By Grant J Everett (Harris Park) and Warren Heggarty (Marrickville)
They say that what you get out of something depends on what you put into it. Well, after two years of on-site study, 31 employees from Flourish Australia’s business services at Marrickville and Harris Park recently graduated with a Certificate III in Warehousing Operations.
With a new, nationally-recognised qualification to put into their resumes, these graduates have come much closer to the goal of open employment and financial independence. It’s not just a dream!
‘I am absolutely so proud of you,’ Flourish Australia CEO Pam Rutledge told the graduating group at Marrickville as their co-workers looked on. ‘Studying to gain a qualification involves commitment and sacrifice. It is especially true as an adult where you are doing this on top of your work hours. I know this because I have done it myself!’
Later, Academy of Workplace Learning CEO Wayne Petersen echoed Pam’s words. ‘I am really proud of these guys. It has taken hard work, discipline and application. Each one of them is now qualified to be a leading hand in any warehouse.’
‘At first,’ said Wayne, ‘a lot of people thought it would be like school, but I think they all found that it is nothing like that at all!’
‘The course was magic. It stimulated my intellect and gave me the opportunity to raise the bar.’
Pam said that there is an additional challenge with adult learning. ‘Having to relearn how to learn.” It can be daunting to begin with but as she told the graduates, ‘you have done just that and we hope lifelong learning will be an ongoing thing for you.’
Wayne and his wife Lorraine have worked closely with Flourish Australia and the people who access our services for the past two years.
One of the Harris Park graduates, Radha* told us that one of the great benefits of the course was that she was able to improve her communication in English as well as understanding some of the jargon associated with work.’
Some graduates, like Adam and Mircea of Marrickville, received a second Certificate in Access to Vocational Pathways.
‘The course was magic’ says Mircea, who works as a supported employee with Flourish Australia in its the courier and document destruction businesses based at Marrickville. ‘It stimulated my intellect and gave me the opportunity to raise the bar. Wayne is an excellent teacher.’
Forklifting and Bricklaying
Joel says that as a result of the course ‘I would like to become a forklift operator onsite’ at Harris Park.
Eric* remarked ‘something really useful I learned was how to fill in a Receiving Inspection Report. Knowing how to do this means I could work in a supervisory role.’
Eric* has also given thought to the benefits of eventually getting open employment on a full wage. “I think that one of the big things that would change if I was working …in open employment is something I’ve wanted to do for a while: I want to help my parents knock down their old house and rebuild it.”
Another Harris Park graduate ,Phillip* said “I’d like to continue my apprenticeship in bricklaying. I feel confident about getting back into this field, and I’m planning on trying for it as soon as I am ready. It would be nice to be able to get a bit more experience before resuming my apprenticeship, though, and I am currently saving up so I can afford it. “Future-wise, in the next five years I can see myself reaching mental wellness, getting off the pension, supporting myself with my trade, and renting my own private flat.”
I can see myself reaching mental wellness, getting off the pension, supporting myself with my trade, and renting my own private flat.
-Gene, Harris Park
Overcoming the doubt
Gene overcame some self doubt. ‘I had a few moments where I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to complete the course. But I did it!”
“If I had a choice in jobs, I’d like to have a role that involves forklift operation and being a warehouse hand… I have signed up with Ability Options to find a job. I hope they can help me find something.”
What about you?
Completing the Certificate III in Warehousing (or any course for that matter) is no pushover; but nor is it beyond our reach. The graduates have proved by example that we can successfully make the effort to improve our situation and move towards open employment. Consider the possibilities.
The Harris Park graduates (from left): Pam Rutledge [our CEO], Lisa Waata with Rachael Wotte, Lachlan Black (standing behind them), Tracey Pratt, Shane Harvey, Dina Kovacevic, Stephen Prior (obscured), Gregory Elliott, Stephen Fitzgerald, Joel (with beard), Heidi Chan, Wayne Petersen, Gene, Sam Karout, Chamara Ekanayake, Katarzyna Bryk, Flocerpina Diaz, Aman Pablo, Ariana Arghandewal
Prestige Packing Co.
23-25 Station Street West,
Harris Park 2150
1300 779 270
The Marrickville graduates (from left): Solomon Moses, Adam Parker, Mary Costa, Louise Dallas, Van Tram, Mark Wastie, Wayne Petersen, Peter Bragg, Deonny Zaroual, Anthony Marfia, Peter Derbin, Ashokkumar Sundaralingam (obscured behind Peter Derbin) and Pam Rutledge.
Prestige Packing Co.
6a Rich Street,
1300 779 270
*To protect from prejudice in job hunting, some of the graduates have asked that their real names not be disclosed.
Thanks to Alma, Kathy and other business services staff for helping out with this article.