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
- 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.
- Teamwork – supporting each other.
- Emotional Intelligence – working with people to empower them, not doing but helping, working through it with them.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Responsive to needs
- Welcoming & Inclusive
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- It is your whole life, not just your 9 to 5
- Fresh perspective
- Commitment to social justice
- Student Placements
- Employs students and casual workers
- Youth Work
- Roads, Rates and Rubbish
- Casual opportunities in the youth area
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.
- 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.
- 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.