The Delivery and Engagement Group has responsibility for frontline delivery of the Department’s employment programs through a range of functions, among them account and contract management; input into policy development, implementation and review; employer and stakeholder engagement; and local labour market intelligence gathering and interpretation. A number of stakeholder and employer engagement activities were undertaken during 2016–17, with the Delivery and Engagement Group working in partnership with employment services providers to deliver tailored employment service to meet the specific needs of employers. A number of case studies demonstrating coordinated employment services are described here. These activities were successful in helping employers find suitable candidates through the Department’s programs, thereby helping job seekers move into sustainable employment.
The New South Wales Infrastructure Skills Centre—a one-stop infrastructure-focused
skills and jobs centre
New South Wales
The NSW Infrastructure Skills Centre is a Sydney Metro initiative and is a landmark enterprise delivered by the Sydney Metro Authority, TAFE NSW and the Commonwealth Department of Employment. The state-of-the-art centre, located at the existing TAFE NSW Annandale facility, is readily accessible by public transport and close to Sydney’s CBD. Designed in collaboration between Sydney Metro, TAFE NSW and the Department, the centre offers an innovative industry-led approach to address identified gaps in infrastructure skills training, and apprentice and trainee mentoring, as well as providing direct access to jobs. In short, it will be Australia’s first one-stop infrastructure-focused skills centre with integrated employment services on site. The NSW Government is investing $4.97 million of the total cost of approximately $6 million through TAFE NSW. The Australian Government has provided a capital grant of $950,000. This funding will enable a jobactive services provider to operate on site, as well as secure equipment to support pre-employment training courses.
Many of Sydney Metro’s and its contract partners’ workforces will undertake accredited pre-commencement training at the Skills Centre as the initial primary users of the facility. It is expected the centre will address skills and jobs requirements across other major infrastructure programs, such as the Western Sydney Airport and large construction projects such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, WestConnex, NorthConnex Parramatta Square and the Western Sydney Stadium.
Delivery of the Sydney Metro Workforce Development programs is part of a demonstration pilot with the NSW Department of Industry’s Infrastructure Legacy Program. The Infrastructure Skills Centre will support new industry entrants, existing workforces, apprentices and local communities well into the future. Tailored pre-employment training will be available for a range of cohorts, including young people, Indigenous Australians, individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and women working in non-traditional roles.
First Employability Skills Training
National Job Link successfully delivered its first Employability Skills Training block one course in Darwin through its Enterprise Learning Project, which gave participants exposure to planning for and running a fundraising activity. Participants took ownership of the project and worked as a team to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation; this included contributing their own ideas, contacting businesses to arrange donations of goods, creating and distributing flyers, and setting up for an event while keeping in mind the requisite workplace health and safety policies and procedures.
The training demonstrated the program’s value in supporting young people to build confidence and overcome personal barriers to develop core skills for work. As a result of the program, two participants have gained employment and seven are actively applying for jobs and internships. One participant will move onto Employability Skills Training block two and another has enrolled in a Certificate III course in Business.
When the course first began, members of the group were shy and uncomfortable with formal accredited training. Once the trainer explained what they would be doing, they underwent the assessments with ease. The three Foundation Skills Training units gave participants the exposure to understand behaviours and requirements in a workplace. This included overcoming communication barriers and managing different personality types when working in a team, understanding their own learning barriers and how they affect their lives, and assisting each other with their learning.
Participants provided positive feedback, saying they would put this formal training into their résumé and believed it would assist them with gaining employment. One participant wrote, ‘We very much appreciate everything you have done for us. This course has been life changing for me and if you’ve helped me I know you will help a lot more people. Thank you for making this a wonderful experience’.
Gen Z Transition to Work and Aven Group Youth Jobs PaTH Internship
The Youth Jobs PaTH program funded through the Youth Employment Package assists young Australians to acquire the work-ready skills demanded by employers, so that they can get a job and become valuable contributors to the Australian workforce. Youth Jobs PaTH complements the successful Transition to Work service, which provides intensive support to vulnerable young Australians to help them enter the workforce.
Internships are a key element of PaTH. They encourage local businesses to host young people aged 17 to 24 years in supervised work experience placements for up to 12 weeks. A Youth Bonus wage subsidy of up to $10,000 can then help businesses hire young people when they complete their internship.
One of many local businesses encouraged by the opportunities under PaTH to host an intern and hire them with the assistance of a Youth Bonus wage subsidy was an employer at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast. In March 2017, the employer approached Gold Coast Transition to Work provider Gen Z Employment for assistance in finding suitable people for his new company. He had heard about Youth Jobs PaTH and was keen to use it to help his business establish a reliable staff base at a time when many new companies are struggling financially to do this. Experienced in supporting and nurturing young people, the employer had the insight and awareness to identify situations that would enable his company to provide opportunities for young people to get a start and to learn the skills needed to be a successful employee while also benefitting his business.
After registering with a local jobactive provider in May 2015, Genie Asher was referred to Gen Z in October 2016, seeking more intensive support to address complex barriers. Using one-on-one sessions, group programs and health intervention services, Gen Z gradually improved Genie’s work-readiness skills, sense of wellbeing and confidence.
Aware of the employer’s interest in the Youth Jobs PaTH, Gen Z referred Genie to a four-week PaTH internship being offered by the employer. This was an opportunity for Genie to showcase her skills and suitability for employment and for the employer to find out if Genie was a good fit. The internship met all the expectations of both parties, with Genie treating the job ‘like it was already mine!’.
After completing the internship Genie started a full-time online sales-marketing role with the business. She continues to develop the sales and marketing skills essential to online and direct-call sales and is being trained in the use of operating systems that record telemarketing orders and sales. Perhaps best of all, her confidence and sense of personal accountability have skyrocketed.
From the employer’s perspective, the PaTH program helped him develop and build a new business in an industry where young people do not traditionally seek work. By allowing the employer to trial staff to get the right fit for his business, PaTH is helping him realise his aim of supporting young people in the community while satisfying his needs as a small business owner.
Accessing Multiple Programs to Assist a Young Job Seeker
A young Indigenous Western Australian job seeker is reaping the benefits of a partnership between a local jobactive provider and a resources company to obtain sustainable employment.
Travis undertook a pre-employment training program funded through the Employment Fund to increase his readiness to work in difficult conditions at a mine. The role was to work 12-hour days on a fly in, fly out roster, which could be daunting for a young job seeker with a limited work history.
The pre-employment program, which aims to educate in health and fitness as well as build confidence, allowed Travis to commence work with Morris Corporation in January. Morris Corporation was able to access the Youth Bonus wage subsidy, while additional mentoring support was provided through the Vocational Training and Employment Centres program, funded by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Travis had the opportunity to meet with Employment Minister Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash and talk about the challenges and exciting opportunities he sees for himself as well as the leadership he sees he now has within his community.