On May 29, 2024, the Donnybrook Balingup community came together for “The Right Staff” – Business After Hours, focusing on the benefits and support for employing apprentices and trainees for local businesses. Held at the Donnybrook Soldiers Memorial Hall on the coldest day of the year so far, Iain Massey, the President of the Donnybrook Balingup Chamber of Commerce was the MC, with Shire President, Vivienne McCarthy, delivering the opening address.

Rowan Lowe, the owner of Donnybrook Pharmacy, launched the event with a discussion on the reciprocal advantages of employing trainees. He highlighted that traineeships equip young individuals with versatile job skills while affording businesses access to enthusiastic and trainable personnel. Rowan discussed the merit of considering candidates from diverse age demographics for these roles, the benefits of accommodating mothers returning to the workforce with younger team members through flexible working hours fosters a dynamic and supportive workplace environment for everyone.

Brynn and Georgia Cain, owners of Donnybrook Butchers, followed with an inspiring talk about the integral role apprentices play in their operation with Brynn speaking of the unique experience of once being the apprentice to the business owner. Brynn spoke passionately that an apprenticeship will set an individual up for a lifetime of success personally and with a rewarding career but the challenges of attracting an apprentice for the long term are echoed by many local employers.

Georgia Cain shared insights into the inclusivity of apprentice positions within the meat industry. She highlighted that while the role of a butcher apprentice has traditionally been perceived as male-dominated, there is ample support available for females interested in pursuing this trade. Apprentice positions can be filled by anyone, regardless of gender, and highlighted the presence of female apprentices in the field. She encouraged females to consider this career path, reassuring them that they would find support and camaraderie among other female apprentices in the industry.

Representatives from the Australian Apprentice Support Network (AASN) and Workforce Australia detailed their extensive support services tailored to businesses, covering seamless recruitment and training processes. Serving as collaborative partners, they assist in identifying workforce requirements and matching them with appropriate apprenticeship and training options. They offer resources for continuous skill enhancement, including specialised training programs and workshops designed for both businesses and apprentices. Their expertise and industry knowledge, equip both parties with the necessary resources to succeed, facilitating smooth apprenticeship integration and enabling apprentices to pursue rewarding careers. This support also benefits businesses by providing them with suitable candidates and ensuring future workforce stability.

Finally representatives from several Group Training Organizations (GTOs) elaborated on their approach to apprenticeship management, they facilitate the relationship between apprentices and host businesses. In their model, GTOs act as intermediaries, employing apprentices directly and then assigning them to various host businesses where they gain practical experience. This system significantly reduces the administrative burden on individual companies, as GTOs handle payroll, HR, and other logistical aspects, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations. This structured approach not only benefits businesses by streamlining operations but also enhances the learning experience for apprentices, providing them with valuable skills and mentorship throughout their training journey.

After the presentations wrapped up, attendees mingled with local business owners and members of the Donnybrook Balingup Chamber committee. Café 48 provided a diverse menu to suit everyone’s tastes along with Sharon from Balingup Fruit wines assisting with the quiet drinks, together creating a relaxed setting for conversation and connection. Attendees exchanged ideas and built relationships, fostering a sense of community within the event. We’d like to express our gratitude to Workforce Australia Local Jobs South West and the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup as well as the amazing door prizes donated to the event for their invaluable support in making this event a success along with everyone who has taken part in the meetings and preparation to bring an event like this together.

This event was the second in a series focusing on local traineeships and apprenticeships. The first, was held in March at Donnybrook District High School, aimed to introduce Year 9 and 10 students to post-Year 10 options. It was well-received by students and parents, who also received insights from Bunbury Senior High School and Manea College about Year 11 and 12 pathways. The next event will be in the later part of the year with a focus on connecting school leavers with local businesses and training organisations. We would also like to invite local businesses available for school or TAFE work placements to get in touch with the Chamber so we can provide the details onto training organisations.

“The Right Staff” event successfully highlighted the advantages of apprenticeships and traineeships for local businesses and young workers along with the challenges of keeping and engaging apprentices for the long term with so many options available. If you missed out but would like further information email the Donnybrook Balingup Chamber of Commerce on secretary@dbchamber.com.au or drop in to pick up an information pack. Stay tuned for more events and updates from the Donnybrook Balingup Chamber of Commerce as we continue to support our vibrant business community.

Door Prize Special Mentions

  • Move With Life Wellness
  • Kirup Tavern and Caravan Park
  • Balingup Fruit Winery
  • Louise Kingston MLC
  • Nola Marino MP
  • Crazy for Fruit and Veg

Listen to the Interviews with DBCR

Iain Massey – DBCCI – The Right Staff – Talk of Our Shire 15 May 2024
Idris Achmad –The Right Staff – Talk of Our Shire 22 May 2024
Viv McCarthy – DB Shire President – Talk of Our Shire 29 May 2024

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