A talent feed for future HR Professionals

A talent feed for future HR Professionals

AHRI’s HR student work experience program is designed to assist student members studying HR or a related field to gain real-life HR work experience. The program connects students with member organisation through a week-long work experience placement, fully immersing them in the workplace and fills the gap between theoretical knowledge gained at university and practical knowledge. Equally, the program offers organisations the opportunity to tap into a potential talent pool, helping them to identify, develop and invest in future talent.

Twenty-four students were placed with participating member organisations in the pilot program this year; three placements resulted in employment.

The program will open for new intakes in early 2016.

Ref: HRMonthly November 2015

The blind side

The blind side

Protecting vulnerable apprentice employees doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

Apprentices are some of the most vulnerable employees in the workforce. Not only are they dependent on their employer to provide them with the necessary training to complete their apprenticeship, but they are entirely new to the workforce and often don’t understand their rights as employees.

For these reasons, apprentices are often mistreated and sometimes unfairly dismissed. Sadly, many apprentices are unaware that they are protected by the unfair dismissal laws outlined in the Fair Work Act 2009, and they are eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission.

Protection from unfair dismissal

Section 382 of the Fair Work Act 2009 states that a person is protected from unfair dismissal if the person is an employee who has completed the minimum employment period i.e. 12 months for a small business or six months for any other business), and either earns less than the high income threshold ($133,000 from July 2014) or is covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement.

Section 385 of the Fair Work Act 2009 provides that a person has been unfairly dismissed if:

  • The dismissal was hard, unjust or unreasonable;
  • The dismissal was not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code; and
  • The dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy.

Employers of apprentices sometimes operate under the misapprehension that the cancellation of an apprentice’s training contract does not constitute a ‘dismissal’ under the Act. However, this isn’t true, and assuming otherwise has legal ramifications for the business.

An apprentice whose engagement ends at the initiative of the employer during the life of the training contract is considered as dismissed by the employer. Therefore, the apprentice is eligible to make an application for an unfair dismissal remedy in the same circumstances as any other employee. However, an employer is under no obligation to continue to employ the apprentice at the expiry of the apprenticeship

Dismissing an apprentice

The protection offered to apprentices under the Fair Work Act 2009 does not mean that every dismissal of an apprentice will be rendered unfair. If an employer has genuine concerns with the performance or conduct of an apprentice, warns the apprentice about this unsatisfactory performance or conduct and provides the apprentice with a genuine opportunity to improve, the employer will be entitled to terminate the apprentice’s employment during the life of the training contract – if performance or conduct does not improve.

It is important for employers to understand, however, that by engaging an apprentice they are agreeing to provide that person with the necessary training and support to ensure they can be a productive member for the trade or profession in which they operate. Employers should therefore ensure that they provide the apprentice with every opportunity to successfully complete their apprenticeship and improve in any areas of perceived deficiency.

Ref: HRMonthly September 2015

Career tip of the month

Career tip of the month

Advice on making flexible working arrangements successful

1. Have a well though-out plan

If you are working from home, consider what hours you will be available online or to take calls; the best way for people to contact you and how you will participate in meetings.

If you are working part-time, for the days that you are not working, consider how decisions will be made: Will you delegate decision-making? Will you be checking and responding to emails? Are you happy to be contacted in emergencies.

2. Keep connected

If you are working from home, make sure you have the technology in place to work efficiently and effectively. Make things seamless for your manager and colleagues – forward your office phone to your mobile and ensure you can connect into office networks. Technology doesn’t need to be fancy – it just needs to be reliable.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Don’t assume people will know how things are going to work. Make sure you have discussed and agreed your plan with your manager, the person who is delegated to make decisions on your behalf and team members.

Take the initiative to check in regularly, particularly early on in the process, to see how things are going and be prepared to make adjustments where needed.

Ref: HRMonthly September 2015

Slaves to the inbox

Slaves to the inbox

We need to change our approach to email if we are to take control of productivity in the workplace. That is the conclusion of a new nationwide workplace productivity survey conducted by Human Capital in Australia. The majority of us are at our most productive during the hours of 7am to noon, but waste this high-energy time by checking and responding to emails that bear no relationship to projects that lead to organisation success. Cholena Orr, Director of pac executive Human Capital, says the survey sheds new light “on the degree to which our use of email is harmfully impacting the individual and the company’s success.” Email overload is suffered by 67 per cent of Australians, and each time we react to an incoming message, it takes anywhere between one and 24 minutes to refocus. The advice is to schedule certain times to check emails and stick rigidly to that routine.

Ref: HRMonthly September 2015

Skill shortages remain in local building
Skill shortages remain in local building
Newcastle MBA Group Training & Personnel has been offering employment and training opportunities for youth of the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Newcastle Region’s for over 15 years. As a recognised leaders in the field, MBA’s Not for Profit Group Training Organisation has produced some of the finest new builders in the region.
With building activity increasing in the Hunter the industry is starting to see a greater demand for and in job opportunities with apprenticeships. The numbers of which, are at the highest levels in years.
However although this is a the positive increase, there are still seeing skill shortages, as only half of retiring builders and trades people in the industry are being replaced by Apprentices in Training. Building Apprenticeships are a great pathway into the industry where participants can become a profitable quality Builder.
Newcastle MBA Group Training & Personnel offers apprenticeships in a variety of trades including carpentry, plumbing, roof plumbing, bricklaying, painting & decorating, aall and floor tiling, electrical, air conditioning, roof tiling, floor laying, plastering, concreting, landscaping and more. They also offer traineeships in business administration, blinds & awnings, waterproofing and general construction.
Newcastle MBA Group Training & Personnel covers all associated employment responsibilities and only charges the host employers the exact hours the apprentice works on site. They look after all workers compensation, superannuation, inclement weather, TAFE fees & compulsory books, payroll and payment of each employee’s entitlements which helps in saving businesses time and money.
A host employer only has to commit to an apprentice for the period of time that suits the work flow. If the work flow changes the host employee can hand the apprentice back. The apprentice is then rotated for further training with another host employer.
Ref: Hunter Business Review Volume 11 Number 9
Customisation key to future of workforce training
Customisation key to future of workforce training
With an objective to build a world class workforce Peabody Energy engaged Hunter TAFE in late 2013 to develop and deliver a customised training program to its WAMBO Mine staff.
In just two years, the WAMBO Mine training project has seen more than 400 Peabody employees obtain formal industry recognised qualifications in the organisation’s bid to ensure all employees hold a minimum certificate three qualification.
The project was developed in direct response to a growing need to improve skills across the mining industry. As a result the ground breaking project has helped WAMBO Mine lead the way in workforce training and development.
With a key priority to minimise impact to mine production operations, a two phased approach was adopted to recognise prior training, skills and experience whilst ensuring that the qualifications met modern industry skill, knowledge and compliance requirements.
The result was a collaborative training project between WAMBO Mines, Australian Apprenticeships Centre (ABL) and Hunter TAFE that provided a customised on-site training program that ensured minimal disruption to business as usual. Hunter TAFE Teacher, Albert Sherry said the collaboration between Hunter TAFE’s Mining and Business departments was essential in being able to develop a customised program that would deliver the desired training outcomes.
“The program’s success is due to cooperation between WAMBO, ABL and Hunter TAFE and the commitment of WAMBO’s training department to provide mine staff with quality training,” said Mr Sherry.
To date more than 415 Peabody employees have successfully completed formal qualifications with a further 48 employees expected to complete their training within the next two years.
The qualifications delivered included Resource Processing,Surface Extraction Operations, Underground Coal Operations,Warehousing, Frontline Management, Business and Business Administration.
Ref: Hunter Business Review Volume 11 Number 10