Construction Project Manager Paul Woods says Ecostar’s new bespoke apprenticeship scheme is providing opportunities for former motor industry workers who have lost their jobs. Woods, who is running the program in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, designed Australia’s first ever specialised double glazing apprenticeship.
“We would like to attract people who are coming out of the car and manufacturing industry which has failed,” Woods says.
“They have some great skills which we can utilise so we want to make sure our apprenticeship is open to workers who have lost their jobs at Holden, Toyota and other factories, rather than just attracting school leavers.”
When Woods first arrived in Melbourne to work with the Australian arm of the business, the former UK Chief Operating Officer’s main goal was to cease the business’s reliance on recruitment from the UK. Now only one out of 12 of the company’s window installers is British.
“We used to rely very heavily on recruiting people from the UK because that’s where the expertise was. When I started here and worked on a strategic plan for the Australian company, it was obvious that we need to work on developing the skill set here in Australia. We couldn’t keep importing people from the UK.”
“When I originally spoke to the Chamber of Commerce about the apprenticeship program, the conversation centred around getting more young people into the industry. But then we decided that we need to expand that to cater for skilled people who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry. They obviously have a good quality background so it’s beneficial to us too. So instead of just having 18 to 21 year olds sign up, it’s attractive to them as well.”
Ecostar plan to commence the initiative in September 2018.