and from your job every day, you can choose to live three minutes down the road or drive open roads to work. Sometimes you will only pass one other vehicle as you drive a scenic country route to your job each day. Yet you are still close enough to Perth whenever you need it.