General

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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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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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HGT Australia and the University of Newcastle have signed a five-year deal that will see students of the training group gain credits and pathways into university.

 The contract opens up a serious of guaranteed credit and direct entry pathway arrangements for international students graduating at HGT Australia to progress onto various Bachelor degrees at the University of Newcastle. Better known locally as Novaskill, HGT Australia launched its International College in 2015.

Head of HGT’s International College Mr John Liddicoat said though HGT had campuses in other cities, Newcastle was its original home and it was fitting to have the deal in place with the university, with “two of Newcastle’s long established educational institutions working side by side.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5658012/hgt-in-pathway-deal-with-university-of-newcastle/

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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/

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There are over 100 Newcastles (or New Castles) around the world. Newcastle, South Africa. Nyborg, Denmark. New Castle, Indiana. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK – just to name a few.

Every two years there is a conference where they come together. This year’s conference was the 20th anniversary and was held in Shinshiro, Japan from 3 to 9 October 2018.

Local marketing and brand agency, Out of the Square sponsored Irini Kassas, an ambassador of Newcastle, Australia, to attend and represent the local community on an international scale at the conference.

Only 21 years old, Irini already presents a comprehensive resume, including Newcastle’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2018 and the 2017 Humanitarian and United Nations Global Youth Award.

OOTS Managing Director, Marty Adnum said she is passionate about the city’s future, so the business had no hesitations in sponsoring her and covering the airfares for her to attend the conference.

The conference discussed business development, tourism, cultural collaborations, youth councils, charitable support and sporting links.

“As passionate Novocastrians, and myself coming from a migrant background, I felt because of the mix of the conference’s multicultural diversity and regional benefits along with Irini’s own intellect and youthful insights, that it would have been a travesty for us not to get behind this,” Marty said.

Before leaving for the conference, Irini said she was honoured to be provided with the opportunity to represent Newcastle, Australia, on the world stage.

“I am proud of my community and wish to be educated on issues relating to our community and how they can benefit us all through such experiences,” Irini said.

“In addition, I will do my best to promote the incredible assets that our region has to offer and encourage others to visit and enjoy.”

The opportunity exists to bring the conference to Newcastle NSW in 2024 and Irini has put her case forward, highlighting the benefits of this region, easy access from Newcastle Airport, and the cultural, business and tourism attributes to be shared.
Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/oots-sponsors-young-ambassador-attend-newcastles-world/

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YOUTH in Newcastle and the Central Coast are suffering higher unemployment than the national average, with more than 16 per cent of the region’s young people jobless, the NSW Business Chamber has revealed.

While youth unemployment rates nationally have been suffering since 2014, the Newcastle and Central Coast region’s unemployment rate for people aged 15-24 sits at 16.2 per cent, well above the national average of just over 12 per cent, the chamber said in a statement.

In response to these concerning statistics, Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) has commissioned the second Skillsroad Youth Census. The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census follows on from a successful survey last year and is designed to highlight the hopes, fears and general attitudes of young people as they transition from school to the workforce, with a special focus on regional areas, the chamber said.

In 2017, more than 13,000 Australian youth completed the survey, revealing below-average life satisfaction and sense of well being, as well as significant levels of stress and uncertainty about choosing career pathways.

The 2018 census aims to build on existing knowledge from last year’s report.

“This census comes at a critical time for young people in the Newcastle and Central Coast area … who are facing an employment crisis,” ASA’s Hunter and North Coast branch manager Jeff Cooke said.

“The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census can provide unprecedented, evidence-based insights for our schools, parents and business into the necessary tools required to properly support our young people.”

The census takes less than 10 minutes to fill out and participating youth will be in the running to win their choice of either a $1000 gift card or travel voucher. Weekly prizes of $100 gift cards will also be released over the duration of the census, and participants increase their chances of winning by referring friends to complete the survey.

The Skillsroad Youth Census is open to all Australian young people aged 15-24 and can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/Youth-Census-2018.

The census closes on September 30, with a report to be released on 15 October.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5647189/employment-crisis-newcastle-youth-facing-higher-jobless-rate/

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Recently, I shut down a project I’d been working on for the last several months. It was a sentimental moment for sure—no longer spending my time on something that had been a big part of my day was certainly a tough pill to swallow. However, it was an experiment from the start, and I knew that once we got the results we needed, it would draw to a close.

Having to end—or in corporate jargon, sunset—an initiative you’ve been a crucial part of is bound to happen in your career, whether by your own accord or someone else’s. Maybe budgeting runs out, maybe it’s a bandwidth issue, maybe goals and priorities shift, maybe someone made a mistake assigning it in the first place.

Regardless, knowing how to wrap everything up in a pretty bow is an important skill—just because it’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to end it smoothly and professionally. Plus, when done correctly, you can use all you’ve learned and achieved for future career advancement.

Here’s how:

1. Gather All the Facts

Before doing anything, you need to understand why this project is ending. Ask questions, talk it out with relevant team members, and understand what this means for the long-term.

For starters, this could give you both confidence and perspective—especially if you’re concerned that it’s ending because of something you did (or didn’t) do.

This also helps you make more educated decisions going forward. When you know why a project is no longer needed, you can make smarter choices for future initiatives and ensure that you’re on the same page on:

  • whether this is a permanent, trial, or temporary initiative
  • how success will be measured
  • what the timeline expectations are

2. Set an End Date and Prepare

Next, get the little details sorted out. When will this be completed? Who will help in wrapping up loose ends? What’s needed to get done before it is? Who needs to be notified?

Once you know all this, you can start preparing immediately—both for the last day and for what comes after (if anything). You’re going to have more time on your hands after this is over, so figure out how you want to spend your time moving forward and what other projects you might like to start or be a part of. Make sure to talk to your boss to get a sense of what they want you to focus on and prioritize.

Also, take advantage of the time you have to complete this project. Is there an experiment you’ve been meaning to try? Or, a skill you’re looking to build? Use this stretch to test any last-minute ideas or thoughts.

3. Notify Your Team (and Anyone Else Who Was Involved)

This is key: Whoever was involved in some way or another—whether they helped out, contributed feedback, or just followed it passively—should be looped in.

Send out an email or set up a meeting outlining why the project is ending, what this means for each team member and the company, and what the next steps will be. Give your colleagues a chance to ask questions and contribute feedback (and jot that information down for step five).

4. Take the Time to Celebrate Key Players and Accomplishments

This goes hand-in-hand with step three, but it’s so important to acknowledge all the hard work and achievements associated with the project. Make sure to call out and celebrate those who helped and shout out any big positive outcomes that resulted.

Also, celebrate yourself! Whether or not it was a “success,” you spearheaded something and no doubt gained skills along the way (even if those skills are better project management). So, take the time to feel proud of the work you did.

5. Do a Reflective Analysis

Once you’ve closed up shop, gather everything you collected over the course of the project, both qualitative and quantitative:

  • What did you do?
  • How long did you do it for?
  • Who was involved? What did they do?
  • What results were you hoping for?
  • What results did you get?
  • What results didn’t you get?
  • What was surprising?
  • What mistakes were made?
  • What lesson were learned?

Define what success meant for this specific initiative, how you did (or didn’t) achieve it, and what can be learned for the future—and write it all down in a report.

Then, use that report! Having all this information in one place is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons:

  • It forces you and your team to be reflective. Set up some time to go over it all, discuss it, and add to it. Use it as a conversation starter for launching new projects or brainstorming other initiatives.
  • It helps you be strategic in making future decisions and prevents history from repeating itself. Whenever you come across a project or problem that feels similar, look back on this report to decide whether to move forward and how so you don’t make the same mistakes or fall down the same rabbit hole.
  • It’s physical proof of your achievements. You can bring this to your next performance review or reference it in your job search. Also, you can use it to just feel good about yourself—you did all this!

It’s certainly not emotionally easy to end a project you care about. But, by doing it in a well-documented, well-thought-out way, you make it easier for yourself to successfully lead future projects. And that’s a great thing.

 

Source: http://www.americanrecruiters.com/2018/09/14/heres-how-to-gracefully-sunset-an-initiative-youve-worked-so-hard-on/

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Tomago Aluminium employees have dug deep, donating a portion of their pay packet, matched by the company, to total $50,000 for farmers doing it tough throughout the drought-stricken Hunter region.

Tomago Aluminium CEO, Matt Howell said the employee-led initiative was the biggest single donation of its kind for the organisation and reflected just how important the cause was to the workforce.

The money will be donated to Australia’s signature drought assistance program, Rural Aid, to be used for the Hunter’s Buy a Bale campaign.

“Our community is very important to us here at Tomago Aluminium,” Matt said.

“So when the communities surrounding Tomago Aluminium are doing it tough, we feel it.

“There are so many people in our workforce that have strong links to Hunter farmers who are doing it tough out there. The initiative is a direct result of our employees seeing what our local farmers are going through and wanting to help.”

The employees initially set their sights on a target of $9,500, which according to Rural Aid buys one semi-trailer load of hay. Matt pledged that the organisation would match the total amount of employee contributions dollar for dollar.

“Within just one week of promotion, over 500 employees donated out of their pay bringing the total amount to $21,000, which far exceeded expectations,” Matt said.

“We extended the campaign another week and managed to bring the total amount contributed by staff and Tomago Aluminium to $50,000, which I am told is a lot of hay bales.”

Rural Aid Co-founder, Tracey Alder, will visit the smelter Monday 3 September to collect the generous donation and enjoy a morning tea with the employees.

The donation would fund the equivalent of nine semi-trailers of hay and feed, plus provide for other vital supplies to go to families on the land.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/tomago-employees-dig-deep-farmers/

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WHILE concerns about the reliability of renewables, as expressed by some big electricity consumers including Tomago Aluminium, are understandable, industries across the country are adopting the technology as fast as they can.

At a Beresfield plant operated by pallet maker CHEP yesterday, acclaimed University of Newcastle researcher Paul Dastoor was on hand for the unveiling of a commercial-scale pilot installation of the printable solar cells that he and his team have been working on for the past 15 years.

While conventional solar cells have, until now, been reasonably weighty objects held in solid metal frames, the technology developed by Professor Dastoor at the Centre for Organic Electronics generates power by printing electronic inks onto paper-thin sheets of flexible laminate.

In earlier demonstrations of this technology, Professor Dastoor has described these printed cells as so light that large arrays can be attached to a roof with nothing more than velcro. While the Beresfield installation is a collaboration with CHEP, a Brambles subsidiary, rather than an outright sale, it is another sign that of how much the electricity market is changing, and how far removed from reality the federal government is when it comes to energy policy.

It is, admittedly, early days as far as the government led by new Prime Minister Scott Morrison is concerned.

But his initial comments in emphasising power prices over emissions reduction have been widely interpreted as a sign he has little interest in trying, as Malcolm Turnbull did, to convince the Coalition’s climate sceptics that they should listen to the experts when it comes to energy.

The global weight of investment and research going into renewable energy means the best technologies will find their way to the surface, and elbow aside more expensive and more environmentally suspect means of generating power, regardless of the attitude of the Australian government.

Indeed, given that the Coalition is supposedly the party of the free market, it is difficult to understand why it has such a philosophical opposition to progress.

In turning paint and plastic – with the help of sunshine – into electricity, Paul Dastoor is the embodiment of that progress. And further proof (not that we need it) that there is more to Newcastle than coal.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5615937/newcastle-breakthrough-on-solar-cells/

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Research into the Hunter Valley region has revealed there are particular employment growth areas forecast for the region over the next three years, including construction, aged and disability care, child care and cookery.

TAFE NSW’s Regional General Manager, Susie George said the research, which was conducted by Australia’s largest training organisation, revealed that the predicted growth in employment opportunities in the Hunter Valley is thanks to a number of important factors.

“With a number of exciting projects, such as planning for the construction of a new $450 million hospital in Maitland, diversification and growth of the energy sector, the Hunter Innovation Project which aims to encourage ICT startups, as well as a new facility at Beresfield for FLSmidth, an increased demand for skilled workers will continue to be generated by industry,” Susie said.

“The Hunter Valley is the fastest growing area in the North Region, with the population forecast to grow by 3 per cent between 2018-2021, and employment forecast to grow by 4.1% over the same period.”

TAFE NSW is a provider of vocational education in the Hunter Valley and it is evident that residents are upskilling in readiness for the employment growth in these industries. The top five courses by enrolment at TAFE NSW in this region last year included a Statement of Attainment in Foundation Skills Support; Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology; Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician; Certificate III in Business Administration and TAFE Statement in Youth Engagement.

“TAFE NSW will continue to innovate and develop courses to meet the skills needs of local regions,” Susie said.

“TAFE NSW delivers the skills that drive a strong economy, support vibrant communities and help individuals, enterprises and industries to adapt and thrive.

“With more than 1200 courses available and with current and future job prospects looking bright, there’s never been a better time to upskill or reskill at TAFE NSW.”

Source: http://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/employment-growth-areas-hunter-brings-opportunity/

HU Charlestown square

Charlestown Square has released details of a planned $4.6 million redevelopment of its north-east corner after gaining development approval from Lake Macquarie City Council.

The shopping centre’s owner, GPT Group, plans to bring bars, cafes and an outdoor performance space to the corner of Pearson and Ridley streets, although it said the project hinged on securing commitments from suitable tenants.

Charlestown Square general manager Dwight Hodgetts said the council approval was an important milestone for the project.

“The development will transform the existing space into an activated public leisure and dining area that celebrates on-trend and local food heroes and lifestyle operators,” he said.

“The revitalised precinct will showcase a mix of the Hunter’s best local eats and a range of health and wellbeing operators.

“It will also include extensive landscaping, public art installations, decorative lighting and spaces for mobile food vendors.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5547819/charlestown-square-plans-new-bars-cafes-in-shopping-centre-expansion/

 

HU housing growth

While Sydney has posted its largest annual house price fall since a decade ago, several regional areas in NSW have experienced double-digit growth over the past 12 months.

The star performer was the Port Stephens local government area (LGA), just north of Newcastle, which recorded 16 per cent growth over the year, and 3.6 per cent over the quarter. The median house price for the area is now

$580,000, from $500,000 a year ago, although it remains below the Newcastle median of $631,500.

Ray Noonan, from Raine & Horne Port Stephens, said his area was trading quite well with many buyers relocating to the region.

“It’s predominantly people coming out of Sydney for lifestyle reasons and with future retirement plans,” Mr Noonan said. “They’re buying, looking to lease it out for few years, and then planning to retire here.”

Mr Noonan said local buyers upsizing and downsizing probably accounted for 30 to 40 per cent of their sales.

Port Stephen’s growth was closely followed by the Upper Hunter Shire, which includes towns like Merriwa, Scone and Aberdeen, posted 15.9 per cent over the year, but only 0.3 per cent over the quarter, landing on a median house price of $337,500.

On the South Coast, the Kiama LGA grew 14.8 per cent over the year to a median house price of $953,000. Ballina, on the North Coast, posted similar annual rates of growth off a lower base, up 14.6 per cent over the year and 7.2 per cent over the quarter to $637,500.

Celina Gregory, from First National Coast & Country, said the Kiama market was also being driven by buyers from bigger cities.

“We’re still getting buyers looking for a lifestyle change from Sydney,” she said, adding they were used to Sydney prices and were quite happy to pay for good qualities properties. The train access was also a drawcard for them.

“There’s not a huge amount on the market at the moment”, Ms Gregory said. “There’s more buyers than properties. Once people are here they don’t tend to want to move on, and that shows in our property prices.”

Ms Gregory said downsizers tended to be interested in the newer apartments and villas, while younger families, facing affordability issues in Sydney, were predominantly looking at land.

The holiday rental market was “extremely strong”, she added, and owners could let their properties while they were away and get excellent returns.

John Nicolson, principal of McGrath Ballina, said the Ballina region was very attractive to retirees because of its accessibility, via its airport connection.

“We still are getting a lot of demand, a lot of response to any new listings,” he added. “When the GFC hit years ago, that market dried right up. It’s certainly back now.”

Mr Nicolson said there had been a lot of new construction aimed at the retiree market, and recent infill developments had been “snapped up” by retirees looking to be close to town.

There were also buyers coming from Byron Bay. “If you’re selling in Byron, and buying in Ballina, you’re doing quite well,” he said.

Other LGAs to record median house price growth of above 10 per cent over the year were Orange, Cessnock, Eurobodalla and Byron Bay.

While several areas posted small drops over the last quarter, including Bega Valley, Tamworth regional, Port Hastings and Macquarie, and Shellharbour, it was only Wingecarribee, in the Southern Highlands, that was behind year-on-year. It recorded a median house price of $780,000, down from $800,000 a year ago.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5552559/regional-nsw-coastal-towns-outstripping-capital-cities-for-house-price-growth/

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A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.

Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.

Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.

Here’s How to Do That

I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:

  • What did I love about this job?
  • When did I lose track of time?
  • When was I most excited?

As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.

Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?

As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:

You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.

You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.

Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.

More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews… which can lead to offers.

It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-job-search-with-vague-job-title

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There is certainly a time and a place for a resume overhaul. Taking a couple hours to really clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search, or even just once a year as a tune-up.

But sometimes, you don’t have that kind of time. Sometimes, you just have a few minutes, and you want to spend them giving your resume a quick polishing-up. And for those times, we made you this list of resume updates that only take a few minutes, but that can make a big difference in making your resume shine.

Choose how much time you have, pick a (mini) project, and get ready for your resume to be that much more eye-catching.

 

1. Switch the Font

Ready, switch the font of your resume to Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman—in other words, make sure it’s not hard to read (or stuck in Word’s standard Calibri). Using a common, clean font may not make your resume the prettiest out there, but it will make it more readable (and less likely to be rejected by applicant tracking systems).

2. Remove “References Available Upon Request”

If they want references, they’ll ask for them!), and use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.

3. Delete the Resume Objective

That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space.

4. Spell Check

…and correct any mistakes.

5. Save it Correctly

Save your resume as a PDF if it’s in any other format. That way, the formatting won’t get messed up when your resume is opened on a different computer. (To see exceptions to this rule, click here.)

6. Change the File Name

Change the file name from “Resume” to “[First Name] [Last Name] Resume”—it makes things easier for hiring managers and ensures your resume doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

7. Remove Your Address.

If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. If you are, recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long.

8. Add Your LinkedIn Profile

In its place, add a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as any other relevant social media handles (Twitter if it’s professional, Instagram or Flickr if you’re applying to social media or creative positions). Caveat: Never include Facebook, no matter how clean you keep it.

Don’t want to drop your whole ugly LinkedIn URL onto your resume? (Hint: You shouldn’t.) Create a custom URL to your public profile using simply /yourname (or some similar, simple variation if somebody already has your name). LinkedIn has instructions on its website.

9. Make All Your Hyperlinks Live

Your resume is most likely going to be read on a computer, so making things like your email address, LinkedIn and other social profiles, and personal websites clickable makes it easier for the recruiter to learn more about you.

10. Delete Irrelevant Data

Omit any references to your birthdate, marital status, or religion. Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).

11. Get Rid of That Grad Year

If you’re more than three years out of college, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

12. Move Your Education

While you’re at it, do a little rearranging, and move education down below your experience. Unless you’re a recent graduate, chances are your last one or two jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job.

13. Make it Readable

To improve readability, increase the line spacing (also called leading) to at least 120% of the font size. To do this in Word, go to Format and select Paragraph. In the pulldown under Line Spacing, choose Exactly and set the spacing to two points above the size of your font (so, 12 if your font is 10 point).

14. Reduce Your Margins

Need a little more space to work with? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″. This will keep your resume clean and readable but give you more room to talk about what you’ve got.

15. Leave High School Behind

Remove anything high school-related unless you’re a year out of college or need to bulk up your resume and did something highly relevant (and awesome) during your high school years.

16. Update Your Skills Section

Add any new skills you’ve gained, and remove anything that is a little dated (nobody wants to hear that you have Microsoft Word experience anymore—they expect it).

17. Break Up Your Skills Section

If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own (“Language Skills” or “Software Skills”).

18. Double-Check Formatting

Make sure formatting is consistent across your resume. You want all headers to be in the same style, all indentations to line up, all bullet points to match, and the like. You don’t want the styling to look sloppy!

19. Remove Acronyms

Find any acronyms, and write out the full name of the title, certification, or organization. You should include both, at least the first time, to make sure the recruiter knows what you’re talking about and so an applicant tracking system will pick it up no matter which format it is looking for. For example: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

20. Get Rid of Distracting Design

Unless you are a designer or are submitting a (carefully crafted) creative resume, remove any photos or visual elements. On a more traditional resume, they generally just distract from the information at hand (and can confuse applicant tracking systems).

21. Work Around Your Gaps

If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, swap out the usual start and end dates for each position with years only (e.g., 2010-2012).

22. Do a Verb Swap

Swap out a couple of your boring verbs for some more powerful (and interesting) ones. Check out our list if you need inspiration.

23. Now, Do an Adjective Swap

Swap out a couple of generic adjectives or titles (words like “detail-oriented” or “experienced” are overused and don’t tell a recruiter much) with stronger language that better describes your more unique strengths.

24. List Your Promotions Correctly

Worked multiple jobs within the same organization? Learn how to list them right on your resume, then update it as such.

25. Leave History in the Past

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10 to 15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. So if you have anything really dated or random, remove it and use the space to bulk up other sections or add something more relevant.

26. Look for Orphan Words

Go through line by line and take note of any orphan words (single words left on a line by themselves). See how you can edit the previous line so they can fit—making your resume look cleaner and opening up extra lines for you to do other things with.

27. Make it Skimmable

Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections. Check out section three of this great guide for instructions.

28. Use Numerals

Include any numbers on your resume? Go through and change them all to numerical form, instead of written out (i.e., 30% instead of thirty percent). Even small numbers that are often spelled out should be written numerically—it makes them pop to the reviewer and saves space.

29. Read it Out Loud.

This will not only help you catch any spelling or grammar errors, but it will also help you notice any sentences that sound awkward or that are hard to understand.

30. Check Out the Top

Look at your resume “above the fold.” In other words, take a close look at the top third of your resume—the part that will show up on the screen when the hiring manager clicks “open” on that PDF. That’s what’s going to make your first impression—so make sure it serves as a hook that makes the hiring manager eager to read more.

31. Shorten Your Bullet Points

Make sure you have no more than six to seven bullet points for any given position. If you do? Cut and condense. No matter how long you’ve been in a job or how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

32. Identify Your Narrative

Give your resume to someone who doesn’t know you well to look at for 30 seconds. Then ask: What are the three most memorable things? What’s the narrative? Take this feedback and think about how you can adjust your resume to get it closer to where you want.

33. Use a Word Cloud

Similarly, drop your resume into a word cloud generator and see which keywords are popping out. If the most prominent ones aren’t what you want to be remembered by, or if there are important words that aren’t present, think about how you can tweak your resume to make that more clear.

34. Quantify Everything

Go through your bullet points, and add as many numbers and percentages as you can to quantify your work. How many people were impacted? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? (And, yes, it’s OK to estimate as long as you can roughly prove it.)

35. Make Your Benefit Clear

Pick a few statements to take one step further, and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

36. Consider Adding a Qualifications Section

Perhaps in lieu of your now-deleted “Career Objective?” This should be a six-sentence (or bullet pointed) section that concisely presents the crème of the crop of your achievements, major skills, and important experiences. By doing this, you’re both appeasing any applicant tracking systems with keywords and giving the hiring manager the juicy, important bits right at the top.

37. Update Your Header to Make it Pop

You don’t have to have a ton of design knowledge to make a header that looks sleek and catches a recruiter’s eye. (Hint: Use this same header on your resume and cover letter to make your “personal brand” look really put together.)

38. Fill it Up

Need to fill up more space on your resume, or feel like you’re light on the experience? There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, freelanced, or blogged? Add a couple of these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

39. Or, Cut it Down

If you need more space on your resume, check and see if any of your formatting decisions are taking up unnecessary space. Does your header take up too much at the top? Do you have any extra line breaks that you don’t really need? Tinker around with the formatting and see how much space you can open up (without your resume looking crowded or messy).

40. Make Your Bullet Points Make Sense

Look at each bullet point and make sure it’s understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.

41. Use a Resume Template

So you’ll look extra polished.

42. Update All Your Roles

Make sure all of the experience on your resume is updated. Add any awards you’ve received, new skills you’ve taken on, articles you’ve published, or anything else awesome you’ve done.

43. Spread the Word

Hop over to your LinkedIn profile, and make any updates you’ve just made to your resume to your summary and experience sections there.

44. Ask a Friend to Help

Email three of your friends or professional contacts asking (nicely!) for a peek at their resumes. You might be able to get some inspiration for your own (or even help them out).

45. Get That Baby Out There

Find an awesome job to apply to with one of our partner companies, then get started on your cover letter with our easy-to-follow guide.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/45-quick-changes-that-help-your-resume-get-noticed?ref=long-reads-0

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Hunter Wetlands Centre will undergo a review of its business operations after receiving a $25,000 grant from the NSW government.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC, announced the funding on Thursday at the centre in Shortland.

The Newcastle Herald reported in May how the Hunter Wetlands Centre (HWC) board was seeking funding for a comprehensive review.

It had not replaced an outgoing CEO after a drop in visitors and concerns about the centre’s long-term viability.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce an inter-agency response to fund a strategic business review of the Hunter Wetlands Centre operations,” Mr MacDonald said.

“I thank those that have contributed to supporting the HWC, including Hunter Water Corporation, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and NSW Office of Regional Development.”

“This business review will examine how to ensure the HWC remains sustainable to continue its important environmental, educational and social functions.”

The $25,000 grant comes after a $146,820 state government grant in June to upgrade the visitor centre.

“It is essential for the iconic Wetlands Centre to be more financially sustainable in the future, and the business review is a critical part of this renewal process,” HWC chair David Crofts said.

“We want to continue to deliver the best possible environmental, education and visitor services.”

“The funding will enable the Wetlands Centre to undertake a thorough professional review of its operations. We will use these funds to engage an external expert to help us ensure our operations are as efficient as possible and well targeted to our needs.”

A $4,750 grant was also received for HWC’s freckled duck program.

The centre has kept freckled ducks in captivity since 1993, successfully breeding over 150 ducks from an original crop of 17.

The duck’s nursery and holding shelter will be upgraded through a range of works, including relining the nursery pond and providing mains water to the holding shelter.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5510256/hunter-wetlands-centre-lands-funding-for-critical-business-review/

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When British artist Jamiroquai’s hit single Virtual Insanity took off in the late ’90s, it was considered groundbreaking, mostly because of the music video, which featured cutting edge cinematography. Very much of its time, the video showed moving floors and unpredictable wandering furniture. The video won several awards, including MTV’s Video of the Year for 1997.

The catchy chorus of the song was an earworm: “The future’s made of virtual insanity.”

While the video and song might be dated, the lyrics are prophetic. We now have options to experience virtual reality everywhere, in ways more insane, experiential and positive than Jamiroquai could have ever predicted.

Today you can pop into Newcastle’s East End, step into VRXP on Watt Street, don a headset and try to walk a narrow plank off a skyscraper. If you slip, you plummet to the sidewalk below and feel your stomach launch into your throat. If that’s too dramatic, you can just use the hand-held controls to paint colourful nonsense in every hue and brush stroke imaginable, although some artists paint virtual landscapes that you can also explore if you prefer.

Virtual reality (better known as VR) has arrived full force in Newcastle. It’s here to entertain, teach, train, and heal.

Academics, tech nerds, graphic artists, film makers, product designers and even an ex-debt collector all want a piece of the fantasy pie, which can look pretty realistic.

Businesses and institutions are on board to test it out and work with it, including places like University of Newcastle, Newcastle Museum, 2Real (a VR company focused on new home environments) and ctrlspace (a Newcastle consultancy and development studio focused on immersive technologies including VR, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Virtual reality is applicable to a huge array of situations and environments.

Virtual Exercise
Rohan O’Reilly is a neurogenesist from Smart Bodies, Smarter Minds, a virtual rehabilitation centre in Mayfield. O’Reilly says his centre offers alternatives for “medical orphans,” or people who have tried everything else and are looking for a new avenues.

Many successful VR stories happen at the centre. One specific example involves men in their late teens to early 20s. O’Reilly describes it as a “not uncommon scenario” when men at this age develop depressive symptoms and withdraw from life. They start eating badly and stop exercising.

“They come to a point where they know they need to exercise, but they hate the concept of exercise, and this is the VR magic,” he says. “If they’re into gaming, which a lot of these men are, we ask what they’re into. We match their VR experience to what they’re used to in gaming, so they’ve automatically got a source of reward.”

Now, he says, they are no longer sitting around moving only their thumbs; they have to put physical effort into playing a game to get the reward. For example, the centre has what looks like an exercise bike, but when you put on the gear, you are inside a tank and another tank is trying to shoot you. You have to push the pedals around to make the tank move – patients exert huge amounts of physical energy.

“If you said to them get on that exercise bike and go 45 minutes, that’s not going to happen, or if it does, they won’t come back. This [virtual reality] quickly turns them around, so they’re getting rewarded to burn physical energy,” O’Reilly says. “The difference is you’re not telling them what to do, you’re offering them a system to engage in that has these systemic health benefits.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be unhealthy and depressed to enjoy and appreciate virtual reality.

Dementia Assistance
To get in on the virtual magic, see for yourself at no cost during NAIDOC week (July 8-15), celebrating Aboriginal culture. Head down to Newcastle Foreshore to experience the Dual Names project, a Newcastle City Council initiative. Along with physical interactive signs that explain the pre-settlement names of places, visitors with YouTube on their mobile phones can access a visual experience of what the land and people might have been like in the pre-settlement time. Local artists and linguistic experts assisted on the project. Users can listen to stories told in Awabakal or Worimi while it is also written in English below on the screen. Users standing at a physical location can get a virtual reality experience of what it looked like long ago.

Virtual Perspective are the creators behind the Dual Names concept. The Warners Bay consultancy creates bespoke virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and visualisation software. The team became a business in 2016 after meeting at a co-working space. They are a finalist for the Excellence in Innovation category for Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards, but they remain humble with their big ideas, operating out of a modest office.

The Virtual Perspective team is three experts: Ivan Demidov (customer relationship management systems and IT), Tim Davidson (visualisation) and Sam Parker (communicator and project manager).

“Ivan’s the mad scientist and Tim’s the artist,” Parker says.

While some of their commercial projects remain under wraps, they’ve also been hard at work with Hunter New England Health, creating empathy training for nurses and doctors who are treating patients with dementia.

By seeing the perspective of a dementia patient, nurses will better understand ways to care for them. This includes making sure the room is set up in the best possible way.

In the simulation, machines turn into monsters and wires start moving. Shadows on the walls are menacing human shapes. The carpet can look like liquid and the user’s challenge is to get to the bathroom.

“If there’s not enough light and the curtains are closed, it’s hard to get out of bed. It’s hard to do something simple like go to the bathroom,” Parker says.

“Statistics show that if the room is set up improperly, it can lead to falls. If a person with dementia falls the likelihood of them passing away is quite high,” Demidov says.

Virtual Perspective are 70 per cent finished with their HNEH project. They are also working with an RTO that does fire warden training. This simulation teaches soon-to-be fire wardens how to evacuate the building. The training assessment package is graded, and users can do things right or wrong and learn from their mistakes without any lives lost.

“They call it kinesthetic learning, learn by doing,” Demidov says.

“The thing is virtual and augmented reality and new technology in general allows the users to step into new places that they never saw possible, allowing people to do things that are dangerous, to be in scenarios that would be extremely expensive to set up. It’s experiential; it isn’t just audio and visual,” Davidson says. “You can read a textbook on ancient Rome, or you can go and visit.”

Grandmas to Gamers
Like Parker, Demidov and Davidson, VRXP founder Andy Gallagher is excited and passionate about virtual reality and all the creative potential that comes with it.

The self-described “super nerd” features old school video and arcade games in his studio because “we’ve got to show the young ones where it all comes from.”

Gallagher is a new parent to an eight month old. He studied digital art at ANU in Canberra and went on to work in video. He relocated to Newcastle five years ago, and he said VRXP was the first public facing VR space in Australia, the first bricks and mortar building. It opened in October of 2016.

To determine the best simulations to offer people, Gallagher and his wife held virtual reality parties out of their own home, testing different experiences with families and friends.

“We had to choose the best options for people experiencing VR for the first time; we were the Guinea pigs to choose the best and most fitting experience for the general public. If things were too complicated it would just get dropped; we stuck with our favourites,” Gallagher says of their decision process.

Like the paint and plank immersions mentioned above, all the customer’s experiences happen within the confines of an enclosed spacious area, giving the user “room scale” virtual reality, a chance to move about freely without getting disoriented.

He said lots of kids prefer the job simulator option, a cartoon- styled job experience, where the user performs everyday tasks.

“Some of the kids are completionists, absolutely ‘I need to complete the job’ and other kids are just photocopying donuts to make a donut stack that goes from the floor to the ceiling,” Gallagher says.

His customers include kids as young as 10 and people in their 60s. They currently employ four other employees, and when he’s not running VRXP, Gallagher puts his creative skills to work in other ways.

Gallagher’s full time job is creating VR films for a variety of clients ranging the University of Newcastle to Yan Coal. He specialises in fully immersive 360 degree cinema from preproduction through to shooting to postproduction. This is a cinematography that allows the viewer to see their surroundings in every possible direction.

“The bad thing about 360 degrees cinema it has such a bad stigma, it’s really blocky and you can’t make out much detail, but the camera system we invested in can give you a sense of depth,” he says. “The benefit is, you feel like you’re literally there; it’s up to the filmmaker to tell the story.”

He’s also working with the heritage archeological company RPS. The employees are finding spots from 1800s Newcastle on the new light rail corridor. They’ll ring him up if they’ve found something interesting that the workers want to demolish and schedule an immediate filming time. After he films it they’ll have the raw footage forever, and it’s up to them whether they want with it.

“It’s a part of capturing the find,” he says.

These are just a projects he’s pursuing while his studio dazzles Novocastrians.

“There’s always something that I’m totally immersed in,” he says.

The Unreal Deal
Twenty-five-year-old Daniel Girgis is the co-owner and managing director of Unreal VR in Charleston, which opened in April of last year.

“It’s something you can’t really understand until you try,” he says of VR. “Someone said something like, it was not what I expected, but it was what I wanted it to be.”

The business is a family affair, with his cousin Matt Thomas co-owning the business with him. His father is also a director.

“Matt was the CEO at the Collection House up in Brisbane, and he retired and was looking to do something fun and different, and this just kinda happened,” Girgis says.

Girgis has a product design background, and says they are now up to 12 employees including himself and his family. They offer virtual reality for ages six and up, and at the beginning of this year they expanded their studio space to accommodate everyone.

It’s not just headsets either.

“We’ve also got some flight simulators; we’ve got chairs that are full motion chairs so you can sit in them and fly a fighter jet, or also (experience) V8 supercars in Bathurst, so you can race any car on any track. It’s surprisingly good,” he says. “I’ve had some of the pit crew come down when we had the V8s on. I’ve had a couple people who use them for training. (It’s) less petrol and less expensive when you crash.”

They also have pilots as customers.

“All (the pilots’) simulators are just front projected, so you can’t look at your wings. If you’re exiting a hanger, you just have to guess how far your wings are. On (our VR) you can lean out the side and look back,” Girgis says. “I’ve been getting the FA team in from the RAAF Base, we’ve been getting them coming in and dogfighting each other.”

Previously he was working with a creative director at the Uni named Jeff Julian. Julian was mentouring Girgis, and they were making lots of things together. Through discussions with him, Girgis started looking into virtual reality.

Along with running the business, he’s established a monthly VR meetup where they can meet other interesting people in the field.

“(We’ve got) heaps of stuff is going on; Matt is a networking guy pulling in people from around the place. We’ve met everyone local.” he says.

Girgis regularly collaborates with people. He’s been working on some of Newcastle’s West End buildings in product design. He’s also working with the Hunter Valley Gardens on a VR tourism project.

What excites him most is starting up something new and being on the “bleeding edge of technology”.

“It’s something I’ve always chased, and now, with Unreal VR and the other ongoing projects, it’s a fulltime job,” he says. “Starting a business from scratch – there was a lot I didn’t have a clue about, and it’s been a good journey.”

Reflecting on past speculations about virtual reality is interesting. Pop culture hasn’t always been optimistic about future technologies. If you read “Virtual Insanity”’s lyrics, you’ll see that Jamiroquai was incredibly skeptical about virtual reality and future technologies, and plenty of Sci-Fi movies out there send warning messages of technology’s dangers. But perhaps they’re all wrong, at least at this stage.

So many more people and initiatives are launching into the experiential space; and a growing number of Novocastrians have their own spin on the power and potential of virtual reality. As VR continues to revolutionise how we work, play and learn, you can either watch from the sidelines, or suit up and jump in.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5492752/appeal-of-unreal-virtual-reality-takes-hold-in-the-hunter/

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If you know you’re capable of doing more than fetching coffee (and I know you are!), then you need to walk into that interview room with the confidence and command that says so. How do you do that? Use these tips when readying yourself for your next interview.

1. Make a List of What You’re Great at

Think about the things that make you feel good about yourself. Are you gifted at organizing or creating systems and processes that improve efficiency? Or, are you great interpersonally and have a knack for making people feel heard and welcome?

Start creating a list of those attributes. This will not only shore up your inner confidence, but it will also give you content that you can relate to what your interviewer is looking for in the company’s next hire.

2. Think Through Your Day-to-Day

So you’re telling me that someone paid you for 40 hours each week plus benefits to only get coffee—and that’s it? Even the most prodigal of companies probably had a few more expectations than that.

When you’re struggling to think of other responsibilities, it’s helpful to talk through your day-to-day with a friend. It’s easy to take for granted the other things you do, and by relaying what you spend your day doing, you’ll be able to come up with significantly more content and depth than you previously thought.

For instance, in addition to getting coffee, did you also ensure the office was appropriately stocked and presentable for visitors and employees? Did you manage the conference room schedule and ready rooms for meetings? Did you liaise with building maintenance staff on the upkeep of the office?

Look at that! You’ve just described the background of a perfect office coordinator or administrative assistant.

3. Unlock Your Potential

Remember, potential is not what you’ve done, it’s what you can do. Rather than fixating on the most literal definition of yourself and what you’ve previously done, use this as an opportunity to think and dream expansively.

What more can you do? What more is within you? Listen carefully to the needs of the person interviewing you and find ways to relate your background or personality to those needs. Your previous job doesn’t define the whole you, nor should it define your potential.

The job search is enough to shake anyone’s confidence—particularly when you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have valuable skills or experience to offer. But, I’m willing to bet you bring way more to the table than you think!

Put these tips to work, and you’ll tackle your job search with the confidence of someone who’s more than deserving of that open position.

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/job-search-with-confidence-when-skills-are-lacking?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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Making a career change is scary. It may seem easier to stay in a job that you’re comfortable with and good at, rather than taking the plunge into a totally different career. But, those who do take that plunge often end up happier.

That proverbial leap requires more preparation than simply closing your eyes and jumping, though. To be sure that you don’t end up at another job that leaves you unfulfilled, you need to have a plan of action.

Catherine Morgan, Career Transition Expert at Point A to Point B Transitions, sees clients take a variety of different career journeys—doing the same job in a different industry, doing a different job in the same industry, or finding a job that is completely different in both skill set and industry.

And while some people know deep down that making the transition is the right thing all along, others come to the realization after a major life event. Regardless of the catalyst, Catherine advises taking calculated steps once you’ve decided to change industries.

So if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s our best advice on how to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Follow Your Passion, Purpose, or Side Hustle.

If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably not fulfilled with your current role. But, before jumping into another unsatisfying job, take the time to figure out what would make you happy. 1 out of 5 people don’t feel engaged with their job, and we know you don’t want to remain one of them.

Finding your passion can seem daunting, but if you examine the things you enjoy most, it gets easier. When thinking about changing jobs, “people often pull from life experience or something they’ve been doing on the side,” says Catherine.

Think about your hobbies—do you love to cook, or read, or sew? What activities are you best at and bring you the most joy? While not every hobby can be turned into a full-time job, examining your interests outside of work is a great way to discover what type of career might make you happy.

Have a Strategy and Take Steps to Implement It
In most cases, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and preparation—but don’t get overwhelmed. Once you have your big picture figured out, do the following:

1. Research
We know you know how to do some internet sleuthing. So, instead of stalking your ex online, use those detective skills to start researching potential employers. Check out their social media, website, and any other info you can find so that you can make an informed decision on whether a company is the right fit for you.

2. Network
Make a list of people you know who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you don’t know anyone personally that’s okay. Utilize LinkedIn to expand your search, and don’t forget to ask friends and family for their connections. You can even craft an email to friends explaining that you’re looking to change careers and would love to be connected with anyone they think could help.

Once you have contact information, look them up before reaching out. You’ll want to sound informed so people know their time won’t be wasted connecting with you. Request a coffee, informational interview, or even to shadow someone after you’ve made the first move.

3. Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Before making a big shift, Catherine says, consider whether there is an opportunity to rework your current job situation. “Look at what you want and what would make you happier—less travel, working from home more, boundaries to disconnect,” she says.

If you are set on changing careers, there’s a lot to consider before leaving your current job. Before quitting evaluate what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to find a role that you love—can you take a pay cut, start in a lower position, do you have leverage to leave your job without having your next one lined up?

Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will set you up for success and help narrow down potential jobs and employers.

The Results
Catherine says “the people I work with tend to be happy with their decisions, they are going into it with the right mindset and finding something valuable to them.” We spend the bulk of our time at work, so being happy with your job can make a huge difference.

So, if you think it’s time for a career change, follow the steps above—do your research, create a plan of action, and take the leap. You may just end up happier than you ever imagined.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-a-career-change-may-make-you-happier?ref=recently-published-1

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A collective of ex-service officials are hoping to establish a one-stop shop at Wallsend to house the variety of services on offer to past and present members of the Australian Defence Force.

The proposal comes at a time when many ex-service organisations are looking to get more younger personnel involved in their work.

Among talks are the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Veterans’ Association, Newcastle Vietnam Veterans and Wallsend RSL Sub-Branch.

The centre has been discussed previously, but has recently gained momentum and a meeting will be held on June 7 to establish a list of interested parties. The centre could be open to emergency service workers too.

“We’re finding that the younger veterans, from after Vietnam on, there’s no tendency to join the RSL,” Stephen Finney OAM said.

“There’s quite a number involved, but we’re finding a lot of them don’t know the services that are out there for them. What we want to do is organise this separate entity, where them and their families are quite welcome to just come in, have a cup of tea and catch up with somebody. Have all the services available there and get it to be run by some of the young veterans.”

Mr Finney, 70, is an Australian Army veteran who has been helping ex-services for over 40 years. He is a life member of the TPI Association, as well as vice-president of the City of Newcastle RSL Sub Branch, Vietnam Vets, and secretary of the TPI.

He says the need for a centre is paramount and centralising services will strengthen support by increasing availability and accessibility.

“There’s been more Afghanistan veterans commit suicide than there was killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

“There’s a lot of services there for them to access, but they need to know where to go … we want to set this up to help them and assist them in any way that we can.”

Mr Finney received an Order of Australia medal in 2008 for services to the veteran community. It followed the work of his father, who got the same award in 1986.

“The wealth of knowledge I’ve got, I want to give it to one of these younger guys and let them carry on.”

The centre could also host consults of the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), as well as legal, financial and health services.

Mr Finney says the Wallsend site, the TPI building on Cowper Street owned by Newcastle City Council, is a more central Hunter location than the DVA’s Auckland Street premises in Newcastle.

“Where we want to put the drop-in centre, it’s on a main artery, we’d put some big signs up there and people could just call in. Find out what’s available for them.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5430820/veterans-drop-in-hub-at-wallsend-proposed-by-ex-service-groups/?cs=12

1

There’s a magical period of time that can only be found between the day you leave one job and the day you actually start a new gig you’ve got lined up. There’s nothing else quite like it—a real vacation unmarred by work emergencies, project spillovers, or impending deadlines.

It’d be hard to judge anyone for dreaming of extending that blissful in-between phase and filling it with travel, rest, and all kinds of projects you haven’t had time to tackle. But usually, your old company wants you to stay as long as possible (at the very least the customary two weeks) and your new one wants you there as soon as possible.

And sometimes that leaves you with just a weekend to yourself. How in the world are you going to fit everything into a measly two days? The hard truth is that you can’t. But you can still have some fun, get some rest, and be ready to go.

Here are a few tips to help you plan it right and make the most of the time you have.

Celebrate—But Not Too Much

It’s natural to want to celebrate. But don’t overdo it. If you’re going to indulge in some drinks (or greasy foods for that matter), do it on Friday and remember what you already know about moderation. The last thing you want is day drink your way through Sunday and arrive at your new office feeling hungover.

Be Realistic About Your To-Do List

The biggest mistake you can make is to be too ambitious, according to Muse Career Coach Tara Goodfellow. If you try to take all the things you’d normally do in two weeks off and stuff them into one weekend, you’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed.

“If you go away or do a big weekend event, you’re setting yourself up to start drained,” she says. And if you sign up for that spin class you’ve never tried before and go so all out that you can’t move for two days afterwards, you’ll end up “sore, exhausted, and cranky.”

Easy on the organizing projects too. On Friday night, you might be determined to do a full spring cleaning, but by Sunday you might freak out when it’s nowhere near done and you’ll have to spend the next few weeks living in the mess that is a half-finished organizing job.

Frontload Any Prep You Still Have to Do

The key is to get this stuff out of the way as early as possible. That might mean setting out your first-day clothes when you get home on Friday, says Muse Career Coach Clayton Wert. Or maybe it’s sitting down with your laptop and a cup of coffee on Saturday morning and spending a few hours going over any materials you’ve been sent, jotting down some notes about things you want to remember or questions you have, or poking around LinkedIn to learn about your new team. Or perhaps it’s going out to do a little shopping on Saturday to pick up a new work bag to get you excited.

Sleep, Relax, and Take Care of Yourself

First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep on each of the three nights you’ve got, Wert emphasizes. But beyond that, he says, “do what you need to do to feel good, what puts you in a positive mindset.”

Once you’ve done your last bit of prep, start winding down and do whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and recharged. That could mean going on a run, taking the yoga class you love, getting a massage, sitting down with a good book for a few hours, or visiting your favorite coffee shop.

Unplugging and doing whatever activity you know you enjoy can help alleviate stress and anxiety you might not even realize is there, Goodfellow says. And if you are aware of your nerves, don’t be afraid to share that with those close to you.

“Sometimes people don’t realize how normal it is to be nervous. They think they should just be excited,” she says. “It’s okay to communicate those fears and concerns and anxieties with people. A lot of times that’s held in,” she adds, but letting it out can provide some comfort.

“Focus on the Positive Things Ahead”

Sometimes the hardest part of the transition isn’t starting the new job, but breaking free from the old one and processing any difficult emotions it left you with. And such an abbreviated break in between might exacerbate that stress.

“Instead of still trying to hold on to the baggage, put that on the back burner for now. You can’t carry that with you the first week or two [of your new job], which is not to say you shouldn’t go back to it,” says Muse Career Coach Eloise Eonnet.

But in this quick turnaround scenario, “focus on the positive things ahead,” she says. “Imagine yourself in great detail a year from now at that company. What are the kinds of relationships you’ve built? What projects are you working on?”

Spending your time visualizing your happy future at your new job—rather than rehashing the terrible boss or toxic culture you dealt with at your last one—will help you start off on the right foot.

We’d never argue that having just a couple days between jobs is exactly as refreshing as having a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of that weekend. And don’t forget to think ahead. Carve out some time for self-care in the first weeks at your new job, even if it’s just slotting in a yoga class every Thursday or time to go to the park every weekend.

Finally, plan a real vacation or even just a long weekend, whatever your new time-off policy and company culture allows. Make sure it’s not too far out of sight and start looking forward to it.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/make-most-of-weekend-only-time-between-jobs?ref=recently-published-0

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Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has been recognised at the 2018 PIANC Working with Nature Awards for restoring wetland habitat on Ash Island.

NCIG was the recipient of a certificate of recognition, which is the first to be received by an Australian project since the establishment of the awards in 2014.

The group has been working with National Parks and Wildlife, the University of NSW, Hunter Bird Observers Club and other groups to re-establish the endangered coastal saltmarsh ecological community.

The tidal wetlands around the Port of Newcastle are home to a number of threatened species and communities. The coastal saltmarsh vegetation community and numerous species of migratory shorebirds, such as the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper, are increasingly losing habitat along the Australasian-East Asian Flyway.

NCIG created habitat for migratory shorebirds in an area close to the terminal site, specifically Ash Island in the Hunter Wetlands National Park.

The construction of habitat on Ash Island included restoration of 24 hectares of migratory shorebird habitat, including removal of 17 hectares of juvenile mangroves, installation of an automated flood gate to manage tidal levels and manage re-establishment of mangroves in the habitat, installation of mangrove seed screens to prevent mangrove seeds from floating into the habitat system and installation of “bird diverter” devices on local electricity infrastructure to make power lines more visible to birds flying in and out of the habitat.

NCIG’s CEO, Aaron Johanse, said the nomination is testament to NCIG’s commitment to the environment and the local Hunter Estuary wetlands.

“The migratory shorebird habitat restoration project is unique in its type and scale and unlike any other conducted in Australia,” he said.

“The great beneficiary of this project however is local wetland communities and the vulnerable and endangered migratory shorebird species which rely on them.”
Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5425099/newcastle-coal-infrastructure-group-awarded-for-its-wetland-restoration/?cs=316

 

1

EACH week, the Weathertex manufacturing plant at Heatherbrae sends up to four double-size containers full of its hardwood-based wall-cladding products by semi-trailer to Port Botany.

Executive chairman Paul Michael says the company, which exports about 20 per cent of its product, would love to ship its containers out of Newcastle, and is supporting the Port of Newcastle’s push to have a container terminal established on the former steelworks site.

About 10 kilometres away, the giant Tomago Aluminium smelter brings in about 1.1 million tonnes of its main raw material, alumina, through the Port of Newcastle each year.

About 60,000 tonnes of aluminium – or about 10 per cent of its output – heads the other way out past Nobbys as bulk cargo.

But most of Tomago’s output, or about 500,000 tonnes a year, is exported through Botany, leaving the smelter on freight trains at the rate of about 400 containers a week.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell says the company is “doing the sums” on what a Newcastle container terminal would do for the smelter, saying “we can see the sense and logic” in the proposal.

“The Hunter has the industrial presence to support a container terminal,” Mr Howell said. “Obviously there are no concrete plans as yet but we like the idea.”

With a Newcastle container terminal back on the political agenda, Weathertex and Tomago are just two of the Hunter businesses who see benefits in shipping containers out of Newcastle.

Mr Michael says as well as a saving in trucking costs, growing congestion made planning truck movements in and out of Sydney was becoming increasingly difficult.

The Port of Newcastle has highlighted transport costs and congestion in recent documents, including a submission to the NSW government’s draft freight and ports plan, which closed for consultation in March.

The NSW opposition is supporting the Newcastle push, with Labor leader Luke Foley saying the secret container fee imposed on the port during its privatisation was stopping it from developing a container terminal.

The fee would add about $150 a container to Newcastle’s costs.

It meant “a wide swathe of the state from the Hunter and the Hawkesbury to New England and the mid-North Coast will be paying more to import and export their goods”.

“The Berejiklian government’s decision to prevent Newcastle from competing with Port Botany means imposing high transport costs on businesses for 98 years,” Mr Foley said, referring to the length of the Newcastle lease.

Dubbing the fee a “port rort”, Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said Hunter businesses had put the cost of road-hauling a container to Sydney at about $1500.

“This includes fuel, maintenance, vehicle booking fees, surcharges and labour,” Mr Crakanthorp said. “The tolls alone for travelling north from Botany are $68.19 one way. These costs would be much reduced, or avoided altogether, if a container terminal was developed in Newcastle.”

After a tour of the Weathertex plant, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said it was a “manufacturing marvel” that would benefit from a Newcastle container terminal.

Mr Michael said that after 20 years under the existing ownership, the plant had lifted output from 1.2 million square metres a year to two million square metres.

It had been running around the clock on two 12-hour shifts a day and was about to add a third shift, meaning another 15 or so jobs on top of a workforce of about 100.

The plant had capacity to run four shifts a day.

Mr Michael said the plant, built in 1939, was the only one of its kind left operating in the world.

It still made small amounts of its original product, masonite interior panelling, but its main output was Weathertex, made for external use in various styles.”

Masonite and Weathertex are both made of hardwood pulp, formed into shape using high pressure steam and hydraulic presses.

Masonite is named after William H. Mason, who patented what became known as the Mason process in America in 1924.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5402664/what-could-a-newcastle-container-terminal-mean-for-these-local-industries/

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There’s one thing you likely already know: If you still have an objective statement perched at the top of your resume, it’s time for some serious updating.

That formal (and, let’s be honest, totally useless) blurb of the past has since made way for something new: a summary statement.

So… uhh… what exactly is a summary statement? It’s a few short lines or bullet points that go at the top of your document and make it easy for the hiring manager to understand your experience and qualifications. Basically, it explains what you bring to the table for that employer.

It sounds simple in theory. But, if you’re anything like me, when you sit down to actually crank out that brief little blurb, you’re left staring at a menacing blinking text cursor for a good half hour. Yes, even I struggle with these—and I make my living as a writer.

Fortunately, there’s nothing like a little bit of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. So, I’ve pulled together three real resume summary statements that are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Extract some lessons from what these people did well, and you’ll take a little bit of the stress and pain out of writing your own.

Who Needs a Summary Statement?

Just wait—before we jump right into the samples, this is an important question to answer.

If you’re one of those people who has righteously told yourself, “Psh, summary statement? I don’t need one of those!”—well, you might be right, they work better for some people than for others.

“Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme. Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills,” explains Muse writer, Lily Zhang, in her article on the topic.

If you’re someone with a pretty straightforward career history and path, that precious real estate might be better used for bullet points, rather than this type of paragraph. But, if you’re an experienced candidate or are changing careers? This could be just what you need to make your resume a little more cohesive.

1. Start by Saying Who You Are

“Editorial-minded marketer and communications strategist transforming the way brands interact with audiences through content. With over seven years of experience at consumer startups, media companies, and an agency, brings a thoughtful perspective and blend of creative chops and digital data-savvy. Entrepreneurial at heart and a team player recognized for impassioned approach and colorful ideas.”

Why it Works: “This is a great example of a concise and compelling summary because it explains who this professional is (first line), puts her experience into context (second line), and highlights her intangible strengths (final sentence),” explains Jaclyn Westlake, career expert, resume writer, and writer for The Muse, of this summary she worked on with a client.

But, what this statement does exceptionally well is start with a powerful statement about exactly who this candidate is and what she does. “If this were the only sentence a hiring manager read about this candidate, she’d still have a pretty good idea what this person is about,” Westlake adds.

2. Make it an Elevator Pitch

“High-achieving Enterprise software account manager driven to increase sales in established accounts while reaching out to prospects. Help Fortune 500 companies gain a competitive edge and increase revenue by identifying customer needs, providing recommendations, and implementing technology products that solve problems and enhance capabilities.”

Why it Works: One way to make writing your own resume summary statement easier? Think of it like an elevator pitch.

Since employers care most about what sort of value you can add to their organization, it’s smart to follow in the footsteps of this sample and use the bulk of your summary to emphasize not only what you do, but why it’s important.

“This summary clearly articulates who he is, whom he serves, and how he helps,” says Theresa Merrill, Muse Master Career Coach, of this client sample she provided.

Maybe you won’t use words like “gain a competitive edge” or “increase revenue” in your own statement. But, give some thought to how your skills and expertise help the overall organization, and then weave that into your statement.

3. Keep it Short

“Award-winning journalist and digital producer offering extensive experience in social media content curation, editing, and storytelling. Adept at transforming complex topics into innovative, engaging, and informative news stories.”

Why it Works: This one is significantly shorter than the other statements included here. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

“It’s short and sweet,” says Merrill of this statement she wrote for a client, “It highlights his expertise right away with a word like ‘award-winning’ and also shares what makes him unique.”

When you’re trying to keep things to one page, you know by now that space is limited on your resume. So, the more concise you can make your statement—while still ensuring it still packs a punch—the better.

If you do choose to move forward with a resume summary statement, remember to treat it as your own personal highlight reel.

“A summary isn’t meant to be a regurgitation of the information already on your resume,” concludes Westlake, “It should serve to further enhance the reader’s understanding of your experience, specialties, and strengths. It’s also an excellent way to tie your work history together to help hiring managers better understand how your experience would translate into the role they’re recruiting for.”

Think through what you bring to the table and then use these three samples as your inspiration, and you’re sure to craft a resume summary statement that grabs that hiring manager’s attention

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-resume-summary-examples-thatll-make-writing-your-own-easier

to do list

Let’s face it — life can get really crazy sometimes, especially when we’re trying to balance work, family, a social life, and whatever other real-world obligations come our way on a daily basis. For that reason it’s vital to understand ways to make a better to-do list, in order to keep us organized, understand what things absolutely need to be completed, and to actually be able to finish them in a timely manner.
It seems like an easy enough thing to do, right? Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the things we need to get done that day. However, there is really an art to creating the best of the best to-do lists — ones that will truly help us to meet deadlines and ultimately feel less stressed and more accomplished.

I know plenty of people who tell me they never make to-lists because they feel they’re a waste of time. These are the same people I encounter in my life who forget to follow up on emails, or send things when they say they will, or even return phone calls or texts. Their head is always in the clouds, so to say. They live in the moment — which is fine for certain types of work and living situations — but definitely is a challenging way of life for those of us with more regimented jobs and family responsibilities. For those who live for structure, I’ve got you covered in this article. Following some of these tips could be a game-changer for you, as I know they have been for me.

Here are seven ways to make a better to-do list.

1. Consider Quality Vs. Quantity

I am notorious for making extremely long to-do lists. For one, I love the feeling of being able to cross something off the list, so even the little things bring me joy. Secondly, I have a million balls spinning at once all day so without these lengthy lists sometimes I honestly will forget to drop off clothes at the dry cleaner if I don’t write it down.

According to Forbes, a good way to prevent us from bogging down our lists with meaningless items is to remember that by focusing on the big things (quality vs. quantity), we’ll be much more effective at our jobs, and in our broader lives as well. Forbes recommended keeping your list as short as possible, and really weighing a task before considering if you need to write it down. I’m not going to recommend you eliminate a task that you might genuinely forget to do. Rather, if you know every morning you start your day by responding to emails, no need to write that at the top of your list for tomorrow. Try your hardest to focus on the bigger things.

2. Make Your List The Night Before

It’s such a nice feeling waking up and already knowing what you need to accomplish that day, rather than spending the first hour flustered as you respond to emails and scribble a list. To achieve a level of uber-organization, try making your to-do list the night before. This will prevent you from having to waste your energy in the morning figuring out what things need to get done, according to Reader’s Digest. Also, making the list the night before can help calm your mind before you sleep so you’re not waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxiety over little things you might otherwise forget to do the next day.

3. Try To Start The List With The Hardest Task

Have to talk to your boss today about a failed project? Likely you’re completely dreading it, so get it over with at the start of the day. By tackling something difficult first thing you can create a sense of achievement that you’ll take with you for the rest of the day, according to foundr. Also, that hard thing will be done. It will feel so nice. It doesn’t always have to be uncomfortable conversations to start the day, just try to think of which task is going to be most difficult, and move it to the top of the list.

4. From There, Try A Sequential Approach

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve been such a crazy organization freak, but prior to that I used to create to-do lists by writing the day at the top of the page and then jotting down items as they came to my mind, rather than by when they needed to be completed. For a writer, this is a horrible approach because you’re constantly working against deadlines. You need a sequence!

Real Simple suggested a sequential approach to list making that organizes tasks by morning, afternoon, and evening. If you want to make it even more granular, the outlet suggested breaking down whether it will be completed at home, work, or wherever else. Keep our first tip in mind her, though, and try to keep your list of items short and sweet.

5. Include Time Estimates

I have come to live by this tactic mostly becomes it helps me see how many things I can realistically get accomplished in a day, and also because it keeps me motivated to finish assignments in a timely manner. Try adding a time estimate next to each item when you’re creating a list — whether you think it’s going to take you 15 minutes or three hours. Omar Kilani, cofounder of to-do list app Remember The Milk, told Fast Company doing this means “you can make realistic decisions about how much you can really fit into your day.”

6. Try Using An “Other” Section

This tip is a personal recommendation for those like me who despise ending a day without being able to cross every item off their list. I always keep a side list of “Other” items — things that don’t necessarily need to be completed that day, but that I don’t want to lose sight of completely. If I finish my must-do tasks early on a given day, I’ll move to the “Other” section and start ticking those off.

7. Limit The Amount Of Meetings In Your Day

This last one isn’t a tip for writing the list, but rather a way to help ensure you can achieve the items on it. Ever have one of those days where you’ve created an achievable to-do list, as the day goes on you’re pulled into meeting after meeting, then by 5:00 have not been able to complete one of your list items? It happens to us all from time to time.

Where possible, try to limit the amount of meetings in your day. TheMuse.com recommended before you schedule a meeting considering whether the issue could be resolved with an email, phone call, or a quick few minute conversation by the water cooler. If you absolutely need the meeting, try to keep it focused on the fewest number of key agenda items as possible, least number of participants, and the shortest amount of time possible, according to the outlet.

By taking the time in advance to make the right kind of to-do list, you can ultimately be much more productive, deadline-oriented, and overall effective in your work and home life. Take note of these tips, get yourself organized, and start getting things accomplished!

 

Source:  Erica Florentine | https://www.bustle.com/articles/142527-7-ways-to-make-a-better-to-do-list

1

Merewether’s most prominent sports ground is set for an impressive upgrade after Newcastle City Council unveiled plans to renovate and extend the existing grandstand at Townson Oval.

The $2m redevelopment will be jointly-funded by council and Merewether Carlton Rugby Club and is set to provide a vast improvement to the playing and viewing experience at the ground, also known as Mitchell Park.

A  top-floor glass pavilion which can be opened to the sea breeze tops the list of upgrades, which includes a new gym, change rooms, refurbished public amenities and installation of a lift.

The project will benefit Townson Oval’s other tenants, South Newcastle Rugby League Club and Merewether District Cricket Club.

“I am delighted to announce this much-needed upgrade for Mitchell Park or Townson Oval,” Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This proposed project is a fine example of how sporting clubs and associations are able to contribute and partner with Council on refurbishing their home grounds.

“The upgrade will deliver an asset for the entire community and provide the footballing, cricket and cycling groups that use Townson a boost.”

Council has listed the project in a draft budget which they are considering placing on public exhibition on Tuesday night, before final adoption in June.

They will fund $1.5m for the grandstand’s base build, with Merewether Carlton set to provide $500,000 from club reserves and funds raised by the Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation.

Merewether Carlton’s contribution will fund the interior fit-out of the new glass pavilion, which will be known as the club’s new ‘Green Room’.

John Davis, a board member of Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation, said the new grandstand and Green Room are a game changer for the club.

“We are extremely grateful to be able to partner with Council to help redevelop the grandstand,” Mr Davis said.

“Not only will it offer our players, members and supporters better facilities, it will give fans a better vantage point from up behind the bleachers and also allow administrators to host in-house presentations, sponsors functions and club events.”

Construction is likely to commence after the football season pending final approval of the council budget.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5369589/redevelopment-plans-unveiled-for-merewether-sports-ground-video/

1

I sat fidgeting in an uncomfortable chair that was placed adjacent to my boss’ expansive desk, feeling the sweat already start to tickle my forehead. I kept picking at a piece of torn upholstery toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many articles I crank out about successfully putting in your two weeks notice, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.

That’s exactly what I was doing. I was seated across from a man who had been my manager for years—starting when I was just a college intern to when the company took me on full-time—and explaining to him that I was hitting the road.

“So, I guess you could consider this my two weeks’ notice,” I said to him while doing my best to avoid any direct eye contact. “Oh, here, I put it in writing too, in case you need that or, like, something,” I added while practically throwing him an unsealed envelope and simultaneously trying to edge my way out of the room.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, with a forced smile on his face. “Where are you going? Did you receive a better offer elsewhere?”

I swallowed nervously, took a deep breath, and attempted to keep my voice from trembling. “No, not exactly,” I replied, trying to stifle the nauseous feeling that was slowly rising from my stomach to my throat.

“So, why are you leaving?” he pressed, “Where are you going?”

“I want to be a freelance writer. I’m going to do that full-time,” I quickly responded.

His face said it all. Like so many others, he was confused as to why I would leave the comfort and security of a traditional, full-time job (and, hello, health benefits!) for a life of uncertainty as a freelancer.

I wanted to explain to him that this was something I just had to do. I’d been thinking about it for ages, and I could no longer tolerate it being only that—a thought. I needed to take action and give it a try.

But, in reality, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. Why? Well, the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have a plan that I could share with him. Sure, I had one big client that I was hoping would carry me until I could get things off the ground (that client actually ended up dropping me only a few months later, but that’s a story for another time). But beyond that, I didn’t have any other potential opportunities lined up. I lived in a small town with very few connections to the type of work I wanted to be doing. I really had no idea how I was going to go about running my own freelance business. Oh, and I had absolutely zero clue how I was going to pay those pesky things called bills.

As someone who loves security and predictability, to this day I have no idea what came over me. But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t really know what was coming next, I quit my job anyway.

Looking back, jumping ship from my full-time position with no firm back-up plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing. And, I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to march into your own boss’ office tomorrow and use that exact same tactic—unless you’re prepared for a lot of shameless crying into an open carton of those delicious (and somewhat addicting) frosted animal crackers.

However, I do think taking that terrifying leap of faith was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the (many, many, many) things I learned.

 

1. You Don’t Need the Approval of Others

When I would tell people about my plan to sprint away from my cubicle in favor of the freelance life, I so desperately wanted them to reassure me with statements like, “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or even a friendly and dad-like, “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Unfortunately, that’s not really what I got. Instead, I was faced with a lot of, “Wait, you’re doing what?” types of comments.

In the end, it really didn’t matter. I was the only one who needed to feel good about my decision. And I did—at least in between the animal cracker crying sessions mentioned earlier. Yes, we all naturally crave approval and reassurance from others every now and then. But, trust me, you don’t need it—at least not as much as you think you do.

 

2. Scary Is Exciting

There’s a reason that people fork over wads of cash in order to see a horror film about possessed grandparents or to walk through a haunted house where someone is guaranteed to leap out with a chainsaw. There’s a big part of being terrified that makes you want to run and cry—but the other piece is actually somewhat thrilling.

In the first few days (ahem, alright, months) after leaving my full-time gig, I’d sit down at my computer and feel totally overwhelmed. Every day was a battle to try to scrounge up work and at least take one step in the right direction. But, at the same time, I felt absolutely exhilarated. I had no idea what was coming next, and that actually made me feel surprisingly motivated and optimistic. It was one of the most distressing, nauseating, and anxiety-inducing times in my life—but it was also the most exciting.

 

3. You Never Know Until You Try

I hate to sound like a cheesy, cliché high school commencement speech. But, this sentiment really does ring true. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you push yourself to try it.

I’ll be honest—it’s not that I strongly disliked my full-time job. However, it didn’t set my heart on fire either. A big chunk of my duties were administrative. And, while I did perfect the art of mail merging like a total boss, I didn’t really feel all that challenged or fulfilled by my work.

However, as a self-described creature of habit, I think that I likely could’ve dealt with that mundaneness for the rest of my life. There was a big part of me that figured I was suited for that sort of life and career. It was safe and predictable. I was content.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve accomplished things that I never even thought were a possibility for me. I’ve been published places that I assumed were mere pipe dreams. I’ve worked with people who are essentially celebrities in my eyes. Just think—none of it would’ve happened if I had stayed with the “safe” route.

 

4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You

We all have the tendency to use our careers to define ourselves. But, it’s important to remember that your job isn’t who you are—it’s what you do. As Muse Managing Editor Jenni Maier explained in her article about being laid off, your position definitely adds to your life, but it doesn’t make up the entirety of it.

When I left my job, I felt the need to justify my decision and clarify every last detail until people were literally snoring in front of me. There was this immense need to explain my employment situation in order to give myself a purpose and identity.

Turns out, that’s really not the case—all of that pressure to define myself using my career was totally self-imposed. In fact, most people honestly didn’t care if I was a dog walker or the Dalai Lama. Although, above anything else, they were most likely just wondering why I gave them a play-by-play career breakdown when all they asked was, “Paper or plastic?”

Jumping ship from my full-time job was undoubtedly one of the scariest career decisions I’ve made in my life thus far. But, even though it had my knees shaking and my palms sweating, I’m glad I did it. It’s worked out well so far, and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way.

So, if you’re contemplating taking your own leap of faith anytime soon, I hope these lessons encourage you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in those moments when all you feel is sheer panic? Well, reach out to me on Twitter. I’ll come running—frosted animal crackers in tow.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-lessons-i-learned-from-quitting-my-job-with-no-backup-plan

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THE Hunter is proving a holiday hot spot for other Australians, with stays in the region increasing faster than the national average, according to new figures released today.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) statistics show a 22 per cent growth in Australians visiting the Hunter over the past three years, Liberal Senator for NSW, Arthur Sinodinos, said.

“That’s much more than the national figure of 15 per cent and testimony to the Hunter Region’s attractiveness as a destination for holidaying Australians,” Senator Sinodinos said.

He said the statistics showed 3.63 million local tourists visited the Hunter Region in the last 12 months, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Most tourism in the Hunter was domestic, with short stays of two nights, the statistics revealed.

“On average, they’re spending $467 a head, which is 17 per cent more than the year before and a 27 per cent increase over three years,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Data for international visitors released earlier this month showed 194,000 visitors from overseas flocked to the Hunter in the year to December 2017, a 12-month increase of 14 per cent.
Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5308944/the-secrets-out-hunter-proving-hot-spot-for-aussie-mini-breaks/

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You spend the last few months of 2017 saying, “Next year will be different.” And now it’s next year and you can’t really say that anything’s changed. You know what you want—it’s just that the closer you get to going after it, the more unsure you are.

You’re not alone in this feeling. But, instead of continuing to find every flaw in your idea, let’s first make sure that you’re not overthinking every step.

 

1. Every Time You Think About Doing Something Awesome in Your Career, You Immediately Think “I Shouldn’t…”

Are there times when something isn’t right? Sure, of course. But if every time you see an opportunity, you immediately think “I shouldn’t” or “I can’t” then you’re definitely overthinking it.

Here’s what to do instead: Let’s put your amazingly smart brain to action, and think about all the reasons why you actually can do something.

For instance: You think to yourself “Ugh, I’m way overdue for a raise. But I shouldn’t ask for one, I don’t want to be that person and I know my boss is busy.”

Which leads to you feeling terrible and nothing good happening.

Instead, why not try a phrase that starts with “I can” and is followed by “Here’s how.”

Let me give you an example. Start by saying: “I can ask for a raise.” And then add: “Here’s how: I’ll start by writing down all of the work I’ve done and make my case on paper. Then I can also make sure I schedule a time that works for her, so it won’t be a problem to sit down and have a conversation about this. Finally, I can focus on the fact that asking for a raise is a normal thing to do, as long as I’m polite and focused and positive, things will be OK.”

The combination of those two phrases does something magical to your brain. It distracts you from all the reasons why not, and gets you thinking about the good stuff like how it can be possible.

2. Whenever Your Friends Ask About Your Career, You Change the Subject

Have you ever been out with your friends, and someone asks you “How that’s job search going?” And you mumble something quickly and immediately move to another topic?

You aren’t alone! Frankly, we’ve all been there. Sometimes you just aren’t ready to talk about a big career move.

And sometimes you’re just plain scared of change, so instead of facing up to the fact that you’re beyond overdue, you keep changing the subject.

So, to determine which camp you fall into, ask yourself this question: “Is this just a tough moment, or am I honestly avoiding this question all the time?”

If the answer is “I’m avoiding this all the time” then chances are you’re over-thinking your next step and it’s time to face up to the fact that it’s 100% okay to ask for a raise, or to meet with your boss to talk about a promotion, or to even want a completely different job.

Usually, we dread the idea of something more than the thing itself, so the easiest way over the hump is to talk about your next steps with someone you trust. Even saying something like “I really want to change jobs, but I’m terrified of ending up unemployed” can help you move past the analysis paralysis and into action.

And action is where the magic happens.

3. You Endlessly Research Options, But Can’t Seem to Make Yourself Actually Do Anything

Have you ever researched…and researched…and researched…

And just when you feel like you have a solution or an idea for your career, you decide the right answer is “more research.”

You know, just to be safe.

If your answer to “What’s next in my career?” is always “more research” then you’re definitely over-thinking and it’s time for action.

Here’s what you do: Commit to researching two to three good options, and once you have your options in hand, it’s time to take action on them, instead of going back for more information.

So, for example, here’s what that can look like: You decide you want a new job. So you research several different companies but you can’t make yourself apply.

Instead of going back for more research, review all of the work you’ve done to date and then choose your best two options in terms of potential companies. Commit to applying to jobs at both. Don’t panic! Applying doesn’t mean “taking” but it does mean making progress.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/signs-overthinking-career-change-new-job?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

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When I first started working, I never understood why people hated meetings so much. I love people, I love brainstorming conversations, and I love an excuse to not stare at my computer for several hours—how could they not be anything but great?

Of course, over time, I started to understand why they get a bad rap. Take away the fact that most meetings are inefficient, if not unproductive and a waste of time, it takes around 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get focused back on what you were working on before a meeting (which is why we’re big fans of turning unnecessary ones into emails).

As someone who’s (and knows many people who have also) had days of back-to-back meetings, I know how tough it can be to get all your other work done. Here are some tips for how to get through the day the best you can, if cancelling isn’t an option.

The Day Before

Prep for the Meeting
Chances are you know a couple days ahead of time when you’re going to have a day full of meetings. So, use that prep time to get organized.

Make sure you have everything you need to present or run each meeting. If you’re an attendee, go over any documents or agendas your colleagues have sent out to get a sense of what you need to bring and what’ll be discussed (if you have none of this, ask for it!).

Knowing what’s coming up will save you from scrambling day of to find files, or track down information, or waste any mental energy on being shocked at what you’re learning

Get Work Done Ahead of Time
Look at what you have coming up the day after the meeting. Is there anything you can get done in advance? By working through your lunch or staying just 30 minutes later than usual the day before, you can knock off some tasks and not end your meeting-filled-day feeling like you’re way behind.

Plan on How You’ll Take Advantage of Those Bits of In-between Time
Sometimes meetings end early. Sometimes they start late. And sometimes they get cancelled. (And sometimes the presenter spends the first 10 minutes trying to hook up their computer.)

Get ready to use those spare moments wisely.

Make a list of everything that can be done in under five minutes. Then turn to that list (and not social media) when you find yourself with minutes to spare.

Block Off Any Free Time You Do Have
Another no-brainer trick is to physically block off any time you have between meetings on your calendars.

The Day Of

Work in the Meeting (When Possible)
OK, I’m not giving you permission to not listen in the meeting, but I also realize that everyone does this at some point. And I also know that fires come up that you have to address, no matter how important the discussion is.

So, if there’s a lull in the conversation, you’re merely an observer in the meeting, or you’re certain you’re not needed in that moment, I give you permission to tackle any of those low-hanging fruits on occasion—whether it’s responding to a Slack, answering an important client email, or filling out a quick document.

Actually Eat Lunch
If it’s not completely taboo in your office, please eat lunch during the meeting. And, take bathroom breaks, even if it means leaving in the middle or running late to the next one. Oh, and, bring water and a snack with you so you don’t feel famished or dehydrated.

This will help keep your energy up so you can tackle stuff later on (more on that below).

Plan on it Being a Long Day
If your day’s going to be completely packed, then it might be worth getting into the mindset that you probably won’t be leaving when you ideally want to. It sucks to have to work outside your regular hours, but knowing that it’s coming will make it a little less painful.

Cancel Your Plans That Night
With that said, don’t make your day longer by having after-work plans. Not only will this put a deadline on how late you can work, but it’ll also just mean you end the day more exhausted than necessary. Instead, make it a self-care night that’s relaxing and stress-free.

Get in Early
Set your alarm a bit earlier than usual and get to the office before everyone else. This leaves you with plenty of distraction-free time to focus before the day really starts. And this goes for night owls too—even if you get in early and just spend the first hour making a to-do list for the day, you’ll feel better.

The Day After

Avoid This in the Future
You can try following these tips to cut down how many meetings you have to attend in the future.

Or, going back to the whole “blocking off your calendar idea,” you can make sure you block off two to three hours every day for your work. This helps to ensure that you will almost always have time to work. While you’ll of course have to move those blocks to accommodate other people and deadlines, it’s a great start.

No doubt about it that having a meeting-full day stinks. However, it’s not impossible to survive a day like this and still do your job (after all, if I can do it, you can, too).

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-survive-meetings-still-do-work?ref=recently-published-1

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THANKS, in the main, to the bad behaviour of a few smarties, and buoyed by the negative publicity at the ICAC, there was a time not so long ago when nobody wanted to be known as a property developer.

But as the Newcastle Herald has argued before, property developers are the people who build our homes, our offices, our industrial workplaces. Their contribution to our economy is essential, especially at a time like now, where Newcastle is going through a once-in-a-lifetime urban overhaul which – despite the understandable angst it is causing those caught in its midst – should set up the CBD for the next 40 years or more.

At a Property Council of Australia lunch at City Hall on Friday, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and a Colliers International representative, Peter Macadam, spoke about the opportunities and the challenges facing the Newcastle CBD and its property market.

By any measure, the city is experiencing a building boom. Construction cranes are dotting the skyline in unprecedented numbers. If the city hasn’t changed its shape already, it will certainly have a different look and feel in the west end if the redevelopment of the Store site results in the sort of 90-metre tower block – or even two 90-metre buildings – that Cr Nelmes was championing on Friday. The Store site has the potential to be the biggest development ever seen in the CBD, and with a mixture of commercial development on its lower floors, and apartments in its reach to the sky, it will add to the CBD’s resident population, and enhance its business base.

But it’s the ratio between the two – and the degree to which residential development is seemingly outpacing commercial construction – that has some in the property industry concerned.

As Cr Nelmes remarked on Friday, we need to maintain a certain density of commercial development in the city if Newcastle is to have a CBD in anything but name. Despite the plethora of cranes, developers say it’s very hard to make purely non-residential developments stack up in the city. Land prices and the competition that Newcastle faces in attracting new employers – having lost many regional branch offices in recent decades – are just two of the reasons why.

Even so, there is no doubting we have achieved much in recent years. The job now is to attract more big employers, companies whose presence would add to Newcastle’s cache as the state’s second city.

 

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5289466/attracting-investment-to-our-revitalised-city/?cs=308