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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Useful Links

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

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

Here is some information about the National Skills Needs List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HBFB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Useful Links

Business Victoria

The Gordon – Food Safety Supervisor short course

Environmental Health Officers at your local Council

City of Greater Geelong

Surfcoast Shire

Wyndham City Council

Economic Development at your local Council

City of Greater Geelong

Surfcoast Shire

Wyndham City Council

Small Business Mentoring Service

Small Business Mentoring Service with COGG

Small Business Mentoring Service

Community Services Sector in Werribee

Community Services Employer panel
30 October 2017

Panel members:      

Shara Thisananthan (HR Partner) – Wyndham City
Jaicy Kumar (Business Services Manager) – Wyndham Community and Education Centre

Hosted by:                  The Skills and Jobs Centre, Gordon TAFE, Werribee

The Community Services employer panel provided an opportunity for Gordon students and Skills & Jobs Centre participants interested in a career in Community Services to gain an insight into the sector and what employers are looking for in potential employees.  Below is an overview of what it’s like to work in the community services sector and information, tips and tricks from our panel.

Make a real difference in people’s lives

Working in community services, you have an immediate and profound impact on the welfare of vulnerable people.

Every single day you make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. Your actions help those who are struggling the most to build better lives, and to give them hope for a brighter future.

You also help to build stronger, more inclusive communities.

What an amazing career. Can you imagine the job satisfaction you would get from that?!

Job variety: one qualification, lots of roles

Unlike a lot of other sectors, community services gives employees a huge selection of client areas to work in.

This means that you can try out a number of different areas, before settling on the one that you are really passionate about. It also gives you room to move if you feel stagnant in a particular job or area.

Client areas in the community services sector include:

  • Aged care
  • Disability services
  • Indigenous and multicultural support
  • Asylum seekers and refugee services
  • Mental health and counselling
  • Child protection
  • Family services
  • Schools
  • Emergency relief
  • Youth justice

(https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/blog/2016/08/01/ca-10-reasons-start-career-community-services/)

Panel insights and career story – Jaicy Kumar

Wyndham CEC has been providing educational programs and community services to the local community for 40 years.  Wyndham CEC offers a range of programs and services that include: pre-accredited and accredited training courses and community programs for individuals between the ages of 15 and 64 from a broad cross section of the community with a strong emphasis on the disadvantaged, youth, refugee and humanitarian entrants, and other new and emerging communities.

The types of opportunities that may be available are mainly associated with teaching, caseworkers and business including facilities management, bookkeeping and HR.  There are also volunteering opportunities.

What we look for when recruiting:

>Passion
>Languages
>Interest in the sector
>Commitment
>Industry knowledge
>People skills
>Team work

When recruiting for a vacancy, the HR department advertise firstly to the volunteer pool, networks and then externally online.

Personal Career Story – Shara Thisananthan

Shara graduated with a bachelor degree in Information Systems from Melbourne University and secured an entry level role for two years with Baker’s Delight in HR/Finance/Production.  Shara then moved to Wyndham and applied for a role in Aged Care/Disability wanting some work life balance and a job in the local community.  Whilst she wasn’t success in gaining the first role, she was offered another role as the employer could see potential.  She worked in Administration support and was able to demonstrate commitment along with many other transferable skills, and was subsequently offered an ongoing role.  Shara reassessed her career again and after returning to work after some maternity leave applied for an internal role that became available in HR and Administration.  Shara’s current role is Business Partner.

Shara’s tips

>Continue to learn and develop new skills (more flexible training/courses are now available online)
>Be open minded and embrace change
>Demonstrate commitment and passion

Panel insights and career story – Shara Thisananthan  

Wyndham City are located across Werribee, Tarneit and Point Cook with a focus on diversity, culture within the community, being progressive and dynamic, and working in partnership. 

Recruitment Process

>Wyndham Careers website (job alerts may be set up)
>Online application process
>Positions may also be advertised on Seek and in local papers
>Tertiary placements may also be arranged – contact relevant area
>Information and tips about resume, cover letter and key selection criteria
>Shortlisting process
>Interview (3 parts) 1) Questions, 2) Behavioural Interview (use STAR technique) 3) Technical questions specific to role.
>Pre-employment check – Police check, Working with Children, and sometimes a Psychometric test assessment.
>Referee check

Personal Career story – Jaicy 

Jaicy began her career as a scientist in intellectual property and litigation.  She was very interested and passionate about the community sector, in particular Social Enterprise and organisations such as Saffron Kitchen, and was involved and volunteered for five years.

This experience and passion led Jaicy to apply for her current business role.  Jaicy promoted and demonstrated her commitment and passion in her application.  Jaicy also demonstrated and included her strengths and transferable skills.

Tips
>Perseverance
>Ask HR for feedback
>Apply your transferable skills to the role
>Tailor your resume for each role
>Spend time on your application
>Attention to detail
>Build skills

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.