Aim to train more fe­male bak­ers

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NATALIE HOLMES

GET­TING more fe­male ap­pren­tices into bak­eries was just one of the aims raised at the in­au­gu­ral RDA Orana@work Em­ployer Sum­mit hosted at Dubbo RSL Club last week.

“We are work­ing quite hard on get­ting more girls into the in­dus­try,” Early Rise Bak­ing HR man­ager Jill Camp­bell ex­plained.

With the male em­ploy­ment rate stand­ing at 85 per cent, the lo­cal com­pany only has two fe­male ap­pren­tices.

“We have only just em­ployed the first fe­male baker in the bread de­part­ment.

“There’s no ob­vi­ous rea­son for it, (young women) are just do­ing other things.”

When she em­ploys young women, Ms Camp­bell has to take ex­tra pre­cau­tion about their needs in the work­place.

“I talk to them about work­ing in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, han­dling emo­tions, I also give them cau­tion­ary ad­vice about sleep­ing with peo­ple they work with.”

As one of the af­ter­noon pre­sen­ters, Ms Camp­bell’s talk cen­tred on ‘Sup­port­ing ap­pren­tices to suc­cess’.

“It’s quite flat­ter­ing to hear that peo­ple think we have a great pro­gram,” she said. “We work hard day to day and don’t know the im­pact we have in the com­mu­nity.”

The Early Rise suc­cess story lies in com­mit­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sid­er­a­tion. Many em­ploy­ees who started with the com­pany have re­mained there for decades.

“Twelve of 15 trades­men did their ap­pren­tice­ships with us,” Ms Camp­bell said.

“Some of them have been there for 25 years. It’s a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment to have re­tained these staff and we cur­rently have 12 ap­pren­tices.”

The first step in any work­place is to have a com­pany plan.

“If you don’t have one, you need to look at get­ting one.”

Em­ploy­ing young peo­ple has its own set of chal­lenges due to their age.

“If we have any ap­pren­tices un­der 18, we in­vite the par­ents to come in. It gives them a good ba­sis of what their kids are do­ing. We talk them through what might hap­pen, the phys­i­cal­i­ties of the job, the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, look at the em­ployer ex­pec­ta­tions. And try to un­der­stand gen­er­a­tional dif­fer­ences.

“Treat them as you would like to be treated. And when they turn 18, have the talk about drink­ing, par­ty­ing and drugs and the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of work­ers and col­leagues. We are their em­ployer, not their friend."

If prob­lems arise, Ms Camp­bell ad­vised em­ploy­ers to be will­ing to have that coura­geous con­ver­sa­tion and to com­mu­ni­cate with par­ents as well.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is of huge im­por­tance, in ev­ery step of the ap­pren­tice­ship.

“With TAFE ros­ter­ing, make sure you’re aware of what mod­ules they are do­ing. We are a lot dif­fer­ent to other trades. We keep them at work and do TAFE at work, train­ing and as­sess­ment will be on site.

“Also make sure trainers and trainees are men­tored and sup­ported. Of­fer them off-site train­ing and train the trainer or su­per­vi­sor cour­ses. Not ev­ery­one is pre­pared to train and coach so they need help too.”

Ms Camp­bell ad­vised to en­sure the work team is well-versed in sup­port­ing trainers.

Em­ploy­ers need to ask: Do we have a train­ing plan? Do we know what they need to learn? Has it been pre­sented to the ap­pren­tices prop­erly, are the trainers equipped?

Another im­por­tant mea­sure is to have a per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem in place for em­ploy­ees, par­tic­u­larly ap­pren­tices who are most vul­ner­a­ble in their first years at work.

“We need to com­mu­ni­cate with them, let them know what’s im­por­tant and why. It’s hu­man na­ture to want to know how they’ve per­formed so let them know. If they are work­ing safely, if they are on time. Any prob­lems are of­ten driven by a lack of train­ing.”

Ms Camp­bell said the for­ma­tive years of train­ing are the most cru­cial and of­fer­ing a broad skillset and op­por­tu­nity within the work­place were im­por­tant as­pects of the learn­ing process.

“Re­mem­ber, you are set­ting them up for their ca­reers, don’t just train them to be bak­ers. Get them to deal with peo­ple, give them some re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – such as run­ning a shift, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with cus­tomers.

And her fi­nal ad­vice: “Treat ap­pren­tices like a val­ued mem­ber of your team. They have come to learn a trade.”

` It’s hu­man na­ture to want to know how they’ve per­formed so let them know...a – Early Rise Bak­ing HR man­ager Jill Camp­bell

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