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Real job skills & real people

...."when I leave school, I want to be a carpenter" says William.

Integra Pacaging Production Manager, Ian Baird has seen plenty of new recruits over the years and knows a willing prospect when he sees one. "William shows up on time and he's a good kid" said Ian.

A real start
William is 15 years old and he's on site at Integra Packaging - Yeerongpilly, to add 'real job' workplace training to his school studies. William is undertaking a school-based apprenticeship with Integra Packaging through Group Training Organisation Maxima. He is being mentored through the business, working one day per week and has been doing so for a year. Ian Baird says this will give him a real start in work-life.

Williams understands that this is a valuable opportunity and has his eye on the future: "I like the work, even though it's only one day a week - and these are great guys to work with. It gives me a chance to mix with other people and see what work life is all about. I also get to learn new things which could help when I leave school as I want to become a carpenter" he said

Real-life results
A key outcome of the program is to provide an experiential learning environment that allows students to learn about business in an authentic workplace. This hands-on experience increases the student's understanding of the 'world of work' and often improves self-esteem and confidence as teamwork and new skills help towards future employment prospects.
Guided experience
Maxima Group Training is proactive in working closely with schools, parents and employers to achieve an experience-based outcome for school students. Maxima visit the workplace on a regular basis to provide ongoing support and mentoring to the apprentice and the host employer. Debbie Stefancic, an employment consultant with Maxima, said "to successfully complete a school-based apprenticeship, young people need support and mentoring. The coaching provided by Ian Baird and his team at Integra has been fantastic and it has played an essential part in William's development".
When William leaves school, he'll have a Certificate 2 in Timber Manufacturing Products and the Integra Packaging experience will be of great assistance to him when he applies for full-time work.
Community benefit
Integra Packaging s committed to a range of initiatives: assisting new skills into the workplace through schools-based and tertiary programs, encouraging the employment of people with learning or other barriers to employment and is also engaged in helping the community.

A commitment to its people
General Manager, Alistair Johnston says Integra values its own people too. "Loyalty counts and with less than 2% staff turnover, the Company understands that good people are worth training, mentoring, engaging and rewarding. This policy goes from the factory floor through to management" Alistair says.

Integra provides professional training and development for employees through formal and informal methods. In the first instance, all staff receive a formal induction to the Company. Factory employees undertake a skills assessment to correctly assign them into their new role. In some instances, Integra find the need to offer units of training in literacy and numeracy skills to assist an employee's overall development and sense of achivement.

Sales staff professional development happens through new product training, industry-specific courses and training in with alliance partners related to their products and market. Management undertake professional development relevant to the on-going needs of the business. This includes: product and market-related training - as well as specific management up-skilling.

Performance apprisals are completed with everyone onsite. Training needs are identified from those consultations and individuals are given scope to train both internally and externally as required.

Alistair Johnston places great value on an internal group named Golden Eagle (a round-table business improvement forum for employees/management). "This group is a key link in fostering a work ethic, business improvement and change management. The retention of factory staff starts with this group. Through this forum, employees are monitored, assisted, recognised and rewarded for their efforts" says Alistair.

Integra Packaging continues to improve it's people policies and works to preserve its standing as an employer of choice.
Article by Chairman John Fisher - following 2020Summit 2008

Rural & Regional business - where to next?

"My experience of the 2020 Summit was enlightening and encouraging. Seeingthe immense talent and social capital in this nation was energizing" says Integra Packaging Chairman, John Fisher (delegate to the 2020 Summit 2008)

"My particular contribution was to Tim Fischer's 'Future Directions for Rural industries and Rural Communities' (forum) - it's something that I'm passionate about. Small to medium enterprise is the backbone of this country - the 200,000+ operations employing 20-200 people, as well as the many 'mum & dad' businesses with 2, 5 or 10 behind the desk or in the shop. Farming cannot survive without these small, varied support businesses - it includes everything needed to function in a regional/remote area - bakers, accountants, welders, butchers, banks, regional schools & medical services". MORE …

Many of these businesses suffer through drought, flood, and the impact of global markets. Many of them feel alone and under siege - practical advice, mentor-relationships and support are in short supply and there's a need and an opportunity to help them. "I proposed a 'Flying Squad' with the vision to help develop successful businesses and to change the economic climate which exists in small communities - and considered how it could work".

New tools, new thinking, new future. Idea: a mentor-led, regionally-based, collaborative effort to share business knowledge and foster new ideas to fuel regional & rural industry growth. Teams of skilled business-people commit 12 days (1 per month) per year to face-to-face, mentor style consultation in the field in all states & territories. The local business community is brought together to face common challenges; problems are discussed, solutions are explored, commitments are made. A program of ongoing contact over the ensuing 12 months helps guide the outcomes. This is not about competition - it's about cooperation, shared-knowledge - and building on collective strengths to sustain and grow our regional business support base. And it's not about government rescuing regional business, this is about business helping business. What goes around comes around; without a viable rural/regional economy we're all in trouble.

This is about ensuring our 'collective' future. "There are many businesspeople like me, baby boomers who have enjoyed the growth and high standard of living Australia has offered over the last 20 years. We need to make sure that our country gives the same or better opportunities to our kids and I believe that there is an opportunity to grasp the feeling that it is time to give something back to Australia". ... let the discussion begin!(Interested companies or business people wishing to support or engage in such an activity - please contact John McDermott at our office.
John Fisher - Chairman

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