Last week we were in Grafton with our truck to spread our support for the Careers Expo and Forum held in Grafton on Wednesday 08 November 2023 in the Grafton Council Chambers.

Clarence Valley Council held the Expo to promote the launch of its annual Apprentice & Trainee Program to support its Grow your own initiative. The expo promoted 8 apprenticeships and traineeships currently advertised with Clarence Valley Council due to commence in early 2024.

Participants were provided the opportunity to meet and hear from the Acting General Manager, Jamie Fleeting and speak with numerous Council employees at varying points in their career. Many staff who spoke from broad backgrounds were trainees with Council and some have progressed to Section Manager level. This highlighted to potential applicants the variety of roles at Council, the importance of Council to the community and the amazing diverse opportunities and possibilities.

Leading up to this expo, Council staff put in a lot of work planning and promoting the day, which included posters with QR codes to the dedicated web page and application form, flyers, videos highlighting current staff journeys, radio interviews and social media posts. There was participation by a range of support services in the community who set up stalls on the day to provide information to interested participants, including the Grafton Country Universities Centre, Headspace, Nexus Human Services, TAFE NSW and more.

The expo and launch of this program has been timed for the end of the year to target not just career changers, but school leavers as they look to their future and what they might want to do after the year 10, 11 or 12 school years come to a close.

Following on from the expo, Council has changed up their recruitment strategy to ensure that the application process is more inviting, with just two main questions about the candidates motivation to apply for the role and why they believe they are suitable. There will not be formal interview processes to assess the candidates either. The plan is to organise assessment centres where shortlisted candidates will be working in groups on a variety of tasks to demonstrate the requirements of the roles.

Once the new Apprentices and Trainees start there will be regular group mentoring sessions where as a cohort they will be provided with structured support, including sessions with various external providers and experts from the community with a focus on their wellbeing and success in the workplace.

The expo was very well attended and as a result, after 1 day of the roles being open for recruitment, there have been 10 suitable written applications received across all positions with a further 3 weeks to go to the closing date.

This is a very exciting result for Clarence Valley Council, as for many Councils over recent years it has been difficult to attract applicants in regional areas. It is an exciting step in securing talent for the years to come allowing current staff to pass on their wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure the successful operation of Council into the future.

If you want to give your career a kickstart, an apprenticeship or traineeship is a great way to get ahead.

The USU supports apprenticeships/trainees and their mentors each year with our New Gen Awards and we celebrate this initiative from Grafton Council.