Thursday, May 30, 2024
Editors editorial

Education – an investment in your future

Now is probably a good time to review your business performance and assess whether adding an apprentice or trainee could benefit next year’s bottom line.

Motivated school leavers are looking at their career options now, and not just ‘schoolies week’, so finding the right employee is best done sooner rather than later. That’s not to say you don’t have ‘gold’ already under your nose. Identifying an existing employee that could benefit from undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship to increase their skills and depth of knowledge will likely benefit the employee, managers and business owners. Compare the skills they have with the skills they need for current and future work. You might consider the need to cross-skill staff or replace graduating apprentices or trainees. Some staff will benefit from the skills recognition process, giving them advanced standing in some trade related courses.

New products, methods and applications for greenlife continually change horticulture and landscaping. The increased use of green walls and, rooftop gardens, and the move to green streetscapes and making them more people-friendly, places more demands on the skill set of horticulturists and landscapers. This type of landscaping in degraded or shallow soil requires expert horticultural knowledge. None of these innovations would be possible without expert support and watering systems using sophisticated control systems.

Information for jobseekers and prospective employers is plentiful on the internet. I found the NSW Government and Victorian Government education websites full of information and advice that was particularly relevant. Apprenticeships and traineeships follow national guidelines and are transportable from state to state. However, for an apprentice or trainee to complete training, the 200 apprenticeships and 1000 traineeships on offer must match the job role of the apprentice or trainee. While apprentices and trainees complete formal training with a registered training organisation, the employer is responsible for rounding out that training by providing reinforcement on the job.

The website at nsw.gov.au/education-and-training recommends employers assess staff training and development needs at least yearly. The website lists some questions employers should ask themselves before committing to a new apprentice. To assess whether an apprentice will be beneficial to your business, you should determine things such as what is the level of client satisfaction, what part of your business needs improvement and, are you getting the most from your staff?

If you do provide staff training, it should be formalised with a training and development plan. Some training could be completed in-house, especially if it relates to new equipment or unique processes, or training could be outsourced to a registered training provider. First aid and resuscitation courses are examples. It is beneficial for employers and students to keep records of all courses scheduled, lists of attendees, dates, venues and session times. Well documented training is useful if an employee is applying for recognition of prior learning with a registered training organisation.

Employers of an Australian Apprentice may be eligible for financial support from the Australian Government to help offset costs and loss of production associated with apprentice training.

Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company is widely quoted as saying “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay”.

Enjoy the read.

Karen Smith and your Hort Journal Team

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