Addressing skills gaps in local industry
Managing a workforce is hard work. Businesses in our region continually assess the gap between ‘where they are now’ and ‘where they want to be.’ Getting staff to help a business progress from point A to point B without the necessary workforce skills is almost impossible…especially when it’s a battle to keep up with ‘where they are now.’
So how can a business ensure that it has a workforce with current skills? And how can a business ensure that those skills will be enough to progress, grow or use new resources in the future? Training within the business can be expensive, time consuming and ultimately secondary to business operations.
Some local businesses have recently participated in customised skills training with incredible outcomes. Some accessed Victorian and Commonwealth government funding to upskill employees through traineeship and apprenticeship programs that are available to most businesses.
Workplace-based training meant minimal business disruption along with new skills and updated processes for the business.
CSR Lightweight Systems
CSR Lightweight Systems is a publicly listed building product manufacturer with about 3,000 employees Australia-wide. Forklift work and heavy materials handling account for a large aspect of CSR’s operations.
Wodonga TAFE and CSR crossed paths at a national forklift skills competition years ago. Many of the panel judges were Industry Skills & Trades (IST) instructors at Wodonga TAFE who had previously provided skills training to a large number of businesses participating in the competition.
CSR, like every business, has OH&S standards and an obligation to provide a safe workplace. They discussed their business and training needs with the IST instructors and explained that any training solution needed to maintain a ‘safety over productivity’ culture.
Wodonga TAFE’s solution to CSR’s needs involved theoretical and practical training; however, it’s not the standard forklift refresher program. CSR employees, not just management, have heavy input into the program’s continuous development.
This partnership enables the training to meet CSR’s specific needs now and into the future. On-site training with workplace equipment also provides consistency across CSR’s main and subsidiary sites.
After nine years and over 2,000 employees trained CSR has had a decrease in serious incidents and accidents at work. This has a positive impact on employees due to an ingrained respect for organisational and personnel safety needs.
Bumble Bees Childcare Centres
Since the centre opened in 2004, Early Childhood Education and Care trainees at Bumble Bees Childcare Centre have studied with Wodonga TAFE. In addition, the Childcare Centre provided placement opportunities for students studying the Early Childhood Education and Care courses with Wodonga TAFE.
At a point during the partnership, there were twenty trainees at the Childcare Centres’ two Wodonga locations. “We got to the point where the relationship had grown to such an extent that we were able to offer a truly unique service which benefits both the students and the Centre,” said Vicki Wornes, Teacher and Trainee Coordinator at Wodonga TAFE.
Wodonga TAFE managers proposed a unique delivery of trainee supervision for Bumble Bees. Due to the number of trainees to assess, Wodonga TAFE Instructors started spending half-day blocks at the Centres to observe the students in their work environment.
This was an opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with each student about their progress and review any areas needing development. Bumble Bees were then able to access TAFE-specific government funding to assist 17 staff to upgrade their skills.
This was important as the new standards for childcare centres stated that 50% of staff need diploma qualification. Given the relationship with Wodonga TAFE and the amount of early childhood staff involved, they were able to complete their training at Wodonga TAFE, be observed in their workplace and complete any practical requirements there as well.
Bega Cheese has provided their workforce with Wodonga TAFE skills training over the past eight years. Starting with management training, the partnership has evolved into what it is today through collaboration.
The training includes national qualifications and skill sets aligned to specific industry job roles. The result is a streamlined workforce with increased capabilities that meets current industry needs.
The offering has expanded to include all areas of the business from management, administration and leadership to production and warehousing. Wodonga TAFE ensures that all projects have a streamlined, collaborative communication process.
This is to ensure a full understanding of the workplace needs and the successful design and implementation of the training model. Key personnel are engaged to deliver successful outcomes.
Bega Cheese experiences the benefits of streamlined and consistent processes by training their staff in new practices, tools and technology. Any workforce can benefit from affordable, flexible, customised training.
- Call Wodonga TAFE to learn what complete workforce training solutions can do for your business.
- Health & Community 1300 493 154
- Business, Hospitality & Hairdressing 1300 493 031
- Industrial Skills & Trades 1300 493 147