Jobfind’s tailored collaboration with Learning Sphere – a registered training organisation, has supported job seekers with a disability to upskill for in-demand warehousing roles.
The Illawarra South Coast region has a long history of manufacturing. The sector is growing, along with construction and hospitality. That means warehouse and logistics staff are in high demand in the Dapto region where employers are finding it challenging to fill vacancies.
Warehouse work has always been popular with local job seekers in the Dapto area, says Carol Peace, Jobfind’s disability employment service Team Leader in Illawarra. With lower entry requirements and the flexibility of shift work, it’s a popular choice for people looking for scope to grow with a local family business or transition to a medium to large operation.
A tailored program for local job seekers
Learning Sphere is a registered training organisation that specialises in creating tailored staff training programs for businesses. They collaborated with Jobfind Dapto team to upskill job seekers needing an entry-level supply chain qualification. The result was a tailored course: Certificate III in Supply Chain Operations, fully funded for Jobfind participants through NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled Targeted Skills Program (Skilling for Recovery).
Following an information session with interested participants, Learning Sphere created a 6-month course tailored to the participants. Learners met twice a week in a face-to-face program to enhance hands-on learning. Classroom activities included simulated activities such as how to use the latest scanning technology and safe manual handling methods.
To maximise accessibility and help some participants overcome their anxiety, Jobfind hosted the program at its conveniently located Dapto office.
Vicki Taylor was the course trainer and assessor and brought 40 years of warehousing and logistics experience to the classroom as well as her natural empathy for learners. “I’ve had to upskill my own qualifications and transition between careers, too. I shared my practical experience and it helped build rapport with the students,” explains Vicki.
Overcoming adversity to finish
The course commenced with 10 participants in February 2021 and had great attendance until COVID-19 lockdowns disrupted plans just a few months later.
“When we were unable to continue face-to-face training, I was worried all the trainees would give up, not just on the training, but on themselves,” explains Vicki.
“But I’m pleased to report I was wrong,” says Vicki, who, together with Carol, stayed in touch with participants throughout two lockdowns to keep them engaged with their study and employment goals.
When lockdowns lifted in early 2022, three participants were available to return to complete their qualification. “Jayden, James and David were really keen to get back to the classroom routine and need to be congratulated on their efforts and perseverance. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to spend the time training them,” says Vicki.
L to R: James, Vicki, David and Jayden
Work experience at Bunnings
As an added extra to the course, Learning Sphere organised work experience for the course participants at Kembla Grange Bunnings.
The trainees were integrated into Bunnings’ teams and experienced a wide array of tasks from scanning and replenishing stock to customer service.
“The work experience is an eye opener for them. They can experience firsthand what it’s like on the job and if it’s a good fit for them,” says Carol.
Vicki was on site at Bunnings, too. “It was a great opportunity for the course participants to demonstrate their skills and prove their competency,” says Vicki.
“They also experienced how seriously an employer like Bunnings embeds workplace safety and that helps them feel safer as they prepare to re-enter the workforce,” explains Vicki.
A fresh start for long-term unemployed
With a new qualification and work experience under their belts, the graduates are feeling confident to apply for work in warehousing and logistics.
Carol says: “Bunnings encouraged all of them to apply for vacancies. The training has opened a lot of doors for them, helped them overcome personal challenges and their confidence has soared.”
The learning opportunity kickstarted progress in other areas, too, with one participant renewing his driver’s licence and another reporting he is participating more socially.
“This is only the beginning, I know they have a great future ahead of them,” says Vicki.
Jobfind’s disability employment service can help eligible job seekers to upskill and apply for meaningful and sustainable work. Jobfind also offers a no-cost recruitment service to helps employers to find, hire and retain the right staff for their business. Enquire if Jobfind is in your local area by emailing [email protected]