Community

Concrete works

Reinforcing the Mitchell Street seawall at Stockton Beach, improving stormwater infrastructure and completing a five-megawatt solar farm are among projects to benefit from a multimillion-dollar boost to City of Newcastle’s current works program.

The latest quarterly financial update, which was presented to the elected Council last night for approval, reveals an additional $3.9 million for public works in the 2019-20 budget, with spending spread across a range of infrastructure and asset renewal programs.

Reflecting the City’s sound financial position, an $8 million operating surplus is forecast to be delivered at the end of the financial year.
“We remain on track to deliver our seventh consecutive budget surplus while continuing to invest in the infrastructure renewal and revitalisation projects required that come with the sustained population growth our City is now experiencing,” City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“The past four years have seen a sustained increase in our investment in capital works, including last year’s record program of $91.9 million, which included $65.6 million on new infrastructure.

“This surpassed our previous benchmark for capital investment, and was achieved while remaining focused on being financially sustainable now and into the future,” she said.

With design of the City’s organic waste processing facility underway ahead of construction later this year, the capital works budget will grow to $84.8 million, up from $80.9 million adopted by Council in June.

Included as part of the revised spend is $1.2m for maintenance of Stockton’s Mitchell Street seawall, $2m to complete City Hall’s external restoration and $1m to finish construction of the region’s largest solar farm, which will begin operation at Summerhill Waste Management Centre before the end of the year.

Almost $1.5 million in additional expenditure is forecast for improvements to the City’s stormwater infrastructure, while local roads will also benefit with an additional $665,000 for works including road rehabilitation and footpaths.

Pedestrian infrastructure projects will be boosted by $767,000, while spending on parks and sporting facilities will increase by $741,000 to a budget of $2.2 million.

The September quarterly review forecasts a budget surplus of 2.5% of income. Helping deliver the increase in the works program is a $1.42m reduction in forecast employee costs. Recent reductions in interest rates will cost the City an expected $156,000.

Buildings, Structures and Places $21,396,417    Stormwater $6,923,044
Environment $25,857,668    Strategic $3,724,018
Fleet $5,557,975    Transport $4,756,671
Information Technology $6,233,661    Roads $10,395,078
   2019/20 works program $84,844,534

 

Source: newcastle.nsw.gov.au

newcastle cars

Newcastle’s driverless shuttle will be available for racegoers and locals to test-ride in Wheeler Place this weekend.

Newcastle’s very own Aussie Racing Cars driver Charlotte Poynting joined Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes for the announcement today which comes at the same time as the release of City of Newcastle’s first mobile app.

“The driverless shuttle moves a bit slower than I will be around the track this weekend, but it’s just as exciting that this futuristic transport technology is being used in Newcastle,” Ms Poynting said.

“Newcastle is my home-town and it’s great to see the way the city is changing and embracing technology like never before.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the driverless shuttle will be operating in full driverless mode in Wheeler Place as part of a busy weekend of activities and events planned in Newcastle.

“Community members and racegoers keen to take a ride can turn up to Wheeler Place from 10am both Saturday and Sunday to experience driverless technology,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Keolis Downer staff including driverless shuttle specialists and trained chaperones will be onsite to answer people’s questions around the trial.”

The City has also developed a mobile app to make doing business with the City and finding key points of interest easier in line with its Smart City Strategy.

Improving the cultural experience for locals and visitors alike, the app will provide information on current and upcoming events, including late-breaking City-related news, feature attractions, accommodation and hospitality offerings

“A big part of making the city more attractive to visitors and prospective businesses is making its offerings and attractions more accessible,” Cr Nelmes said.

“And this app does just that. We are actively packaging information and data to make life easier in the City for residents, visitors and workers.

Wayfinding and a portal to report issues to the City for fixing are also among the new efficiencies offered by the app.

In future, it is expected to offer augmented reality content to enrich experiences, such as guided walking tours, and help improve awareness of Newcastle’s history and heritage buildings.

Business that would like to be included in the app can upload their relevant information to the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, the same data source used in the newly refreshed Visit Newcastle website.

The City of Newcastle App is available for download via the Apple store and Google Play.

 

 

Source: https://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/Latest-News/Future-of-transport-on-show-as-City-gears-up-for-S

42_HBC_SkillShortagesDroughtAffectingHunterBusinesses_Nov2019_Image

Ongoing skills shortages and the impact of drought are hindering business performance and confidence in the Hunter region, according to the NSW Business Chamber’s (NSWBC) latest Business Conditions Survey.

The September quarter survey shows some signs of stabilisation compared to previous quarters, but business conditions remain challenging across the state, with relatively weak household demand constraining spending in people-serving industries such as construction, retail and food services.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes, said that whilst the Hunter region has improved on June 2019 survey results that there is still much room for improvement.

“The Hunter region bounced back marginally from the subdued results in June 2019 however the improvement was not as marked as we might have anticipated following the uncertainty created by state and federal elections being held in quick succession earlier in the year,” Bob said.

Business confidence was suppressed across the state, but the slump was less severe in the Hunter, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie statistical areas.

“Positive sentiment for capital investment, the continued level of activity in the construction sector and reasonable employment levels are supporting the regional economy to a greater extent than is the case elsewhere,” he continued.

The anticipated economic stimulus from record low interest rates, a more competitive exchange rate and tax cuts were not immediately evident in the survey, although these factors could eventually boost growth.

Skills shortages continue to be an issue, with more than half of survey respondents across all industries indicating skills gaps in their workforce.

The impact was more pronounced in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie than elsewhere in the state, with more than 70 per cent of businesses reporting skill shortages.

In the Hunter Valley, excluding Newcastle, the figure was 51.7 per cent.

Trade and vocational skills are most in demand in the Hunter Valley, while the biggest shortage in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie is in IT skills.

“Businesses in the region are becoming quite pessimistic in response to the question ‘Do you have suitably skilled staff?’” Bob said.

“The Chamber is working with the NSWBC to redouble efforts to make sure shortcomings in training and education are addressed.”

The persistence of drought conditions continues to affect regional NSW, with all industries affected.

Not surprisingly, the most seriously drought-affected areas, the Far West and New England areas, recorded the lowest results.

The Hunter and NSW Business Chambers are calling on governments to implement a range of drought-relief measures, including expediting promised infrastructure spending in the regions to give local economies a much-needed boost.

Energy costs also continue to be a significant financial drain on many businesses, with elevated electricity and gas bills continuing to squeeze margins and reducing capacity to invest in capital and other resources to increase productivity and output.

“The importance of the energy equation of availability, reliability and affordability cannot be overstated when it comes to sustaining business and industry and the jobs they provide in the Hunter,” Bob said.

“The survey again shows these issues need more attention, despite initiatives being taken by governments to facilitate improvements in the sector.”

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/industry-news/skills-shortages-drought-continue-challenge-hunter-businesses/

rail

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed a new inquiry into options for financing faster rail by the federal government’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Cities.

The committee, chaired by Bennelong MP John Alexander, will look at financing options for eleven routes identified in the federal government’s Faster Rail Plan including the Newcastle to Sydney link.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes, said the Chamber was pleased to see the government prioritising faster rail and, significantly, considering funding options.

“Faster rail is a realistic objective, achievable in the medium term, that could make enormous difference to the Hunter by increasing the flow of commuter traffic and investment in both directions,” Bob said.

“Reducing the journey time will make it easier for people living here who need to travel to Sydney for business, but it’s not about making the Hunter a dormitory for people who want to work in Sydney.”

Bob said that with faster rail, this could encourage investors to consider the Hunter region for business opportunities and growth.

“Greater connectivity and faster travel time will encourage investors to bring their businesses and staff here, to take advantage of lower property and rental prices, the positive business environment and lifestyle opportunities,” he said.

“The Chamber believes investment in faster rail is nation-building infrastructure that will boost economic development in the Hunter.”

The federal inquiry follows the NSW Government’s appointment in December 2018 of high-speed rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton to lead an expert panel looking into how the government should best deliver a fast rail network to connect the state.

The NSW Government’s Fast Rail Strategy is due for completion before the end of the year.

IMAGE | Hunter Business Chamber encourages faster rail for Hunter region to boost economic development

 

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/industry-news/hunter-business-chamber-welcomes-inquiry-faster-rail/

cessnock

Hunter Defence has launched a series of Defence Ready seminars, which are designed to help local small medium enterprises (SMEs) break into or expand their footprint in the potentially lucrative defence industry.

Hunter Defence taskforce chair, Tim Owen, said the seminars were the perfect way for manufacturers and service-based firms interested in working in defence to find out how to position their business to take advantage of opportunities in the sector.

“Defence can be a hard sector to crack if you don’t have the required accreditations, contacts and quality standards, but the rewards are rich for those who make the effort to be Defence Ready and market their products well,” Tim said.

Tim said that local companies in the Hunter have the potential to grow in the defence industry, as it has been done with other businesses in the area.

“We have seen companies in the Hunter like Varley Group grow their defence business from a single contract to a huge portfolio of contract work across land, sea, air and cyber.

“With the arrival of the JSF program at Williamtown, there has never been a better time for Hunter firms to explore opportunities in defence,” he said.

The Defence Ready seminars are designed to help SMEs build the organisational capabilities and competencies that will help them win work with Australian and international Defence Primes.

This innovative Hunter Defence initiative has already attracted international attention, with a party in New Zealand interested in presenting the course for SMEs across the Tasman.

The series will launch with a Defence Introduction seminar at the University of Newcastle on Monday 4 November 2019.

The course has been developed by several partners in the Hunter Defence Taskforce including Goal Group, The Australian Defence Industry Network (AIDN), HunterNet and McLean Management Consultants.

Further seminars, targeting specific areas of defence industry involvement tailored to firms at various levels of industry engagement, will be rolled out in 2021.

To find out more about the seminars or book a place in the Defence Introduction course, you can source this on the Hunter Defence website.

 

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/industry-news/defence-ready-seminars-boost-opportunities-local-smes/

rix

Jobs have been secured at a New South Wales coal mine after approval was granted for it to operate for another two decades.

The Rix’s Creek South Mine, northwest of Singleton, will stay open until 2040, after a decision by the state’s Independent Planning Commission was announced on Saturday.

NSW Planning and public spaces minister Rob Stokes said the decision – which will allow the mine to be expanded – will secure almost 300 jobs.

The matter had been referred to the commission due to some local opposition but it was given the green light after what the three-person panel described as careful consideration of “all the evidence and weighing the community’s views”.
Factors considered included noise, visual and heritage impacts.

On concerns around greenhouse gas emissions, the commission said these had been “adequately minimised as far as practicable”.

It added that the approval is conditional upon owners Bloomfield Collieries Pty Ltd taking all reasonable steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions over the next 21 years.

Other positives around the application include “economic and social benefits as a result of employment opportunities and revenue to the State”, the commission said in its decision.

Mr Stokes welcomed the decision as “great news for the people of the Upper Hunter and the community of Singleton”.

The publication followed an announcement on the issue being mistakenly revealed eight days ago due to an “administrative error”, the commission said.
Source: https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6434796/jobs-secured-by-rixs-creek-mine-approval/?cs=9397

Hu 06.10.19

This year was the 26th anniversary of the Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards, which are one of the longest running ceremonies in the Hunter region.

The awards continue to demonstrate the resilience, confidence and professionalism in the Hunter region’s local economy. The awards are the initiative run by the Hunter Region Business Hub.

Seventy finalists from over 100 businesses across the Hunter Valley competed for the four major awards and fourteen category awards at Cessnock Leagues Club on Friday, 20 September.

The Hub’s manager Kerry Hallett said that the awards are a big celebration of the amazing talent in the Hunter Region.

“We know there are many good businesses in our region through those that enter the awards, however, we also know that is only fraction of the organisations pursing excellence in the region. We can see why the Hunter is a great place to live and work,” she said.

For the second year an entrant from the Professional Services category was not only winner of their category, but also overall winner of the Business of the Year.

Palfreyman Chartered Accountants located in Cessnock, who provide a wide range of accountancy and financial planning services took out the major award of the evening.

Other major awards went to Young Entrepreneur, Jessica Rodgers of Explore and Soar. Explore and Soar is an occupational therapy organisation that works with people to reach their highest potential, but particularly children and young adults.

Hunter Regional Business Woman of the Year was awarded to Sarah-Jane Dunford of Riskology, a boutique safety consultancy.

Sarah-Jane is also involved in the community including founder Hunter Safety Awards, founding chair Hunter Branch of the Safety Institute of Australia, founding chair of the National Safety Awards for the Safety Institute of Australia, founder NSW Regional Safety Conference and Expo and the list goes on.

Business Leader of the Year went to Peter Kirkwood of Kirkwoods Institute of Karate. Not only does Peter support his family through his business but he has numerous awards from ISKA.

He is also passionate about standing up for the underdog and works with domestic violence victims, bullying victims and those with mental and physical disabilities, through various programs, giving much of his time at no cost to help gain (or regain) confidence.

The Hub’s manager Kerry Hallett said each year she is amazed by the quality of businesses that enter the awards, with so many new entrants received each year.

Kerry said the Hunter region are lucky to have so many fantastic businesses on our doorstep.

“All of the finalists were exceptional businesses in their overall operations, service, products, presentation and customer service,” Kerry said.

“On the night, it was great to see everyone – businesses owners, staff, supporters and sponsors – mingling, connecting and supporting each other.”

The Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards are thrilled to be announce they will be back again in 2020 to celebrate their 27th award ceremony.

IMAGE | Palfreyman Chartered Accountants awarded Business of the Year in 2019

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/hunter-region-business-excellence-awards-celebrate-26th-anniversary/

1

We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves—at least that’s what the thriving $10 billion self-help industry seems to imply.

But as popular and alluring as the principles of personal development may be, many of us still have only a fuzzy understanding of it. Even fuzzier: How to turn personal growth into professional gains.

At the same time, there’s an undeniable overlap between the two—after all, our personal strengths and weaknesses affect us at work, too. And there are ways in which growing personally and working on ourselves can make us more effective at work.

If that still feels a little murky, we get it. Read on to learn exactly what personal growth is and get concrete ways to leverage it in your career.

What Is Personal Growth Anyway?

Personal growth or development is difficult to define, in part because it’s, well, personal. Broadly speaking, personal development is an effort to improve yourself, the outcomes in your life, or how you experience life, explains Sumayya Essack, a career-change coach and founder and owner of Curate the Future.

“Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more effective as a person and an agent of change for your own life,” says Kathy Caprino, a career and personal growth coach. More specifically, it relates to “how you see and perceive yourself, interact with others, engage with the world, and envision your future and your possibilities.”

It affects you in both concrete and more abstract ways, including emotional regulation, communication abilities, well-defined boundaries, decision-making, and personal satisfaction and positivity.
Where Personal and Professional Development Meet

At first glance, personal growth can seem a little vague compared to professional development goals. “Career growth tends to focus on tangible performance-related goals, such as raises [and] promotions,” Essack explains. It may also emphasize hard skills, which depending on your field could include things like data analysis or proficiency in a certain language or type of software.

However, if you think of personal and professional growth as two circles of a Venn diagram, there’s a healthy overlap between them. “Your career success and enjoyment of your career aren’t just the result of domain-related skills and knowledge. It’s also a result of what you bring to the table as a person,” Essack says.

Things we think of as soft skills—such as communication style, self-motivation, and how you relate to other people—fall into the area of overlap. And these skills greatly impact our ability to get things done at work. Developing them can help you become more effective in your career, and maybe even nab a promotion.

4 Personal Development Goals That Can Help You Get Ahead at Work

Even if you’re sold on the benefits of personal growth for your career—where do you start? In large part, it’s up to you.

“At the root of all personal development is becoming aware of what’s happening in your own mind and becoming aware of how the thoughts you’re thinking affect your emotions, behaviors, and results,” Essack says. If you can identify a result you’re unhappy with or, conversely, one you want to achieve, you can work backwards from there to determine the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you should address to make the change you desire.

For example, are you constantly struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you need to work on focusing better on the task at hand in order to become more efficient. Eager for a promotion? Perhaps you need to build better relationships to get there. Whatever area you choose, work on it in small doses.

While there are many ways you might implement personal growth into your career development, here are four examples of areas to improve, as well as advice for tackling them:

1. Build Emotional Intelligence
Solid emotional intelligence can help you forge strong working relationships with colleagues and clients, which in turn promote productivity and strengthen your professional reputation.

The ability to deal with people and conflict is important in most any job, but perhaps especially so when you take on a management or leadership role. “Emotional intelligence means being able to understand where someone else is coming from,” Essack says. “People want to work for someone who understands them.”

How to tackle it: Focus on becoming a better active listener, which helps others feel heard and understood. “We get caught up in saying what we want to say, but communicating effectively is also about being a great listener,” Essack says.

First, show the speaker that you’re paying attention. “Put away your devices, make eye contact, and fully concentrate on them rather than mentally preparing what you will say next,” Essack says. “Then, show that you’re listening with verbal cues such as ‘uh huh’ and body language, such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward.” Finally, ask clarifying questions or reflect back with paraphrasing. Try starting with: “So what you’re saying is…,” or “What do you mean by…?”

2. Feel Confident in Your Talents
Building confidence is a common goal of personal development, and one that has a clear line to career gains. Developing your confidence can help you land a better job, negotiate for a raise or promotion, earn credit for your contributions, and be seen as a leader, Caprino says. But confidence isn’t something that’s easy to just switch on.

Instead, look for a path to confidence by working on recognizing your talents. If you don’t fully grasp what you’re amazing at and aren’t able to speak confidently about these talents, you won’t be able to fully leverage your unique abilities, Caprino adds.

How to tackle it: Many people struggle to look inward to discover where they shine—especially if they grew up hearing that they shouldn’t brag. So instead, look outward to colleagues and mentors for help identifying your unique talents. Ask them to name any contributions that have stood out to them as well as elements of your approach to work they consider particularly effective.

3. Grow Your Motivation
Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up motivation and consume it like we do our morning coffee? Imagine the benefits! At work, being more motivated can of course make you more productive, but it can also help you be seen as more driven and ambitious.

How to tackle it: Until motivation is sold by the bottle, you can work on building it little by little, Essack says. Think of motivation not as a mindset or mood that randomly descends on you outside of your control, but as a behavior. We tend to assume that when we’re motivated, we’ll take action—but the reverse can be true. “First you do the behavior and have a mini success, and that’s what makes you feel motivated again. Success builds on itself,” Essack explains.

For example, if you’re intimidated by holding performance conversations with employees, you might be tempted to avoid them until the last minute. But when you successfully commit to a small action, such as holding shorter, less formal performance check-ins, you may find more motivation to improve your skills and take on longer talks.

So instead of waiting for motivation to strike, try structuring your big goals into small achievable tasks to build momentum. This way you’ll help yourself experience each one you complete as an invigorating success and feel motivated to take the next step toward where you want to be.

4. Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot today, and its meaning can be as blurry as the concept of personal growth as a whole. Essentially, mindfulness is the act of training your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than racing ahead to the future, or drifting to the past.

Research has linked mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better working memory. At work it could help you zero in on the task at hand and filter out some of the surrounding noise, allowing you to become more efficient.

Mindfulness has emotional benefits too. Mindfulness can help you respond more thoughtfully to someone instead of having a knee-jerk reaction or snapping, Essack says. “You become more aware of what’s happening in the moment, so you choose a conscious response.” Building this skill can help keep you from burning bridges with clients or colleagues when tension rises or tempers flare.

Let’s say you receive some criticism that you don’t agree with or that injures your ego. “The tendency is often to react automatically because we feel defensive, but when we cultivate mindfulness, we’re able to take a step back in the moment and respond intentionally,” Essack explains. In this instance, a more mindful approach could help to de-escalate conflict and make feedback discussions more productive.

How to tackle it: Develop a daily mindfulness meditation practice, which over time, can help you become more mindful throughout the day. Set aside five or 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation, with help from an app like Calm or Headspace that will talk you through the process.

As difficult as personal development may be to define, investing in it can help lay the groundwork for professional success. As Caprino says, “If we don’t do the work to strengthen ourselves as people first, our careers will be a dismal disappointment.”

 

 
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/personal-development-growth-goals-at-work-examples

 

 

 

 

 

1

This year marks twenty years in business for SafetyWorks Group.

Led by two directors; Liz Nicol and Kerry Walker, SafetyWorks has gone from a small consultancy based in a home office to a fully-fledged consultancy working for large organisations across Australia and internationally.

Since 1999, Liz Nicol and Kerry Walker have merged strategic safety management skills with the vision of a safety culture encompassing values-based leadership and engaged people, to create a unique and holistic approach to workplace health, safety and wellbeing.

SafetyWorks was founded on the principle of ‘valuing people to create freedom of choice’.

Freedom of choice comes when we can go home safe and well every day to the things we love.

Work should be an enabler to this choice and help us to be the best we can be. This purpose drives everything the team does at SafetyWorks.

“During the last 20 years we have partnered with over 300 clients, forging strong relationships with companies like Coca-Cola Amatil, Port Waratah Coal Services, Australian Rail Track Corporation and various departments of the New South Wales Government (Health, Water, Trains and Schools),” said Liz Nichol, Director of SafetyWorks.

“While we have worked in every state and territory of Australia, as well as engaging in work in the Asia Pacific region, we have had the pleasure of employing 41 people and have achieved rapid growth and change along the way,” she said.

“When we started out, health, safety and wellbeing was still very compliance driven,” Kerry Walker, Director of SafetyWorks said.

“During the past 20 years we have seen a huge shift in the workplace and we are proud to have contributed in particular to the growth in active engagement of organisational leaders,” she continued.

Both Directors gained their expertise with forward-thinking global corporate enterprises, bringing a quality focussed customised approach to SafetyWorks Group.

They seek out team members with diverse backgrounds to provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to deliver specialist solutions in partnership with our clients.

Liz and Kerry seek to partner with organisations, building frameworks for sustainable change in health and safety where people feel valued and can work every day without harm.

“I love that at SafetyWorks we make a difference. Sometimes it is a “light bulb” moment that creates a significant shift, and sometimes it’s just a small change in one person,” Kerry said.

“Either way, caring about and valuing people creates a ripple effect that spreads out to free people to make choices.”

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/celebrating-20-years-business-safetyworks-group/

1

Newcastle business woman, Lisa Gamble, has received recognition as a leader in the finance industry this month.

As a finalist in the Women in Finance Awards 2019, Gamble was nominated in the Regional Professional of the Year category for her work in the Newcastle financial advisory firm Infinity Financial Advisors.

The award acknowledges top female professionals’ excellence in shaping and influencing the financial services industry.

The finalist list, which was announced on 21 June and features over two-hundred and thirty high-achieving professionals across twenty-six categories.

“I’m honoured by this recognition. I’ve built my career in some of Australia’s largest financial firms and have, often still do, find myself one of the few women in the room,” Lisa said.

“These awards, and other events like them, recognise the contribution women have made to what is a dynamic and ever-changing industry.”

“My hope, of course, is that eventually we may be part of an industry that is accepting of diversity and the value that it brings in terms of idea generation, growth and a greater reflection of the community in which we operate.”

“Ultimately, my wish is that all our industry participants are acknowledged for their good work, not because of, or in spite of their differences, but simply because of their work. If this nomination furthers this cause, I am humbled to accept the acknowledgement,” she said.

The awards will be given in August this year at an event hosted in partnership with AMP Bank at The Star Hotel Sydney.

The event puts a spotlight on women in finance and recognises the different skill sets and experience they bring to the table.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Western Sydney, a LEAD certificate in Corporate Innovation from Stanford University and is Partner and Business Manager at Infinity Financial Advisors.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/hunter-business-woman-recognised-among-australias-top-finance-leaders/

2

Young people undertaking education in our region will benefit from Mentor Support Network scholarships that have been made possible by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.

Each year, the Lord Mayor chooses a charitable organisation to be the beneficiary of a collaborative donation made possible by long-term supporters of the annual breakfast event.

This year, Cr. Nelmes chose to support the Mentor Support Network because of its ability to provide students access to scholarships and support that furthers their education endeavours.

The Annual Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is a gathering of churches, charities, businesses and community leaders who donate money to the chosen charity.

Mentor Support Network Chair, Jon Chin, acknowledged the support of the Lord Mayor and the other sponsors.

“It is a valuable contribution that will assist the continued work of the Network, and importantly, young people in our region.” he said.

“I was stunned when I found out we were the beneficiary for this year as we are a small non-profit voluntary organisation, but we are so thankful and the students who receive the scholarships will be as well,” Jon said.

The Mentor Support Network provides scholarships to young people who are committed to achieving their educational goals but lack the financial means necessary to obtain basic educational resources.

An MSN Educational Scholarship allows recipients to pay for items such as computers, course materials, uniforms, reading glasses and excursion fees.

Their Refugee Student Education Program is a pilot program that allows refugee students to flourish within their school setting no matter their background.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/young-people-benefit-lord-mayors-prayer-breakfast/

 

 

 

1

When you’re getting ready for a job interview, it’s always good to try to predict which questions an interviewer might ask. If you’re like most people, you’re fully prepped to field queries about what you know and the experience you have, like “Tell us about your responsibilities in your current job” or “Explain the strategy you used for [project on your resume].”

But don’t stop there! Recruiters and hiring managers also often ask behavioral questions, which can help them get a better idea of your personality and your soft skills. This could include questions like, “What type of work really excites you?” or “Tell us about a time you were frustrated by your colleagues.”

An even more sophisticated example that may not initially seem like a behavioral question is “What do you like least about your job?” Because it can be a bit of a “gotcha” question, you’ll want to craft your response with care. We talked to a few career experts and got their insights to help you avoid the pitfalls and answer it the right way.

Resist the Temptation to Vent
Even for those of us who genuinely love our careers, “What do you like least about your job?” is a question that we could easily wax poetic about over a few rounds of drinks with friends. But an interview is not the time to dish about, for example, how your boss is not nearly as smart as you.

That’s because this question isn’t really about discovering what you dislike, points out Conrad Woody, a partner at Odgers Berndston, an executive search and recruitment firm. More likely, it’s a test of how you would respond to an invitation to vent. “The interviewer wants to know if you’re the type of person who will go negative when given the opportunity,” says Woody.

Your answer should not leave the interviewer believing they could be your next gossip victim if things don’t go well. Speaking negatively of your current employer ends up reflecting poorly on you, not the company. If you must vent, save that for your friends—ideally not ones you work with.

Focus on New Opportunities
A great way to answer this question is to talk about a responsibility or duty you’d get to have at your new job that your current role doesn’t offer. For example, if the job you’re interviewing for requires that you deliver presentations to large groups, you could share that you wish your current job gave you the opportunity to flex the public speaking skills you’ve honed at your local Toastmasters club.

Alternatively, you can speak about a responsibility at your current job that simply isn’t challenging you any longer because you’ve mastered it. Just make sure that whatever it is, it isn’t a duty that’s integral to the job you’re interviewing for!

Frame the Answer in a Positive Way
No matter what you talk about, always take the opportunity to turn the negative into a potential positive with your new employer. “You don’t want to focus too much time on something you hate or don’t like,” says Tamara Rasberry, an HR Manager in Washington, DC. “Even when you briefly mention something you don’t like, highlight that you are well-versed in it but that it simply doesn’t challenge you anymore or utilize all of your strengths.”

By quickly pivoting to how your current role was a necessary and informative building block for your next career move, you show your ability to find the silver lining and do what needs to get done.

What This Looks Like
Need some inspiration? Consider these sample answers:

The “It Was Fun While It Lasted” Answer
By concentrating on the positives of the new employer, you can avoid mentioning anything explicitly negative about your current job:

“While I enjoyed working for a large law firm because I was able to gain experience across several subject matters, I’d prefer to bring all those learnings to your firm because I believe that your singular focus on the entertainment industry would allow me to have deeper impact.”

The “I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else” Answer
This answer briefly mentions a current responsibility, but focuses on the opportunity the new job would provide:

“In my current role, I’m responsible for drafting media lists to pitch. While I’ve developed a knack for this and can do it when it is necessary, I’m looking forward to a job that allows me to have a more hands-on role in working with media partners. That is one of the things that most excited me about your Account Supervisor position.”

The “You Asked, So Here Goes” Answer
There is of course, always the bold option, which is to speak more bluntly and directly about something not-so-great about your current role or company. But again, you’ll want to end on a positive note that spotlights your enthusiasm for the new job:

“My current company acquires new business through traditional methods like cold calling and direct mail. I’m impressed with the digital, email, and social acquisition campaigns you have implemented and how they reflect a more modern, innovative approach. While I am flexible enough to succeed in a diversity of work environments, I’m eager to work for a company that embraces change.”
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-do-you-like-least-about-your-job-interview-question-answer?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Newcastle’s dedicated cruise volunteers were recognised on Thursday 23 May 2019, for their contribution to the success of the Hunter’s tourism sector over the past 16 years.

Port of Newcastle hosted a thank you event for its volunteers on Thursday marking National Volunteer Week (20 – 26 May 2019) and the recent completion of the successful 2018/19 cruise season.

The season saw 16 cruise ships and more than 29,000 passengers visit the port, two records supported by the 35 dedicated volunteers on-hand to provide a friendly welcome to visitors.

Distinguishable by their red shirts and white Newcastle-branded hats, volunteers get to share their love of Newcastle and their expert local advice to ensure passengers get the most out of their time in the region.

Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, said National Volunteer Week provided an opportunity to acknowledge this contribution and was particularly relevant given this year’s ‘Making a Difference’ theme.

“Newcastle’s cruise volunteers are passionate locals who are proud of our city and make a difference to the experience of cruise passengers when they visit the region,” Mr. Carmody said.

“We value the time, effort and dedication every volunteer brings to their role as ambassadors for the City of Newcastle.”

Port of Newcastle continues to support the Hunter’s tourism sector by berthing cruise ships in port and coordinating the many wonderful volunteers dedicated to welcoming visitors to our city.

Current bookings for the 2019/20 cruise season suggest another record of more than 30,000 passengers could be set.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/celebrating-dedication-newcastles-tireless-cruise-volunteers/

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Newcastle businesses cleaned-up more than 1.64 tonnes of litter from around the port on Friday, 3rd May 2019.

The second annual Port Litter Pick saw everything from cigarette butts, plastic bags and soft drink cans through to old tyres, scrap metal and an ironing board cleaned up and properly discarded.

The Port of Newcastle initiative attracted 87 people from 13 port-related businesses, including Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Port Authority NSW, Cargill Australia, Linx Cargo Care, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, Kooragang Bulk Facilities/Tomago Aluminum, Impact Fertiliser, Sims Group Australia, Port of Newcastle, Koppers, Newcastle Stevedores, Custom Transportable Buildings and Newcastle Yacht Club.

The ARTC team took home the ‘Litter Legends’ trophy, having collected 400 kilograms of rubbish from the rail corridor, the largest haul from all participating teams.
Port of Newcastle environment adviser, Jackie Spiteri, said the Port Litter Pick was an important annual event that formed a part of the Port’s overall environmental management and sustainability program.

“It is a collaborative effort that is only possible due to the enthusiasm and service of the many port business that have a mutual commitment to protecting our environment and the overall health of the Port,” Ms. Spiteri said.

“We set a new record this year, easily eclipsing the 300 kg collected last year.

“It is concerning that there is such a large amount of rubbish needlessly being dumped on and around Newcastle Harbour and port land. It is a reminder to everyone in the community to take responsibility for their own rubbish and dispose of it safely and responsibility.”

All rubbish was collected using biodegradable bags and gloves and will be sorted for proper disposable and recycling where possible.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/port-community-members-roll-sleeves-environment/

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While it’s tempting to measure career growth and success solely according to the number of rungs we scale on the corporate ladder, management isn’t the only path to a satisfying career. Being a manager comes with responsibilities that don’t appeal to everyone. Even worse, managerial work could take you away from the aspects of your job you love most.

But just because you don’t have any interest in presiding over a team doesn’t mean that you’re destined to stagnate—or that you have to grudgingly heave yourself up to the next level. In other words, you don’t always have to move upward to move onward.

We asked professionals who’ve blazed a trail off the management track to fill us in on four ways you can continue to evolve professionally—minus the supervisory duties.

1. Look for Opportunities That Offer In-Role Advancement
Not all growth involves taking a step up. Certain roles offer opportunities to stretch yourself within the same position, through a greater variety of projects, more prestigious assignments, deeper work, or more responsibility. When hunting for your next non-managerial job opportunity, consider point-blank asking about what growth looks like within the role rather than what’s beyond it.

While working as a media agency VP, Nathanael Yellis realized managing a team came with some emotional costs. Being on-call as a resource for his direct reports—as well as being beholden to his own manager’s schedule—took away from the time and energy he was able to spend with his family. So he set out to find an individual contributor role that still offered in-role growth.

Yellis ultimately found it within his current position as an Inbound Consultant for HubSpot. There, not only does he have more direct control over his time, but he can still develop his career without stepping up to a managerial role. “I have promotions available to me that come with increased status or customers who are more critical to HubSpot’s success,” he says. “As I continue to grow in the role, I’ll have the opportunity to work with larger companies in a wider variety of industries.”

Because he’s customer-facing, he’s able to establish clear boundaries for when and how he interacts with clients, such as deciding he isn’t available for conference calls between 5 and 8 PM. “Beyond that,” he says, “not having to make the emotional commitment to managing people frees emotional bandwidth I have at home.”

2. Make a Lateral Move Somewhere Bigger or More Prestigious
If you’re not interested in becoming a bigger fish in a small pond, consider bigger ponds, whether that means a larger company, a greater swath of sales territory, or a more prestigious brand. In the case of Danielle Radin, the digital correspondent for NBC San Diego, the puddle-to-lake leap meant a bigger broadcast market.

While Radin had a master’s degree that primed her for the managerial track, she found that she liked being a reporter, and didn’t want to deal with the office politics that came with managing others in the newsroom. Instead of hopping up the ladder, she’s been hopping to larger markets. “In broadcast the goal is to move up to bigger markets, which are ranked by population from 1 all the way down to 209,” she explains. “I started in one of the lowest-ranked markets, 195, and was able to jump to San Diego, ranked 28.”

Of course, few fields offer quite the concrete ranking system by which to measure your growth, but other indicators, both quantitative (think: company size and potential number of clients) and qualitative (think: influence or reputation) can be your guide when you’re looking to make a lateral move.

 

3. Go Solo as a Consultant
Once you become an expert in your field, you can deploy your skills and experience in a consulting role. That’s what Stacy Caprio, founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, an SEO/SEM consulting company, did.

Caprio previously worked as the search marketing manager for a finance company, but didn’t like the idea of having to be responsible for anyone else’s work but her own. She tested the waters by consulting as a side hustle and eventually made it her full-time career. When you go it alone, you can chart your own career growth with the same metrics you use to measure your consulting business’ success, such as reach and revenue.

Though the freedom of consulting is a huge perk in itself, Caprio says it’s also been more financially lucrative than her previous position. “I like that it has given me the opportunity to learn so much and be hands on in what I do, instead of just a supervisor who has no idea what her employees are doing,” she says. “It has also allowed me to make a lot more than I would have been able to make in a managerial role.”

 

4. Deepen or Broaden Your Skill Set to Become an Expert
If you’re not devoting time and energy to cultivating managerial skills, you can focus on honing other skills, whether that means perfecting your sales pitch, becoming a financial-modeling wizard, or mastering every project management tool under the sun.

In addition to having the tangible metric of market size by which to gauge her growth, Radin says her non-management path has given her the opportunity to improve her writing, editing, shooting, and presenting abilities on a daily basis. “Find a niche in your job that you truly thrive in, and improve it as much as you can so that you are considered one of the top in that skill set,” she advises.

While a deeper skill set is satisfying in and of itself, you can also establish a few key performance indicators to assess growth more objectively. Alex Tran, a digital marketing specialist, opted out of management to focus on the more hands-on aspects of her career. Instead of measuring her performance according to how close she’s getting to a head-honcho title, she uses other metrics relevant to her industry.

“In marketing I am measuring our brand visibility and reputation. If we are getting more leads than we can handle, that is great,” she says. “That means we will need to expand and hire more, which is what every growing organization wants. I am a grower, not a leader.”

Stepping outside of management may give you a chance to expand your skills outward as well. When Caprio made her move to consulting, she found that she was able to extend her expertise beyond the parameters of her in-house role. In those 9-to-5 jobs she held, “my focus was 70% running paid Google and Facebook ads,” she explains. “Once I was consulting full-time, I really dove into more than just theoretical SEO, which enabled me to develop a new skill set driving more unpaid traffic to sites.” she adds. “I used this to further expand into buying my own sites and growing them, so one thing led to another.”

 

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/grow-your-career-without-becoming-a-manager

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Two Hunter based electrical apprentices have been recognised at HVTC’s annual Excellence Awards, which were held in Newcastle on Friday, 3rd May 2019.

Daniel Beavan, who is currently employed as an electrical fitter at Origin Energy’s Eraring Power Station, was named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. The Award, which was sponsored by Howden Australia, was selected from finalists across HVTC’s nine regional branches located throughout New South Wales.

“I was over the moon to have been named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. It’s a huge honour to receive this Award,” Daniel said.

Meanwhile Phoebe Giadresco, a first-year electrical apprentice hosted to Liebherr-Australia, received the inaugural Milton Morris Encouragement Award.

Sponsored by Glencore, this Award was created in honour of HVTC’s founding Chairman, the Honourable Milton Morris AO, who passed away in February of this year.

“It is such an honour to be the first recipient of the Milton Morris Encouragement Award,” Phoebe said.

“It means a great deal to me to be acknowledged by HVTC and my trainers for my efforts and commitment to completing the Electrical Accelerated program with HVTC. This program provided the skills and knowledge for me to be confident and successful in obtaining an apprenticeship as a female in a non-traditional trade.”

Despite being at different ends of their apprenticeship journeys, Daniel and Phoebe were both pursuing other career paths before making the switch to the electrical trade.

Already a qualified fitter machinist, Daniel decided he wanted a dual trade under his belt, so he commenced an electrical apprenticeship with HVTC in 2016.

Initially hosted by Donaldson Coal, Daniel was rotated to Origin when the mine went into care and maintenance. Since completing his apprenticeship in December, Daniel has gained a full-time role with Origin and is grateful for the opportunities and support he received as an HVTC apprentice.

Phoebe commenced the NEWSTEP program in the hopes of pursuing Nutrition, but soon realised that university wasn’t for her. Following in her father’s footsteps, Phoebe decided she wanted to become an electrician and enrolled in the electrical Accelerated Program with HVTC to boost her chances of securing an apprenticeship.

During the course, she successfully applied for an electrical apprenticeship with Liebherr-Australia.

HVTC CEO, Sharon Smith congratulated Daniel and Phoebe on their awards, which showcase the calibre of the organisation’s workforce.

“Every year at the HVTC Excellence Awards, we celebrate the achievements of our apprentices, trainees, students and the many host employers we partner with to deliver skills training and employment opportunities across NSW,” Smith said.

“The achievements of apprentices like Daniel and Phoebe are proof that VET pathways lead to successful careers.

“Daniel took the initiative to undertake another four years of training after already completing one apprenticeship, making a lot of sacrifices for the betterment of his skills and long-term career aspirations.

“Throughout his apprenticeship, Daniel was consistently praised for his leadership and communication skills, passion for learning and his work ethic and it is unsurprising he was offered a permanent role with Origin.

“Similarly, Phoebe took it upon herself to complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship course to gain introductory electrical trade knowledge and skills.

“Phoebe now attends the Work Readiness program at HVTC 4 days per week and is on site at Libeherr-Australia each Friday. Her tenacity and commitment to improving her career opportunities epitomises the characteristics Milton Morris would have been delighted to support and she is a deserving winner of this award.

“I wish Daniel all the best in his career and look forward to supporting Phoebe through her remaining years as an HVTC apprentice. They both have a bright future ahead of them.”

 

 

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/industry-news/hunter-electricians-shine-hvtc-awards/

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One of the region’s most historic locations celebrated its future by officially opening its newest building on Monday in Maitland.

Chairman of The Maitland Benevolent Society Ltd (Benhome), Bob Geoghegan, together with fellow board members hosted the official opening of the Benhome Board Building in front of a crowd of residents, their families, staff and people from the Maitland community at a special ceremony officiated by Australian Senator for New South Wales, the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO.

Bob said the event symbolised an important milestone in the aged care village’s history.

“Creating places for people to live and be cared for is not about bricks and mortar. It is about understanding the needs of our community now and into the future. We are very proud of what has been created in Maitland for local people,” Bob said.

“We are also very pleased to welcome Senator Sinodinos to officially open the Benhome Board Building and celebrate with us.

“On 3 April, the board announced that it had sold Benhome to Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI). We are very proud of what we have built and we are very excited about its new place within RFBI’s network of aged care services.

“RFBI is a leading aged care provider that has been providing high quality aged care services in the Hunter region for over 40 years and shares our commitment to improving the quality of life for older people in this area.”

The Benhome Board Building is the product of many years planning and reflects an $18 million investment made by The Maitland Benevolent Society Ltd to create a place where residents can receive the highest quality care and love to call home. The capital development works included a complete refurbishment of the Eichholzer and Ribee Wings, a new front entrance, new kitchen and laundry facilities as well as the addition of 24 new resident rooms.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/benhome-officially-opens-benhome-board-building/

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Work-life balance can be elusive under the best job circumstances, but when you work non-traditional hours—whether you’re in a client-facing role, you have a busy season (hi accountants!), or you’re facing a big project deadline—finding time for the people and things you love can be even more difficult.

After all, early mornings, late hours, and limited breaks aren’t exactly conducive to balance. Still, it’s possible to carve out time for what’s important to you even when your work life seems crazy. And adopting one (or more) of these expert tips can help.

1. Rethink Work-Life Balance
If you feel like you can’t find any work-life balance thanks to your non-traditional schedule, rethink your definition of the phrase, says Samantha Ettus, a work-life balance expert and author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction.

“Work-life balance is not about having balance every day,” she says. “It’s about creating a balance that feels manageable over the course of time—a week, a month, a year.” The problem comes when you expect balance every day—and judge yourself accordingly. “That’s just not how life works,” Ettus says. “We all know there are days when you start at 7 AM and end with a client dinner at 10 PM.”

2. Set Boundaries When You’re Less Busy
Even the most demanding work schedule likely ebbs and flows—an off season or a time between projects. Take advantage of these slower periods to set personal boundaries, as much as possible, with clients and co-workers.

Will you have to stay later sometimes? Yes. Is an occasional 5:30 PM meeting inevitable? Of course. But in general, once you start setting boundaries, people will respect them—and it may be easier to keep them going when things pick up again.

3. Embrace Micro Actions
If your work schedule doesn’t allow for blocks of personal time, embrace what LoVerde calls “micro actions”—activities that fit into bits of time during your day that are so small it’s easy to discount them. Don’t.

For example, LoVerde says, maybe you can’t fit in a 90-minute yoga class when you’re on a project—but can you do 4 minutes of tabata? Or program your wearable activity tracker to remind you to take a 2-minute walk every hour and drink a glass of water?

Individually, those don’t seem like much, but when you add them all up, you may find you’ve gotten 20 minutes of exercise and downed 10 glasses of water by the end of the day. Not too shabby!

4. Think of Your Life as a Pie
Ettus recommends imagining your life as a pie sliced into seven pieces: career, children, health, hobbies, friends, community, and relationship. Write down how much time you spend on each slice (be honest!), and set a goal for each one.

If you’re already struggling to balance a couple of “slices” (say, career and children), adding five more can seem counterintuitive—but stick with us. “It doesn’t have to be a hobby that you do every day of your life—a once-a-month book club still contributes to balance,” Ettus says. “People who live in all of their slices are the ones who feel more productive and fulfilled, so make sure you set goals for each area.”

5. Become a Quitter
As busy as you are, you’re probably wasting time each day on things that don’t contribute to your work-life balance in a meaningful way. LoVerde recommends quitting the things that get in the way of what you want. Who among us hasn’t lost 20 minutes mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, when we could have been texting a friend or meditating?

6. Build in Rituals
The findings of a 75-year Harvard study show that good relationships are the key to keeping us healthy, happy, and successful. Of course, relationships may occasionally take a backseat due to a busy season at work. But if there’s no down time in your future, then you must build in ways to stay connected with family and friends, Mary says—and the way to do that is to build in rituals, such as FaceTiming with your kids when you miss bedtime or a daily lunchtime text with your partner.

“You have a limited amount of willpower every day,” LoVerde says, “so building in rituals that help you stay connected to what’s really important will help you when you have to work strenuous stretches.”

We can’t promise that you’ll be able to find the perfect work-life balance all the time. But if you follow this advice, you’ll be on your way to creating more time and space for yourself and those who matter most.

 

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-maintain-work-life-balance?ref=carousel-slide-1

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HVTC has announced 35 new positions to encourage local women and Indigenous people to take up apprenticeship and traineeship roles across NSW.

Available to Hunter-based individuals, the group training organisation recently gained approval from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to advertise and recruit 35 Women in non-traditional trade (WNTT) roles and 35 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander (A&TI) roles.

For the next two years, HVTC can offer recruitment of WNTT and A&TI apprentices and trainees to host employers without the three-month waiting period and can place advertisements for positions that are only available to WNTT and A&TI applicants.

HVTC Manager Human Resources & Safety Services, Janet Lee said these exemptions will go a long way towards helping HVTC achieve greater diversity in its workplace and that of its host employers.

“HVTC is one of Australia’s oldest group training organisations, established to connect more people to the opportunity of employment and training,” Janet said.

“One of the fundamental principles of group training is that it provides pathways to employment opportunities that might not have otherwise been available. A particular focus for the sector has been supporting minority groups, such as women in non-traditional trades, Indigenous people, school-leavers and the long-term unemployed.

“Women in non-traditional trades are currently underrepresented at HVTC with only 10% of applications for trade roles submitted by females. Often job seekers are discouraged from applying for roles because of stereotypes or self-doubt.

“Offering targeted roles is one way we can demonstrate our commitment to addressing gender imbalances while providing additional encouragement for women and Indigenous people to apply for roles they might not normally have considered.”

To date, one host has taken up an Indigenous placement in Lismore, while HVTC recently placed two female apprentice electricians in Salisbury.

“Over the next 12 months, we hope to achieve a representation of more than 5% of WNTT and 10% for Indigenous placements,” Janet said.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/hvtc-targets-women-indigenous-apprentices-trainees-latest-push-diversity/

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Workplace social media apps might make our work life easier, but similar programs can have detrimental effects on our personal lives. So, should we really be using them at work?

Organisations work hard to create connections and collaboration between their employees. Firms are increasingly embracing social media platforms to encourage this with tools such as Yammer’ and ‘Workplace’ becoming ubiquitous. But as there’s an increasing body of research showing the negative effects of social media usage in our personal lives, it might be time to consider whether using these tools at work is similarly damaging?

Social media is a fact of life in most workplaces. Thirty-thousand companies around the world use Workplace by Facebook in the hope it will “promote openness, feedback and diversity to engage employees and drive cultural change”.

Subscribers to Yammer, Microsoft’s rival platform, are harder to spot as the platform is integrated into Office 365, but a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute study found that 72 per cent of companies were using some form of internal social media to promote communication and collaboration.

The plus side

There are plenty of advocates who point to the benefits social media has brought to our workplaces. In the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that employees who used such platforms were 31 per cent more likely to find colleagues with relevant expertise to complete a task, as well as using the platforms to “make faster decisions, develop more innovative ideas for products and services, and become more engaged in their work and their companies”.

Impressed? It gets better: the McKinsey study, which looked at just four industry sectors, argued that maximising the use of social media technologies at work could unlock $1 trillion in value annually.

The benefits are not just clear, they are substantial, inarguable even. Workplace social media platforms are designed on the same principles as their non-work counterparts. Engaging and user-friendly, they provide a constant stream of news, video clips and updates from colleagues across the organisation. Posts can be liked and shared just as they can outside of work.

The dark side

While the above research argues the productivity benefits of social platforms in the workplace, there is an increasing amount of evidence that these exact same features can be very damaging to users in their personal lives.

A 2014 study from the University of Toledo demonstrated the impact Facebook can have, finding an inverse correlation between time spent on the platform and self-esteem; the longer you spend on Facebook, the less likely you are to feel good about yourself.

This is in part because we compare our lives and experiences to those we see online; photos of a friend on holiday can reinforce the fact that we are on the sofa at home, and eating our reheated pasta in front of an Instagram feed of Ottolenghi delights has the same effect.

This in turn is proven to lead to feelings of envy and social isolation, which can be hugely damaging both mentally and physically. And then there’s the productivity issue: social media is addictive – it’s designed that way – and users can easily spend hours on the platforms, feeling genuine symptoms of withdrawal when they eventually log off.

Those cravings can also be accompanied by a fear of missing out, physical fatigue and depression. These are hardly feelings you want to cultivate in your employees.

To cap it all off, a 2018 study demonstrated that the reverse is true; reducing participants’ exposure to social media to ten minutes a day led to a decrease in loneliness and depression.

So, if there is such a large body of research demonstrating the negative impacts of social media, surely it’s time to consider all of these findings in a workplace context?

It’s not hard to imagine employees spending too much time on social media at work just as they do at home, particularly when many companies encourage the creation of online social groups alongside work-related content.

Anxiety can quickly be generated by looking to see whether or not your boss has “liked” your latest post, or when you notice that peers in your team have more followers or connections than you do.

Work platforms are often used to share positive news about promotions, team achievements or company successes. Managers might, post something to provide updates, or to create a sense of shared success and community. But if you’ve missed out on a role you applied for, or feel that your pay rise doesn’t reflect the wider performance of the firm, then this sort of celebration could easily feel smug and self-congratulatory.

Perhaps your colleague has posted a selfie from their trip to the New York office that you see while you’re sitting on the bus on your way to work. Are you going to ‘like’ that? The main social media platforms had a long honeymoon period before academics seriously studied the potential downside of this new phenomenon that was sweeping the world, and it’s only in recent years that this has been comprehensively analysed.

So now it’s time to cast an analytical eye onto workplace social media. Much of the writing to date has focused on the potential upside and benefits it brings – like that trillion-dollar McKinsey bounty – and we are still arguably in that same honeymoon phase.

But if we know beyond doubt that social media can be damaging and dangerous to users in their personal lives then surely it’s time to think twice about how far we should encourage its use in our workplaces?

To go one step further, if a manager insisted their employees perform activities that were proven to have negative physical and mental side-effects then they would be negligent at best, and at worst, culpable. Social media does exactly that, so we should reconsider how we use it at work.

 

 

Source: http://www.hrmonline.com.au/topics/communication-and-social-media/is-there-a-place-for-social-media-workplace/

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A room full of tech start up founders, investors and members of the innovation ecosystem gathered in Newcastle in late February as the Business Centre sought to unearth more local tech talent to become part of its Start House accelerator program.

Innovators and entrepreneurs were given the chance to meet with leaders of the local innovation ecosystem and hear what Start House can offer them.

More Discovery Sessions are being held in Singleton, Wyong and Maitland as Start House builds four region-based cohorts to lead through its unique distributed incubator and accelerator model.
Steve Wait, CEO of the Business Centre, said the Discovery Session gave local intenders or those already with a minimum viable product a chance to meet mentors and experts in residence and understand the advantages of the unique Start House program.

“Start House is a no-equity incubator and accelerator program with the aim of mentoring some of the incredible local tech talent we have in the region to lead them to scale their businesses globally,” Steve said.

“We have the intention of developing diversity in innovation – be it diversity in location or diversity in the age, background or life stage of the founders.

“Not every start up or existing business fits the mould that other accelerator programs may cater for.”

Powered by the Business Centre, Steve said Start House will support 50 start up and globally scalable enterprises across the region over the next year.

“Start House will provide mentoring and business education to entrepreneurs right across our region, working with partners in Maitland, Newcastle, the Hunter and on the Central Coast,” Steve said.

“We will connect more diverse innovators to the opportunities in Sydney while showcasing innovators who are geographically isolated.”

The Business Centre announced recently that it was the recipient of $189,500 in Australian Government funding under the Incubator Support initiative for its accelerator program, Start House.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews congratulated the Business Centre and the other five national successful applicants, which received the funding under the $23 million initiative.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/innovators-set-take-part-new-regional-incubator-accelerator-program/

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Cessnock City Council’s economic development team was presented with the inaugural Netstripes Digital Innovation Advocate Award at the Bizruption event held in Sydney in February.

The Bizruption business event is supported by the NSW Business Connect program and endorsed by the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

The award recognises the work the council has done through engaging with small businesses online, and supporting business owners to renew their digital strategies. It also demonstrates council’s ongoing commitment to promoting small business innovation and empowering business owners with the knowledge and tools for growth.

Mayor Bob Pynsent said the Advance Cessnock City platform has been a huge success.

“Advance Cessnock City is the online platform and business engagement tool that is our region’s one-stop-shop for local business and prospective businesses,” Bob said.

“It has enabled our economic development team at Cessnock City Council to be more responsive, better engaged with businesses and provide opportunities for small and micro businesses to access official training programs such as the popular Digital Bootcamps.”

Council’s Acting Economic Development Manager, Rhiannon Stevens said digital literacy is becoming more and more important for businesses.

“We are really pleased to be able to better facilitate businesses to work on their digital strategies, providing opportunities to up-skill through workshops and training promoted through our Advance Cessnock City fortnightly business emails.”

“Research conducted by Deloitte confirms that businesses who are digitally engaged grow faster, employ on average two more people and earn more revenue per employee.

“We’ve been really pleased to be able to bring these opportunities to our business community to accelerate their growth and make a positive impact to their bottom line.”

The winners of the inaugural Digital Innovation Advocates Awards were:

Local council – Cessnock City Council;
Business Chamber – Gosford Erina & Coastal Chamber;
Industry Body – Retail Drinks Australia; and
Federal Agency – Regional Development Australia, Orana.
Cessnock City Council recently announced a new digital marketing workshop tailored for tourism and services businesses taking place on 21 March, 2019.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/cessnock-city-council-rates-high-small-business-digital-innovation/

mortgage-broker

At Jobs In The Hunter we are keen to help our customers find ways to maximise their quality of life and disposable income, which can be achieved through increasing your income (e.g. finding a higher paying job) or reducing your expenses (e.g. reducing the money spent and time absorbed on the daily commute to Sydney).

As a mortgage payment is often our largest financial commitment, many of us also recognise the importance of making sure we regularly check we are getting the best deal from our lender.  A great way to help you do this, is by contacting a Mortgage Broker.

If you’ve ever used a Mortgage Broker to “keep your bank honest”, find the best deal, or navigate the complicated rules to get your loan approved, you may wish to join the campaign to save their business model.

The proposed changes from the Banking Royal Commission mean that you will not have access to a mortgage broker’s advice in the future, without having to pay fees for service.

As the value of a Mortgage Broker’s business is based on their trail commission revenue, the proposed changes will force first-class brokers out of the business, having the opposite effect to what most of us want to see.  Without Mortgage Brokers, the banks will have reduced competition, allowing them to increase their fees and interest rate margins.  Ultimately resulting in us, the customers paying more!

According to the Credit Industry Ombudsman you are 760% more likely to have a complaint about your bank than about your Australian Credit Licensed Mortgage Broker.

Mortgage Brokers trailing commissions have been portrayed as “ money for nothing” and but here are some important considerations:

  1. Trailing commission provides a menu of services that the banks would otherwise struggle to provide – such as rate reviews to ensure you are still getting a competitive deal on your loan, help with ongoing matters such as transactional assistance, removal of guarantees, swapping properties over whilst retaining the same loan when buying and selling, and such forth. These services are hard to leverage from the bank directly and the services are not able to be provided free of charge by brokers as for good brokers it accounts for 25% of their working hours. Trailing commissions pays for these services. Without trailing commission these services will be either be charged for by brokers or we can approach our bank and see how we go with getting through to the right department in the bank to get help with matter at hand.
  2. When a loan goes into arrears, trailing commissions cease until the loan is back in good conduct. Subsequently, the broker makes contact with the borrower and assists with getting the loan back into good conduct. This is an important trigger in our economy – banks are risk-rated according to a number of parameters but most importantly on loan delinquencies. The banks risk rating affects how much it costs them to raise capital to lend to us. The more loan delinquencies, the higher the cost. In summary it’s realistic to expect that more loans will stay in arrears for longer when trailing commissions are removed- and we could all end up paying a higher rate solely due to removal of trailing commissions.
The following graph shows the fall in banks net interest margins since 1989 and a significant contributor to this has been the increased competition brought about by mortgage broking:
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If you want to show your support for the future if Mortgage Brokers, follow this link and it takes less than a minute to sign the petition and send an email to your local MP …

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Going back to work after having a baby is a big career (and life) switch. It isn’t exactly easy, balancing the needs of your child with likely way less sleep than you’re used to, while trying to be the same employee you were before you left. And having a baby changes the way you think about and prioritize your day, and can potentially make you question what you thought you wanted out of your career. It certainly did for me.

Navigating those first few weeks back takes patience, self-care, and boundary setting, both at home and in the office. As I’m transitioning back to work for a second time (I recently took almost six months off in between leaving a long-term role and launching my own company), I’m pulling from my first experience returning from maternity leave three years ago and the community of incredible moms I’ve been blessed to be a part of for advice on making the transition out of parental leave as seamless as possible.

 

1. Be Patient With Yourself
This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from my boss at the time. You don’t have to be perfect your first day back, your first week back, or really ever. This goes for parenting and your body, in addition to transitioning back to work. The advice is actually pretty universal.

Give yourself some breathing room to get back in the swing of things. Don’t schedule big presentations or client meetings or say yes to big projects right off the bat if you can help it. If you can’t avoid taking on something big, try to find ways to move other items off your plate so you can give that one project your main focus.

Do put blocks of time on your calendar to go through email and catch up on projects, reports, or anything else you missed while you were on leave. Note: You probably won’t get through all your emails in one sitting, and that’s OK. Try tackling the most important stuff first and get to the rest over the next few days.

And schedule individual meetings or coffee dates with your team to hear what they’ve been working on and in general how they’re doing (this will be a nice break from all the work-information overload!).

 

2. Build Trust in Your Childcare
If you have confidence that your little one is loved and cared for while you’re not there, you’re going to be a better, more relaxed person at work. So start looking for childcare early and take the time to get to know your caregiver(s) before you go back to the office.

If you’re going the nanny route, try to have the person start one to two weeks before you go back, on a reduced schedule if possible. Play and interact with the baby together and run some errands where you’re only gone a couple hours to get used to the idea of being away. And take your nanny to lunch—sans baby—to get to know them outside of their role.

If you’re doing a nanny share, schedule some family hangouts with both families before going back. And if you’re using a daycare, ask to shadow or observe, take advantage of the tour, and ask any and all questions. Again, have the baby start earlier than needed, potentially on a reduced schedule, so both you and baby can get used to the new setting.

 

3. Set Clear Boundaries With Your Team (and Yourself)
I came back from my maternity leave to a reduced schedule, so I made sure to meet with my team to explain my hours and come up with new normals in our day, including how we could work together in a way that made sense and benefited everyone. The first few weeks I was back, I also started checking in with my team every day an hour before my new “end of work day” to get us all used to the schedule. Even if you don’t have a new routine, make sure your team’s aware of when you are and aren’t available online.

It’s becoming more and more common for new parents to have flexible schedules in those first few weeks back to help ease the transition back to work. But in having more flexibility to work from home, I also had to navigate how to work from home. I experienced, and have heard from quite a few of my fellow parents, that it’s tough to be in both “parent” and “work” mode at the same time, so even at home I set boundaries with myself to try not to be both at once.

When I was commuting, I always checked my email and handled anything that needed immediate attention before walking into my apartment so I could be fully tuned into my family when I stepped through the door. My phone and computer go in another room so I’m not checking them in front of my child or trying to respond to a client while making dinner (and so words like “fart” don’t end up in work emails—yes, I learned that from personal experience). If you’re looking for more tips, here’s advice for working from home as a parent.

 

4. Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)
This advice, of course, transcends parenting and applies in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important after having a child. It’s simple: Ask for what you need and don’t assume people know what it is. You’d be surprised how much people will give you if you simply ask for it.

Do you need a meeting moved so you can make pickup time at daycare? Present an alternative solution in your ask, but ask nonetheless. Are you not as available for after-hour client events? Advocate for a colleague to take your place, or suggest other creative ways to get in front of clients that fit into your schedule. Who knows, there could be other working parents who will appreciate your ingenuity.

 

5. Manage Expectations
I don’t have to tell you that when you have a baby to get home to, you figure out quickly what’s actually important to get done—and that you need to set expectations in order to get those important items done on time.

So when someone asks you to step in on a project, don’t be afraid to ask: When do you need this by? Is this a priority? How much time do you expect this to take?

Then spell out exactly what you can and can’t do for them, clearly and directly: “I’d love to work on that, but since I have X to get done by the time I leave today and it’s not a huge priority, I won’t be able to get that to you until the end of the week. Does that timing work for you?”

While you may not be able to please everyone, by being direct you cover your bases and show you’re proactive and dedicated to doing your job well.

 

6. Schedule Time to Pump
If you need to pump breast milk at work, block off time on your calendar to do so, and add a 10-15 minute buffer to ensure you stick to your schedule. By slotting it into your day and really making it nonnegotiable (remember those boundaries we talked about earlier?), you can help keep it from being a point of stress. (And it’s not just about emotional distress: Skipping a pumping session can become physically painful, and you can end up wearing the consequences down your shirt.)

If possible, get a second pump to leave at work to minimize lugging the gear back and forth, and make sure you have a comfortable space to pump in your office. If one’s not apparent in your workplace, explicitly ask HR or an office manager about a “lactation room.”

Federal law states that an employer must provide both break time and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” for nursing employees. Specifics can differ from state to state and based on office size, which is why it’s important to first determine what your office has in place before advocating for what you need.

 

7. Find Your Support Team
Working parent guilt is real, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—guilt for being away from the baby, guilt for not feeling guilty for not being with the baby, guilt for saying “no” to a colleague so you can leave early to get back to the baby…the list goes on.

When these thoughts start to creep in, repeat this to yourself: You are enough.

And, find your community (whether inside or outside the office). Talk to other parents who have been through it and create a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. A quick Google search of local parenting and mom groups will at the very least hook you up with Facebook groups where you can start connecting. (These groups can also be a good source for nanny shares.) Also, some hospitals put together parenting groups based on when your baby was born. Take advantage of “Baby and Me” classes in your neighborhood or town, too, from swimming lessons to local library reading sessions to group walks.

I randomly ended up at a “mommy and me yoga” class, and after that class I went to lunch with three incredible women with babies the same age as mine. To this day (three years later) I still text with them weekly to talk about all things parenting, working, and babies.

 

8. Make Time for You—Just You
While it may seem impossible to carve more time out of your day outside of family and work, you can’t be the parent or employee (or really insert anything here) you want to be if you don’t take care of yourself. When I take time for myself, I’m more present in every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that a present moment (even a short one) is worth a million hurried moments.

Here’s how you can realistically make time for yourself during the week:

Actually put lunch on your calendar—and step away from your desk (or turn off your computer) to eat.
Keep up with that once a week yoga (or Pilates, or barre, or whatever) class—you’ll be grateful you did.
Wake up an hour before you actually need to (and an hour before the baby) so you can do something just for you. It’s not for everyone (if you’re not a morning person please sleep in), but for me this way I can take my time drinking my coffee and curl up reading a good book.

Above all remember: There are countless parents out there right now who’ve felt exactly how you feel and may still be trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them and their families. It’s a big deal going back to work after a baby, so hopefully it helps to know that you’re not alone, everything you’re feeling is valid, and it’s okay to be patient with yourself.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-parents-going-back-to-work-after-a-baby?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

Australia Day NCC Awards

Following journalist and ovarian cancer research advocate Jill Emberson’s recognition as Newcastle Citizen of the Year 2019, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has named the City’s other Australia Day award recipients at this morning’s Citizenship ceremony.

Emberson, who was earlier announced as Citizen of the Year for her contribution to journalism and advocacy in the fight against ovarian cancer, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech at today’s ceremony that addressed her love for Newcastle and desire to see better outcomes for women living with the disease.

Also honoured at today’s ceremony was Junior John Hunter Hospital doctor Bhavi Ravindran who was named 2019 Young Citizen of the Year.

The 24-year-old University of Newcastle graduate was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the medical profession at such a young age.

Dr Bhavi holds numerous positions on medical boards including the Australian Medical Council and Medical Students Accreditation Committee, which is responsible for the accreditation of the 24 medical schools across Australia and New Zealand.

The group also raises funds for local and international charity organisations through the delivery of all-age music and art events in Newcastle.

“Through advocacy and educating youth on ways they can interact in their community, The Y Project is encouraging and inspiring young people to become proactive and strive to create a future enthused with empathy, equity and justice,” the Lord Mayor said.

“After forming at high school in 2017, the group has helped engineer some positive momentum for social change among young people at various live music and arts events, and, in doing so, raised thousands of dollars for charity.”

Also at today’s ceremony, which marked 70 years since the Australian Government first introduced Citizenship into Commonwealth law, more than a 160 new Australians from 46 different countries received their Citizenship.

Just seven men were sworn in as new legal citizens in 1949, swearing their allegiance to Australia from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia.

Today, Australia is one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world, having welcomed more than five million new Australian citizens to our shores.

 

Source: http://newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/Latest-News/City-announces-Australia-Day-awards-honours

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I am so tired.

So today I decided, six years into being a mom, to invest in a little thing called “self care.” I went to get my makeup done and when the girl at the counter asked me what look I was going for, I told her, “I want to look like a person who didn’t spend all night googling Coxsackie symptoms through the cries of a screaming two year old while also panicking about a big client presentation.”

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. As a working parent you experience tons of feelings you’re not properly prepared for. Sure, you’ll get the, “Sleep now while you can”, but once that baby comes, it’s up to you to figure out how to manage it all (and make it look easy). But don’t worry, the 70% of working mothers with children under 18 years old get it, too.

We get it in the way the girl at the counter did when she picked out the heaviest concealer they had.

So, remember, you’re not alone in this. Here’s how to navigate the feelings that come with this crazy, beautiful thing called parenting.

Feeling #1
Exhaustion
Yesterday, my new babysitter started. I came home at 7PM to unfed children, one with a leaking diaper, and a house that looked like my boys had used crayons and Play Doh to get vengeance for any parenting mistake I’ve ever made.

And this was after a day of back-to-back meetings and an inbox ticking towards the triple digits.

So here’s what I did:

I ordered takeout. Immediately and without hesitation.

I put my phone in my bag and stopped looking at it (work panic avoided).

I told the kids I had to go to the bathroom, screamed into the shower curtain, and then came down smiling.

I asked my kindergartener what the best part of his day was.

I did NOT clean the house. And I was OK with that.

That last sentence is very important. Sometimes, as moms, we think that we need to do everything at once.

But I’ve let this go, and you can, too. Let. It. Go. All of it. Or at least, try to. I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to friend’s cute Facebook photos of children in matching outfits in clean houses. It’s not real. They might have gotten it right this week, but next week they will have a messy house and unruly children. And it will be OK because we are all in this together.

The truth is, I recently realized that I spend too much time thinking about how tired I am and not enough time sleeping. So, I did something I don’t think I’ve done since my children were born. After I put my boys to sleep, I went to bed, too.

And although I didn’t do any work the night before, the next morning I felt like I accomplished more. I was more focused. It was so much better.

So, relax when you can. I’ve started listening to music and reading books on the way home from work instead of answering emails. It’s for my own sanity. Cherish those fleeting moments of “you” time and grab hold of them as tight as you can.
Feeling #2
Loneliness
Being a working parent comes with a feeling I never thought I’d have, but one I’ve heard repeatedly: loneliness. Yes, you’re constantly around kids, co-workers, and clients but the connections just aren’t the same as they used to be.

Here’s my hypothesis: Parenting is hard. You often can’t do a lot of the things you used to (like those fun girl’s trips or romantic weekend getaways). Making friends at work can be difficult (it’s not exactly easy to go out for happy hour). And many of us don’t want to admit when we need help, especially if you never had to wave the white flag before having children.

Here are some ways to combat it:

Find your fellow work parents: You know who gets it? Other parents who work at your company. Here at The Muse, we have a #museparents Slack channel. Do some digging to find your fellow moms and dads.

Put yourself out there, even just a little bit: Attend activities that match your family’s schedule. Make awkward conversation, rinse, and repeat, until you find a mom or dad friend.

Pick one day a month to be kid-less: Get a babysitter once a month to do a whole day of socializing. Maybe that means seeing an old friend, taking a day with your spouse, or attending that co-worker thing that you always say no to. Just make sure it’s something that will leave you feeling good and socially replenished.

Join a networking or support group: I believe in this so much, that I started one. With my hectic schedule I never have time for more than a few minutes of socialization, but through my online social circle, I’ve discovered that plenty of moms and dads are going through the same things I am.
Feeling #3
Overwhelmed
This is probably the most common. Why? Because as working parents we have a lot of stuff going on. And there’s studies that show being a working parent is the equivalent of working more than two full-time jobs (but you didn’t need a study to tell you that).

So, here’s how to to keep your head above water:

Accept help: From pretty much anyone who will give it. Your mother-in-law just offered to come over for an hour so you can stay late and grab a quick cocktail with friends? Let her. Your direct report said he would pitch in so you can pick up your children from childcare? Let him do it. Bottom line: Be honest with others about what you need.

Make lists: Buy yourself a notebook or planner and write everything down. Cross it off as you accomplish it. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than manually crossing something off, but do what works for you.

Say no, but not sorry: Even superheroes need a break. It’s OK to decline when a non-essential 6 PM meeting encroaches on family time. It’s OK to turn down a work event because it is just too much this week. It’s OK to take a rain check on the girl’s trip because you can’t find sitters or can’t afford it. It’s OK to not have your child in six activities and always wearing matching outfits. Do what feels right for your family, not anyone else’s.

In short, you are not alone. I know it can feel that way at the end of one of those long, hard days. But remember, even when you think you are failing, your children see a hero… and your co-workers are likely in awe of how you do it all, and make it look easy.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/feelings-you-experience-working-parent-how-to-manage?ref=recently-published-0

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Construction is poised to begin on a landmark 30,000sqm retail centre in Lake Macquarie set to create more than 600 full-time jobs once complete.

Spotlight Group, which owns the Spotlight and Anaconda retail chains, got the green light in September from the NSW Government to commence work on the first stage of a $90 million centre fronting the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green.

A Bunnings Warehouse and Spotlight and Anaconda stores will anchor the site, with a number of other businesses, including two fast food outlets and a service station, also included in the plans.

Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said the centre – the largest retail development in the city since the 2010 expansion of Charlestown Square – would provide an enormous boost to the local economy.

“This is land that has long been earmarked for development,” Cr Fraser said.

“It’s wonderful to see the Spotlight Group backing the potential of Lake Macquarie and investing in a project that will generate local jobs for local families.”

“A development of this size has the potential to significantly boost employment in surrounding suburbs, including Windale. It will further activate the area and, by establishing itself as a retail destination, provide flow-on benefits to other businesses nearby.”

Spotlight Group Executive Deputy Chairman Zac Fried said the development would generate more than 825 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and more than 600 full-time jobs once open.

“Bennetts Green is a significant development for the Spotlight Group,” he said.

“We are investing more than $90 million in the local community to support long-term job opportunities and growth in the area.”

The Stage One approved by the NSW Government’s Hunter & Central Coast Regional Planning Panel consists of the Bunnings Warehouse at the southern end of the site, the central block of retailers including Anaconda and a fast food outlet, and utilities infrastructure works.

Spotlight Group will improve footpaths and roads around parts of the site, with new traffic lights installed on the Pacific Highway about 150m south of the Groves Road intersection.

The company has lodged development applications with Council for Stages Two and Three. Stage Two includes Spotlight, while Stage Three comprises a service station and second fast food outlet.

These are expected to be processed by the end of the year.

Lake Macquarie City Council Head of Development and Planning Justin Day said the new development was “an exciting time for Lake Macquarie, and specifically for this part of the city”.

“We’re already seeing booming residential development just up the road in Mount Hutton, as well as a $58 million makeover of the Lake Macquarie Fair shopping centre,” Mr Day said.

“This development comes on the back of a record $1.16 billion worth of development applications approved in the 2017-2018 financial year, and really demonstrates how Lake Mac is increasingly becoming the city of choice for investment and development.”

Of the $20.3 million sale price of the land in 2016, $5.58 million was transferred to Council’s Property Investment Reserve.

The remaining $14.73 million went into Council’s Community Land Reserve, to be spent on community infrastructure.

Projects either planned or underway to receive funding through the land sale include:

Windale Skate Park relocation
Windale library and community centre construction
Scrubby Creek restoration (Windale)
Munibung Road extension
Pearson Street Mall upgrade (Charlestown)
Spotlight Group said the new centre was expected to open within 14 months.

Source: http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/600-jobs-slated-for-90m-bennetts-green-retail-development-2895

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One of the practices that contributes to Michael Phelps’ success as a swimmer takes place well before he gets into the pool. As part of his training regimen, Phelps visualizes every detail of his race—from responding to something going wrong (like ripping his suit) to crossing the finish line ahead of his competitors.

Phelps has used visualization (along with other training methods, of course) to achieve incredible things in his career, like winning 28 Olympic medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. But you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to borrow his tricks—and I’m living proof.

Visualization has played an absolutely essential part in hitting a number of my career goals, such as pitching high-profile clients with confidence, scaling my business to six figures, and tackling large, complex projects without feeling completely overwhelmed. My visualization practice has, in many ways, acted as the bridge between where I am in my career at any given moment to where I want to be—by allowing me to see and feel my future success before it actually happens.

“Think about building a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever attempted to build one without having the box top to look at? It is extremely difficult to complete the puzzle without knowing what the outcome should look like,” says executive leadership coach Cynthia Corsetti. “You may fit pieces together, you may get bits and pieces of the puzzle done, but it will take longer, be more challenging, and possibly never reach completion.”

Corsetti believes the same is true of your career; the more clear and detailed you are when you visualize what you want from your career, the easier it will be to make it a reality.

Of course, while visualization can definitely help you improve performance, for the best results, you need to pair it with action. Phelps didn’t just visualize himself winning races—he also spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the pool.

Want to give visualization a try? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Visualization 101

What’s Visualization?

Before we jump into how visualization can completely transform your career, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, visualization is.

“Visualization is the ability to create a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you wish to create,” says Corsetti. “It has also been called setting intention, attraction, and ‘positive thinking,’” she adds. It’s “an actual skill that a person can learn.”

Visualization is seeing, feeling, and completely embodying a future outcome—whether that’s snagging the corner office, completing a marathon, or buying your dream home—before it happens. By creating your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can actually transform your visualization into reality.

The Science

How Does Visualization Actually Work?

When you visualize yourself hitting a specific goal, your brain interprets that imagery as reality—and, as a result, creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

“Visualization is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task—athletic, academic, [or] anything else,” says Roselyn Smith, a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and management consultant. “It actually changes the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.”

In other words, by using visualization, you’re tricking your brain into acting as if your desired outcome—whether that’s nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion, or launching your own business—has already happened. And because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.

Visualization can even cause physical changes. One study found that participants who visualized workouts were able to increase their muscle mass by 13.5% over the course of 12 weeks—even though they never stepped foot inside a gym. (Imagine how much more they’d have gained if they’d actually worked out!)

The Exercises

What Visualization Exercises Can I Do to Be More Successful at Work?

So research has shown that visualization can work. But how, in practice, do you use it to make you more successful? Here are a few exercises to get you started.

Start With Basic Visualization
If you’re just hopping on board the visualization train, you’re going to want to start with the basics. Carve out a few quiet minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and picture where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do in your career. You can start small (like picturing yourself rocking an upcoming presentation) or go big (like celebrating your first six-figure year in business).

The key to this exercise is being as specific as possible. See what’s going to happen clearly in your mind. Home in on all the small details, from what you’re wearing to the way you’re speaking. And let yourself experience the emotions that go along with the visualization (so, for example, the sense of pride you’d feel when landing a raise or the rush of excitement you’d get when you launch a new product). The more realistic you can make your visualization, the more effective it’ll be.

Picture the Worst-Case Scenario

There are bound to be obstacles on any career journey. With visualization, you can anticipate what they’ll be—and come up with a plan so you know exactly how to handle them when they arise.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re gearing up to pitch a new project idea to your team. Visualize all the things that could go wrong—your presentation crashes, you forget important information in the middle of your pitch, your team says they’re not interested—and, more importantly, how you’ll handle them.

Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting;” basically, you spend time imagining all the potential worst-case scenarios and how you’d navigate them. This way, you’ll be prepared and have a game plan if and when it happens, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a result.

Focus on Specific Skills or Goals

As the previously mentioned study showed, practicing a task in your mind can yield measurable results—even if you never practice that task IRL.

Want to become a better public speaker? Spend time visualizing yourself speaking to large crowds. Want to increase the number of potential clients you speak to each day? Picture yourself hitting the phones and connecting with tons of prospects each day. The point is, the more you practice the skill in visualizations, the better you’ll be at said skill in reality.

Write it Down

Have a hard time visualizing things in your mind? No worries! Writing down your visualizations can be just as effective as picturing them in your head—perhaps even more so.

“I have my clients write a story that describes in detail what they want their future to look like—down to the pictures on the wall of their office,” says Corsetti. “Adults learn by using all their senses. By writing the exercise they are using their thoughts as well as the physical activity of writing which seals the idea and makes it more concrete.”

The Next Steps

What Else Do I Have to Do?

Clearly, visualization is a powerful tool. But here’s an important reminder: If you want to see real results, you need to pair it with tangible actions. You can visualize yourself calling up 100 client prospects a day—but if you never actually pick up the phone, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.

It’s “more than just ‘think about it and it will happen,’” says Corsetti. “You see, when you visualize yourself as a leader, or as an entrepreneur…you have to start to respond [and act] as you would in that role.”

So, for example, if you’re visualizing yourself landing a coveted promotion, in addition to picturing yourself in this new role, you need to start acting as if you’re already in it, whether that means taking on more responsibility, mentoring newer members of your team, or logging extra hours at the office.

And when you pack this one-two punch—visualization and action? “Opportunities begin to present themselves. You attract people and circumstances that will help you get there,” Corsetti explains. “It literally steps up your game on a daily basis.”

Visualization is like a roadmap for that old saying—if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Because the right exercises can help you imagine the career you want. And with that vision, plus the corresponding actions, you can start making it a reality.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/visualization-exercises-boost-career

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Projects that light up Newcastle’s stunning harbour make up some of the successful applications in Round 4 of the 2018 Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC announced that five new community infrastructure projects would benefit from the Round 4 Fund, with a total value of $1.35 million going into projects to enhance the port-side areas for the community.

“I am pleased to announce that a good mixture of community activation and port-side infrastructure works make up this year’s successful projects,” Mr MacDonald said. “The $1.35 million will be awarded to Projecting Newcastle, Cottage Creek Beautification, Seafarer Volunteer Service, Camp Shortland Precinct Activation, and Lightscape. “The largest single grant this year is $450,000 towards Hunter Water’s work to explore Cottage Creek Beautification – Bank Amenity Works.

Pending environmental investigations, community engagement, design and approvals, the project could see new vegetation, open areas and promenades introduced along the stormwater channel, stretching from the rail line to Honeysuckle Drive.” Hunter Water’s Managing Director Jim Bentley said Hunter Water welcomed the $450,000 grant.

“This grant will allow Hunter Water to continue its exploration of the liveability and public amenity benefits of naturalising the existing Cottage Creek channel, and allow us to work with our communities and stakeholders to finalise design, environmental investigations and approvals,” Mr Bentley said.

“Naturalising the Cottage Creek stormwater channel would transform the current concrete waterway into a thriving space for community recreation and greatly improve the environmental and social amenity of the area.”

“There are also two separate lighting/projection projects that will add attractive activation to the harbour, with the University of Newcastle successful with its Honeysuckle Lightscape project and GrainCorp successful with its Projecting Newcastle initiative,” Mr MacDonald said.

These will use state-of-the-art laser technology to project images and video onto some of Newcastle’s iconic structures and landscapes, providing safe night-time attractions to bring people into the city after dark.

In addition to this, the city will benefit from significant infrastructure improvement with Newcastle City Council’s Camp Shortland Precinct Activation that involves temporary infrastructure improvements to the Camp Shortland site, including children’s play areas, walkways, seating and exercise equipment.

http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/successful-community-port-fund-projects-announced-2898

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A new Australian program, including an interactive website and app, has been developed specifically for small business owners to give them practical resources and tools to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

In NSW, the small business sector makes up almost 98 per cent of all businesses, employs 1.51 million people, contributes approximately $41.61 billion in annual wages and salaries and contributes more than $269.32 billion to annual sales and service income.

Ahead for Business will be activated initially in three sites across NSW in October – Lake Macquarie, Singleton and Parramatta. Local business owners are being invited to register to attend a free event in each area to find out more and network with other locals in small business.

The program has been developed by Hunter-based mental health and suicide prevention institute, Everymind, in partnership with the icare Foundation and NSW small business owners.

Everymind Director, Jaelea Skehan said Ahead for Business was designed following research conducted in 2017 into the stressors small business owners face and the gaps in existing support for this sector.

Jaelea said small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the community. Yet, until recently, there has been very little focus on the wellbeing of small business owners.

“Small business owners face a range of stressors including long working hours, feeling obliged to work when sick, multiple responsibilities, and financial stress,” Jaelea said.

“We also know from our research that many small business owners were concerned about the impact of the business on the family and many were feeling disconnected or isolated in their business.”

A survey of more than 440 small business owners showed they had higher levels of symptoms of depression and anxiety than the national average. Stress levels were high too with 57.6 per cent falling outside the normal range.

Jaelea said the website and app will help people to assess their current situation and direct them to relevant information and available supports tailored to their specific needs. It also enables people to identify simple things they can include in their everyday routine and provides templates to develop their own Business Mental Health Plan.

“Ahead for Business not only builds awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing within the small business community, it connects people immediately with tools, resources and supports,” Jaelea said.

“We listened to small business owners and the online screening tools and resources on the Ahead for Business portal can be accessed discreetly, 24 hours a day from home or work, to help to prevent and manage stressors and support early help-seeking.

“Whether people are new to small business, are running a side hustle or have many years of experience in business, it is important they are encouraged to focus on the most important asset that their business has – themselves.”

She said the upcoming information events are a great opportunity for small business owners in Lake Macquarie and Singleton to be the first to start using the program and the range of tailored supports it provides.

The Lake Macquarie event is being held in partnership with Lake Macquarie Combined and Southlake Business Chambers, the Business Growth Centre and Lake Macquarie Art Gallery. The Singleton event is being held in partnership with The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program and Singleton Business Chamber. Joining Jaelea to speak at the trial site events are: Workplace Psychologist, David Burroughs; Founder of Billy Goat Soap, Leanne Faulkner; and former Wallaby Player and Founder of the social network Karma, Clyde Rathbone.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/new-program-keep-hunter-small-business-owners-mentally-healthy/