Prestigious skills award follows union training campaign
Sep 22, 2011
AMWU Victorian Food and Confectionery Secretary Tom Hale (right) accepts Skills Victoria award.
An education program that increase qualifications available to food industry workers has won a prestigious state government award, after years of lobbying by the AWMU to improve formal workplace training.
In September, Skills Victoria awarded the Victorian Industry Collaboration Award to the AMWU, SPC Ardmona and training provider the National Food Institute, for their development of an induction-to-leadership training program for 2000 workers at the company.
Jason Hefford , the AMWU Victoria Food and Confectionery Regional Organiser, , said the program, which provides a nationally-accredited qualification to all participants, was superior to all traditional in-house training programs within the food and confectionery industry.
“Most companies view training as teaching their employees how to push buttons and the basic skills to do their job. This training actually adds value. It teaches workers why they are pushing the buttons.
“It recognises the fundamentals of operations - everything from food safety to OHS and communications. It’s about giving workers an understanding of the whole process, an organisational perspective.”
Mr Hefford said the program had been established after a long campaign by AMWU members at SPC Ardmona and across the Australian food industry to lift the standard of education and qualifications.
“We hope the award will encourage other employees to institute similar training programs, especially with registered training providers like the NFI.
“It benefits the employer and the workers. I think other food companies are now starting to recognise the value of it and we’re already seeing some interest.”
AMWU delegate and warehouse worker, Mick Cannon, said despite some initial doubts from workers the training program had proved to be an overwhelming success.
“It’s a good thing. It gives qualifications and recognition for what we do. It’s something we can take with us and add to the CV.
“I’ve done a Certificate II in Transport and Logistics. I’ll work towards getting a Certificate III. And from what we hear they’re now looking into the opportunity of getting people up to Certificate IV level, which is a pretty good qualification to have.”
The training program was awarded $10 000 and the partnership will now seek a national award at the Australian Training Awards in November.
Mr Hefford said it was an excellent outcome, in a sector that all too often failed to recognize the skills of its workers.
“As a food worker you were never able to be trade qualified, despite the skills and expertise you had. This training now gives you that recognition.”
Contact Email: news(at)amwu.asn.au