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. 

How I got my first job in Australia.

‘After recently arriving in Australia with my husband and spending six months in Canberra, we moved to Geelong in October 2016.  My professional background is in Sales and I worked in a marketing role for three years in Mumbai, where I also completed a Master’s degree.

I came across the Skills and Jobs Centre (SaJC) when I was shopping at Westfield late last year. I was curious and I wanted to find out what the Skills and Jobs Centre did.  I approached the reception and chatted to Lucinda about my situation.  I explained I was new to the country and needed assistance to understand the job market and how to get a job.  Lucinda made an appointment for me to see her to discuss what types of employment opportunities were in Geelong, the types of industries and what employers are looking for in regards to qualifications, experience, skills and soft skills.  We also discussed job search strategies and Lucinda provided information and tips about how to market myself and develop a good resume and cover letter.  Lucinda also provided lots of resources including job websites, tools and information to assist me in developing job search skills.

I started looking for a job with my updated resume and I was invited to my first group interview.  I made another appointment and we practiced possible group interview questions and things to practice – tips and advice on what to expect at a group interview.  I wasn’t successful in this instance, but in the meantime I secured a job at a jewellery store as a casual sales consultant in November.  After gaining some initial advice, my strategy was to work casually while looking for more relevant opportunities with my marketing background.

I continued looking for opportunities, and in February I applied for a role with K-Rock as Sales Coordinator.  I applied and was invited to an interview.  I was successful and offered the job.  I was very happy.  I couldn’t wait to tell Lucinda and she stayed in touch to ensure I was settling in well.  I started work at K Rock and have been very well supported and trained in my role.  It is a very friendly team and a very positive and supportive environment to work in.  I really enjoy my job and I feel part of the team.  I am looking forward to growing and succeeding in this role and looking towards future opportunities.  I am a member of the K Rock Social Club and we enjoy lunch, dinner or a movie each month.

My experience with the SaJC provided me with confidence and I was given lots of support from Lucinda, such as learning important things about Australian culture and what to expect in a workplace.  I wasn’t sure how I would settle in but Lucinda provided lots of support and reassurance during my job search and transition into a job.  Now that I have a job, I feel part of the Geelong community, I am making friends and enjoying weekends with my husband.

My advice to anybody who is looking for their first job in Australia is to try and find a suitable opportunity and take it, even if it’s not the ideal role.  While doing this, continue to look for the job in the industry that you would really like to work for.  If you are feeling lost, try and find someone to talk to about how to find work, culture or support.  I would recommend coming to the Skills and Jobs Centre for support and to learn about new skills to apply for jobs.  Try and maintain a positive attitude and be open to learning and understanding the new ways in Australia.  Talk to as many people as you can and network so that you can learn about Geelong and the job market.’

My tip: “Think good, do good and speak good” – Lubna

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.

Careers in the Health Sector: Insights from Epworth & Barwon Health

As many of you would be aware, the health care and social assistance industry is Australia’s biggest employer.  We were honoured to hold the Health Sector Insight Employer Panel in March. The panel members presented an overview of their organisation and an insight into their sector as well as an outline of their recruitment process and types of opportunities available.

The panel consisted of:

  • Mick Fuller (Senior HR Manger)  Epworth Healthcare
  • Christine Shaw (Advisor – Talent Acquisition & Services)  Barwon Health

Epworth Healthcare

Background

Epworth has been around for 100 years and is the largest private not for profit hospital. Epworth moved to Geelong last year, next to Deakin University in Waurn Ponds. Had 400 employees in July when they opened and now has 550 employees. The Epworth Group employs over 6000 people with the majority of staff employed in Richmond.

Mick’s personal experience includes a transition into the Health sector from a retail and manufacturing background. He believes you need to be passionate about the organisation you work for and so was attracted to the Epworth name and the professional but diverse environment they offer. He has worked at the Epworth for the past 18 months.

The Epworth Workforce

  1. Nursing Staff
    • Heavy reliance on Nursing Staff
    • Employs Registered Nurses & Enrolled Nurses, but will only employ endorsed Enrolled Nurses
  2. Food Services
    • Primarily employs people with a hospitality background.
    • Food Service Model which involves personalised screens for patients to order meals at any time of the day, following a hotel model. Patients have a choice of when they receive the meal and what the meal is. The menu is catered to your personal needs, including medical and dietary requirements.
    • Is less to do with health and more to do with customer service.
    • Attracting and employing people from 5-star backgrounds including the Head Chef who came from the Park Hyatt.
  3. Sterilisation
    • Involves looking after the equipment and getting it ready for surgery.
    • Certified role, you need to have completed a Cert III or Cert IV in Sterilisation.
    • Well-paid
    • Good work
    • Stable employment
    • Professional roles
  4. Theatre Technicians
    • Involved in bringing in the equipment and setting up the theatre.
    • Certified role – need a Certificate to be employed.
    • Certificate level courses will allow you to be employed, so you can get up and running fairly quickly.
    • Good pay.
    • Shortage of theatre technicians in Geelong.
  5. Administrative Positions
    • Includes Reception, Personal Assistants and Ward Clerks.
    • For advertised positions, 75+ applications are received.
    • Lots of competition for a small number of roles.
  6. Traineeships
    • Not currently offered as they are not a mature organisation.
    • Will put structures in place first, then look at offering traineeship opportunities.

What Epworth looks for in an employee

  1. Technical Skills
    • Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
    • Are tightly bunched, as lots of people will have the same qualifications.
  2. Non-Technical Skills
    • Human part
    • Customer service skills
    • Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously
      • Respect
      • Excellence
      • Community
      • Compassion
      • Integrity
      • Accountability
    • This is where people can differentiate themselves
    • Look on the website and find out about the values. If you are invited for an interview, think about how your values align with theirs.

Epworth’s Recruitment Process

  1. 2 phase interview process
    • Phone Interview – 15-20 min phone interview with hiring manager
    • Face-to-face Interview – 45min – 1hr interview with hiring manager and a representative from HR.
    • Come prepared and know about the environment. Make sure to check the website. This shows motivation, respect and initiative.
  2. Psychometric Test 
    • No right or wrong answer, but used to measure your values and behaviours.

Advertising of roles

  • 95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
  • Advertised on:
    1. Epworth website – www.epworthcareers.org.au
    2. Seek
    3. LinkedIn
    4. Specialty Job Boards
  • Can complete an Expression of Interest on the website, indicating the roles you are interested in, and you will receive an email to notify when those types of roles are advertised.

How to apply for a job at Epworth

  1. Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • 4-5 page maximum
    • Don’t be distracting
    • Don’t use colour or different font throughout the document
    • Keep professional
    • Use a single font in 11 or 12pt
    • No photos
  3. Cover letter
    • Tailor your cover letter – very important!
    • Make sure to change the name of the company – this shows care and attention to detail
    • Brief and to the point
    • 1 page
    • Show what you can bring to Epworth
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Flexible with regards to addressing Key Selection Criteria and won’t always ask for this to be completed separately
    • Look at the Position Description and address how your skills match and how your motivation fits
    • Show that you are committed to professional development
    • Show your connection to the community. This can be through involvement with sporting clubs or coaching your kid’s soccer team. This tells about you as a person.
    • Lots of people have the technical skills, but less meet the criteria of fit, culture and personality.

Barwon Health

Background

Barwon Health is the largest employer in Geelong, employing over 7000 people. They look after people from birth through to death and have 21 sites, including the hospital, Grace McKellar Centre, a number of Aged Care facilities and look after patients all the way to the South Australian border.

Health is the fastest growing industry in Geelong and in 2016 Barwon Health advertised over 1500 roles. It is an exciting industry with new innovations and a secure future.

Christine is new to the Health Care sector and shared that it’s a great environment to work in. The people are lovely and are there to help people. Others share the same values as you.

The Barwon Health Workforce

  1. Community Sector
    • More work will involve going to the patient’s in their homes, rather than the patients coming in
  2. Aged Care
    • Increasing % of people in the older age bracket means they are desperate to get great people working in this sector
  3. Theatre Technicians
    • All start off as casuals.
    • Need a Certificate III first.
    • Will see medical procedures, so have to be ok with that.
    • Have to be able to look after yourself and deal with situations.
    • Training – might need to go to Melbourne for training, but will be rewarded for this.
    • Look at job ads and speak to the Manager listed to ask questions about which courses they would suggest.
    • Good pay & a good job.
  4. Casual Administration Pool
    • Approximately 50 casuals who work across the sites.
  5. Nursing Casual Pool
  6. Volunteers
    • Seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles.
    • Allows you to connect with different departments.
  7. Traineeships
    • Offered 24 last year.
    • Mainly offered through Northern Futures, to help more disadvantaged members of the community.
    • Offered in various areas, including Admin & Stores.

What Barwon Health looks for in an employee

  • All about the attitude.
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (If you’re looking for a Mon-Fri 9-5 position, this is probably not the area for you).
  • People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about putting the patient first.
  • Looking for people who are really passionate.
  • Not great pay, but the reward is that you are there to help the community.
  • Barwon Health is value driven and they live their values, including in performance discussions every 12 months.
  • Recruit based on values.

Barwon Health’s Recruitment Process

  1. Decentralised process – each manager runs their own interviews.
  2. Phone Interview First
  3. Interview
    • Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
    • Make sure you are prepared.
    • Research:
      1. Website
      2. Position Description
      3. Values
      4. If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
      5. Call the Manager (if name on ad) and ask questions to start to build your relationship.
    • They understand that it’s scary and you’ll probably be nervous.
    • Take notes in.
    • Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready.
  4. Assessment Centres are popular (especially for CPO roles).
    • Up to 20 people.
    • Group activity, followed by an Individual Interview.
    • Remember, you are being monitored from the time you walk in, to the time you leave.
    • Assessing your true self – it’s ok if you are loud or quiet.
    • Looking at who you are.
    • How do you work in a team? Do you listen? Can you contribute?
    • Don’t take over, but don’t sit back. Just be yourself.
    • Contribute to the conversation.
    • If you are a leader, be a leader. Leaders are needed too! Just don’t be aggressive.
  5. Volunteering

Advertising of roles

  • Lots of internal advertising, due to the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement and the fact that Barwon Health encourages people to progress.
  • Casual Positions – lots of casual positions come up. Don’t be scared to apply as there are opportunities to pick up more shifts once you are in the door.
  • Theatre Technicians – Will be advertising positions soon.
  • Can register your interest online and will be sent job alerts.
  • Advertised on the website – http://www.barwonhealth.org.au/careers.

How to apply for a job at Barwon Health

Before you apply, think about:

  • Can you be available 24/7?
  • Are you passionate and excited about this industry?
  1. Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • Only include what’s relevant
    • Don’t go too over the top
    • Include your key skills
    • Have a profile at the top of your CV – this is very important as it gives the employer a snapshot of you
    • Will spend on average 10 seconds looking at your resume, so the top section is the most important
    • Clear & Concise
    • Easy to read
    • Easy layout
    • Managers read them, so make it easy to read
    • Include volunteering opportunities as this shows your connection to the community.
  3. Cover Letter
    • Talk about your passions.
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Part of the process.
    • Some are Y/N questions.
    • Need to address the criteria, but shouldn’t have to spend days on it.

Helpful Tips

  • There are lots of casual opportunities, so make the most of these. We are very lucky in Geelong that we have a great hospital network.
  • Casual gets your foot in the door and there are lots of opportunities. People are working across multiple organisations and hospitals in Geelong.
  • You are able to put in your availability on a weekly or monthly basis and it will match to what manager’s need.
  • It’s ok if you aren’t available all the time or if you can’t do a shift, as there is a big pool of casuals.
  • However, be responsive. If you are knocking back lots of shifts, it will seem like you are not available.
  • People are moving around the organisation more, opening up more opportunities.

If you are interested in a career in the health sector, book your FREE one-on-one appointment with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Geelong’s bright future in Construction

If you have driven around Geelong you have probably seen the major construction work happening on commercial sites in the CBD such the new WorkSafe head office, Geelong Hospital, Epworth Hospital, Simonds Stadium, Deakin University, Bellarine Aquatic Centre, Geelong Fire Station, Belmont Ambulance Station, Leopold Shopping Centre plus many more over the last few years and if you have driven almost anywhere outside Geelong’s CBD you will have noticed several land and residential sites being developed such as Armstrong Creek, Mount Duneed, Highton, Fyansford, Curlewis and Point Lonsdale just to name a few.

The construction industry is one of the Geelong regions strongest industries in regards to employment and although some other industries in Geelong have slowed down or have changed, construction has remained steady for the last 5 years and government employment projections state that the industry in Geelong will even grow by 11.1% by the year 2020. (Source: Labour Market Information Portal)

In fact, over $1.2 billion worth of major construction and redevelopment is underway in Geelong and another $1.9 billion is awaiting commencement or is planned. In the previous 12 months alone there has been $745 million worth of construction across a wide range of industry sectors.  Beyond this date and excluded from those totals, Geelong is proving to be an area of further investment with the currently underway $750m Keystone Business Park expected to provide jobs for the next 10 – 15 years, the $20b LAND 400 project for the next 30 years and over $1.3b of confidential investment enquiries for the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct that would create more than 1,065 jobs. (Source: Enterprise Geelong)

What does this mean for you? It means there are, and will be, plenty of opportunities for employment, that this industry should remain strong in the long term and is a great career choice if you possess the necessary qualities.

We recently held a Building & Construction Employer Panel here at The Skills and Jobs Centre where participants heard from 3 of Geelong’s major employers in the industry; Lyons Construction, Built and Rendine Construction.

Here are just some of the key points to come out of the event:

  • There is strong confidence in employment growth in the region with many upcoming projects and tenders forecast.
  • That the on-flow effect from all the construction taking place means a very wide range of job opportunities – from architecture, construction management, skilled and unskilled labouring, transport, earthmoving/mobile plant operation, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, electrical, scaffolding and many other trades, steel and timber fabrication, workplace safety, interior design, property law, engineering, environmental management to real estate and so on.
  • Trades and apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the industry but there are careers for all skill levels.
  • Even with university qualifications in construction employers prefer some level of hands-on experience and knowledge, even if this includes helping a family friend for a few days or doing some weekend work. According to Steve Lyons from Lyons Construction having that experience on building that door frame (for example) will enable you to better understand the process and time it takes to put door frames together and therefore enable you to manage your project more efficiently from estimating costs to the build itself.
  • That it is important to be flexible and adaptable which means being able to adjust your skills and thinking to different situations that may occur on a project.
  • What these companies look for in ALL employees are personal qualities such as work ethic, reliability, enthusiasm, team work and initiative. Your personal qualities will make you more employable than just having a qualification or certain skill.
  • If you are interested in starting out in the industry don’t be afraid to approach local builders or companies and see what opportunities might be available for you whether that be apprenticeships, labouring or even mentoring roles for university graduates.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different trades, skills and training and find the role that fits best. Having the extra knowledge and experience will also add to your employability.

In summary, the future is bright for anyone looking at getting into the industry. My advice is to be proactive and find out what training or jobs are available to you. You can contact local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers, contact an Apprenticeships Field Officer (AFO’s), speak with local businesses, ask family and friends for work experience, look at what RTO’s have to offer such as pre-apprenticeship courses, industry skills courses and ‘VET in School’ for high school students or come in and speak with the friendly staff here at the Skills & Jobs Centre who can provide you with information and help guide you in the right direction.

Useful links: http://www.thegordon.edu.au/future-students/apprenticeships-traineeships/contacts-and-useful-links

Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with Geelong industry information , book an appointment with Shai or any of the Skills & Jobs Centre’s advisors. 

 

Worried about gaps in your work history?

There are many reasons why someone could have gaps in their work history. They may have chosen to take time out of the workforce to raise their children. They may have needed a break to care for an ill relative or to recover from an illness themselves. They may have travelled. Or they may have been retrenched and struggled to find replacement work. These are all valid reasons, though it can be hard to know how to deal with them on your resume. The question is how to acknowledge them whilst still showing the employer you have the skills and experience to meet their needs.

Explain

Whilst the idea of just ignoring the gaps and hoping the employer won’t notice is attractive, it’s also fraught with danger. Employers will always notice them, I can guarantee it. If you don’t provide an explanation they will make assumptions about why you weren’t working during this time – usually negative ones. Luckily the majority of employers are understanding, but you do need to give them an explanation.

You don’t have to go into too much detail about what happened, a sentence or two in your cover letter or in the summary section of a resume will do. If you can alert the employer that you have had gaps in your work history, and provide a legitimate reason why, then you increase the chances of the employer understanding your situation and assessing your application fairly. 

Rearrange

Once you have explained the reason behind the gap you need to adjust the order in which the information is presented in your resume. If you haven’t been doing any casual work, whatever you are currently doing/have been doing most recently should be listed first – this may be study (including short courses), a volunteer role or anything else that is relevant to the role you are applying for (e.g. a cookery blog you have been writing if you are applying for hospitality roles).

Employers understand that gaps can happen, but they do like to see that you have been doing something whilst you have not been working.

Emphasise

The easiest way to clearly show an employer your suitability is to focus on your skills. Employers care about what you can do, they don’t care whether those skills were developed in paid employment or not. If you have most recently been volunteering treat it like a job on your resume by highlighting the skills you utilised and any achievements you had. It is the same for any training you have done. By emphasising how your skills match the employer’s needs you can make them so keen on you, they may even forget the employment gaps exist!

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you have questions about what to include in your resume, book in to our upcoming resume workshop.

Picture credit: walkerud97CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Not Getting an Interview? Your Resume May be to Blame.

In my current role I have seen countless participants applying for jobs they had both the skills and experience for, but who were continuously missing out on an interview. Not only was this incredibly frustrating for them, it was also a blow to their confidence. Receptionists, project managers, personal care workers, chefs and engineers alike, they were all incredibly well qualified for the roles they were applying for. They also had one other thing in common – their resume was letting them down.

Problem #1 – Their resume was out-of-date

A resume is not a static document, it should always be evolving. Not only does the information within it need to be continuously updated, the overall structure of the document needs to move with the times. For example, whilst it was all the rage at one point to include a cover page with “RESUME OF…” emblazoned across it in 72 point font, in this day and age all that will do is make an employer roll their eyes and skip straight past your application. This is definitely not the kind of first impression you want to be making!

You also should make sure you resume is visually modern. Employers can and will make an initial judgement of your application based on how it looks, all without reading a single piece of text. Clean, clear sections with lots of white space are the order of the day whilst graphics, bright colours and borders should be banished immediately.

Problem #2 – Their resume was not properly targeted

One of the biggest mistakes people can make when applying for jobs is not correctly targeting their resume to the position they are applying for. Including irrelevant information, such as incomplete qualifications from a different industry, makes it harder for employers to quickly assess how suitable you are for the role. Make their job easier by ensuring all the information included is presented in a way that highlights just how great a fit for the role you are.

Speaking of how your information is presented, don’t underestimate the importance of how you order that information. There is no hard and fast rule that your employment history must come first. Whichever section is most relevant to the position should be listed first. For example, if you have previously worked in retail and are applying for a role in Aged Care, in which you have just completed training, then the Training section (and your relevant qualification) should be listed before your Work History.

Problem #3 – Their resume didn’t provide context

Whilst employers want to know what you have done in previous roles, it is not enough to simply list your tasks. What you really need to do is highlight the skills you demonstrated as part of that duty. So, for example, rather than stating “Completed maintenance logs” you should say something like “Accurately completed electronic maintenance logs and other related documentation for reporting purposes”. This shows that you can accurately enter data, have attention to detail, have reasonable IT skills and are experienced with reporting.

Problem #4 – Their experience was not quantified

Employers love figures when reviewing applications, it helps give them a clear idea of exactly what level of experience someone has had. For example, if an applicant simply states “Increased traffic to organisation website” the employer would immediately ask “by how much?” Was it 1%, 2%? That’s not very impressive. Over what time period? 6 months? A year? Without these details the statement means nothing.

A far better way of stating the same thing is to say “Increased traffic to organisation website by 15% over a 2 month period”. This takes the guess work out and shows the employer exactly what you have achieved.

If you have been applying for countless jobs and not getting a single call back, try these tips – I guarantee your phone will soon be ringing off the hook!

By Christina Matthews. 

If you need help updating your resume, book in for one of the Skills & Jobs Centre resume workshops in Geelong or Werribee.

My journey from desperate to employed.

‘When I first visited The Skills and Jobs Centre, I had been looking for work for 8 months. I was job seeking 6 hours a day and applying for everything, jobs I was eligible for and jobs that I wasn’t eligible for. I worked at Black Salt for 6 months, over 40 hours a week, working at night and job searching during the day. I didn’t want to give up because I would hate myself and I couldn’t do it. I felt very frustrated. I thought my resume was OK and couldn’t believe it was so unfair.

I saw the Resume Workshop on Facebook on the Geelong Careers page. I had never been to anything like this, but thought I had nothing to lose. At the workshop, I was negative, ranting and I hated everything. I had been to University and had previously held a senior role but I was desperate. Robyn asked me to come in for an appointment. I thought no initially, but then what have I got to lose. I had pressure from family and so came in for a resume review.

In my first appointment, Robyn wouldn’t let me be negative and was encouraging. She gave me general advice on my resume. Robyn immediately built a rapport. Before I had my job interview at the Department of Health and Human Services, Robyn gave me tips and put me in the right head space. She said to research the company, which I did.

We went over and over the Position Description (PD) and this was the biggest thing. We highlighted words, including key words and it was someone to bounce ideas off. You think you’re doing it right, but it seems so obvious now. I was telling employers what I knew, rather than what they wanted to know.

In my job interview, I said annual report 3 times, repeating a key word. Now I know my boss only hears key words! There was a practical component to the interview, including Excel and doing Pivot tables. I had 15 minutes to complete it. After the 15 minutes, I came back and had to say I couldn’t do it. I thought I had stuffed it all up.

I went home and googled it and then drafted an email to say I could do it. I called Robyn and she said to send it. She said that job hunting is a delicate balance! They had over 100 applicants, but I got the job and they changed the role to put in more environmental management. I think my updated resume helped me to get the job and tailoring my application to the job – as soon as I did that, I got a job!

I’ve been there now for 4 or 5 months. I’m a Project Officer in the Environmental Management Unit at the Department of Health and Human Services. I am responsible for Environmental Management Systems Reporting. Also, staff engagement and staff behaviour change, including recycling, lights, energy etc. My role is 30% projects and I concentrate on renewable energy. I am working in Melbourne, so I leave at 7 am and get home at about 6.50 pm, but I am using my Bachelor of Science (Environmental) and Graduate Certificate in Applied Science in my new role.

Now I have a job, I feel like an adult. I feel like this is what I’m going to do. I’ve fluffed around for so long and now I feel like I’m on my way. I have financial security and the security of having a job. It’s great not to feel so desperate and to not have to be job searching.

The best thing I learnt from The Skills and Jobs Centre was the resume templates. I used the 2 page resume template. Also, that I needed to stop talking so much in my applications and use dot points.

The advice I would give to other job seekers is re-do your resume. You might think that it’s good, but it’s not. Also, get some assistance. Research the company. And just keep going until something happens!’ – Nat James.

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