News

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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/

 

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An $11.5 million clean-up project at the former Newcastle Gasworks site could start early next year, paving the way for a future development on the Hamilton North site.

The 12-month project would see the heavily contaminated site, which has laid dormant since the mid-1980s, concrete capped and rehabilitated to a level suitable for commercial or industrial purposes.

Newcastle Gasworks operated on the seven hectare site between 1913 and 1985. It left in its wake one of the region’s heavily polluted legacies.

An analysis of contaminants revealed a range of known carcinogens, potentially carcinogenic compounds and toxic compounds including benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), total recoverable hydrocarbons (TRH), benzo(a)pyrene, cyanide, ammonia and lead.

A 2016 report noted some of the toxins, including cyanide, ammonia and lead, were leaching into groundwater and posed a risk to human health and the Hunter River, NSW Department of Planning documents show.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/news/local-news/5560774/115m-clean-up-bill-for-newcastle-gasworks-site/

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/

 

An alliance of prominent Hunter bodies have banded together to form a Committee for the Hunter, an organisation that chair Richard Anicich says will provide a unified voice for the region.

Mr Anicich, a solicitor and former president of the Hunter Business Chamber, cited the long-established Committee for Geelong and the more recently formed Committee for Sydney as two of the Hunter committee’s inspirations.

The Hunter had been criticised in the past for having too many representative bodies and Mr Anicich said pulling major “thought leaders” into a single organisation would hopefully make it easier for the region to articulate its needs when dealing with funding bodies and decision makers.

He said the inaugural members were the Hunter Business Chamber, the Hunter chapters of the Property Council of Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia, the industry network HunterNet, the University of Newcastle, the privatised Port of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport.

Asked whether organisations such as the union body Hunter Workers had been invited, Mr Anicich said the final shape of the committee – which he described as “a network of networks” – had not been finalised.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the participants “as an initial step” in working together to “foster success across the Hunter region and the business community” by having “a unified approach and voice in dealing with all three levels of government”.

By doing this, the committee hoped to attract investment and economic development and enhance the conditions that “make the Hunter an attractive place to live and work”.

Mr Anicich said the committee had already met four or five times. In the next few weeks it would finalise a list of “major projects for the region” – a set of “high-level priorities that the committee would seek to advocate”.

He said the various Hunter councils, its state and federal MPs and various government departments had been briefed about the formation of the committee and its desire to “drive growth and jobs for the region”.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5551788/committee-a-new-voice-for-the-hunter/

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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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Two leading academics from the University of Newcastle are among the 38 beneficiaries in the latest round of the Australian Government’s Priming Grants, aimed at building international relationships to commercialise ground-breaking research.

The grants will facilitate Professor Christopher Grof to further his work in medicinal cannabis and Dr Adjanie Patabendige to explore pharmaceuticals designed to combat the effects of stroke.

Aimed at supporting researchers and small-to-medium enterprises, Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash, said Priming Grants showed how fostering industry-led innovation created commercial benefits and inspired job growth.

“These Priming Grants are designed to empower researchers and businesses to work with overseas experts to commercialise their projects.

“This means more opportunities for Australians to grow their ideas by opening doors to foreign markets, which contributes positively to Australia’s economy and job market,” she said.

Professor Grof will collaborate with Dutch company Bedrocan to investigate the development of a novel strains of medical cannabis to export to a world market estimated to be worth $56 billion by 2025.

Dr Patabendige, an affiliate of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, will work with Pharmidex Ltd in the UK and develop pharmaceutical agents that could reduce swelling within the skull after stroke.

Liberal Senator for New South Wales, the Hon Arthur Sinodinos, said the grants would allow the locals driving important projects to travel overseas and develop partnerships to take their ideas to market.

“Since 2016–17, the Australian Government has provided 114 Priming Grants worth approximately $800,000 and I’m glad local researchers are benefitting from this new round,” Senator Sinodinos said.

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) works with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to deliver the Priming Grants under the Australian Government’s Global Connections Fund (GCF).

Source: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/newcastle-innovators-awarded-grants-to-go-global

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The days when you had to put on a mask for work in the name of corporate conformity are over. They died with the wide-and-shiny neck tie, “kitchens” that looked like your dentist’s office, and other bad memories from yesteryear’s workplace.

Today’s workplace trades on inclusivity, empowerment, teamwork, and—in a word—realness.

Whatever your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, it’s not only yours to embrace, but your employer’s. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, 69% of executives say diversity and inclusion is an important issue. And that’s smart—because it’s good for business.

Recent research from Diversity Council Australia found that employees who work on inclusive teams are 10 times more likely to be highly effective than workers who don’t. They were also found to be more satisfied in their work, and studies have proven that happy employees are more productive.

So, it looks like it’s the perfect time to get real. Here are a few tips to make sure you can thrive as you at work.

Ask Upfront for a Diversity Onboarding

If you don’t identify as a white male (no shade if you do), chances are you have questions when entering a new workplace. What’s the policy to ensure women are paid as much as their male counterparts? Is there a mentorship program here and how can I find a mentor whose values align with my own? How can I help this company cultivate and hire diverse talent like myself?

Many reputable organizations will answer these as part of new-employee onboarding in the form of policies, videos, training, and general information. The goal should be to equip you with the knowledge and resources to work freely as your true self and ensure others can do the same.

If your new-hire briefing falls short of these expectations, don’t let your questions stew. Ask them. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re anticipating some sort of institutionalized discrimination (why would you join the company in that case?), it just means you’re curious and you’re looking forward to being part of progressive solutions to today’s workplace challenges.

Phrase questions to show that you’re curious about something meaningful to you and it’ll be easier to start the conversation: “I’m really passionate about women’s issues, I’d love to know what you do here to make sure women have access to leadership opportunities and equal pay?”

Join an Organization, or Start One

Whether you’re underrepresented at work or just have a really niche interest, joining a club—or starting one—is a great way to create space for the parts of you that don’t fit neatly into your job description.

Find groups that empower you—whether they’re creative or career development-oriented. The best part, clubs can fill voids if something you feel passionate about is not already reflected in your workplace. For example, if ladies aren’t exactly running the show (yet), a women’s group can be a great way to find support and mentorship. If people seem clueless when Pride rolls around, an LGBT+ alliance can change that.

If the group you’re looking to join doesn’t exist, consider starting it. Talk to HR or your manager and ask whether there’s a formal process in place to secure funding.

Be Aware of Your Biases, and Wake Others Up to Theirs

For better or for worse, we all carry unconscious biases. They’re woven into our minds from childhood and continue to proliferate in popular culture. These biases can affect our interpretations of and interactions with coworkers.

One of the best ways to be more self-actualized in the workplace is to help others be the same by granting them freedom from even small stereotypes and assumptions. Look into ways you can become more aware of your biases and spread the word to co-workers.

A few places to start: browse YouTube for bias exercises like this one, ask your colleagues for honest feedback, and pay close attention to your thoughts and reactions in groups (are you responding to hard facts and values, or assumptions and emotions?).

Grow Your Social Circle

Finally, it’s easier to be yourself if you’re among friends.

You can find them, but you may have to work for it. That means going to company events, grabbing coffee with new co-workers, switching your lunch crowd every so often, or hopping in new channels on Slack.

And try to connect with a range of coworkers, not just your immediate peers. You can learn from others who are different from you and who are in more senior or diverse roles. You may have to leave your comfort zone, but it’s well worth it—you’ll be more relaxed at work if you have a group of people supporting you.
Work should be inviting—not just because you like your work (although that’s a big plus), but because you can be yourself while you’re there. Whether your workplace is super progressive and has all the diversity and inclusion boxes checked, or you have to do some work to help get it there, use these tips to make your workday—and that of your coworkers’—more real.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/bring-your-whole-self-to-work?ref=recently-published-1

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Newcastle Airport has increased the number of public car parking spaces with the official opening of a new car park on 8 June to cater for passenger growth.

An extra 345 spaces have been created following a major development off Kindler Way, which includes additional long-term parking, dedicated staff parking and rental car storage.

The development brings the total number of public car parking spaces at Newcastle Airport to over 2,100 bays.

“These extra spaces will help meet the increasing need for car parking following on-going growth and record passenger numbers,” said Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock.

In 2017, Newcastle Airport welcomed a record 1.28 million passengers, 25-month consecutive year-on-year monthly passenger growth and an extra 85,000 airline seats.

The people of the Hunter and Central Coast love to travel and with new destinations, great value fares and connectivity to the world it’s smarter to use Newcastle Airport.

“We are constantly striving to improve the experience and convenience for all who visit Newcastle Airport; this is another step forward in meeting the needs of the local community.

We now have the most car parking spaces and product options we have ever had, and are ready to welcome the influx of travellers jetting away to enjoy the June long weekend,’’ said Peter.

The Airport website’s transport guide has extensive information about transport choices and on-site car parking options, including an online car parking calculator, giving passengers all the information they need to make the best choice to suit all individual travel needs and budget.

 

Source: http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/new-airport-car-park-ready-2797

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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

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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

 

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The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-feedback-first-90-days-successful-new-job

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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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POWER company AGL has committed to building a 252 megawatt gas-fired power station somewhere “near Newcastle” as part of its plan for life after Liddell shuts at Muswellbrook in 2022.

Chief executive Andy Vesey will be at an AGL facility at Tomago on Friday to publicly announce the decision, which was released late yesterday to the stock exchange.

Although AGL is yet to formally commit to a site, the Newcastle Herald understands that the company is looking at a shortlist of three possible sites within a few kilometres of each other, in and around Tomago.

Macquarie Generation, which AGL purchased from the NSW government for $1.5 billion in 2014, gained approval for a similarly sized gas-fired power station at Tomago in 2003.

The approval may have lapsed, but that plant had a proposed first stage of 260 megawatts.

It was aimed at easing power shortages at the time caused by a rapid uptake of air-conditioners.

Although the new plant will not fully replace Liddell, which can generate 2000 megawatts, AGL is promoting it as part of a broader generation plan submitted to the federal government and the Australian Energy Market Operator in December.

“AGL is committed to supporting the orderly transition of Australia’s electricity generation capacity to modern, clean and reliable energy supply,” Mr Vesey said.

“That’s why we gave seven years notice of when we intend to close Liddell … and we are pleased to commit today to build the gas power station near Newcastle.”

Mr Vesey said the power station would be built near AGL’s Tomago gas facility, off Old Punt Road, which was approved by the NSW government in 2012. It and an AGL substation are close to Tomago Aluminium.

He said AGL had now committed to the first stage of its NSW generation plan, which included a 100-megawatt upgrade of Bayswater power station, a solar off-take to provide 300 megawatts, a “demand response” program that would encourage customers to use the equivalent of 20 megawatts less power, and the Tomago gas plant.

He said they were still looking at stage two, which included another 500 megawatts of gas. With all of the stage one elements in place, Mr Vesey said there was enough power to “address the capacity shortfall that may occur as a result of Liddell closing”.

“We are optimistic that the National Energy Guarantee will provide sufficient policy certainty to enable market participants such as AGL to invest with even greater confidence in cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy generation.”

“Electricity generation is undergoing an increasingly rapid transition to lower-cost, clean renewable energy and storage technologies.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5366930/agl-to-build-400-million-gas-fired-power-station-near-newcastle/

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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/

4 things leaders shouldnt say

When you’re a manager, your employees are constantly watching to see how you behave and what you say. As a result, it’s important to be intentional about your choice of words in any setting.

As the boss, there are certain things you probably shouldn’t say.

You’re probably aware of the more obvious statements, like:

“I’m only doing this because corporate is making me.”
“I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”
“I just need to vent to you about [Person]…”
However, in addition to these obviously-nots, there are a few others phrases that, although seemingly harmless, may end up hurting you and your team.

1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

Leaders often say this to their high performers—the low-maintenance team members they know they can count on to deliver. It’s intended to encourage them to keep it up by letting them know they’re doing a good job.

Still, as an executive coach, I’ve heard time and time again from high performers how frustrating this type of feedback is.

Why? Because they’re often ambitious. They want to advance in their careers, and they crave feedback that will help them grow. The absence of constructive criticism sometimes exasperates them so much that they’re inclined to seek out other opportunities where they’ll get the mentorship they need to continue moving up.

A Better Alternative
To maintain your high performers (and keep them growing), try: “You’re excelling with X. Let’s give you an opportunity to stretch by giving you more chances to do Y.” Or, “You’re doing really well! Let’s explore your career goals so that I can make sure I’m coaching you to get you ready for your next step.”

2. “Was That Clear?”

While this might seem like a reasonable thing to say, it might not always give you an accurate picture of whether or not your team understands your intended message.

For example, I’ve often seen really bright leaders provide so much information that it overwhelms their audience. In those cases, people might not even know where to begin to respond to the question. Further, if this is posed in a group setting, people are less likely to speak up for fear of looking like the only person who’s confused.

Even in those cases in which your audience thinks that everything’s clear, they still might not be on the same page (like when you’re talking with a peer and realize that you’ve each walked away from a meeting with different conclusions).

A Better Alternative
Instead, say: “Let’s do a quick review of the key takeaways to make sure I articulated it clearly.” (Then, you can review them, or better yet, you could have other people in the room review them for you.)

3. “Failure Isn’t an Option”

While this might be something that’s appropriate for life and death situations, for most leaders this isn’t the sort of phrase you should be using too frequently.

Although it seems like it sets the bar high, the reality is that it’ll likely encourage mediocrity.

Think about it: If people are afraid to make mistakes, do you think they’ll be willing to experiment to see if they can make something better, or do you think they’ll stay safely within the bounds of what they know?

A Better Alternative
You can tell your team, “To be innovative, we’ll probably have to take some calculated risks. I don’t want us to make mistakes on purpose, but they’ll inevitably happen. Let’s make sure to learn from them so we can continue to improve.”

4. “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”

This statement is usually meant to encourage problem-solving and proactivity. I’ve also seen it said by bosses who want to prevent employees from incessantly complaining about issues while doing absolutely nothing to solve them.

But according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it can prevent people from speaking up about important issues they simply don’t know how to solve. This can result in leaders being unaware of where their team stands.

It can also create a “culture of advocacy” where people come to discussions highly invested in their solutions. As a result, they’re more concerned about selling their ideas than engaging with the group to work collaboratively.

A Better Alternative
To encourage your employees to speak up when needed, try: “To make this place better, we need to be aware of all problems—whether or not you know how to solve them. I’m also open to hearing your proposed solutions, too, so we can collaboratively improve our environment.”

To excel as a manager, you’ve got to be a great communicator. When you’re speaking, keep your goals in mind, and think critically about the messages you’re sending. With that sort of intentional communication, odds are you’ll have a positive impact on your team.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-harmless-phrases-leaders-never-say-at-work?ref=recently-published-1

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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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Incorporated in 1992, HunterNet is a network of manufacturing, engineering and specialist services companies located in the Hunter and Central Coast Regions.

Formed as a not for profit co-operative, the organisation involves more than 200 companies.

Of course it all started on a much smaller scale in 1991, when 14 member companies agreed on the co-operative structure. There had been a decrease in ship building activity, activity at the BHP steelworks and a recognition that companies needed to diversify if they were going to survive in the region. HunterNet was formed around one idea – “the power of many”.

Watch the story of this Hunter-based organisation.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5320678/newcastle-business-2020-watch-the-story-of-the-hunternet/

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Unemployment or changing jobs or being stuck in a career rut is stressful no matter how you look at it, but when you multiply it by two, it can really take a toll on you and your relationship.

When my husband and I lost our jobs within six weeks of each other, we were in shock—and found ourselves spending a lot of time together, for better or for worse. During that harrowing period, we attempted to reinvent ourselves as professionals without losing who we were as a couple.

Now that we’re both collecting paychecks again, it’s easy to see many of the mistakes we made as we navigated the rocky road back to full-time employment together. The following is my hard-won wisdom on how to handle joint career stress without losing your peace of mind or your relationship in the process.

Respect Each Other’s Methods

Remember the old “opposites attract?” Well, my husband and I approached our job searches from completely different angles. I regarded it as a numbers games, sending my resume far and wide, while my husband was more strategic, cultivating connections and networking with everyone he’d ever met.

When I tried to convince him to give my way a go when some of his leads didn’t pan out, he insisted his strategy would eventually bear fruit. Likewise, when he suggested I get back in touch with people I hadn’t spoken with in years, I hesitated. Though we were skeptical of each other’s methods, neither of us was right nor wrong.

Respect your partner’s approach to their career, and if you can borrow what’s working for them and incorporate it into your own game plan, all the better. Because, ultimately, both tactics led us to new positions.

Work as a Team

During a rough career patch, you can definitely feel isolated and alone. If there’s an upside to facing it as a couple, it’s that you’ve got a partner who is attempting to overcome the same hurdle, which means your relationship has probably never been filled with more empathy. Use that compassion to cheer each other on and be encouraging on those dark days when your inboxes seem to overflow with rejection emails.

In addition to providing emotional support, you can benefit from having a ready and willing interview partner. Trust me, it’s a lot better to make mistakes in a mock interview with your significant other than with your would-be boss.

Be Gentle With Each Other

When you’re feeling raw and vulnerable during this time, something as small as a sideways glance can feel like a devastating slight.

Though it might be tempting to offer advice, sometimes your partner may just want to vent and know that their feelings are heard and valid. It’s important to keep communication open and figure out what makes each of you feel supported.

When my husband was passed over for a position we were almost certain he’d get, I found myself saying things like, “I don’t understand. How could you not have gotten it?” This ultimately wasn’t helpful for either of us. People process these life events in different ways, so treat each other with care.

Put Away Your Pride and Get Help if You Need It

There’s no denying that a career bump can cause your confidence to plummet while your stress level skyrockets. These factors can wreak havoc on even the most rock-solid relationship. Just remember, you’re not alone.

From career counseling to marriage counseling, if this period is taking a toll on your mental health or your relationship, seek help. Having a professional third party provide strategies for navigating this difficult period can assist you in getting back on track.

Though it may not feel like it while you’re in the thick of it, you will come out on the other side, and when you do, your relationship may be stronger for having weathered this challenging period nobly together.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-deal-relationship-rough-career-change?ref=recently-published-0

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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

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The Newcastle Permanent is marking 115 years in business. To the uninitiated, give us a snapshot of how it began?

Newcastle Permanent began in 1903 when a group of hardworking people who couldn’t get a home loan from the banks—because they weren’t wealthy—created a cooperative building society. They put their savings together to help everyone in the cooperative access a home loan and eventually everyone did. Fast forward 115 years and this is still the ethos of what we do today – helping people buy their own home.

The biggest milestones for the bank to date?

We now have more than $10 billion in assets and last financial year our loan growth exceeded that of the major banks. This asset portfolio makes us the largest customer-owned financial institution in NSW and the second-largest in Australia.

How many members do you have and what shape is the business in?

We have more than 320,000 customers predominantly in northern and central west NSW with strong growth in Sydney. We are the financially strongest customer-owned banking institution in Australia in terms of net assets.

The toughest moments for the building society in the past decade?

A stand out is the Global Financial Crisis. While Australia weathered the GFC storm relatively well, our government cooperated with an international banking regulatory framework to provide further protections for the global banking industry. This resulted in significant regulatory reform and oversight for Australian financial services operators. Add to this the need to respond to rapidly changing customer preferences for digital banking and it has certainly been an interesting decade.

And biggest highlight?

Reaching $10 billion in assets had been such an achievement, and for a business based right here in the Hunter!

The Royal Commission into Misconduct into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has started and the big four are in the firing line. Will Newcastle Permanent make a submission?

It’s only early days, but at this stage is does not appear that we’ll be asked to participate in the Royal Commission.

Will the findings of the commission, due in 2018, affect your operations?

The Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission are quite broad and inquire into banking, superannuation, and the financial services industry. At the moment it is not really possible to predict what the outcomes and timings of the Royal Commission’s recommendations will be. However, it’s reasonable to expect there’ll be changes that will affect the entire industry, including Newcastle Permanent.

How can the Perm compete with the big four?

Our business model is different because we’re customer-owned. We don’t distribute profits to shareholders (because we don’t have shareholders), but instead reinvest our profits into the business to benefit our customers and their communities by keeping our loan and deposit rates very competitive.

What is the Perm doing via its Charitable Foundation that has a real impact?

This year the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is also celebrating a milestone, marking 15 years of supporting our community. In this time the Foundation has provided more than $17.5 million to more than 420 life-changing and community initiatives.

Why is there nostalgia for the Perm in the Hunter?

The fact that we are often called “the Perm” says a lot! I think it’s the simple fact that we’ve always been here. Our head office is in the CBD, we employ almost 1,000 staff, we’re active in supporting our community, and at some stage of their life most Novocastrians have had a bank account with us. We’re intrinsically tied to the memories and lives of Novocastrians.

The Perm has had memorable ad campaigns, but did you expect the Sunshine Over My Shoulder song, created by local business The Proverbials, to become so loved?

We knew the 2012 ad campaign was special; majestically showcasing our region and how lucky we are that we can serve our region. But we never thought in our wildest dreams that the song would resonate so well and become a wedding song!

You worked at one of the big four before the Perm. How do the two differ?

At a big four all your work is devoted to lining the pockets of shareholders. At Newcastle Permanent, we’re all about people. Our mission statement is we are “Here for good” and that means for our customers, our people, the community, and the long term. This was a pleasant culture change coming from a big four where the community wasn’t even a consideration!

What innovation is ahead for the Perm?

Our customers are rapidly shifting their preferences to online banking. I think the last time our industry saw such a shake-up was when computers became the norm more than 30 years ago. We’re working towards a time where our customers, if they wish, will not need to visit a branch to do any of their banking—and that day isn’t too far away.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5247429/a-permanent-fixture/

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You know the feeling. You’ve been selling for a few years, you’re regularly hitting your numbers, and you think you’re ready for a promotion. But sales is a labour-intensive job. The day-to-day stress can be deflating, and most of the time, it takes everything you’ve got just to meet your goal.

So, how do you get to the next level without taking your foot off the revenue pedal? Not by working an extra three hours every day—that’s only going to burn you out. Instead, do a few little things every day to flex your leadership muscles and still meet goals.

Here are five smalls tasks to incorporate into your daily workflow to build towards a promotion. And remember, it’s not about getting the position, it’s about becoming the person who deserves the position.

1. Help Your Colleagues
You might not have the title of sales leader, but by helping your co-workers you can start being a leader on your floor today. After all, a title won’t make people follow you, their trust and belief in you will—and you don’t need a title to build that.

New reps always need help when they start. Ask if you can help them ramp up and find success. It might be as simple as telling them how to access certain software or letting a new rep listen to a few of your calls. Or, offer to do a few ride-alongs.

When you have small talk with co-workers, ask them how they’re doing and really listen to their response. Then, ask to help.

A few months ago, I noticed a recently promoted colleague struggling to perform. We decided to review a few call recordings and see if we could identify gaps. Turns out, an hour of my time was enough to kick his performance into high gear.

2. Stop Eating Alone
If you’re like me, you’re glued to your computer and phone most of the day, spilling lunch on your keyboard and slurping down quick mugs of coffee on your way back from the kitchen.

Instead of staring at your screen for 10 straight hours, use lunch or coffee breaks to network. If you sell for a company with multiple sales teams, meet with reps and leadership in other teams to learn what their segments are experiencing.

Learn how they made it to where they are today. What was their first job? Did they attend any special trainings or classes? What was their big break, and what did they do once they got there? Pick someone who’s career you’d like to emulate and ask them what steps you should take to achieve the same type of growth.

3. Understand the Skills You Need
And find out how to get them. Be honest with yourself—you’ll need to know how to do more than hit an individual quota when it comes to managing a team.

If you’re a great salesperson but don’t know how to interview people, ask your boss, “If I hit 115% of goal, can I sit in on your next interview call?”

Have hiring down but need to be better at running efficient meetings? Ask for the opportunity to run your team’s weekly call review if you exceed next month’s goal. Need to work on one-on-one coaching? Ask if you can mentor someone on the sales team.

It might be hard in the beginning, but telling your boss you’d rather receive these opportunities than a bonus will show how serious you are about making it to the next level.

4. Solve a Problem
To find growth opportunities, look for company or team gaps and fill them. Is there a communication gap between sales and marketing? Find out how to fix it. Does your company have a major initiative coming up? Get ahead by solving potential pain points.

I knew someone who kept getting crushed by competitors when he was a sales rep. He was selling software that was difficult to install, and his competitors beat him every time because they had partnerships with software implementation specialists.

Instead of taking this problem to his boss and complaining, he made his own deal with an implementation company and started winning business—a lot of business.

His company took notice of the increased volume and asked for his secret. When he told them what he’d been doing, they decided to scale his partnership framework and put him in charge.

5. Always Be Learning
Leadership requires a broad skill set, and reading gives you the alternative strategies you need to excel in your daily work. If you’re not reading sales books and blogs, you should be.

Think you don’t have time? Load up on sales and leadership podcasts or audiobooks on your commute or while you’re cooking dinner.

And, if your company offers class reimbursement, take advantage and enroll in local or online seminars.

Lastly, regularly attend meetups or other networking events in your city. You can learn as much from other people facing similar challenges as you can from the pages of a book.

It’s one thing to want a promotion and another thing to work for one. Start by incorporating these five strategies into your workflow, and see your manager and co-workers take notice.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-get-a-promotion-in-sales?ref=recently-published-0

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Young classical musicians will be performing at events across the Hunter thanks to a new support program.

The money comes from Newcastle City Council’s Support for Arts and Cultural Organisations program.

The Newcastle Youth Orchestra (NYO), Catapult Dance and The Lock-Up were announced as the first recipients for the funding.

“The project based funding is designed to support the growth and vitality of Newcastle’s arts and cultural,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

NYO’s project includes over a dozen public performances over the course of its two-year grant period, professional development opportunities for its musicians, expanding its performances beyond Newcastle to Singleton and the Central Coast, and the purchase of new music.

Orchestra Manager Sally Ebert said the organisation was grateful for the opportunity.

“NYO is a relatively new organisation, we’re entering our sixth year, and this support will help us take our performances to the next level and cement our reputation in the region,” Ms Ebert said.

While the first round projects are getting underway, other Newcastle based arts and cultural organisations are invited to apply for the second round of funding, with expressions of interest now open.

The next round of funding will be allocated to two eligible organisations for projects to commence in the 2018-19 financial year. A total of $100,000 is available, subject to final adoption of council’s annual budget for 2018-19. An organisation may apply for up to $70,000 per year for up to three years.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5231313/new-funding-for-arts-and-theatre-across-the-newcastle-area/

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I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?

 

Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/stand-out-against-tough-job-search-competition

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NEWCASTLE could become Australia’s answer to Nashville if Mick Starkey and the city’s tourism chiefs can bring their dream for the city’s nightlife to reality.

Mr Starkey, the operator of the Stag & Hunter in Mayfield, is pushing a bold plan to bring together the pieces of the city’s music scene into a unified attraction that can drive tourism into the city.

Rather than focusing entirely on offering acts places to play, Mr Starkey said he wanted to make the city a place for musicians to develop, live, record and prosper – in turn boosting the economy. His vision has garnered backing from the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group.

Chairman Gus Maher said making the city a cradle of creativity had broad appeal. “Both young and more mature travellers participate in the arts, which live music typifies,” Mr Maher said.

“They will stay overnight, eat, drink and spend in local venues – all of which contributes to economic development and jobs.”

Mr Starkey pointed to storied music cities like the country music capital and New Orleans as examples where “people travel the world to go there”, saying many of the raw materials already exist in the city.

He said he was hopeful the NTIG backing would help the idea spread. “There’s many spokes in this wheel and they can be the group to bring it together,” he said.

“We’ve got some amazing talent that isn’t being seen,” he said. “There’s all these ancillary industries too, we’ve got a number of studios that are doing amazing things.”

“Whilst it currently exists on a smaller scale, I want us to be recognised internationally and not only draw people from Newcastle, Sydney and NSW but from around the world.”

Mr Starkey said he wanted to form a working group and lobby MPs to create a new story around the city’s nightlife that would attract visitors. “For 10 years it’s been touted as a bloodbath,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily about trading hours, I think it’s about messaging, saying that we are a great and artistic area.”

While he conceded building the reputation would be a “slow-burn”, he said the benefits would branch out far beyond the music scene.

“People talk about how great Newcastle was in the ’80s and fostering these great bands … times have changed but we want to encourage that,” he said.

“If collectively we are marketed in a way for people who come to see live music and original music, there’s going to be benefits to that.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5203408/push-to-make-newcastle-australias-answer-to-nashville/

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Let’s be clear: It’s innovate or die out there.

Ideas are the currency that buys you a starring role in today’s workplace. But too many people prioritize ownership over adoption, and watch their ideas waste away as a result. Truth is, you’ll be more effective if you work collaboratively with a team to turn ideas into action.

Here’s why you should ditch the old ideation silo and give your best thoughts to the group.

 

Team Buy-In Makes Things Happen
Ideas are often the prelude to change, and change generally rubs people the wrong way. So, how to get around the very human—but avoidable—friction that comes from shaking things up? Go out of your way to gain your team’s buy-in on the things that may affect them.

Especially if you’re a manager, inclusive decision-making may not only get you a better outcome by melding more minds during the ideation and decision-making processes, it ensures that the team understands the motives and considerations behind new ways of working. Ultimately that means less pushback, a deeper awareness about what led to decisions in the first place, and a more evenly distributed stake in the outcome.

Whether or not you’re a manager, this is a good way to conquer any resistance to change.

 

Tap Into a More Diverse Range of Opinions
A team brainstorm may be no better than a private one if everyone in the group thinks the same way. You need to mix it up.

Study after study has shown that diverse groups—gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, age, etc.—produce better ideas and make better decisions. Cloverpop, a company that tracks companies’ decisions to help them manage the decision-making process, found in a two-year study that gender-mixed teams comprising a wide range of ages and geographic representations made better decisions than homogeneous teams 87 percent of the time.

Makes sense. People with different backgrounds have different outlooks, motivations and experiences that shape their contributions at work. Hearing their voices and ideas produces a more well-rounded exchange of thoughts vetted by a wider variety of perspectives.

You may have to do some work to get a good mix of people in the room, but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, don’t discount less obvious diversity factors, like years of experience and time at your company.

 

See How Ideas Hold Up Against Messy Human Stuff
We’re all human, and regardless of race or gender or any of the other factors above, we’re simply wired differently.

For example, think about Myers-Briggs psychological types. People have different ways of perceiving and interpreting information, different thought patterns and emotional reflexes. The idealists on your team will have different ideas than the cynics. The process-oriented people will see things differently from the gut-driven types.

Working through ideas with a mix of personalities will help you find middle ground and flesh out a plan of action that works for everyone.

 

Test Your Assumptions
Idea sharing can be a valuable vetting exercise if everyone’s encouraged to speak candidly. Ask people to poke holes in your logic, to prove why your proposal won’t work, and to name every single thing that could possibly go wrong. The harder to tear down, the better the idea. Use the feedback to reformulate your idea until you’ve patched the flaws.

If you’re a team lead, this is even more critical. Sometimes you have to design new ways of working but you’re not the best person to do so because you’re not the closest to the facts on the ground—the people who work for you are. They can probably see the peril that lurks in a new idea right off the bat, and they’ll respect you more for recognizing that and hearing what they have to say.

 

Turn Ideas Into Action
In some ways, the idea is the easy part. The real challenge is executing.

If you think of ideas not as inventions that come out of thin air but as innovative solutions to complex problems, you and your team will have a better foundation for brainstorming.

And in the end, you’ll have a much easier time activating ideas if they’re vetted by a diverse group willing to provide constructive criticism, even if it means swallowing some pride and surrendering credit for the outcome.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-your-next-big-idea-should-come-from-a-team?ref=recently-published-2