Case study: Group training


Group training partnerships: linking with group training organisations helps to meet demand for workers

Increased demand caused by the NDIS
Not-for-profit charity YMCA Bundaberg’s Community Inclusion Services has been experiencing significant demand for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services since the NDIS rolled out in October 2017. The introduction of the NDIS has resulted in a growth in demand for disability support services and meant that providers need to have access to a regular supply of skilled disability workers to meet the varied requirements of NDIS participants.

In updating its workforce development strategy to respond to the NDIS, YMCA Bundaberg made a decision to include traineeships for young and mature aged people. However, the organisation was aware it was not always possible to provide new trainees with 15 hours of work a week, particularly if they have not yet acquired the experience or skills a particular participant required.

Working with a local group training organisation (GTO) allowed YMCA Bundaberg to reduce some risks that come with managing new entries into its workforce.

GTOs provide an easy, flexible alternative for businesses that want to take on an apprentice or trainee but aren’t able to provide the required work hours. A GTO employs the trainee but then shares them with various other ‘host’ employers, all of which offer some work hours. Apprentices and trainees are rotated to suit the host employers’ workloads, businesses and training requirements.

It’s an opportunity to get new people into the disability workforce and train them up to become permanent employees.

Meeting demand
YMCA Bundaberg partnered with East Coast Apprenticeships, a well-known not-for-profit GTO in the local community. East Coast Apprenticeships set up the recruitment process for the first three trainees.

The GTO’s Branch Manager, Mark Vincent, said that when they first advertised, the demand from jobseekers was not as strong as for other some apprenticeships like carpentry. However, they still received about 20 to 30 responses, several of which were suitable.
“We recruited a mix of older and younger people, because NDIS participants have different requirements. The role required a driver’s licence and vehicle,” Mark said.

YMCA Bundaberg interviewed the applicants and those who were suitable were then put on
a traineeship probation period. The organisation’s Workforce Development Coordinator, Kia Stibbards, said this probation period is important because “when it comes to recruiting it’s all about ensuring we achieve a partnership between our staff and each participant that is built around matching core competencies and personality”.

“The YMCA is a safe workspace with core values that place teamwork and the ability to
complete scheduled tasks as essential to a good fit for ongoing employment,” Kia said. “The YMCA facilitates this by linking trainees with competent senior staff while they’re working so they have supervision and support.”

YMCA Bundaberg hopes to recruit eight trainees by the end of 2019. East Coast Apprenticeships said they would like to get the model going with other service providers.

Benefits for employers
Kia said that the model works for YMCA because “with traineeships, workers can be trained to the organisation’s requirements, and the trainees benefit from gaining a qualification”.

“There is an opportunity for trainees to work whereby they are exposed to different experiences but will have the security of being supervised and encouraged by senior support workers,” Kia said.

“They will receive feedback, guidance and support throughout their traineeship so when they complete their traineeship they emerge with grounded experiences and feel confident to move forward with their career.”

Mark added: “There’s a need for more disability workers across Australia right now. One feature about the disability industry is that older workers with diverse life experiences are really valued.” .

“We can attract career changers who are looking for something more meaningful, while being paid to undertake transition training. Plus, there’s flexibility within the traineeship to accommodate other interests in life.”

Support resources
Contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider who can provide you with targeted advice and support at all points of the apprenticeship cycle, from pre-commencement to completion, or call 13 38 73.

This is an expanded version of a case study kindly shared by the Community Services Industry Alliance. It originally appeared in the ‘Building the NDIS Workforce through Traineeships’ section of the NDIS Workforce Skills Projects report produced by Jobs Queensland.

If your business cannot offer the hours required for the traineeship, a group training organisation can provide you with greater flexibility by employing the trainee and finding other host companies to make up the additional hours required.