Industry Insights into Careers at WorkSafe

WorkSafe

If you’re looking for an organisation that’s clear about its purpose and plays a vital role in the community, then WorkSafe might be the right place for you. WorkSafe is a unique employer as they have to balance two arms of the business – acting as a regulator and administering the Work Safe Act and running an insurance compensation business. Ultimately the goal of everyone working at WorkSafe is to ensure that every Victorian worker returns home safe.

Yesterday we were delighted to be joined by Gemma Simpson and Ilona Russell from the Talent Acquisition team at WorkSafe to learn about their recruitment process. It was interesting to hear about Gemma and Ilona’s careers and how they have pathwayed into roles at WorkSafe.

Gemma has been at WorkSafe for two years. Her career started at a local radio station, where she also completed a Certificate IV in Business Sales qualification, she then progressed on to completing a Diploma of Business traineeship with a local plumbing company. After relocating to Geelong from Colac, she was working in a retail role at Cotton On Body when she was head-hunted by one of the Recruitment Managers at Cotton On Head Office, which is where her career in recruitment commenced. She then went onto a recruitment role with one of the top agencies in Geelong before commencing at WorkSafe. Gemma’s career history is a great example of the importance of continuing to upskill your qualifications as well as how many employers hire for attitude and train for skills.

Ilona Russell has been at WorkSafe for five months. Ilona had a 14 year career at Woolworths progressing through a number of roles and also completing a degree in Human Resources at the same time. Unfortunately despite Ilona’s intention to continue her career at Woolworths, the HR function relocated to Brisbane which left her looking for work. Ilona also worked with a recruitment agency for two years, before accepting a short-term contract role at WorkSafe which quickly turned into a long-term opportunity and sees her as a permanent member of the Talent Acquisition team. Ilona’s career history shows that sometimes taking a leap of faith and perhaps taking a “sideways” move in your career, can in fact be the best move!

WorkSafe Victoria employs over 1200 people in a range of roles. There are three business units operating within WorkSafe

  • Corporate Operations – Finance, Human Resources, Board Secretary etc.
  • Inspectorate – Health and Safety Inspectors
  • Insurance – Claims, Return to Work etc.

As a side note, Information Technology is a shared service between WorkSafe and TAC and all vacancies for that department will be advertised by TAC.

Ilona handles recruitment for the Inspector roles which are divided into three fields.

  • Specialist – roles requiring high level qualifications like ergonomist, hygienist, psychologist,
  • Construction – based in Essendon Fields, Mulgrave and Melbourne CBD,
  • Multi-disciplinary – Nursing, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Transport, Retail, Hospitality etc.

It is important to note that these are not entry level roles and it is vital that you bring relevant skills and experience, which have preferably been gained by working across a variety of industry sectors. While a qualification in Work Health Safety would be highly regarded, it is also advantageous to have gained practical knowledge and experience of work health and safety through roles such as WHS representative, member of a WHS committee or Return to Work coordinator.

The perks of the Inspector roles include a $98,000 salary plus superannuation, uniform, access to a vehicle and an intensive 16 week on and off-site training program to prepare you for the role.

WorkSafe are trying to change the perception of the Inspector roles within the community to one of support, providing advice, education and guidance to workplaces. A heavy on-site presence is obviously a key component to this role and a key skill is the ability to negotiate and influence stakeholders. There is an admin component to the role also, as a report needs to be written following every workplace visit. This function will be moving to online reporting as technology innovations are implemented throughout the business.

Here is a link to more information about the recruitment process for Health and Safety Inspectors.

https://wemake.worksafe.vic.gov.au/how-to-apply

Many who attended yesterday were interested in roles in the Corporate Operations and Insurance side of the WorkSafe business, so here is some information about the recruitment process for these roles.

A hot tip from Gemma, who recruits many of these roles, was to set up a profile on the WorkSafe Careers website which will then email you an alert when a job matching your skills and interests is advertised.

Here is a link for you to set up your own profile

https://wemake.worksafe.vic.gov.au/register/

  • 10 days – that’s how long the vacancy will be advertised for on the website. Please note that not all jobs are advertised on Seek. When you find a job that you want to apply for, Gemma recommended printing off the Position Description and a copy of your resume so you can make sure the information you are presenting on your resume matches the required skills. This also means that you need to tailor your resume to every job application you are submitting.
  • 3 – 5 days – that’s generally how long it takes to review all of the application received. WorkSafe are one of the growing number of organisations who no longer require Key Selection Criteria to be completed, so make sure you have a strong, well-written and accurate cover letter and resume.
  • 1 hour – that’s how long an interview will go for. The interview will be a mix of technical and behavioural questions and it’s recommended to follow the STAR method when preparing an answer.

If you are applying for a role that is part of a recruitment campaign such as the Inspector roles or a Graduate position, the recruitment process is lengthier…it does take a bit more time to shortlist 30 people from a pool of 2000 applications! A video interview, psychometric testing and a medical assessment may all be part of the recruiting process.

A final word of encouragement from Gemma and Ilona was that if you have the relevant skills and experience, please keep applying for roles. WorkSafe are in a period of growth and are always recruiting positions whether that be as a result of natural attrition or innovation driving the need for new roles. Their first preference is to go to market to gain new talent.

The Skills and Jobs Centre can be valuable resource when it comes to reviewing your job application. The Resume Workshop runs once a month and can help you craft an effective resume and a strong cover letter, book your spot by calling 5225 0700.

Industry Insights into Careers at Wyndham City Council

Wyndham City Council is a place like no other. They are the engine room behind one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities. They design towns, build roads, run libraries, inspect buildings, manage events, look after kindergartens and so much more. The people who work at Wyndham City Council are leaders, skilled and passionate about community.

It was great to hear that Wyndham City Council is taking such affirmative action to address concerns from the community about employment in the municipality. Council is really prioritising employment for residents and they outlined a number of programs including student placement, early talent programs and traineeship pathways aimed to provide opportunities for people from all walks of life to work at Council.

Those that braved the weather on Tuesday, were able to enjoy a panel discussion featuring key staff from five departments at Council who generously shared information about the roles available in their team as well as some handy tips and tricks to help navigate the recruitment process.

Here are my highlights from the five panel members; 

Mick Keogh (Talent Acquisition) has been working at Wyndham City Council for 12 months. Mick manages the recruitment function at council and with 30 departments and 100 business units there are usually 10-15 roles being advertised. Mick makes it his job to make sure that the recruitment process is a positive experience for every applicant, regardless of the outcome.

Insider Tip (**Total Cliché Alert**) – Be yourself! Use the time at interview to sell yourself, not your resume. This is the time for you and the employer to find out about each other and if you can work together, so don’t waste time pretending to be someone you’re not.

Dave Hamra (Community Planning & Development) has been working with Wyndham City Council for nearly six years and his work as Co-ordinator Neighbourhood Hubs involves leading a team of 25 community development staff located in nine community centres across Wyndham to engage and enable local residents to build a sense of community. While a qualification in Community Services is desirable, relevant experience, being a people person and having a clear passion for working with the community is mandatory for a role in Dave’s team! With over 120 applications being received for a casual role in this team it is a competitive environment, but as Dave personally reads every application, make sure you clearly articulate your passion and excitement and provide examples of your engagement with the local community.

Insider Tip – Have a chat with someone working in that field/role or business unit at Council (if you’re lucky) to find out more about the position, the team and their goals so that you can talk confidently at interview about how you fit into the picture.

Laxmi Boodhun (Finance) has held four roles in three different departments during her three years at Wyndham City Council. She started as a Financial Accountant and most recently is employed as the Team Leader for Transactional Services – which includes Payroll, Accounts Payable and Receivable, Banking and Investment. Many of the 60 roles in the Finance department do require you to have a relevant qualification and on top of that your ability to get in and get the job done well is critical. Make sure you include an example of how you have done just that in your cover letter if you are applying for a job in Laxmi’s team!

Insider Tip – Triple check your spelling and grammar. The smallest mistake can count you out early on…particularly when you are applying for a job in a department that relies on attention to detail to get the job done!

Elaine Bugeja (City Amenity & Safety) has over 28 years’ experience in Local Government with qualifications in leadership and effective animal management.  She started her animal career through volunteer work at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne. Although animal welfare is Elaine’s passion, she manages a very broad portfolio of staff ranging from Parking Officers to Local Law Enforcement to Animal Welfare. One role that Elaine is often recruiting for is School Crossing Supervisor. This permanent part-time role (10 hours per week) is well suited to young people or parents returning to work.

Insider Tip – Follow your passion. Skills can be taught and professional development is readily available to assist with that growth, but passion definitely can’t be taught!

Anthony Bonnici (Facilities & Open Space) has been with Wyndham Council for seven years. He commenced his career as an Engineer and is currently the Area Leader of Open Space within the Facilities and Open Space department. Anthony’s team is responsible for overseeing the mowing and horticulture maintenance of over 2100 hectares which includes over 300 parks. If you’re thinking that a role in this department might be for you, a qualification in Horticulture, Arboriculture or Turf Management is desirable. Anthony is also looking for candidates who are eager to learn and progress and who show initiative.

Insider Tip – List achievements from previous roles at the start of your resume to help you stand out.

I also picked up these hot tips about what’s new in recruitment at Wyndham City Council.

Move over key selection criteria! What great news, you’ve got your weekend back! Wyndham City Council has joined the list of organisations that has removed the need to respond to key selection criteria. Instead focus your efforts on your cover letter. Provide a strong, convincing story about who you are, what you are about and how you can provide to the role and to the team you’ll be working with.

Catch you later STAR interview techniques! While the STAR technique of interview questions definitely has a place in recruitment, Wyndham City Council want to know about you. Why do you want to work at Council? How do you want to help the community? How can you benefit the organisation? How well do you align with the strategic plan of the organisation?

Collaboration is the #1 skill for 2020. With so many demands being placed on Council, many business units within the organisation are working together on projects, so being a people person, being adaptable and open to change and working well with different departments is a highly regarded skill.

A word about agency and casual staff. With approximately 300 of the 1800 strong workforce being agency and casual staff, a short-term opportunity certainly isn’t to be sniffed at. Wyndham City Council use a third party agency liaison organisation for short-term work. Now you can’t register directly with them, so I won’t give you a link to their organisation, but they deal with most of the Public Sector recruitment agencies like Hays and RandStad, so make sure you have registered with these agencies.

Here is a link to Wyndham City Council’s career page https://recruitment.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers

Here is a link to the Skills and Jobs Centre workshops and events for Werribee

https://www.thegordon.edu.au/sitedocs/sjc/what-s-on-february-july-2020-w.aspx

Industry Insights into Careers in the Disability Support Sector

Disability Support

Well we kicked off our first Industry Insights event for 2020 with a full house!!

With the Certificate IV in Disability on the Free TAFE list for 2020 and with lots of employment opportunity in the region, we were delighted to be joined by three of the largest Disability Support providers in the Geelong region.

A job in disability support is life changing for people with disabilities and for the support staff. It can be demanding and requires a lot of patience, but it’s also very rewarding. Disability Support workers are passionate, caring, and dedicated workers, who give people with disabilities the power to live the lives they want.

Now in case you don’t read to the bottom of this blog, I want you to take this piece of information away, so I’m going to put it right here!! All three organisations spoke about the importance of completing the NDIS Worker Orientation Module which has been developed to assist NDIS workers to better support people with disability. It’s a 90 minute module and you receive a certificate of completion, which you can then upload with your resume when job-seeking. It’s going to be what a Working with Children’s Check is to Early Childhood Education, so get a head start on your competition and click on the link below to complete the training.

https://training.ndiscommission.gov.au/

Back to our panel! Our first panel member was Paula Ruff the Practice Leadership Manager at Gateways Support Services.

Gateways Support Services provides quality, responsive services to more than 2000 children and adults with disabilities and their families in the western half of Victoria each year. This community organisation has grown from a grassroots service to a broad-based support service with more than 500 staff across multiple offices, including its head office in Geelong West.

Paula spoke so passionately about the positive change that the Disability Support sector has experienced in the past decade, which has seen so much opportunity open up for people living with a disability.

We were also joined by Kate McLean the Coordinator, People and Culture at Leisure Networks

For three decades, Leisure Networks has pursued a vision of capable, healthy people and inclusive communities. They focus on building life-skills, confidence and social connections. They support people with disability to lead more independent lives and to achieve their aspirations.

Our final panel member was Nikki Young the Recruitment and Wellbeing Lead at genU

For more than 65 years, genU have been providing support for people with disability, older Australians, and people experiencing disadvantage. With over 3000 staff across 200 national locations, genU is committed to building inclusive communities and helping people realise their dreams.

All three organisations follow a similar recruitment process. Vacancies are advertised on their company website and social media pages – genU is the only one who uses Seek and Leisure Networks is the only one who encourages applications to be sent even though there may be no advertised vacancies. Links to their recruitment pages are listed at the end of this blog. All three organisations review each application personally with the direct manager for the position. Short listed applicants will attend an interview and if successful two professional references will be contacted.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you with your job application for this sector.

Recruit for values and attitude – Technical skills can be taught! While there are some mandatory requirements (Current Level 2 First Aid Certificate, Current CPR Certificate, Current Working with Children Card (WWCC) for employees, assessed by the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme, Completed NDIS Worker Orientation Module) and a Certificate IV in Disability is desirable, your personal attributes are much more valued. If you are passionate about people of all abilities being treated fairly and being included in the community and are enthusiastic about the work that the organisation does, then you are a strong candidate for employment as a Disability Support Worker.

Lived experience is experience – Many jobs may say “must have a minimum of 6 months experience”. Don’t let this put you off. Don’t discount any lived experience you may have as this is so relevant. Do you have experience with a family member living with a disability? Have you engaged with community members with a disability at school or local sport etc? This all counts as experience.

Casual employment – Did you know that four of the seven members of Leisure Networks leadership team commenced their employment in a volunteer or casual role with the organisation? In all honesty, your first role with any of these organisations is most likely going to be on a casual basis too. Embrace it. Work as many shifts as you can, enjoy the work life balance that this sector offers.

Opportunity knocks – All organisations have such a broad range of opportunities available and many employees start as a casual Support Worker and then find their niche in a totally different role. Take Paula for example, she started at Gateways as a casual support worker in accommodation settings 8 years ago and at the time was not expecting to find that her passion is Positive Behaviour Support, which has taken her into a leadership role today.

Attention to detail – Disability Support work requires skills like taking detailed case notes and following instructions. These skills are also required when submitting a job application! Make sure that you don’t leave the recruitment team wondering about your skills in these areas by submitting a sloppy application – read the Position Description carefully, answer the key selection criteria accurately.

It was so clear from all our panel members, the enthusiasm and joy that they experience from working in the Disability Support sector. If you think that working for one of these organisations could be for you, please check out the current opportunities available listed on their websites below.

Gateways

https://www.gateways.com.au/get-involved/employment

genU

http://careers.genu.org.au/cw/en/listing

Leisure Networks

https://www.leisurenetworks.org/who-are-we/work-with-us/

If you need a hand with your resume or key selection criteria please book into one of our workshops or call 5225 0700 to book a one-on-one career advice appointment.

https://www.thegordon.edu.au/sitedocs/sjc/what-s-on-february-july-2020-g.aspx

Finally if you want to hear more about Industry Insights into Careers at NDIA please contact the Centre on 5225 0700 to register for this free event on Monday 30 March.