2018 GTO Excellence Award Winner: Westvic


GTO Service Excellence Award Westvic Brendan Hawkins with Gary Workman

Glenormiston Agriculture Employment Program

Westvic Staffing Solutions secured State Government funding to support the employment of a minimum 10 dairy trainees, manage their training at Glenormiston Agriculture College and as required rotate them to dairy enterprises in South West Victoria.

Westvic Staffing Solutions sought funding to support the dairy industry in South West Victoria while it faced economic challenges because of the well-publicised dairy crisis. The industry unfortunately was not able to cover the full cost of wages, despite the need for skilled new workers.

Promoting and recruiting applicants for the industry proved to be very challenging. The environment and industry were receiving a large amount of negative press describing the current challenges, although this press was required to tell their story to the nation this unfortunately has had a negative effect on promoting and attracting new entrants to their industry.

The funding objective to support the dairy industry in South Western Victoria while it faces economic challenges has been compounded with the effects that are still being felt because of the St Patrick day fires. As a result of recent fires with in the South West of Victoria and a number of our host employer’s farms effected by these, we provided additional support and mentoring to all of our effected trainees and host employers ensuring that their training and employment will be supported and maintained through this challenging period.

This program allowed for training to recommence at South West Tafe’s Glenormiston campus, an actual Agriculture site. Glenormiston College was once well renowned for its first-class facility providing training and residence formany students from across the country. Unfortunately, through lack of numbers the campus was dormient for some time with no training being undertaken at this campus.

Westvic Staffing Solutions along with South West Tafe we have been able to develop a training plan to fast track the qualification for our trainees. The normal duration for Certificate lll Agriculture traineeships is 24 months, but the intensive learning and development experience created by the delivery at Glenormiston combined with the support of our staff means that trainees will be expected to achieve full competence within 12 months.

The return of training to Glenormiston College has been great for our region and the Agriculture community. Students have access to a first-class facility where they can apply their skills has been great for their development.

The student’s commitment to their training and our local community was no more evident with students completing some of their units of delivery by volunteering their time and efforts to support Blaze aid (helping communities rebuild after natural disasters).

Westvic Staffing Solutions provided an enhanced support and mentoring component for each trainee. With the designed training being condensed into 12 months (usually 24) it was critical that the students remained focused to achieve the desired outcome. Regular feedback was provided from the training organisation (SW Tafe) to Westvic Staffing Solutions and “on site” performance reviews regularly undertaken.

Through this initiative we have had the capacity to develop a steering committee comprising of host employers, peak bodies representatives, educational staff and industry representatives. The committee meets every training block (6 x meetings per year) and is looking at ways of how we can develop career paths and the promotion of the Agriculture sector and attracting new entrants to what is an ageing workforce.

Collaboration with South West Tafe has been a crucial to the success of this program. Having the capacity to provide training from the Glenormiston campus has been beneficial to the delivery and student engagement throughout the duration. The tailoring of the training being focussed around possible morning or afternoon milking has worked well and been a great benefit to the host farms.

ln an environment that we continually face challenges of attracting and maintain people with in the industry we are very pleased to achieve a 90% successful completion for this tailored program.