STRONGER TOGETHER: IMPACT's holistic approach to training, employment and support

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Last updated:
19/07/2021

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about IMPACT's holistic approach to training, employment and support.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Having a job provides more than just a paycheck.

While it’s always nice to earn money and enjoy the certain freedoms that can buy, studies have shown stable employment is also linked to our overall happiness and wellbeing.

Having a purpose is incredibly rewarding, and finding employment that you enjoy is important.

That’s why our jobactive and youth employment programs strive to find our job seekers work that aligns with their goals and values.

At IMPACT we aim to keep people motivated in their employment journey and work closely with our training organisation to help clients take the necessary steps towards their ideal jobs.

When looking for employment it’s important that job seekers have the ability to upskill into their desired field.

Assisting our clients to access further studies or gain relevant training is pivotal to their ongoing employment prospects.

Our wrap-around approach to training and employment offers holistic support to our clients in high-demand fields.

We offer Certificate III training in disability support, aged care, home and community care, and hospitality to ensure our clients are not only able to upskill into a rewarding field, but gain sustainable, ongoing employment.

Taking a new step can be daunting, however our training department offers an in-house upskilling option for people already engaged with IMPACT in other areas.

This provides our existing jobactive, Transition to Work or Skilling Queenslanders for Work program participants with a familiar environment while transition into new territory.

Many of our graduates are often able to secure work before finishing their certificates, and are blown away by the obstacles they have been able to overcome both personally and professionally throughout the duration of their course.

Along with training opportunities, we also encourage our clients to engage in other forms of work that can assist them in their employment goals.

Volunteering, gaining work experience and beginning internships are some of the ways we are able to help people make their first steps into employment or back into the workforce.

We pride ourselves on our approach to service delivery, and the employment and training departments replicate that.

Providing wrap-around support allows us to offer improved outcomes for our clients in all areas of employment, parenting and relationships, NDIS, health and mental wellbeing.

Helping people improve their lives is our philosophy and each of our departments strives to achieve this every day to best serve our Bundaberg community.

New Hospitality trainer and assessor Jasmyne Larter is helping people transform their lives at IMPACT.

IMPACT Community Services' Hospitality Trainer Jasmyne Larter
IMPACT Community Services' Hospitality Trainer Jasmyne Larter

Jasmyne is a chef by trade, and has owned and run two cafes, making her perfectly suited as a hospitality trainer and assessor with IMPACT, which is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115).

Jasmyne fears we're in danger of becoming a lazy order-in society when it comes to food, and that is why she focuses on teaching good customer service.

“You remember bad service, but you also remember good service,” Jasmyne said.

“If you know you're going to be treated well, you'll make the effort to go out.”

Jasmyne said the secret to good customer service included confidence.

“Confidence is so important,” she said.

“But you also have to be willing to learn how to relate to people.”

Already two of Jasmyne’s students, who've grown considerably in confidence and learned the magic of connecting to people, have found employment.

“And it's fantastic how IMPACT staff all pitched in to help with writing resumes, and now they've both gotten jobs,” she said.

Jasmyne said it was vital to teach students how to treat people with respect and courtesy to help create the right atmosphere.

And she loves the way the course brings people out of their shells.

“It only takes a little encouragement to transform someone into a confident service person,” she said.

“Anyone can make a cup of coffee or serve a piece of cake, but it's all about learning how you make people feel.”

Funding support is available for the Certificate III course for eligible participants. Find out more about IMPACT’s hospitality course by calling 4153 4233 or going to https://impact.org.au/employment-training/certificate-iii-training-courses/certificate-iii-hospitality-2/

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. THIS WEEK TANYA TALKS ABOUT THE JOBS ENVIRONMENT FOR OUR REGION'S YOUTH.

We know the Bundaberg region has had one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country for some time, and the rate of disengaged job seekers is a serious issue.

In June 2020 national youth unemployment hit a 23-year high of 16.4 per cent.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Transition to Work helps youth into workThe Bundaberg Regional Council’s Bundaberg Jobs Commitment document states an estimated 10,000 Bundaberg residents are currently disengaged.

It found over a third of disengaged residents, an estimated 3,500, were youth aged between 15 and 24.

It is feared that if this section of the community continues this path, the inability to fill current job vacancies will constrain local business growth and encourage generational cycles of unemployment.

Not only does joblessness create economic uncertainty, but several unfavourable circumstances can be linked to unemployment.

Unemployment leads to greater disadvantage

Reduced savings and superannuation, and increased use of health services and pharmaceuticals have been identified at higher rates within the unemployed population; people have a reduced ability to buy nutritious food, housing and health care.

Transition to Work at IMPACT Community Services

Lower self-esteem and loss of self-identity can also impact physical and mental health as well as reduce one’s sense of contribution to community, leading to a number of concerning behaviours including depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns and drug or alcohol addictions.

It comes as no surprise that a lack of employment becomes a gateway to many other social and societal issues that are also evident in our region.

Understanding the consequences of unemployment is what gives our Transition to Work team the drive to keep young people engaged in their employment journey.

Transition to Work helps youth shift straight from school to employment

Too many of our youth are leaving school and becoming comfortable in the ‘job seeker’ void between ‘school leaver’ and ‘engaged in employment’.

Proposed solutions in the council’s Jobs Commitment document involves connecting employers with the region’s youth to inspire and assist them in making work and education decisions after school.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Saluting our region's senior citizens

Our Transition to Work program, an Australian Government initiative, assists school leavers and young people to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers want.

We can also provide young people with access to our strong network of employers.

TtW offers more support than just finding a job

The dedicated team of Youth Coaches assist with identifying employment opportunities in the local area, developing practical skills to get a job, finding and participating in work experience placement opportunities, connecting with education or training, finding appropriate apprenticeship and traineeships and connecting with relevant local community services.

If you know of someone aged between 15 and 24 disengaged from education and seeking employment, phone IMPACT on 4153 4233.

Alternatively, if you are in a position to offer employment, please also get in touch.

Getting a job is pivotal to a young person’s ongoing success and wellbeing; let’s work together to improve our region’s future.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. THIS WEEK TANYA TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF VISITING OUR REGION'S SENIOR CITIZENS.

Our senior citizens make up a large part of our community in Bundaberg.

It’s important that the generations who helped build our region to what it is today are still treated as valued members of the community.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Saluting our Region's Senior CitizensThat’s where our Community Visitors Scheme shines bright.

CVS provides friends for older people

IMPACT’s CVS program has been operating in the Bundaberg region for over 28 years and provides much needed companionship to older citizens.

Loneliness has been linked to premature death and poor physical and mental wellbeing.

Statistics from 2018 show that instances of Australians experiencing loneliness increased from the age of 70, from 13% of the population to almost 20% in those aged 80 or over.

Caring for others has been identified as an important safeguard to prevent or reduce loneliness, which is why our CVS program is so vital.

Visits can assist in several ways, and they don’t always have to be in person.

This offers a compromise in times of COVID restrictions, a flu of any outbreak, or when a volunteer falls within a high-risk health category.

Visit an elderly person with IMPACT's CVS program

While many of our volunteers visit the elderly in their homes or aged care facilities, some of our visitors are trialing online communications through digital tablets.

We also offer these digital tablets as a way to play games and encourage friendships to flourish between the resident and volunteer.

Reading a book, listening to music or playing a board game are also very rewarding ways to spend time with an elderly person.

Technology based visits made possible with CVS program

Virtual Reality headsets are another method we are trialing through CVS.

Many of our elderly can no longer travel great distances, and VR provides a glimpse of life away from the everyday.

Some volunteers have had their participants riding roller coasters at theme parks and re-visiting their old childhood homes they hadn’t seen in years.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Celebrating our long serving employees

The benefits of visiting are endless, for both the visitor and the visited.

To further ensure our volunteers are also reaping the rewards of community and companionship, our CVS team hosts a catch-up each month.

This provides our valued visitors the opportunity to debrief and provide feedback, advice, words of encouragement and support for one another, as well as training opportunities for those who would like to use the tablets or VR headsets.

Catch us at the Bundaberg Seniors Expo 2021

If you’re interested in participating, our CVS staff will be at the Seniors Expo this Tuesday, March 23, at the Bundaberg Multiplex Convention Centre from 9am to 1pm.

Alternatively, phone Heather Hinsbey on 0448 035 891 to discuss your volunteer options.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Saluting our Region's Senior Citizens

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. THIS WEEK TANYA DISCUSSES THE IMPORTANCE OF IMPACT'S SUPPORTED EMPLOYEES.

At the end of each year IMPACT Community Services celebrates milestone employment achievements with its staff.

In December 2020 there were a number of employees who reached significant milestones with the organisation, and we thank each and every one of them for their dedication to our cause and their commitment to their work.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Celebrating our long serving employeesTwo of these employees, Derek Heidke and Anne Marie Wyatt who work at IMPACT’s Material Recycling Facility on University Drive, celebrated an impressive 30 years of service in December.

And Peter Beddie who also works at the MRF was awarded for his outstanding service of 15 years.

I am told that when Derek, Anne Marie and Peter were presented with their plaques, they were humbly grateful for their awards but were more eager to get back to the job.

These are employees who have witnessed incredible change throughout their work lives.

IMPACT took over the facility in 2002 which was previously operated by Independence Incorporated.

In the beginning, the centre used to process 10 truck loads per week.

Now, they’re handling up to 40 truckloads per week with the MRF recycling 7,800 tonnes of material last year.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Choose to Challenge this #IWD2021

We often publicise the work our supported employees do and the huge amounts of recycling they process each year, but we don’t often get to acknowledge them on a personal level.

These are people who may have struggled to gain employment, even though they have largely employable skills and the willingness to give anything a go.

The work environment at the MRF is also an incredibly supportive space that feels more like a family than a workplace.

Everyone is respectful towards one another and take their roles seriously, but they also have a lot of fun in what they do.

The management and supervising team do an outstanding job with our supported employees across our social enterprises by offering ongoing support, training and guidance, and it shines through when you see these places operating in full swing.

I work in the community services sector because it provides a sense of real achievement when I see lives changed for the better.

The MRF and supported employees are just one example of this, and I am overcome with pride when I see our staff and participants grow, prosper and transform their goals into reality.

STRONGER TOGETHER: IMPACT Community Choir Sings for Joy

IMPACT Community Services' Transition to Work team has a brand new member who is ready to hit the ground running and help Bundaberg's youth find their path to employment.

Tamara Davis, who prefers to be known as TJ, is IMPACT’s newest Youth Transition Coach and is keen to help Bundy’s unemployed youth find work.

TJ is ready to help you find a job with Transition to WorkTJ has lots of experience looking after youth at risk, having worked in the field for 10 years. She's worked at an independent high school and in out-of-home care for youth at risk.

TJ has lived in Bundaberg for a year and a half and said she’s found the perfect job.

“It’s my second week here,” TJ said, “and everyone's made me feel welcome.”

She says it’s very rewarding to work in the community service sector and looks forward to helping our youth.

Find out more about Transition to Work

“We help them address their barriers to employment, and encourage them help themselves,” she said.

The TtW team assists school leavers and young people to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers are looking for. They are able to provide young people with access to their strong network of employers and can also support with:

If you 'd like to talk to TJ or any of the dedicated Youth Support Coaches at Transition to Work, IMPACT Community Services' employment support program for young people aged 15 – 24, you can visit the website https://www.impact.org.au/transition-to-work or call 0429 232 653.

Contact us today

IMPACT Community Services’ new Certificate III Individual Support (Home and Community) trainer and assessor Robyn Green has hit the ground running and sees big things ahead for her students.

Robyn has just delivered the first serving of units in IMPACT’s Home and Community CHC33015 course and everyone is excited.

“There were a few nerves in the beginning,” Robyn said after her first week of on-site training.

“But we've all overcome them and are full of confidence.

“The students have just handed in their first lot of assessments.” in their CHC33015 Cert III Home and Community Care Training course.

The current Certificate III Individual Support (Home and Community) class is full.

“They do face-to-face lessons two days a week and the rest from home,” Robyn said.

Check out the courses starting soon at IMPACT

Effective approach in training

Our students spend the first week onsite so they are provided training in how to use their technology to enable them learn at home.

“They like the option of having the lesson recorded so they can go over everything they need," she said.

“It's a big help.”

Robyn said Covid and the impact it had on vulnerable members of the community had made her students realise the importance of support work and helping the aged and those with a disability.

“It makes them more willing to go the extra mile,” she said.

Male staff are highly sought after in the industry and Robyn is thrilled to have four men in the class.

Enrol with IMPACT today

Robyn has a rich and varied background in caring for others having worked in hospital wards.

And, like many people who work at IMPACT helping others, Robyn has a direct experience of working with someone with a disability; her autistic son.

This direct experience often gives family carers a unique insight into their needs and challenges.

Producing quality graduates

Robyn knows first-hand the quality of IMPACT graduates, as all of her son’s carers had been trained at IMPACT.

“They were amazing,” she said.

"And I want to train the next generation of carers and help them to be the best that they can be.”

Robyn's first course working at IMPACT is a promise of many more good things to come.

IMPACT is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115)

If you would like to enrol for future Certificate 3 courses or see how else IMPACT can help you into a new career go to our training page

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT RESILIENCE AND DRIVE IN THE WORKPLACE.

Bundaberg businesses have told us that they want capable, reliable workers who show up every day, ready to work. 

They want someone with resilience who can both think for themselves and follow policies and procedures. 

They want workers with drive and determination who can uphold the business' values and wow both customers and stakeholders. 

Business owners hire workers based on someone’s attitude and cultural fit because it is easier to train new skills than to teach the proper attitude.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Recognising the silver linings of COVID-19

STRONGER TOGETHER: Building more resilient job seekers

Building self-esteem and belief in a better future are vital to help people move forward in life and make them “job ready” for the labour market.

At IMPACT Community Services, we understand what it takes to help people on this journey.

Increased isolation because of the Covid pandemic has not only adversely affected people's usual support networks, but it has also prevented people from exploring new support networks.

People benefit from “quality socialising” that puts them in touch with motivated, goal-oriented people who can act as positive role models.  This type of connection gives people permission and courage to achieve outcomes that are much more difficult to achieve on their own.

According to Vivian Williams at the Mayo Clinic, “socialising not only staves off feelings of loneliness but also it helps sharpens memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being and may even help you live longer”.

STRONGER TOGETHER: New Year, new goals

It also greatly increases your preparedness to enter the workforce.

IMPACT offers Certificate III qualifications through its Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115), which meet the needs of Bundaberg businesses.

Our courses give students access to motivated, goal-oriented trainers who are committed to help our students thrive.

Our industry links give our students the opportunity to move forward in their lives and into the labour force.

IMPACT Community Services is once again running the popular Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense course, and if you're looking to get an extra advantage in Bundaberg’s difficult rental market, it could be just the ticket.

IMPACT’s Lesley Allen said the free tenancy training program would help to educate tenants about important tenancy and life skills required to rent a property.

Ms Allen said IMPACT was passionate about supporting tenants experiencing difficulty in entering the rental market or keeping a property.

IMPACT course helps locals facing rental nightmare

Challenging market

Bundaberg’s rental vacancy rate was 0.4% for the December 2020 quarter, according to data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.

Course participants are given a certificate of achievement upon completion which can be attached to their rental application.

It's especially helpful for those who don't have a rental history, whether you are new to the market or have previously been living in a mortgaged property and are no longer doing so.

The course was created by the Tenancy Skills Institute (TSI) for which IMPACT is an accredited trainer. The institute spent four years putting the course together, consulting multiple real estate professionals to identify tenancy issues and formulating the course content according to core competencies that a good tenant needs to have.

The TSI says the course creates tenants who were not only aware of their rights and responsibilities, but who could also effectively communicate with their landlords, clean and maintain a property, as well as manage their finances.

Sign up now

The next face-to-face course begins on Wednesday, March 3 and continues on the following three Wednesdays (March 10, 17 and 24).

The great thing about the course is its flexibility, as those who would prefer to do it online can do it anytime.

For more information call Lesley Allen at IMPACT on 4153 4233.

Heath Tisdell did everything right when he decided to pursue a career in land care: he decided on his direction and signed up with IMPACT Community Services to get the best training possible.

Heath is doing a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management at IMPACT, which is delivered through the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

Heath and his colleagues have been involved in a number of projects that create, repair and upgrade public spaces and facilities, including working on river and foreshore restorations. 

Rob Alder is IMPACT’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work supervisor.

The team, which is nearing the end of the 22- week course, is currently working at Elliott Heads, doing whipper-snipping, weeding, planting, and spraying. They've also done work at Baldwin Swamp and Steptoe Street.

A new opportunity

But with just three weeks to go, Heath has been presented with a wonderful opportunity having landed himself a job as a direct result of participating in the course.

At the Steptoe Street project a local business operator had dropped off some mulch for the rejuvenation work they were doing, and was talking to team leader Rob about how difficult it was to get workers for his business.

“Rob told him that he had many willing hands and I was a prime candidate,” Heath said.

“I had experience in the tree-lopping field before, working 12 months in Brisbane.

“So he hired me on the spot.”

Heath started work on Thursday with his new employer.

He loves the work he's been doing on the course and is stoked to get work in the same field.

Pathway to success

IMPACT’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work Coordinator Matthew Tribodo said as Heath had completed the course's training component he would walk away with his full qualification.

Mr Tribodo said a large percentage of course graduates ended in employment.

“All our trainees work really hard,” Mr Tribodo said.

“For Heath it was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“That's what it's all about.

“It’s the best possible outcome for Heath.”

If you are interested in land care and would like to learn more about the next course, call 4153 4233 or check out www.impact.org.au/works-skills-traineeships

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT LESSONS AND LEARNINGS PRESENTED IN 2020.

At IMPACT Community Services, 2020 will be remembered as a year of possibility.

This is not meant to sound trite or diminish the fact that it was an incredibly challenging year for many.

Instead, it is to recognise the tremendous commitment demonstrated by our community, who have opened themselves up to new ways of thinking and working.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Recognising the silver linings of COVID-19At IMPACT, this included strategies that until last year, had been earmarked for our distant future.

It would be easy to reflect on the last 12 months and attribute our agility and significant growth in capability to the effects of COVID-19, but instead I would like to recognise those at the core of our achievements last year; our people.

The word ‘commitment’ can be overused, and at times applied in a manner that shows appreciation towards people for simply ‘showing up’.

This is not our experience.

At IMPACT, our team have committed to achieving high performance while enhancing service provision, exploring, experimenting, researching and trialling new and innovative ways to do what they do best – providing services that enable people to reach and realise their full potential.

STRONGER TOGETHER: New Year, new goals

Paired with the dedication from our students and clients, we were able to overcome challenges we never thought possible.

Has it been easy?

No.

Have we got it wrong sometimes?

Most definitely.

However, our people have persisted and found ways to navigate through the challenges and uncertainty, and along the way, have uncovered new and exciting possibilities.

We realised just how important togetherness is and developed a new appreciation for where we live.

How lucky are we to call our small regional town of Bundaberg home?

We managed to maintain a level of freedom while other places were locked down in isolation for extended periods of time.

Make the most of your year; upskill with IMPACT Training now

We had the ability to reconnect with our pets and were given the opportunity to begin new fitness journeys as a means of leaving the house for the short timeframe allowable.

It would be prudent to continue these discoveries into 2021.

According to Winston Churchill ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’.

We are ready to be bold and step into unchartered territory, and we encourage our community members to do the same.

Together, let’s learn from the lessons of 2020 and grab 2021 by the horns.

Together, let’s take the learnings and build a stronger and more resilient community.

One that creates opportunities for the people that live within it and successfully supports the continued growth of business and industry.

We are stronger together.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF UPSKILLING IN THE REALM OF EMPLOYMENT.

Last week I wrote about New Year’s resolutions and how goals can be attained using the SMART method; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

For some, goals might have included learning a new skill or becoming educated in a different field.

Gaining employment could also be a goal for some, considering the unprecedented year that was 2020.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Plan a SMART New Year's resolution

STRONGER TOGETHER: New Year, new goalsAt IMPACT we know life can get tough sometimes, which is why our organisation’s vision is to work with individuals to enable them to reach their full potential.

We offer supports in many areas, including employment and training, and what better time to turn a new leaf than the in the New Year.

We’ve done the research and we know which fields offer increased employment outcomes in Bundaberg, which is why our training organisation offers courses in Aged Care, Home and Community Care, Disability Care and Hospitality.

In as little as four months, students can be on their way to a lifelong career in a rewarding profession.

Not only do our eligible participants have access to government funding, but they also get to learn from our highly experienced trainers who have a wealth of real-life knowledge in their fields.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Put your wellbeing first

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we adapted our courses to offer online education, and we are carrying that on with a hybrid model of both online and in-person learning.

Too often we see students leave school and struggle to step into employment opportunities.

Our wrap-around services aim to support people on this journey of higher education and assist them in navigating the jobs market.

We’ve been able to help hundreds of people find a new path in life, which is exactly why we do what we do.

With the uncertainty of a post-COVID future still looming, what better time to enter a steady and secure career.

Set yourself a goal, create achievable outcomes, and watch your life change before your eyes.

You are worth it.

For more information about our services contact 4153 4233 or visit our website at impact.org.au (RTO Code: 0115).

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