[Sub ID 4380] Improving professional work experience opportunities (Bridget Hogg)

Submission ID: 4380
Contact name: Miss Bridget Hogg
State: SA
Contact email: bh@developmentatwork.com
Contact number: 0883228455
About the submitter: Wellbeing and workforce participation consultant assisting organisations and individuals (primarily those affected by redundancy).

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
The need i have observed is that people who decide studying isn’t for them or who decide they need to find paid employment are often overlooked by employers who prefer someone who can “hit the ground running”. Its key that young students at risk of long-term unemployment have ways to “test the waters” with employers and receive education in effectively presenting themselves to employers.

Having worked with over 500 job seekers in SA over the last 10 years, mostly in Southern Adelaide, I can see that a big barrier to young students is the lack of professional work experience/paid internships/trials. Employers are prevented from taking on students for work experience unless its a mandatory part of the student’s course. There is a need to address the insurance issue here (possibly directly between government and companies that insure professionals via the industry associations) and perhaps loosen up “work for the dole” regulations so there are options for professionals to get work experience/trials (preferably paid). The second big issue is that young students usually have few job search and networking skills. They need education in how to find the hidden jobs, help to network with employers and find the jobs not advertised, help in presenting themselves to employers – coaching in networking, resume writing, how to present at an interview and how to respond in an interview.

What is your idea?
The idea encompasses: wellbeing and mindset shifting, new business development and facilitating employer work experience. A pilot program in Southern Adelaide with a sample group of students (200). Southern Adelaide has many educational institutions (secondary and tertiary) and students attend three local universities – who i would suggest will participate.

The idea would be to identify students at risk of long-term unemployment and to provide a workshop intervention coupled with 1:1 assistance to help them develop: career goals; an understanding of how to find the hidden jobs; an understanding of other opportunities – such as self-employment; access to programs to help them develop business ideas and coaching to make them viable; assistance to network with employers at local business events, coaching in networking skills; advice on how to present themselves – incorporating techniques of wellbeing such as “tell a new story” to enable these students to present themselves in an attractive way to prospective employers; the focus would be on developing a plan of action and the skills (both mindset skills and technical job search skills) to assist them into employment.

In conjunction with this program, its recommended that new ways are sought to facilitate employer internships (ideally paid or as part of something like Work for the Dole).

Many students (including migrants) report they can not get a job without local experience and they can’t get local experience because companies can’t insure them to do work experience. Addressing this insurance barrier is step 1. Step 2 would be investigating employers reservations and what would make a program attractive to employers. Current experience shows students can take a lot of supervision and they often observe for weeks rather than contribute to the work of an employer. We need to research if employers need to be rewarded for their supervision time. What may need to be investigated is the willingness of employers to give up their time and whether they will need payments, guarantees and help with the insurance