News for ‘Walkabout Industries’
Walkabout Industries newest employee Michael Rankin is proof that learning new skills can take you to great places.
For a number of years Michael worked hard to achieve his Certificate I and II in Information Technology using the facilities and experienced tutors at OAK Tasmania’s dedicated IT training facility in Derwent Park.
He was then given the chance to look through several of OAK’s business enterprises to see where his training might lead him. Michael’s love of recycling meant that OAK’s paper shredding and recycling operations at Walkabout Industries at Glenorchy appealed to him immediately. After three days of work experience, Michael grabbed the opportunity to secure a permanent position at the site.
“I do like recycling and that sort of work,” Michael said.
“After the work experience I knew I would like to work here.”
Michael’s training and position at Walkabout followed an unsuccessful experience in open employment which left him feeling a little lost. His mother Annette said Michael’s training and work with OAK Tasmania had suited his learning style and given him a new focus.
While Michael’s studies took four years to complete, it was the flexibility of the course that helped Michael gain his qualifications and develop his confidence again.
“Michael wanted to do a computer course so we went to TAFE but you’ve got to do it in [so many] weeks and that would have put too much pressure on Michael and stressed him, so they suggested we go to OAK,” Annette said.
Annette said Michael’s training had given him a wealth of IT skills and a strong desire to do something more. When the job came up at Walkabout, it was a perfect opportunity for Michael to rejoin the workforce and gain a sense of purpose.
“He is quite happy with his three days and he feels like when people say ‘Where are you working have you got a job?’ he can now say yes,” she said.
“It just means so much.”
OAK Training and Development Services manager Graeme Finlayson said flexible delivery was a major consideration in all training offered by OAK. He said without course flexibility Michael would not have had the chance to show what he was capable of.
“Flexible delivery has allowed Michael to achieve competency in his own time and at his own pace,” Graeme said.
“This has enabled positive experiences that have supported Michael’s development as an individual and his readiness towards suitable employment.”
In his short time at Walkabout Michael has enjoyed working in paper sorting and going out on collection runs. He has also been busy with potting mix operations at Grove, with the prospect of attaining his forklift and tractor licence.
Walkabout Divisional Manager Nelson Beatty said Michael’s computer skills would also give him the scope to do a variety of jobs, including clerical work.
“Michael has fitted into Walkabout very well, and with his information technology skills there will be opportunities for him to be involved in data entry activities,” he said.
“I am confident Michael will develop into one of our key employees, which will be a great outcome.”
Nelson also praised the training and employment opportunities provided through OAK.
“Rewarding job opportunities combined with training through our Registered Training Organisation (RTO) continually attracts young people to visit and consider a career at OAK Tasmania,” Nelson said.
Michael said he had enjoyed his training and had learnt a great deal. He was also happy with where it had taken him.
“I really can see myself working here for a long time,” he said.
After only nine months as Walkabout Industries new divisional manager, Nelson Beatty has overseen big changes, and is excited about the future.
Coming from regional Victoria with a wealth of management experience, as well as qualifications as a mechanical engineer, Nelson was attracted to Walkabout by the challenges and job satisfaction possibilities offered by OAK Tasmania.
“I felt maybe you could do a little bit of good and that this could be different (to what I had done),” Nelson said.
“And I haven’t regretted it.”
Since joining Walkabout Industries, Nelson has put many changes in place including the introduction of an additional paper shredder and altering the layout of the factory floor, for increased production efficiency.
He said Walkabout had also recently been accredited with high level security clearance for its shredding operations, which had also greatly increased the interest in this service.
At a staff level, Nelson has introduced a daily tally of work that has proven a fantastic incentive and a source of much pride amongst employees. It had also ultimately lifted production levels.
“We are allowing the guys to develop themselves and do a little more,” Nelson said.
“Now we are measuring what we do so… at the end of the day we know how well we’ve performed and how many bins of paper we’ve processed through all the different areas.
“Not only do we know, but the guys know what they are doing and they are really enthusiastic.
“In fact a couple of the guys are doing their own charting, detailing throughput, such as how many different coloured bins they receive and empty, so it’s all very good.”
On a broader scale, big changes are also underway with Walkabout vacating its Glenorchy premises to make way for a new housing development. As a result, Walkabout Industries will split to two different locations to expand its potting mix and paper shredding services.
Stage one has been completed with Walkabout’s potting mix operations relocated to OAK’s Grove Heritage Nursery, in the Huon Valley. Stage two will see the paper shredding aspect of the business relocate to OAK’s new Lampton Avenue, Derwent Park premises, later this year.
“Relocating our potting mix operations has already relieved space constraints in Glenorchy, allowing us to operate a dedicated facility for secure paper and e-media document destruction services.”
Nelson said relocating the potting mix operations will also enable Walkabout to expand into complementary markets such as mulch, bark and compost.
“There is the space for us now to develop new products, new lines and opportunities,” he said.
“It will allow us to enter into new markets.”
He said OAK’s new Lampton Avenue premises also had several large buildings well suited to Walkabout’s recycling and shredding business.
“It is ideal,” said Nelson,
“We can really make it a centre of excellence for paper security shredding.”
He said while the move to Grove in particular would mean some changes for Walkabout’s supported workers, all employees had been kept fully informed about the changes. They had also visited Grove and were keen to be a part of the move.
“There is a great enthusiasm [for what is happening],” Nelson said.
“To make our employees feel more comfortable, we took them out to Grove, showed them the place and explained what was going on there.
“On the way back in the bus and without fail every single one of them came up to me and said “we loved it, when are we going?”
Six employees will initially handle most of Walkabout’s work at Grove, with the possibility of the introduction of an interchange roster in 2013.
Nelson said there were also exciting possibilities for Walkabout in the longer term, with the possibility of the expansion of its services, both in the north of the State and interstate. He said any further opportunities could mean more positions created for Tasmanians living with disabilities.
“I believe we have just scratched the surface,” he said.
OAK Tasmania today hosted the launch of a new information series about the issues and concerns of youth living with disability.
Launched by long-time advocate for people living with disabilities Senator Lisa Singh, the new resource Face the Facts – Youth Disability, is the work of the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies (ACYS).
“The important issue of youth disability is often overlooked and I am delighted to see the ACYS dedicate an entire issue of this new publication to the topic and raise awareness within the youth and community sectors,” Senator Singh said.
ACYS Director Professor Rob White said disability was a key emerging issue identified by youth workers and policy makers, and that the voices of young people with a disability were rarely heard by decision-makers.
“Our main agenda is to have important information at hand for the people who need it most, so that the problems, statistics and opportunities relating to youth and disability are readily available,” he said.
The team at Walkabout Industries were thrilled to welcome Senator Singh, members of the ACYS and invited guests to their workplace. Senator Singh and Professor White learnt more about the production process of the paper section of the business from young supported employees Aaron Henricks and James Harwood.