Insights into Volunteering – good for you, good for your career.

In recognition of National Volunteer Week in May the Skills and Jobs Centre held an ‘Insights into Volunteering’ industry panel where participants heard from 3 local organisations in the volunteering sector – Volunteering Geelong, Diversitat and Karingal/St. Laurence. They discussed their organisations, types of volunteering, what they look for in a volunteer and the process to become one. Here is a brief rundown of the key points mentioned during the session.

Volunteering Geelong

Volunteering Geelong is the peak body for volunteering in the Geelong region covering City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains, Surf Coast and the Colac Otway Shires with over 400 organisations registered with them. They have successfully matched over 5,000 volunteers to relevant organisations, as Jason Doherty the Acting Manager light-heartedly called it, “Volunteer Dating”. They will assist a potential volunteer by matching them with a suitable organisation that would benefit from the volunteers time, skills, abilities or interests and provide them both with all the information and support needed during their volunteering commitment.  Right now is a great time to get in contact with Volunteering Geelong with over 450 current vacancies for volunteers listed on their website.

People can volunteer their time anywhere from:

  • Arts/Culture/Heritage
  • Children & Youth
  • Disability Services
  • Education
  • Emergency Services
  • Environment/Conservation
  • Ethnic Community
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Recreation
  • Seniors/Aged Care
  • Projects
  • Events

In 2012 Volunteering Geelong also introduced ‘Bite-Size Volunteering’, a program designed for people who are unable to commit to regular volunteering. ‘Bite-Size Volunteering’ offers flexible or project based volunteering where you work on a short term project at times and days that suit you and the organisation.

As long as you meet the minimum age requirement of 15 and pass required Police checks then there is no limit what you can do and how old you can be as a volunteer, depending on the need. You can even volunteer to help volunteers!

Diversitat

Diversitat is a not-for-profit organisation and charity also known as Geelong Ethnic Communities Council and they offer services in refugee/migrant settlement, community development, youth services, aged support, training as well as various arts and events. Diversitat also manage The Pulse radio, Wholefoods café, The Oppe Shoppe, Diversitat Training and run events such as The Pako Festa.

According to Monica Baulch from Diversitat, they currently have 600 volunteers registered with them and approximately 1600 clients but there is always a need for more volunteers and there are many ways in which you can help. Often a volunteer is needed to provide a link to the community for refugees and migrants with programs such as the Orientation Program where volunteers assist with basic skills like using public transport or their ‘Homework Club’ where volunteers help children with their school readers. A volunteer can also assist with home tutoring, the 12 week ‘Driver Practice Program’, the ‘Housing Support Program’ or even with netball, soccer, yoga and other sports.

Monica stated the process for becoming a volunteer with Diversitat takes between 6 to 8 weeks and includes a satisfactory police check, an interview, reference checks and cultural awareness training. To be successful a volunteer will need to be passionate about making a difference, be able to share their personal skills and ways they can help, be empathetic, have no prejudices and be able to build relationships through a 12 month commitment.

Diversitat will see the arrival of 200 – 300 new refugee clients in the upcoming months so if you think this could be a perfect fit for you then I highly recommend you give them a call or attend their next information session in July.

(KSL) Karingal / St. Laurence

Karingal and St. Laurence have recently merged after being 2 separate entities to become KSL, a not-for-profit organisation which provides many support services in disability, aged care, mental health and related services and training.  They are located through-out Victoria, Queensland and South Australia providing support for people to engage in the community.

Maddie Kirwan from KSL stated that some of the important ways that you can volunteer with them is with their “buddy system” which involves spending time with their clients via shared interests. This could include simply going to the park or the movies or the art gallery or just any activity you both enjoy, KSL also accept volunteers in their ‘Do Care’ Program in their Aged Care section where people are asked to volunteer on a monthly basis. To be successful in becoming a volunteer for KSL you must possess a passion for assisting clients achieve their individual goals, must show empathy, reliability, understanding, care and be flexible to client needs. Volunteers are expected to commit at least 2 hours per week for a 12 month period to provide consistency in building relationships with their clients.

KSL’s process for becoming one of their volunteers is through making an enquiry, an interview and then subsequent application where you will be required to undergo a ‘Police Check’ and obtain a ‘Working With Children Check’. KSL will provide various training elements and ongoing support to all their volunteers to ensure the best quality support possible.

Why should you volunteer?

The benefits of volunteering can be endless in not only the satisfaction of helping others in need, improving your own mental and physical health but also in developing avenues to employment. Studies show some of these benefits include;

  • gaining new skills and knowledge
  • possible pathways to employment
  • networking and building relationships
  • providing career/work experience
  • enjoying a sense of achievement and fulfilment
  • personal development and improving self-confidence
  • enhancing social skills and work skills
  • enjoying better physical and mental health
  • connecting to and better understanding your community
  • bringing meaning and purpose to your life

If you feel like you would like to get involved as a volunteer or believe you have something to offer, then I encourage you to get in contact with any of these organisations or speak with the friendly staff at The Skills and Jobs Centre who can guide you in the right direction.

Quote – “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”  Barack Obama

Contacts:

Volunteering Geelong

(03) 5221 1377

http://www.volunteeringgeelong.org.au/home/

Diversitat

(03) 5221 6044

http://diversitat.org.au/contact/

Karingal/St. Laurence

(03) 5249 8900

http://www.karingal.org.au/

What does a career in Logistics and Warehousing look like?

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently hosted an employer panel for those who may be interested in working in logistics and warehousing.  The panel provided an overview of their respective organisations and provided insights into the industry, current opportunities, skills and qualifications required and some handy tips about the recruitment process.

The panel members included:

  • Arthur Hodgson – (Manager – Distribution) Cotton On Group
  • Craig Cochrane – (Operations Manager) Grain Corp

Arthur began his career at Cotton On Group ten years ago as a Manager for Logistics and Warehousing, and has witnessed the company grow from a staff of 50 to over 19,000 world-wide.  Arthur could see Cotton On was growing quickly and managed the Body brand in distribution.  He has always had a good relationship with his staff and has seen the warehouse move from North Geelong to Lara, overseeing the warehouse move to Avalon in the near future.

Arthur has recruited 200+ staff during the past ten years in Distribution from a number of organisations/partners and backgrounds including Northern Futures and post Ford employees.

Online shopping has seen a great deal of growth and now Cotton On dispatch up to 200,000 units each day and in December during the peak Christmas sales Cotton On can dispatch 2.5-3 million units.

Cotton On Group in a snapshot

Job opportunities

  • 80% full time and 20% casual (with opportunities to move into full time work).
  • Recruitment in October for the Christmas period is high.  A third of business for Cotton On is done in December.

Types of roles available in Distribution Centres

The Distribution Centres, located across the globe, offer roles ranging from retail support officers, productivity team leaders, pickers, supervisors and dispatch team leaders to inventory team leaders and casuals.  Meet some of the people at Cotton On.

Work environment and physical requirements

  • Temperature ranges from hot in summer to cold in winter.  (Heat policy applies)
  • Dusty conditions.
  • Pickers can walk up to 12 km per day.
  • Hours are generally 6 am – 2 pm.

Qualifications and aptitude

  • Relevant qualifications/certificates (training available and provided for the right people).
  • Good work ethic.

How to apply

  • Live jobs are on the Cotton On website.
  • Expressions of Interest – Upload your resume and ensure you continue to demonstrate you are looking for an opportunity or drop resume off and introduce yourself (Tip – be persistent and professional in your approach).

Further advice and information

  • If you can learn and are prepared to work hard, Cotton On will provide training and support is available for the right people who show initiative.
  • Business is run on KPI’s.  Every employee should hit their KPI.
  • Flexibility is available to move around the organisation.
  • Cotton On pays 5% above award.
  • Negotiated rostered day off.

Tips and Tricks – Application

  • Keep resume basic, tailored and highlight relevant skills.
  • Include all relevant licences – Fork Lift Licence, Heavy Rigid Licence.

Interviews

  • Cotton On often conduct Group Interviews.
  • Be your genuine self, team player, presentation is important.

For more information and opportunities, visit Cotton On Careers.

Craig is a Dairy Farmer from the Bega Valley.  At 28, Craig had a life change and received a call from GrainCorp and was offered a role in operations.  Sixteen years later, Craig has worked up from Supervisor to Manager and currently works as the Operation Manager across Victoria.  During this time GrainCorp have supported Craig and put him through University.

GrainCorp is a leading international agribusiness and food-ingredients processor, with a diverse range of operations that span four continents and supply customers in over 30 countries. The offering of grain storage, handling, marketing and malt & oil-seeds processing operations help their valued customers meet the demands of a rapidly growing global population.

At GrainCorp, people are the heart of everything they do. They are committed to enhancing the high performing team by developing a skilled workforce and encouraging diversity of both people and thinking. ‘It’s great for you, and it’s great for our customers’.

GrainCorp Vision and Values

Storage and Logistics

As a leading Australian agribusiness, GrainCorp has a diverse range of grain storage, handling, marketing and processing operations.  Through the integrated supply chain they market grain to local and global markets, and are a large buyer of grain for malt, edible oils and flour processing business.

Geelong operation

  • 120 people employed (highly casualised due to the nature of seasonal work, need and availability is dictated by rain).
  • Casual employees can continue to work on casual basis for 3-4 years.
  • Lots of overtime available during busy periods.

Culture

  • Team based and family orientated
  • Self-regulated
  • Right attitude, taking responsibility for actions
  • Good work ethic
  • Awareness of safety

Employment Opportunities and types of roles

There are opportunities for those with a good work ethic in Logistics and Supply Chain.

  • Bulk Grain, Drum Malt, Wood Chips
  • Broom and Shovel
  • Machine and Front End Loaders
  • Technical and lab roles available (training can be provided)

Diversity
GrainCorp encourage those from different backgrounds to apply.

Working Environment
Hot environment (regular breaks and water intake encouraged).

Recruitment Drive
The next recruitment drive in Geelong will be in October ready for the November/December harvest.

  • GrainCorp Careers page
  • Geelong Advertiser
  • Seek
  • Word of Mouth
  • In person – encourage those genuinely seeking an opportunity to drop in to Reception/Front desk to introduce themselves and hand in a general cover letter/resume.

Tips for applications

  • Cover letter (required)
  • Resume (short, succinct and relevant)
  • Demonstrate teamwork, ability to engage and good communication skills

Visit GrainCorp Careers page for more information about current and upcoming opportunities.

If you are interested in a career in Warehousing & Logistics, make an appointment with one of the advisors at the Skills & Jobs Centre for further information.

How Geelong’s Manufacturing Opportunities are changing. What’s next?

It is often hard to accept change. However Geelong has thrived on change.

  • In the early 1840’s, Geelong focused on growing world class wool in the Western District and around Geelong, exporting through a busy port and manufacturing at the woolen mills.
  • From 1925, Geelong was the centre of Ford’s manufacturing facilities followed by Alcoa and Shell.
  • From WW1 until now, industries in Geelong have boomed, plateaued, slowed and collapsed. Many jobs have been lost, for example, at International Harvester and recently, at Ford. Other events such as the collapse of the Pyramid Building Society in the 1990′s, hit the Geelong region hard.
  • Each time, Geelong has set about re-forming. Thousands of new jobs have been created in health, education, the service industry, retail, business, hospitality and tourism.

Now manufacturing is re-focusing in new areas and in new ways.

Recently, Lili Ruiz from Carbon Revolution, Carl de Koning from Quickstep and Jenny Perks from the Geelong Manufacturing Council, spoke on one area of new manufacturing opportunities, to participants at the Skills & Jobs Centre.

Carbon Revolution has grown from 40 employees to 110 employees and are now globally focused on supplying specialist parts to the Auto and Aerospace industries. They:

  • Developed a light, one piece, carbon fibre wheel, which has led to improved fuel efficiency.
  • Employ teams of engineers, industrialists and scientists, particularly materials specialists.
  • Have roles in Geelong and a small number in the UK, Germany and USA.
  • Offer roles in production for process operators, leading hands, product developers, engineers, composite technicians, fitters and turners as well as roles in accounts, finance and sales.
  • Will need more staff and technical support from trades such as electricians and composite technicians, warehousing, OH&S and environmental workers.

Who and what are they looking for?

  • Ex-Ford workers who are familiar with processes and manufacturing environments could be employable, however they will also benefit from completing a course such as ‘Use of Carbon Fibre in Composite Materials’ (a 7 week course @ The Gordon).
  • Personal skills such as Initiative, Innovation, Progressive, Enthusiasm, Conscientiousness and a Strong Work Ethic.
  • A focus on producing quality products and high standards of safety.
  • The right people (which means they suit the company and know about THAT company).

Quickstep is a publicly listed Small to Medium employer, focused on Aerospace manufacturing of parts for wings, tails and complex assemblages. They are trying to achieve lightweight, better performing parts and reduce costs in areas such as portable x-ray machines and aircraft & vehicles parts. They:

  • Developed a process of making parts with significantly reduced manufacturing curing/cooking time.
  • Use composite fabrics (resin and fibre, or concrete and fibreglass) which are placed into moulds and then heated.
  • Employ 25 people and are about 18 months behind Carbon Revolution.
  • Need technicians, process engineers, industrial engineers (particularly automotive), trades and production operators, particularly those with skills in composite materials.
  • Regard it as essential for people to have a blend of technical and operational skills.
  • Need people with a blend of skills, such as experience in the textile or automotive industry or an understanding of resin composites.
  • Expect there will be future opportunities for growth.

Who are they looking for?

  • People who are flexible. The process will not involve working at one work station however similar skills will be required.
  • Completing the ‘Use of Carbon Fibre in Composite Manufacturing’ training package would be relevant.
  • Currently Geelong is the region where production is taking place but in the future if there is a large order for parts in China they will re-direct equipment and processes to that location.
  • He noted that the growth of other manufacturing processes, such as food and wine are focused on local markets.
  • The future for jobs is increasingly technical, with increased automation, and requiring a breadth of skills such as a combination of mechanical, electrical, engineering and computer science.
  • People who are interested in the right solutions designed to fit customers.
  • The company is focused on ingenuity rather than high volume production

How to prepare for applications:

Carbon Revolution:

  • Focus on Selection Criteria: skills need to be clear, as does the reason why you want to work with them, and previous skills gained in manufacturing.
  • A relevant course would be an advantage.

Quickstep:

  • Persistence, follow up email, addressing skills required, demonstrate that you know the company are innovative and motivated.

Geelong Manufacturing Council:

  • Stressed that new areas will be important to the future growth of businesses in Geelong.
  • Emphasised networking, promotion, awareness and understanding of new opportunities at a national and international level, will be crucial for a healthy future.

If you are interested in finding out more about manufacturing in Geelong, book a free appointment with one of the Skills & Jobs Centre advisors.