Inspiration put to work at Greater Hume

Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton. Picture: MARK JESSER
Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton. Picture: MARK JESSER

GREATER Hume Shire has embarked on a “grow your own” staff initiative by targeting secondary schools to encourage students to consider a career in local government.

Titled Work Inspiration Day, the council is the first in the area to pilot the program with year 9 and 10 students from Billabong High School.

Students were rotated through different council departments and performed a real-life task of designing a skate park, which included selecting the location and building components and exploring funding opportunities.

Year 9 students will be briefed on local government options before undertaking work experience in year 10 and following onto traineeships after year 12.

Work Inspiration is an Australia-wide, employer-led campaign.

“Our goal was to develop a Work Inspiration program that is valued by participating students and our local schools,” mayor Heather Wilton said.

“Hopefully some of the students will return in year 10 for work experience and then potentially apply for an apprenticeship, traineeship or cadetship at a council in the future.”

Billabong High students also mapped the careers of existing local government employees at Greater Hume.

Tumbarumba Shire general manager Kaye Whitehead also attended the event to speak about her role and the path taken to get to the position.

She was the recipient of the NSW Ministers’ Award for women in local government in a senior staff role in the rural or regional council category.

“All volunteered their career story, including the ups and downs and in most cases how they modified the journey or took on further study to get to where they are now,” Cr Wilton said.

Greater Hume general manager Steve Pinnuck is the convenor of the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils’ workforce development group.

“It views the Work Inspiration model as an ideal long-term recruitment strategy to address the sector’s challenge of an ageing workforce, skills gaps and severe competition it faces for available and suitable skilled candidates,” he said.