Expanded training program tackles skills shortage

Article image - Expanded training program tackles skills shortage Jared Thompson with Events Officer Alicia Nash now operating well within his new comfort zone.

Lake Macquarie City Council, New South Wales, has addressed the nationwide skills shortage crisis with a training program that is set to be expanded following four years of success.

More than 50 apprentices, trainees and cadets have completed the Education to Employment (E2E) program since its introduction in 2014, with only three participants dropping out prior to graduation.

Council’s Workforce Planning Coordinator, Carlie McQuillan, said positions ranged from apprentice motor mechanics and horticulturists to traineeships in the City’s libraries, art gallery and tourism teams.

“Programs such as E2E directly address the national skills shortage, keep skills and jobs in our local community and bring fresh young talent to our organisation.

“The range of services we deliver in Lake Mac means we can offer a diversity of opportunities that few other organisations could match.”

In its first 12 months, Council’s E2E program included five participants.

That number has now grown to 43, with another 13 to be recruited in coming weeks.

“As part of this recruitment, we will offer our first traineeship position specifically targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants.

“Further positions will also be offered throughout 2019 as current apprentices and trainees graduate.”

Trainee Events Officer, Jared Thompson, was four months into a medical science degree at the University of Technology Sydney when he saw the E2E program advertised in late 2017.

“The opportunity presented itself and I was in a bit of a transitional period, seeking new opportunities,” Thompson, 20, said.

“It was a risk doing something so far outside my comfort zone but I ran with it.”

Thompson was instrumental in organising some of the City’s showcase events, including the Living Smart Festival, Lake Mac Carols and the Lake Mac Festival on Australia Day.

McQuillan said the steep increase in E2E participation numbers reflected both the success of the program and growing demand.

“We regularly have a substantial number of high-calibre applicants – often well over 100 for customer service or trade apprenticeships.

“That means we are able to employ the cream of the crop in those roles.”