Apprentices out of work due to pandemic

Apprentices out of work due to pandemic
In a crisis as less experienced members of the workforce, apprentices often are the first to go, and if past history is a guide, the last to be re-hired. According to WPC Group general manager Andrew Sezonov, the number of apprentices let go recently are at levels he has never seen in his 24 years in this industry.”

Feature Article:Working from home arrangements for RTOs

In line with the governments COVID-19 advice relating to social distancing in the workplace, businesses have been advised to provide flexible work arrangements including working from home (where possible). The coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) pandemic has compelled businesses to revisit work-from-home policies.

Working from home arrangements for RTOs
Working from home arrangements for RTOs

Working remotely:

Due to the spread of COVID-19, working from home arrangements have become a priority for many RTOs. Many of you have been forced into implementing urgent work-from-home arrangements and it hasn’t been easy. Allowing your staff to work remotely is not only an effective way to mitigate the risk of infection, but it also allows RTO’s to maintain continuity of business operations.

If your RTO doesn’t already have a flexible work from home policy, now is the time to create one. RTO’s business continuity plans (BCP) should incorporate your policy for provisioning your remote workforce. Part of enacting your BCP should include the identification of work that is being done by your workforce and determining if it can be paused, re-located or continued with different environmental controls in place.

Managing staff remotely for success:

RTOs need to ensure that leaders are set up for success in managing teams remotely, and adequate support systems are in place to monitor staff wellbeing and health. Managers should understand that people might be coordinating at different times of the day to balance family responsibilities during a crisis. Additionally, some people can adapt to working from home easily but others may struggle because they find it quite lonely and socially isolating. Mental health issues in the workplace could be exacerbated for some people forced into these situations and RTOs should have appropriate support mechanisms in place to address these issues if they occur.

Effective communication strategies such as:

  • Utilising chat  tools for quick  conversations e.g. WhatsApp, Slack; 
  • Weekly  one on one catch ups via video call e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams;

will ensure that your remote employees are productive and engaged. Make sure staff can access all the right tools and resources to effectively work in a remote team environment. 

Communicate and manage policy / work expectations: 

RTOs need the tools, policies and processes in place to keep your remote workers connected and effectively contributing to your objectives and goals. Your work-from-home policy should be designed to meet staff expectations while maintaining productivity levels. Set, communicate and manage policy and work expectations for staff. For example, in what scenarios staff should stay at home or travel. Your employees must know what your RTO is doing, how you’re doing it, and when, in order to feel certain that any scenario has been accounted for, which will increase feelings of safety. You will need to monitor its effectiveness and the overall wellbeing of staff. This requires planning and review, but with careful consideration you can keep staff safe and productive and come away with learnings on how to continue to provide flexible working environments into the future. While large-scale work from home initiatives may seem difficult when they have to be implemented urgently, RTOs can navigate it successfully with the right tools, strategies, and approach.

References:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/faqs/covid-19

Reseach shows economy losing out due to the untapped potential of migrant workers

The study, conducted by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, found that 35 per cent of non-English-speaking migrant workers were considered over-qualified for their jobs, compared to 10 per cent of Australian-born employees.  Report author Alan Duncan of Curtin University said improved skills, coupled with better education and training, could add $6 billion to Australia’s economy.

Growing skills crisis in Australia

A report commissioned by Deloitte released this year suggests that over the next decade, Australia will face significant skills shortages. And while the government has a significant role to play, addressing the human skills shortage is everyone’s responsibility. Businesses, and even individuals, have the opportunity to proactively focus on human skills. Doing so could unlock more human capital to power the economy going forward.”

More jobs in health, wholesale and retail, finance and education predicted for the coming decade

Jobs set to decline in the future include those in the transport, agriculture, utilities and mining industries with more than 50% per cent of the current talent pool needing to re-skill to improve human soft skills, such as critical thinking, speaking and active listening as job roles change because of automation.