Careers in the Health Sector: Insights from Epworth & Barwon Health

As many of you would be aware, the health care and social assistance industry is Australia’s biggest employer.  We were honoured to hold the Health Sector Insight Employer Panel in March. The panel members presented an overview of their organisation and an insight into their sector as well as an outline of their recruitment process and types of opportunities available.

The panel consisted of:

  • Mick Fuller (Senior HR Manger)  Epworth Healthcare
  • Christine Shaw (Advisor – Talent Acquisition & Services)  Barwon Health

Epworth Healthcare

Background

Epworth has been around for 100 years and is the largest private not for profit hospital. Epworth moved to Geelong last year, next to Deakin University in Waurn Ponds. Had 400 employees in July when they opened and now has 550 employees. The Epworth Group employs over 6000 people with the majority of staff employed in Richmond.

Mick’s personal experience includes a transition into the Health sector from a retail and manufacturing background. He believes you need to be passionate about the organisation you work for and so was attracted to the Epworth name and the professional but diverse environment they offer. He has worked at the Epworth for the past 18 months.

The Epworth Workforce

  1. Nursing Staff
    • Heavy reliance on Nursing Staff
    • Employs Registered Nurses & Enrolled Nurses, but will only employ endorsed Enrolled Nurses
  2. Food Services
    • Primarily employs people with a hospitality background.
    • Food Service Model which involves personalised screens for patients to order meals at any time of the day, following a hotel model. Patients have a choice of when they receive the meal and what the meal is. The menu is catered to your personal needs, including medical and dietary requirements.
    • Is less to do with health and more to do with customer service.
    • Attracting and employing people from 5-star backgrounds including the Head Chef who came from the Park Hyatt.
  3. Sterilisation
    • Involves looking after the equipment and getting it ready for surgery.
    • Certified role, you need to have completed a Cert III or Cert IV in Sterilisation.
    • Well-paid
    • Good work
    • Stable employment
    • Professional roles
  4. Theatre Technicians
    • Involved in bringing in the equipment and setting up the theatre.
    • Certified role – need a Certificate to be employed.
    • Certificate level courses will allow you to be employed, so you can get up and running fairly quickly.
    • Good pay.
    • Shortage of theatre technicians in Geelong.
  5. Administrative Positions
    • Includes Reception, Personal Assistants and Ward Clerks.
    • For advertised positions, 75+ applications are received.
    • Lots of competition for a small number of roles.
  6. Traineeships
    • Not currently offered as they are not a mature organisation.
    • Will put structures in place first, then look at offering traineeship opportunities.

What Epworth looks for in an employee

  1. Technical Skills
    • Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
    • Are tightly bunched, as lots of people will have the same qualifications.
  2. Non-Technical Skills
    • Human part
    • Customer service skills
    • Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously
      • Respect
      • Excellence
      • Community
      • Compassion
      • Integrity
      • Accountability
    • This is where people can differentiate themselves
    • Look on the website and find out about the values. If you are invited for an interview, think about how your values align with theirs.

Epworth’s Recruitment Process

  1. 2 phase interview process
    • Phone Interview – 15-20 min phone interview with hiring manager
    • Face-to-face Interview – 45min – 1hr interview with hiring manager and a representative from HR.
    • Come prepared and know about the environment. Make sure to check the website. This shows motivation, respect and initiative.
  2. Psychometric Test 
    • No right or wrong answer, but used to measure your values and behaviours.

Advertising of roles

  • 95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
  • Advertised on:
    1. Epworth website – www.epworthcareers.org.au
    2. Seek
    3. LinkedIn
    4. Specialty Job Boards
  • Can complete an Expression of Interest on the website, indicating the roles you are interested in, and you will receive an email to notify when those types of roles are advertised.

How to apply for a job at Epworth

  1. Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • 4-5 page maximum
    • Don’t be distracting
    • Don’t use colour or different font throughout the document
    • Keep professional
    • Use a single font in 11 or 12pt
    • No photos
  3. Cover letter
    • Tailor your cover letter – very important!
    • Make sure to change the name of the company – this shows care and attention to detail
    • Brief and to the point
    • 1 page
    • Show what you can bring to Epworth
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Flexible with regards to addressing Key Selection Criteria and won’t always ask for this to be completed separately
    • Look at the Position Description and address how your skills match and how your motivation fits
    • Show that you are committed to professional development
    • Show your connection to the community. This can be through involvement with sporting clubs or coaching your kid’s soccer team. This tells about you as a person.
    • Lots of people have the technical skills, but less meet the criteria of fit, culture and personality.

Barwon Health

Background

Barwon Health is the largest employer in Geelong, employing over 7000 people. They look after people from birth through to death and have 21 sites, including the hospital, Grace McKellar Centre, a number of Aged Care facilities and look after patients all the way to the South Australian border.

Health is the fastest growing industry in Geelong and in 2016 Barwon Health advertised over 1500 roles. It is an exciting industry with new innovations and a secure future.

Christine is new to the Health Care sector and shared that it’s a great environment to work in. The people are lovely and are there to help people. Others share the same values as you.

The Barwon Health Workforce

  1. Community Sector
    • More work will involve going to the patient’s in their homes, rather than the patients coming in
  2. Aged Care
    • Increasing % of people in the older age bracket means they are desperate to get great people working in this sector
  3. Theatre Technicians
    • All start off as casuals.
    • Need a Certificate III first.
    • Will see medical procedures, so have to be ok with that.
    • Have to be able to look after yourself and deal with situations.
    • Training – might need to go to Melbourne for training, but will be rewarded for this.
    • Look at job ads and speak to the Manager listed to ask questions about which courses they would suggest.
    • Good pay & a good job.
  4. Casual Administration Pool
    • Approximately 50 casuals who work across the sites.
  5. Nursing Casual Pool
  6. Volunteers
    • Seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles.
    • Allows you to connect with different departments.
  7. Traineeships
    • Offered 24 last year.
    • Mainly offered through Northern Futures, to help more disadvantaged members of the community.
    • Offered in various areas, including Admin & Stores.

What Barwon Health looks for in an employee

  • All about the attitude.
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (If you’re looking for a Mon-Fri 9-5 position, this is probably not the area for you).
  • People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about putting the patient first.
  • Looking for people who are really passionate.
  • Not great pay, but the reward is that you are there to help the community.
  • Barwon Health is value driven and they live their values, including in performance discussions every 12 months.
  • Recruit based on values.

Barwon Health’s Recruitment Process

  1. Decentralised process – each manager runs their own interviews.
  2. Phone Interview First
  3. Interview
    • Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
    • Make sure you are prepared.
    • Research:
      1. Website
      2. Position Description
      3. Values
      4. If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
      5. Call the Manager (if name on ad) and ask questions to start to build your relationship.
    • They understand that it’s scary and you’ll probably be nervous.
    • Take notes in.
    • Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready.
  4. Assessment Centres are popular (especially for CPO roles).
    • Up to 20 people.
    • Group activity, followed by an Individual Interview.
    • Remember, you are being monitored from the time you walk in, to the time you leave.
    • Assessing your true self – it’s ok if you are loud or quiet.
    • Looking at who you are.
    • How do you work in a team? Do you listen? Can you contribute?
    • Don’t take over, but don’t sit back. Just be yourself.
    • Contribute to the conversation.
    • If you are a leader, be a leader. Leaders are needed too! Just don’t be aggressive.
  5. Volunteering

Advertising of roles

  • Lots of internal advertising, due to the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement and the fact that Barwon Health encourages people to progress.
  • Casual Positions – lots of casual positions come up. Don’t be scared to apply as there are opportunities to pick up more shifts once you are in the door.
  • Theatre Technicians – Will be advertising positions soon.
  • Can register your interest online and will be sent job alerts.
  • Advertised on the website – http://www.barwonhealth.org.au/careers.

How to apply for a job at Barwon Health

Before you apply, think about:

  • Can you be available 24/7?
  • Are you passionate and excited about this industry?
  1. Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • Only include what’s relevant
    • Don’t go too over the top
    • Include your key skills
    • Have a profile at the top of your CV – this is very important as it gives the employer a snapshot of you
    • Will spend on average 10 seconds looking at your resume, so the top section is the most important
    • Clear & Concise
    • Easy to read
    • Easy layout
    • Managers read them, so make it easy to read
    • Include volunteering opportunities as this shows your connection to the community.
  3. Cover Letter
    • Talk about your passions.
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Part of the process.
    • Some are Y/N questions.
    • Need to address the criteria, but shouldn’t have to spend days on it.

Helpful Tips

  • There are lots of casual opportunities, so make the most of these. We are very lucky in Geelong that we have a great hospital network.
  • Casual gets your foot in the door and there are lots of opportunities. People are working across multiple organisations and hospitals in Geelong.
  • You are able to put in your availability on a weekly or monthly basis and it will match to what manager’s need.
  • It’s ok if you aren’t available all the time or if you can’t do a shift, as there is a big pool of casuals.
  • However, be responsive. If you are knocking back lots of shifts, it will seem like you are not available.
  • People are moving around the organisation more, opening up more opportunities.

If you are interested in a career in the health sector, book your FREE one-on-one appointment with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Geelong’s bright future in Construction

If you have driven around Geelong you have probably seen the major construction work happening on commercial sites in the CBD such the new WorkSafe head office, Geelong Hospital, Epworth Hospital, Simonds Stadium, Deakin University, Bellarine Aquatic Centre, Geelong Fire Station, Belmont Ambulance Station, Leopold Shopping Centre plus many more over the last few years and if you have driven almost anywhere outside Geelong’s CBD you will have noticed several land and residential sites being developed such as Armstrong Creek, Mount Duneed, Highton, Fyansford, Curlewis and Point Lonsdale just to name a few.

The construction industry is one of the Geelong regions strongest industries in regards to employment and although some other industries in Geelong have slowed down or have changed, construction has remained steady for the last 5 years and government employment projections state that the industry in Geelong will even grow by 11.1% by the year 2020. (Source: Labour Market Information Portal)

In fact, over $1.2 billion worth of major construction and redevelopment is underway in Geelong and another $1.9 billion is awaiting commencement or is planned. In the previous 12 months alone there has been $745 million worth of construction across a wide range of industry sectors.  Beyond this date and excluded from those totals, Geelong is proving to be an area of further investment with the currently underway $750m Keystone Business Park expected to provide jobs for the next 10 – 15 years, the $20b LAND 400 project for the next 30 years and over $1.3b of confidential investment enquiries for the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct that would create more than 1,065 jobs. (Source: Enterprise Geelong)

What does this mean for you? It means there are, and will be, plenty of opportunities for employment, that this industry should remain strong in the long term and is a great career choice if you possess the necessary qualities.

We recently held a Building & Construction Employer Panel here at The Skills and Jobs Centre where participants heard from 3 of Geelong’s major employers in the industry; Lyons Construction, Built and Rendine Construction.

Here are just some of the key points to come out of the event:

  • There is strong confidence in employment growth in the region with many upcoming projects and tenders forecast.
  • That the on-flow effect from all the construction taking place means a very wide range of job opportunities – from architecture, construction management, skilled and unskilled labouring, transport, earthmoving/mobile plant operation, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, electrical, scaffolding and many other trades, steel and timber fabrication, workplace safety, interior design, property law, engineering, environmental management to real estate and so on.
  • Trades and apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the industry but there are careers for all skill levels.
  • Even with university qualifications in construction employers prefer some level of hands-on experience and knowledge, even if this includes helping a family friend for a few days or doing some weekend work. According to Steve Lyons from Lyons Construction having that experience on building that door frame (for example) will enable you to better understand the process and time it takes to put door frames together and therefore enable you to manage your project more efficiently from estimating costs to the build itself.
  • That it is important to be flexible and adaptable which means being able to adjust your skills and thinking to different situations that may occur on a project.
  • What these companies look for in ALL employees are personal qualities such as work ethic, reliability, enthusiasm, team work and initiative. Your personal qualities will make you more employable than just having a qualification or certain skill.
  • If you are interested in starting out in the industry don’t be afraid to approach local builders or companies and see what opportunities might be available for you whether that be apprenticeships, labouring or even mentoring roles for university graduates.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different trades, skills and training and find the role that fits best. Having the extra knowledge and experience will also add to your employability.

In summary, the future is bright for anyone looking at getting into the industry. My advice is to be proactive and find out what training or jobs are available to you. You can contact local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers, contact an Apprenticeships Field Officer (AFO’s), speak with local businesses, ask family and friends for work experience, look at what RTO’s have to offer such as pre-apprenticeship courses, industry skills courses and ‘VET in School’ for high school students or come in and speak with the friendly staff here at the Skills & Jobs Centre who can provide you with information and help guide you in the right direction.

Useful links: http://www.thegordon.edu.au/future-students/apprenticeships-traineeships/contacts-and-useful-links

Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with Geelong industry information , book an appointment with Shai or any of the Skills & Jobs Centre’s advisors.