Insights into the Building and Construction Industry – 26/11/19

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Building and Construction is often reported as being one of the major growth sectors for employment in the Wyndham region. With major projects such as the Metro Rail and the West Gate Tunnel drawing skilled tradespeople away from construction, but with the demand for building new homes remaining high, it was a good opportunity to hear about apprenticeship opportunities in Building and Construction.

MEGT are one of 11 Apprenticeship Network Providers contracted by the Australian Government to provide Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) services. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, they make apprenticeships and traineeships easy and with completions rates higher than the national average, MEGT are your go-to people in this field.

Today we were joined by Field Operations Manager, Ollie Gladwell who gave us some tips and tricks about finding an apprenticeship.

  • Set up alerts on job-seeking sites, so you receive instant notifications about new opportunities.
  • Have a look at your socials and make sure your profile pics are appropriate for someone looking for work and that your privacy settings are up to date.
  • Keep your resume to two pages and put your qualifications on the front page.
  • Make sure you let employers know if you can speak a language other than English.
  • Put your resume into a plastic pocket if you are handing it out directly at construction sites.
  • At an interview, don’t fall over at the first hurdle! Practice responding to the guaranteed question of “Tell me a bit about yourself”.
  • At an interview, don’t fall over at the last hurdle! Prepare a question to ask at the end which isn’t about money. A good go-to question could be “What are the growth opportunities with this company?”
  • Drink the water! No joke! During an interview, use that time as a pause to help you gather your thoughts and prepare an answer.
  • Check in with your references and make sure they are recommending you as an employee, not just as a nice person!
  • Make sure you let people in your network know that you are looking for work. You never know who they can connect you with.
  • Don’t give up. Stay positive and just remember it is a numbers game. Your perseverance will pay off.

Aqua Tap Plumbing was established in July 2002 and started out with humble beginnings as many trades businesses typically do, from the back of a van and with an apprentice at hand. With great enthusiasm and passion for plumbing and the building industry as well as a dedication to training and developing talented apprentices, the Aqua Tap Plumbing team has today grown to over 50 employees operating from its impressive professional facility located in Point Cook.

Anthony Pante, the Company Director spoke about the importance of employing apprentices. In fact Aqua Tap Plumbing has employed close to 150 apprentices in the past 15 years and some of the original apprentices are still with the company in leadership roles. Anthony is so committed to supporting his apprentices that he has developed a project area in the back of the premises, where apprentices can practice using tools or working on small projects after hours. Anthony encouraged attendees to find an industry that they enjoy and connect with. 17 years after completing his apprenticeship, Anthony is as comfortable on the tools as he is as the Company Director.

Our final guest speaker was Tony Grey, General Manager of HR at Dennis Family Homes. While Dennis Family Homes are probably best known as a quality home builder in the region, Tony explained that they do have two other arms of the business which are shopping centre management and residential estate development. While most of the building and construction work is completed by over 2000 subcontractors, Tony was able to tell us about the non-trade related roles in high demand at Dennis Family Homes such as Administration, Estimating and Drafting.

It was really encouraging to hear from all three presenters that apprenticeships are no longer just for school leavers. Many employers are willing to consider mature-age / career changers, noting that they tend to learn quicker and be more committed to finishing the apprenticeship. Having a mix of skills, experience and diversity is important to many organisations. Most employers do prefer candidates who have either completed Year 12 or have completed a Certificate II (pre-apprenticeship).

Useful Links

Here is a link to MEGT’s Jobs Board https://www.megt.com.au/job-board

Make sure you check out the other resources available on MEGT’s website including a Career Quiz, Aptitude Tests and a Job Seeker Toolkit.

Here is some information about the National Skills Needs List

For help with your resume or interview techniques, come along to our free monthly series of workshops at the Skills and Jobs Centre at 24 Watton Street, Werribee or book a one-on-one appointment with a Careers Counsellor by calling 5225 0700.

Follow the Skills and Jobs Centre on Facebook for information about further Industry Insights panels in 2020.

Contact The Gordon to learn more about pre-apprenticeships being delivered from our Hoppers Crossing campus.

Thank you to Wyndham City Council for their assistance with facilitating this event and providing a fantastic space at the Encore Events Centre.

Insights into Starting a Home-based Food Business – 18/11/2019

Food BusinessWith cooking reality shows reshaping the way we eat, cook and shop and with home-based food businesses on the rise (um there’s over 2000 in Geelong!!) the Skills and Jobs Centre thought it was time to bring together the Environmental Health Unit at COGG and two local businesses to talk about this growing industry.

If you want to sell food or any type of drinks to the public, you need to register with or, notify your local council. The Environmental Health Unit can assist you to obtain the appropriate food registration for the type of business you are running and to understand and comply with your obligations including the Food Act and the Food Standards Code. We were joined by Ebony Connelly and Maria McQueen, both passionate foodies and Environmental Health Officers at COGG, whose main message was that they are here to help.

Below is a snapshot of the registration process which usually takes between 4-6 weeks.

HBFB

Here is a little bit of information about each of those steps. The full presentation by Ebony and Maria is available on request.

  • Kitchen requirements (in a nutshell) – A double-bowl sink with one side dedicated to hand washing, a dishwasher, separate storage for your equipment and food and plenty of bench space for food preparation activities
  • Streatrader – Allows you to operate at markets and events in other municipalities without replicating the application and registration process
  • Markets / Events – The Food Safety standards that are applicable at home need to be replicated at the market…and you need to factor in other requirements such as temperature control during transport, hand washing, hand washing and hand washing as well as food protection (hello sneeze barriers!)
  • EHO home visit – Opportunity to address all of the risks such as cooking, cooling, using high risk foods like eggs, butter, milk and wheat and addressing allergy and dietary requirements
  • Fee Structure – The volume of food produced will decide fee level (small or large scale). The fee in first year is higher as it includes the proposal assessment and first years annual registration fee

Please remember that Council want you to succeed, but they want you to succeed within the bounds of the law. Their main role is to help food businesses make safe food. Please feel free to contact them at any stage with any questions. Their contact details are included in the useful links section at the end of this article.

Next up, we were joined by Jade and Miek who both run extremely successful small businesses, but who are taking their businesses in different directions. Jade has made a conscious decision not to expand and employ staff, but has moved out of her home kitchen to co-locate with one of her suppliers. Miek employs a small number of staff, who work from her bakery which is still located in her garage, but she is continuing to look for ways to scale up the business. They both have fascinating stories about how their food businesses began as well as some tips and tricks for those early days. Read on to find out more about these amazing local businesses.

 Jade has always been the go-to girl among her family and friends when it comes to pre-dinner food and drinks. This passion, combined with her creative streak and broad knowledge of cheese varieties, has allowed her to launch her business. Platter Co by Jade has been in operation for 3.5 years and was one of the trailblazers in the platter and grazing table business in the Geelong region. For the first 12 months, Jade juggled working full-time in a Sales and Marketing role, whilst delivering meat and cheese platter masterpieces on the weekend. After 12 months, the business reached a tipping point where Jade was able to make the decision to work full-time in her business. Jade was able to capitalise on some well-timed media exposure as well as a growing social media presence and repeat business to make the move out of her home kitchen and into a shared commercial space with Pane di Matteo in Highton.

Miek’s journey into small business was a little less straightforward! Miek graduated as an engineer in 2005 in Belgium, but soon realised the industry wasn’t for her. Whilst living in France, Miek spent five years studying and graduated as a patisserie, baker, chocolatier and an ice cream maker. After moving to Geelong with her husband, Miek spent a year researching her market and working on a business plan before making the decision to build a bakery in her garage. Ket Baker is one of only 30 bakeries worldwide to produce sourdough pastries, and one of about only 10 who do it well!! Miek credits the City of Greater Geelong, particularly the Environmental Health team with providing a high level of assistance and support in that researching stage – so don’t forget to include them in your planning stage!

Here are some tips and tricks from Jade and Miek which you might find useful for your journey;

  • Seek out like-minded individuals to be part of a support network – Being self-employed can get lonely, develop a support network who can understand the highs and lows of small business
  • Spend time up front developing a financial plan and preparing to scale up – Don’t forget to factor into your price all the time that will be spent ordering, answering enquiries, doing social media, doing your BAS etc. When business grows (and it can grow rapidly) so do your overheads, so make some plans to manage your capital and don’t over extend yourself.
  • Suppliers are not easy to manage and generally don’t like working with small business! – Choose suppliers based on the service you receive, keep them honest because they can change product without notice which can have consequences for you (think allergens!!)
  • View other companies as a resource not a competitor – Geelong is a small but growing market so there is plenty of opportunity for everyone.
  • Weigh up collaboration opportunities – What is this opportunity worth to you, what is it going to cost to be involved, what is the return going to be? Seek out like-minded small businesses to partner with and cross-promote, rather than businesses who are in the business of collaboration!
  • Develop a fantastic product and maintain the quality which will keep customers coming back – Word of mouth referrals and repeat business are the cheapest forms of marketing!
  • Be flexible, listen to your customers and adapt your product or range based on their feedback

Useful Links

Business Victoria

The Gordon – Food Safety Supervisor short course

Environmental Health Officers at your local Council

City of Greater Geelong

Surfcoast Shire

Wyndham City Council

Economic Development at your local Council

City of Greater Geelong

Surfcoast Shire

Wyndham City Council

Small Business Mentoring Service

Small Business Mentoring Service with COGG

Small Business Mentoring Service

Insights into Warehousing and Logistics – 22/10/2019

Warehouse Workers

The Skills and Jobs Centre is pleased to be partnering with Wyndham City Council to host a series of Industry Insights panels in Werribee. These Industry Insight Panels are a part of a broader scope of work Council is doing to provide employment pathways to Wyndham community members with an emphasis on the Humanitarian Migrant and Asylum Seeker communities.

In October, we were delighted to be joined by three large employers in the Warehousing and Logistics industry sector who very generously gave up some of their time to share some insights into gaining employment in this booming sector in the Wyndham region.

Did you know that the average age of a truck driver is 53? Did you know that transport is one of the few industries where men and women receive equal pay? With 72 different roles in the Transport and Logistics sector, there is sure to be a role of interest to you.

On the panel, we were joined by;

Jacquelene Brotherton – Transport Manager – Oxford Cold Storage

Oxford Cold Storage are one of Australia’s leading providers of third party temperature controlled warehousing. They offer racked storage for over 165,000 pallets and bulk storage for about 20,000 pallets at temperatures between +18°C & -29°C. The facility has the capacity to freeze 12,000 cartons, carcasses and quarter beef daily. In her spare time, Jacquelene is an active member and chair of several refrigerated transport committees and was recently awarded Business Person of the Year at the 2019 Wyndham Business Awards.

Oxford Cold Storage commenced operation in 1975 and the 94 year old Chairman of business still comes to work every day! There are employees who started working at Oxford as Christmas casuals over school holidays in the 1970’s and are still working there today! So when it comes to having a great workplace culture, they must be doing a thing or two right.

One really important thing to note about Oxford Cold Storage, is that all new staff commence employment through a labour hire organisation. While long-term roles might become available over time and in certain areas, most of the work is available on a permanent casual basis. One of the most important attributes staff can have at Oxford is a willingness to learn and a willingness to work. Jacquelene also shared some insights about innovation in the Warehousing and Logistics sector and made the observation that the inability to attract warehousing staff is driving the industry towards automation, however when it comes to autonomous truck driving, she doesn’t believe that Australia has the infrastructure to see that happening any time soon.

Paul Daybell – National Account Director (Government) & Marty Arulappu – Warehouse Manager – Complete Office Solutions (COS) 

COS was founded in 1976 as a local office stationery business in Western Sydney. In those early days COS had two staff and the top selling item was typewriter ribbon. 40 years later COS sells over 21,000 products with over 500 staff, and offices and warehouses in very state and territory…basically they can supply anything in an office, except the walls and the lights! COS have a very strong reputation of embracing diversity with 52% of their workforce being women, 56% of their management team being women and boasting the first female Co-CEO’s in Australia. Paul presented a video showing COS’s impressive commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Luke Day – Senior Recruitment Team Leader – Operations – TOLL Group

With over 125 years’ experience, Toll Group, operates an extensive global logistics network across 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries. Our 40,000 employees provide a diverse range of transport and logistics solutions covering road, air, sea and rail to meet global supply chain needs.

Luke presented a video which showed the diversity of roles available at TOLL, from Truck Drivers to Pick/Packers to Air Pilots and Sea Captains and just a couple of Call Centre Operators! The video also clearly outlined that TOLL are “safety obsessed”. 

One thing I learned about TOLL is that they actually have a recruitment business (TOLL People) which recruits for TOLL Group as well as other organisations and they supply over 1000 temp staff to over 100 locations in Victoria every day! TOLL People have really strong partnerships with Job Active providers and often recruit people from all walks of life into entry level roles, giving them a much needed start in this sector. As Luke put it, TOLL People recruit with heart. 

So if you’re considering applying for one of the 72 different job roles in this sector, where do you start? Well, first things first, a Forklift license is absolutely essential, so make sure you have one before starting to apply for roles in this sector. If you have additional licenses including truck licences, but don’t have any experience driving trucks, be open to starting in a different role such as Picker/Packer. All companies stressed that there are plenty of opportunities to shine, so show employers that you are eager and want to work, show enthusiasm for their organisation and work hard at any task you are given and before you know it you too might be behind the wheel of a $350,000 Kenworth.

Seek is still the most used platform to advertise vacancies, however both COS and Oxford Cold Storage were open to a direct approach by job-seekers. Before you knock on their door though, make sure that both you and your resume are well presented. You don’t need to be dressed in a suit and tie, smart casual is appropriate for this industry and as for your resume, one page of relevant content is also appropriate. In the Warehousing and Logistics sector, the ability to work as part of a team is critical, so when you’re making a direct approach to an employer, make sure they know you are not a lone wolf. Include a couple of good references on your resume and be able to show (and tell) how your skills and experience match what an employer is looking for.

Many thanks to our panel for being so generous with their time, it was great to receive some current tips and tricks to help put our best foot forward.

Come along to our free monthly series of workshops at the Skills and Jobs Centre at 24 Watton Street, Werribee or book a one-on-one appointment with a Careers Counsellor by calling 5225 0700.

The next Industry Insights panel will be on 26 November and will feature employment in Building and Construction, including how to secure an apprenticeship. Follow the Skills and Jobs Centre on Facebook for information about upcoming Industry Insights panels.