Industry Insight into Early Childhood Education

On Tuesday the 29th of September the Skills and Jobs Centre teamed up with Wyndham City Council to deliver an Industry Insights Panel into the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.

We were excited to be joined by Sonija Smit, Service Excellence Lead with Wyndham City, and Sharleen Lancaster, State Manager from Sparrow Early Learning in Wyndham, to talk about the childcare industry, job opportunities, and recruitment and career pathways available. The passion Sonija and Sharleen have for the industry was evident in the virtual Zoom room, and was embraced by all attendees. What an amazing session to be involved in!

If you are currently studying childcare or are considering enrolling in a course at the beginning of 2021, keep reading, as there is valuable information that will help you decide if this industry is for you. If you have already decided that you want a career in childcare, you’ll find out about job opportunities and read some tips from the experts about the recruitment process.

What does it take to begin a career in childcare? If you are a nurturing and passionate person and enjoy building lifelong relationships, having fun and occasionally being a bit silly, this industry could be for you. Sonija explains that every day she leaves work feeling as though she has accomplished something, such as teaching a child something new like a developmental skill. It’s an extremely enriching career and keeps her coming back, even through the more challenging times.

Sharleen explained that some people are born with a natural ability to look after children; however, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a quality you have already. If you are persistent and apply yourself, this will come over time

Both panelists confirmed today that during the pandemic there were no jobs losses at their centres, and with people in the Wyndham area slowly returning to work, they are getting busier and are needing to recruit more staff.

With extra funding recently announced for the 3yo kinder, recruitment will begin in early 2021 for around 6000 more Early Childhood Teachers. It will be a staged approach across the country and state for the next 2-3 years.
This is a growth industry, with many centres looking to hire those with Certificate III, Diploma and Bachelor Early Childhood Education level qualifications. Now seems like the time to seriously consider the childcare industry as a career option.

Recruitment:

Below are the types of roles available across the industry that you might be interested in:

  • Childcare Assistants (Certificate III or Diploma Qualification)
  • Room Leaders (Diploma Qualification required)
  • Team leader or Service Manager – On the floor teaching and office work (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)  
  • Kindergarten Teachers – 3 and 4yo (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)
  • Office administrators
  • In-training early years educators (Diploma Qualification, working towards ECT)
  • Cooks/Chefs

And there’s other employment opportunities in the childcare industry, such as nannies, out-of-school-hours coordinators, Family Day Care assistants and more…  

What are they looking for when hiring?

  • Include your past work or volunteering history on your resume. Recruiters want to see that you have had experience working with other people, not necessarily only in the Early Childhood Education industry.
  • Your resume does not need to be long, 1-2 pages is enough.
  • Include a Cover Letter.
  • Give detailed answers in your Selection Criteria.
  • Try to align your selection criteria answers/and cover letter content with examples that reflect the vision and values of the organisation to which you are applying to.
  • Always be yourself in the interview! Its ok not to know everything about the job, ask questions and show you are willing to learn.
  • If English is your second language, that’s great, as centres embrace diversity and love being able to expose children to different cultures and languages. It’s so important now for our children to become global citizens and both Sonija and Sharleen expressed the importance of children hearing and learning different languages.

To view upcoming job opportunities with Wyndham City follow this link: https://recruitment.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers

Or Sparrow Early learning here:

https://www.sparrowearlylearning.com.au/careers

Career pathway resources:

https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe

https://www.vic.gov.au/kinder

https://www.vic.gov.au/make-difference-early-childhood-teaching

Placement opportunities with Wyndham City:

https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers/employment-pathways/work-integrated-learning-wil-tertiary-student-placements

Contact:
Skills and Jobs Centre:

If you are currently completing your qualification in Early Childhood Education and need assistance preparing your resume, cover letter, selection criteria or getting ready for that all important interview, get in contact with the Skills and Jobs Centre to organise a free appointment for support from one of our qualified Careers Advisors, phone 5225 0700 or email us at skillscentre@gordontafe.edu.au

Industry Insights into Agriculture and Farming Services

08284 - SJC Fb banner Industry Insights into Agriculture and Farm

Today we were delighted to be joined by two local employers from Werribee South to discuss current job opportunities in the Agriculture and Farming industry. Due to some technical difficulties, only half of the session was recorded (which you can access by checking out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegordonskillsandjobscentre), so we have written down some of the key points from the speakers today.

A big thank you to Elisa Walerys, the HR Manager at Fresh Select in Duncans Road and Lidia Ceccin from Grow Fresh in Farrants Road for joining us and sharing an insight into employment opportunities at their companies. Did you know that if you’ve ever bought broccoli, baby broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, iceberg, cos or hydroponic lettuce from Coles, chances are you were eating fresh produce grown right here in Werribee South?!

Both of these farms are preparing for their peak season to commence in October, so if you’re interested in working in this industry here are some key things to consider.

  • No previous experience is required, you will be taught the job whilst working
  • Having a forklift license or experience driving a tractor would be advantageous but not essential
  • You do need to be reliable, hard-working and motivated
  • You need to enjoy working outdoors as the job needs to be done rain or shine!
  • You need to be physically fit as it is hard physical work to harvest, pick and pack fresh produce
  • You will need to be able to understand and speak basic English for one of these casual roles
  • You will also need access to a car and be able to get to the work site. There is no public transport in Werribee South and you may need to travel to different farm sites for work.

You will most likely be employed on a casual basis to start with, and availability Monday to Saturday for a seven hour shift is required. During peak season you can be working almost full time hours and over December/January there is very little flexibility for extended periods of time off work. Although the work is casual, some employees have been with these companies for several years and the job has changed their lives, enabling them to buy a family home in the Werribee area.

You will be working in a team of 8-12 people with a leader. It is a great team environment that feels like family. There are some full-time opportunities available in team leadership or maintenance roles, but strong English speaking skills are required for these roles.

If you are looking for employment in an essential industry that has not been greatly affected by the current global pandemic, this could be a great opportunity for you. To apply for a job on one of these farms, you will need a very brief resume which lists any previous employment and any licenses or training you may have completed. Due to COVID restrictions, the farms are closed to the public, so you will need to send your resume by email. The Skills and Jobs Centre or Wyndham Community Education Centre can help you with this.

To let Fresh Select or Grow Fresh know that you are interested in working for them, you can email Craig or Jacinta at enquiries@wyndhamcec.org.au to have a look over your resume and make sure you are suitable for the roles. You can also email Elisa direct at docs@freshselect.com.au or the Skills and Jobs Centre can help you to write your resume and you can call us on 5225 0700.

Job Seeker Information Session

Job Seeker blog_picHere at the Skills & Jobs Centre we’re really getting into the swing of using Zoom for our workshops and information panels! Goes to show that you can learn new skills at any age…

Last Friday we hosted speakers from a variety of organisations who talked about job hunting while we’re in COVID-19 lockdown and managing our mental wellbeing at the same time.

Where are the jobs?

Marianne Messer – Geelong Region LLEN

Job seekers in the Geelong region now have a consolidated online jobs board, which takes away a lot of the stress of searching across different online job boards on social media. Marianne explained how her organisation has partnered with Simon French, the Geelong Employment Facilitator, on the Geelong Careers site – a great example of working cooperatively in COVID-19 time. Back in 2019, the Barwon region was doing well; however, we’re now seeing significant drops in hospitality and accommodation jobs. Transport, logistics and health job vacancies have increased, though the application process is more competitive.

  • Search jobs on https://www.geelongcareers.org.au/ – it’s free and local!
  • Make sure you get the word out amongst your networks that you’re looking for work – many jobs out there are word of mouth and don’t get advertised
  • Use social media to look for job groups…

…which leads us neatly into insights from the Skills & Jobs Centre’s Jodie Walsh – our social media queen…

Social media and recruitment agencies

Jodie Walsh – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

Did you know that Geelong Job Watch on Facebook has 25,000 members? Or that Geelong Jobs has 15,000? Jodie knows – she manages our social media accounts and understands the importance of social media for job search these days. There are approximately 9 Facebook pages for employment in Geelong, 1 in the Surfcoast, 2 in Colac and 2 in Werribee/western suburbs. See the Facebook Job Groups list at the end of this blog.

Over 90% of Geelong’s business community is small business, and these types of employers advertise their jobs on social media because it’s free and easier to use than sites like Seek.

  • If you’re concerned about your online presence, make sure you set your accounts to the highest privacy settings. And you don’t have to post – just use your accounts for job search.
  • Search for local community noticeboards online, where there can be posts about job opportunities.
  • Follow businesses (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) that interest you, so that you’re connected to their direct advertising.
  • For help with managing your privacy settings, the Facebook Help Centre is your one stop shop. For some basic instructions, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242
  • Or, if you’re a visual learner, try one of the many tutorials on Youtube, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VyoouopcDY Make sure that the video is made within the last 18 months so that it’s relevant to the most recent version of FB.

Recruitment agencies can be another good strategy for job search. Check out as many websites as you can and browse through the jobs listed. Register with them if they have positions that suit your preferred industry. But don’t complete your online registration and just wait for a call…it just doesn’t work that way. Check in on the agency websites regularly – make sure you’ve set up your jobs alerts properly to receive notifications.

There’s a comprehensive list of recruitment agencies in our region at the end of this blog – see Job Seeker Resources. Also read this informative past blog.

Large employers and the Working for Victoria (WFV) scheme

Colin Nicholson and Michaela Lobb – Department of Education & Training (Victoria)

Recruitment agencies are often the first point of contact if you’re looking for a job with large employers. Colin mentioned that large local companies such as Carbon Revolution, Cotton On, Chisholm Road Prison and Energy Australia are all recruiting at the moment. Remember that applying for jobs with large employers may be competitive, as recruiters will often advertise nationally through sites like Seek and Indeed.

Looking at a state level… The WFV scheme was initially set up by the Victorian government to support people who lost jobs directly as result of COVID-19. However, the great news is that anyone with full working rights in Australia is eligible to apply! WFV now has 25,000 job seekers and over 100 employers registered, and is partnered with recruitment agency Sidekicker.

Practical tips for job hunting in lockdown

Jo Black – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

If you’re reading this blog then you’ll know that the Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre is a FREE service for local job seekers, with a team of knowledgeable and friendly advisors – such as Jo Black! One recruitment trend during COVID-19 is a preference for one-page resumes. Jo gave us a few pointers on this:

  • Given the increase in job scams recently, you do not need to include your full address on your resume and/or cover letter. However, mentioning your suburb may be an advantage if employers are looking for people living in the area who can be responsive
  • A profile statement at the top of your resume is a useful way to highlight how well you’re set up to work from home, eg ‘reliable NBN internet, laptop and headset’
  • Include your qualifications and training, and if you have a long work history, focus on the last 10 years
  • If you also need to include a cover letter, make this punchy, using four paragraphs that give a snapshot what you have to offer.

Scroll to the end of this blog for some Sample resumes and cover letter tips from the SJC.

It’s always important to prepare for job interviews, but social distancing rules mean you may need to do an online interview using a platform such as Skype or Zoom. Make sure you:

  • understand the technology and practise using it in advance
  • dress like you would for a face-to-face interview, set up at least 5 mins in advance for your interview, and locate yourself somewhere quiet and tidy with good lighting where you won’t get interrupted
  • have all your application documents close to hand, try to use your mute button when you’re not speaking, and be respectful to the interviewers.

Looking after your mental health and dealing with stress

Tony McManus – Local Ambassador for Beyond Blue and RUOK?

It’s a strange time at the moment, a period of chaos. As Tony emphasised, it’s super important to look after your mental health and reach out for help if you need it. Risk factors such as isolation, chronic illness and traumatic life events do have solutions: social connection, diet and physical activity, and a healthy work environment.

The Geelong Community Foundation plays a key role in supporting the broader Geelong community, with grants to support community organisations.

Here’s some links to mental health resources recommended by Tony:

Connect 2 Grow – Mental Health Solution

Resources for Workshop Attendees

Sydney Morning Herald Article & Fairfax Media video

https://www.beyondblue.org.au

https://www.ruok.org.au

Job Seeker Resources

Check out the great job resources on CareerHub that you can access as a Skills & Jobs Centre client.

If you haven’t yet logged into CareerHub, call us and we can step you through it. We’re still offering all our services – 1:1 career counselling, workshops, employer panels – by phone or Zoom.

Recruitment agencies with a local presence/office

Hays

Programmed Skilled Workforce

Randstad

People@Work

Direct Recruitment Geelong

Hoban Recruitment

Harvest Recruitment

SJ Personnel

Fruition Recruitment

WorkforceXS

Fox Personnel

Calibre Workforce (mainly hospitality)

JK Personnel (mainly Ballarat but sometimes has Geelong jobs)

External recruitment agencies for Geelong region – large volume, specialised and government recruitment

Chandler Macleod

Adecco

Manpower

Hudson

Toll Group Recruitment

DFP Recruitment

Face2Face Recruitment

Public Sector People

Facebook job groups

Jobs Geelong Region

Geelong Employment

Geelong Job Watch

Jobs in Geelong

Geelong Employment Opportunities

Jobs Search Geelong Area 1

Geelong Jobs

Jobs in Geelong Region

Jobs Vacant Geelong, Surf Coast & Surrounds

Surfcoast Jobs Available

Colac District Employment Wanted & Employees Wanted

Colac & District Jobs

Werribee & Surrounds Local Jobs

Jobs in Western Suburbs of Melbourne

Sample resumes and cover letter tips

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/50/WFV-one-page-resume-guidelines.docx

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/58/WFV-one-page-resume-sample_transferable-skills.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/18/Cover-letter_template.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/38/Cover-Letter.pdf

Industry Insights into Careers at NDIA

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In these changing times that we are living in, unfortunately we couldn’t all be together at the Skills and Jobs Centre for this Industry Insights event, but we still want to bring you the information that you need. So we switched things up and delivered the event using Facebook Live! Did you get to see it? What did you think of the new format?

If you’re looking for a job that is so much more than a pay-check, you can’t really got past a career at NDIA. The priority of the Agency is to ensure that people with disability continue to get the support they need. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will benefit hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability, and will provide support for their families and carers. Anyone who has or might acquire a disability will have a new safety net to rely on, as the National Disability Insurance Scheme will offer peace of mind for every Australian.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant economic and social reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970’s. Joining the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) means you have the opportunity to help build a new agency. The NDIA is still growing and creating its own identity while developing new and innovative programs for our employees and the Australian community. NDIA employees have a unique opportunity to be involved in the NDIS roll out across Australia.

The NDIA has a strong culture, driven by passion for the work they do and a commitment to supporting people with disability to achieve greater independence. If you’re still wondering if the NDIA is for you, they offers attractive employment benefits and  are committed to assisting employees achieve a healthy work-life balance. Check out this link for more information about why you should work for the NDIA.

Here is some information about the sort of roles available at the NDIA as well as how their recruitment process works.

First of all, as an Australian Public Sector (APS) employer the application process is fairly stringent. It is a competitive selection process based on APS Employment Principles. The process starts through the careers page on the NDIA website. You can apply for a specific role or you can express an interest in working at the NDIA through the Temporary Employment Register, which will match you up with suitable vacancies. When you complete the application, make sure that you follow the STAR (Situation/Task/Action/Result) method when responding to questions. The next step is the interview where you will be faced with behavioural interview questions. If these sounds like new concepts to you, make sure you check in with the Skills and Jobs Centre and book into either the Resume workshop or the Interview Skills workshop to increase your confidence with these techniques.

Now just a word about timelines, as a Government agency, the process can take approximately four weeks, but you are welcome to check in with the recruitment team at any time. Make sure you refer to Cracking the Code for assistance with navigating the APS recruitment process.

One thing that I really picked up from the presentation is that the NDIA doesn’t necessarily recruit on qualifications, it is very much a values based recruitment process. They want the best people in the right roles, so if you are passionate about your community, if you want to make a difference and to give back and are clear about how you can do that, make sure those qualities shine through in every aspect of the application process.

So what are some of the roles you might be looking to apply for?

Local Area Planner – This is an APS4 level role and no medical background is required. This role does require directly working with participants and some typical duties would include, writing up plans, making informed decisions within your delegation and providing access to current and future supports to achieve goals and outcomes. Here is a great video with more information about working as a Planner

Local Area Coordinator – A key skill of this role is to engage and communicate with a variety of community members which require you to be able to tailor your written and verbal communication styles. This role does require specific disability qualifications. Here is a link to a video which explains more about the role and why it’s so important.

Project Officer – This role doesn’t work directly with participants. This role provides advice on how projects are delivered, monitored and reviewed. It requires you to consult and share information with different teams at the NDIA in order to achieve outcomes.

Business Support Officer – This role often acts as the first point of contact for participants so you will need excellent customer service skills both on the phone and in person. Business Support Officers also provide admin support to Local Area Planners and liaise with community providers.

Please note that all roles are advertised as full-time, but don’t let that put you off if you are looking for part-time work. It’s best to bring this up at the interview stage with the line manager. As a general rule, part-time work would be a minimum of three days a week to ensure that you don’t lose contact with your team and with the Agency.

Another way that the NDIA attract new talent to the Agency is by offering three graduate programs open to University graduates.

  • The University Graduate program is an 18 month program which commences in February and includes 12 months in the APS graduate program to learn about life in the public service followed by 6 months in the NDIA Leadership Development program. It is a fantastic opportunity to develop strong professional networks throughout a number of departments in the Agency as well as to develop an individual career plan aligned to your interests. Applications are open to graduates with diverse academic disciplines, including, but not limited to: Finance, Legal, Actuarial, Business, HR, Social Sciences and Allied Health.
  • The Stepping Into program is a 152 hour internship open to university students with a disability. It provides a hands on work experience for students in their chosen field and has proven to close the gap in employment after graduation for students with disability.
  • The Indigenous Australian Graduate Development program is a 15 month program aimed to increase the number of Indigenous Australians employed in Government roles. Participants will receive a Diploma level qualification and on the job training.

For any queries you may have, please contact Sarah Lucas via email: sarah.lucas@ndis.gov.au

Industry Insights into Careers in IT

08089 - SJC Facebook IMG Insights into IT Industry

It’s been a while (actually four years!) since we held an Industry Insights event into Careers in IT and boy have things changed since then. With more and more large organisations moving to Geelong and constant advances in Technology, we thought it was a good time to hear from some of the heavy hitters in the Geelong IT sector to check in about employment opportunities. Yesterday, we were lucky to be joined by representatives from Viatek, Hays Recruitment and Deakin eSolutions to learn about what’s going on around town in the IT sector.

Hays Recruitment

Hays are a specialist recruitment firm based on Pakington St. They have 12 staff and are focused on the South West of Victoria region. They operate across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

James is the manager of Hays Recruitment here in Geelong. He has recruited exclusively in IT for the last five years for roles based in Geelong and regional Victoria. James regularly works with large organisations such as TAC, WorkSafe, NDIA, GMHBA, Deakin, CoGG, Barwon Health as well as a multitude of companies in the private sector. James recruits for roles ranging from entry level positions to Chief Information Officers. Organisations tend to engage Hays because they need to find someone quickly, they need a specific skillset or they have tried to recruit the position themselves without success. James can look at over 30 resumes a day, places about 100 permanent roles each year and manages about 350 temp staff at any given time.

Deakin eSolutions

On a day-to-day basis, eSolutions works to support 60,000 students and 10,000 staff with basic IT problems, utilise opportunities to grow efficiencies through technology and manage the cultural and business change that results when large-scale, strategic IT projects are implemented.

Hayley has worked at Deakin for just over 15 years with almost eight of those years with the eSolutions team. Amazingly, her career at Deakin started when she was recruited on graduation to lecture in social research methods. Hayley’s first job in IT was an entry level role on the Service Desk. Given her skills and qualifications, she quickly progressed to more senior roles, but Hayley credits having started in an entry level role as one of the reasons for her success later on as a team leader and Manager. One of Hayley’s current roles is as Major Incident Manager and guess what is keeping her busy these days? No surprises, it’s moving student learning fully online and helping staff get set up to work from home!

Viatek Geelong

Viatek specialises in providing businesses with a range of print and copier solutions. There are 30 staff working across offices in Western Victoria, covering administration, sales and a service team. Viatek also have an IT business in Geelong which provides a range of Managed IT, IT project work and cloud solutions to businesses that aren’t large enough to employ an IT Manager.

Drew has a strong business and management background and has recently revamped several of the teams at Viatek.

Here are some tips from the panel to help with tailoring your job application to the IT industry.

  • Research – Research the company, the hiring manager, the type of work they do, the type of skills they need
  • Personalise – If anyone ever sends an application addressed “Dear Hiring Manager” after this session, well, we’ll all be very disappointed with you!!
  • Give them a call – Ask meaningful questions. Think about if I were to start this job tomorrow, what would I need to know? Hint: asking about the salary is not on that list! Use this opportunity to show your passion for the role and the organisation to make sure that your names makes it on to the shortlist.
  • Be realistic – You don’t have to match every criteria on the job description, but be upfront about where your skills gaps are and how you will overcome them
  • Work on your sales pitch – Some graduates are uploading videos to their LinkedIn profile with a pitch about why they want this job / to work for that company. You don’t necessarily have to be in that league, but hone your cover letter so that employers want to read your resume.
  • Follow-up – Researching and applying are the two hard parts! Make sure you follow up to show your interest and gain valuable feedback
  • Working With Children’s Check – Get one! Now! So many IT roles now have this a requirement (think working in schools, working in the disability sector etc), so make yourself ready for an immediate start by having this check already done.

Here are some of the qualities that employers are looking for.

  • Being creative, an innovative thinker and a fast learner are critical skills to helping any organisation stay on top of worldwide changes and adapt to constant digital disruption
  • Demonstrating self-progression and self-taught learning is critical in such a fast-paced industry and a great way to keep industry currency during periods of unemployment.
  • Flexibility is essential, the ability to undertake several roles and to learn different skills quickly is very valuable.

Here are some of the panels’ thoughts about the future job opportunities in the region. With larger organisations moving to Geelong, this has brought IT jobs to the region that simply weren’t needed in Geelong five years ago. What an exciting time to be working in IT?! Here are some of the areas that the panel identified as being in demand;

  • Compliance & Governance – Did you know that every Government department has to keep their paperwork for LIFE, like life, life! Some departments have entire rooms full of paper that need to be scanned and stored electronically in order to meet this requirement.
  • Business Intelligence – Everyone wants to be able to use their data better which is seeing growth in roles using SSIS, SSAS, Tableau and developing dashboards.
  • Security – More and more organisations are engaged dedicated IT security roles
  • Cloud – AWS experience highly regarded

Finally a word about networking. James recommended joining the networking group Geelong Young Professionals. Here is a link to their events page so you can keep up to date. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/geelong-young-professionals-6839265061

All of our panelists recommended keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and engaging. Did you know that in the US LinkedIn has almost replaced resumes! Start using LinkedIn to follow organisations, follow people and engage with companies you would like to work with.

For help with your resume or interview techniques, come along to our free monthly series of workshops at the Skills and Jobs Centre at Westfield, Geelong 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.

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

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 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/

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.