Careers in Community Services!

Recently, the Skills & Jobs Centre hosted an Industry Q&A on the Community Service Sector in Geelong.

Panel members included:

  • Tara Lodge – HR, Barwon Child, Youth & Family
  • Toni Gauntlett – Manager, Family & Community Services, Barwon Child, Youth & Family
  • Christine Brooks – Networker, Barwon Network of Neighbourhood Houses
  • Cathy Walker – Community Development, City of Greater Geelong

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: BARWON CHILD, YOUTH & FAMILY

  • 315 employees in Geelong and Colac
  • Only 15% of workers are male
  • Merged to include a breadth of platforms to deliver services to families
  • Focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Early education, including at home care, foster care and residential
  • Youth space includes justice and homelessness
  • Headspace came on board last year
  • Lots of different opportunities
  • Roles are based on funding, so don’t be put off by contract positions.
  • Family friendly employer, including the following options, which can be discussed at interview:
    • Job Share
    • ADO’s
    • Purchased Leave
    • Negotiable start & end times/hours worked
    • School Hours
    • Time in Lieu options
  • Professional development & training calendar with lots of opportunities. Study leave is offered to continue study and upskill.

Key Attributes

  • Teamwork – supporting each other.
  • Emotional Intelligence – working with people to empower them, not doing but helping, working through it with them.

Job Opportunities

  • From Childcare to Mental Health Nurses, Support Workers
  • Bus Driver vacancy currently advertised
  • Offers student placements
  • Volunteering – Coordinator will match with areas in need.
    • Home tutoring
    • Supporting refugees
    • Foster Care Program
    • Volunteers to offer mentoring to help with homework or to take on outings e.g. fishing.
    • Contact Janet Mannix, the Volunteering Coordinator
  • Alcohol & Other Drugs
    • Headspace
    • Youth Program in AOD
    • AOD Unit – Specialist Services
  • Casual Jobs – advertised the same as ongoing positions and often based on funding.

How to apply

  • All vacancies are advertised on the website.
  • Also advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, SEEK, Ethical Jobs and Deakin Jobshop.
  • Email your resume.
  • Must address Key Selection Criteria and it needs to be relevant to the Position Description.
  • Outline what you can bring to the role.
  • Need to have volunteer experience if you have no experience.
  • Spell check and proof read.
  • Can only apply online.
  • Read the instructions.
  • For Youth Services, need a Cert III or IV in Youth Services.
  • For Childcare, a Cert III in Children’s Services.
  • Looking for the right candidate, rather than hours you can commit, so contact them as they may be flexible.

Helpful Tips

  • Volunteer if you have something to offer.
  • Think about your life experience and how that might help someone else.
  • Can’t teach you to be a good person, so present your personality in all stages of recruitment (telephone call, interview etc.)
  • Looking at the person, rather than the qualification.

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSES

  • 27 Neighbourhood Houses in the Barwon Region
  • All Neighbourhood Houses are very different, as they respond to the needs of the community, ‘If you’ve been to 1 Neighbourhood House, you’ve been to 1 Neighbourhood house!’
  • For example, Queenscliff offers specific Arts programs.
  • Neighbourhood Houses are a central place to go for whatever you are interested in.
  • Offers a central location to search all of the neighbourhood houses.
  • All Centres run youth programs.

Key Attributes

  • Flexibility
  • Responsive to needs
  • Open
  • Approachable
  • Welcoming & Inclusive
  • Adaptable
  • Professionalism
  • Personality

Job Opportunities

  • Co-ordinators to run the houses – 3 or 4 houses will be advertising for Coordinators in the next few months.
  • Tutors run classes in a range of areas, including:
    • Technology, iPads
    • Cert III, IV & Diploma courses
  • Volunteer opportunities – members are encouraged to volunteer and also become tutors. If you have an interest or skill, go to a Neighbourhood House to offer your skills. Also advertised through Volunteering Geelong and Give Where You Live.
  • Childcare – both volunteer and paid positions. The Lorne Neighbourhood House is currently advertising for a Childcare Assistant.
  • Gardeners – volunteer or paid positions.
  • Reception/Administration.
  • Wide variety of opportunities – make contact with your local Neighbourhood House to find out about opportunities.
  • Help with resume writing, interview skills and gaining employment.
  • Youth Programs – always looking for volunteers.

How to apply

  • Need to address Key Selection Criteria (won’t interview if not addressed).
  • Advertise in the Geelong Advertiser, Colac Herald and local papers (e.g. Echo & Surf Coast Times).
  • Advertise on Ethical Jobs and sometimes on SEEK.
  • Ads will also go out through the Neighbourhood House network.
  • Posted on Social Media, including Facebook.

Key Tips

  • Personality is more important than qualifications.
  • No matter what your experience, think about what skills you learnt in that experience. For example, if you worked at KFC, think about the skills and qualities – customer service, team work etc.

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: CITY OF GREATER GEELONG

  • 2nd biggest employer in the Geelong region
  • Employs 2,500 people
  • Community Development area includes:
    • Case Management.
    • Supporting communities in need with a focus on Whittington, Corio, Norlane and Grovedale.
    • Developing Drug & Alcohol and Gambling Policy.
    • Promoting Diversity in the Community.
    • Police Based Team – works on the principle that there is nothing wrong with people, but that the system has gaps.
    • Working with services, like neighbourhood houses, on social enterprise and training.
    • Digital Inclusion Project in 3219 postcode – looking at the issue of low socio-economic areas having less digital inclusion, was previously externally funded but has now been funded by local council.
    • Understanding local and national policy and how that impacts on people.
    • Advocating to get change.
  • Flexible employer, including options for:
    • Weekend work – festivals, events etc.
    • Working from home
    • Co-working spaces
    • Communicating in a variety of forms

Key Attributes

  • Non-judgmental
  • It is your whole life, not just your 9 to 5
  • Passionate
  • Fresh perspective
  • Commitment to social justice

Job Opportunities

  • Volunteering
    • L2P
    • YouthCan
  • Student Placements
  • Employs students and casual workers
  • Youth Work
  • Roads, Rates and Rubbish
  • Casual opportunities in the youth area
  • Traineeships

How to apply

  • Advertised on Social Media & Online.
  • Advertised in CAOS – weekly newsletter in Norlane/Corio that reaches 500 people.
  • Advertised online on SEEK, Ethical Jobs and Info Exchange Jobseeker website.
  • Need to have a Working with Children Check and Police Check
  • Looking for who you are and that you have an understanding of what’s required.
  • The contact name is always listed, so make contact with them, and ask 3 relevant questions, so they can look out for your name.

Helpful Tips

  • Networks are fundamental.
  • Work to build your reputation.
  • Subscribe to council newsletters from the website.
  • Don’t necessarily have to have the qualifications. Apply anyway if you have the skills and make the phone call to clarify with the hiring manager.

Industry Tips

  • The industry is short of people, with a particular shortage in male role models.
  • Casual and contract opportunities are ok as they can lead to more permanent work and get your foot in the door!
  • Recruitment is more focused on who you are and what you are passionate about, rather than qualifications. You need to be the right type of person.

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