News

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So you just landed a leadership role at a new company. Congratulations! Going in, you know there’ll be a learning curve when it comes to handling your new responsibilities. But there’s also the people factor to consider.

Being the boss of a completely new team also means influencing a group of employees you don’t know very well to work together (and with you) toward a common goal. Nerve-racking, yes. But not impossible!

Even seasoned leaders make mistakes when managing a new team. Here are four common ones to avoid if you want to make your transition as smooth as possible for both you and your direct reports.

Mistake #1: Acting Before Understanding
If you think the first thing you need to do when joining a new team is to start making changes—slow down. Yes, part of your role is to help things run better, and you were most likely hired to bring in some new perspectives and fix some outdated or dysfunctional strategies. But ignoring input from experienced team members—particularly those who have been at the company for a while—won’t win you any fans.

Instead, you’ll signal to your team that you’re only interested in running a one-person show. And it will leave you vulnerable to making bad decisions that could’ve been avoided had you gotten some context.

This isn’t to say that you need to form a whole committee to make decisions on every little thing. You’re the boss, after all, and sometimes it’s your duty to make the final call. But strive to implement changes (especially big ones) in baby steps and over time. Be receptive to (and ask for!) feedback from your team before moving forward, and communicate your intentions clearly and proactively when you do.

Mistake #2: Constantly Talking About the “Old Job”
Do you find yourself saying all too frequently, “At my old job, we…”? Maybe you’re trying to prove yourself by bringing up your old wins. Or you may just feel comfortable referring back to a time when everything didn’t feel so foreign. (Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy.)

Here’s the thing: Your current team will quickly tune you out if you’re constantly talking about how things were done at your previous company. They want to see that you’re able (and willing!) to adapt to a new environment, and that you can competently lead and work with their unique skill sets.

Yes, you achieved great things in your last role. But don’t get caught living in the past—it’s time to focus on creating new wins with what your new team has to offer.

Mistake #3: Hiding in Your Office
Closing your office door or hiding behind your monitor can give off the appearance that you’re not interested in being there for your employees.

You may think, “I’ve told my team they can come to me any time with questions.” But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and it can be intimidating for employees to knock on a new boss’ door. There’ll be times when you’ll need (or want) to close the door, and that’s OK—but make sure this doesn’t create a barrier between you and your team.

Make a conscious effort to show your employees that they’re welcome to come seek guidance or share concerns. Literally keeping your door open helps, so does providing “office hours” or popping your head out every few hours or so to see how everyone’s doing.

If you work in an open office, try to avoid wearing headphones all day, and when you can, sit near your team. You can also schedule weekly touch-base meetings with your direct reports so you have dedicated face time with them on a regular basis—and so that they know they will always have the opportunity to discuss something with you.

Mistake #4: Believing You Don’t Need to Know the Details of Your Employees’ Work
Some people think that the role of a leader is to just tell others what to do and set expectations. But there’s more to it than that. You can’t hold employees, especially new direct reports, accountable if you don’t fully grasp what their roles entail and how they approach their work.

While you don’t need to know all of the nitty gritty details of their responsibilities, you want to do more than just care that tasks are getting done. Understanding the “how” of operations and the “whys” behind how your employees tackle them will make both you and your team function better. You’ll be able to better manage them knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and preferred forms of communication, and they’ll feel more comfortable around you and motivated to do great work with the knowledge that you’re invested in their success.

Take the time when you’re just starting out to talk to each employee individually to learn about what they do, what their current challenges are, and how their tasks fit into team or company goals. You can even ask the following questions in your next one-on-one:

What challenges are you facing that are making you less productive?
What’s missing from the team that will help make everyone’s life easier?
How do you like to receive constructive feedback?
What are you hoping to learn from me that will support you in your role?
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Or you can have them fill out this user manual so you have all the information you need about their working style.

Mistakes are going to happen when you’re starting a new job, whether you’re a manager or not, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things “right” the first time. Even just reading this article means you care deeply about being a good boss to your new team—and that’s a great place to be in!

Most importantly, make sure you enjoy this new beginning—because it’s one more phase in your career that will help you grow and become the kind of leader you want to be.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/common-mistakes-starting-new-job-boss?ref=recently-published-1

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This year marks twenty years in business for SafetyWorks Group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

170319

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

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

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

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

The plus side

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

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

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

The dark side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The winners of the inaugural Digital Innovation Advocates Awards were:

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

 

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

mortgage-broker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Trailing commission provides a menu of services that the banks would otherwise struggle to provide – such as rate reviews to ensure you are still getting a competitive deal on your loan, help with ongoing matters such as transactional assistance, removal of guarantees, swapping properties over whilst retaining the same loan when buying and selling, and such forth. These services are hard to leverage from the bank directly and the services are not able to be provided free of charge by brokers as for good brokers it accounts for 25% of their working hours. Trailing commissions pays for these services. Without trailing commission these services will be either be charged for by brokers or we can approach our bank and see how we go with getting through to the right department in the bank to get help with matter at hand.
  2. When a loan goes into arrears, trailing commissions cease until the loan is back in good conduct. Subsequently, the broker makes contact with the borrower and assists with getting the loan back into good conduct. This is an important trigger in our economy – banks are risk-rated according to a number of parameters but most importantly on loan delinquencies. The banks risk rating affects how much it costs them to raise capital to lend to us. The more loan delinquencies, the higher the cost. In summary it’s realistic to expect that more loans will stay in arrears for longer when trailing commissions are removed- and we could all end up paying a higher rate solely due to removal of trailing commissions.
The following graph shows the fall in banks net interest margins since 1989 and a significant contributor to this has been the increased competition brought about by mortgage broking:
No alt text provided for this image

If you want to show your support for the future if Mortgage Brokers, follow this link and it takes less than a minute to sign the petition and send an email to your local MP …

1

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Australia Day NCC Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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CAKE and chocolate are two of life’s pleasures that Alesha Thompson has always loved to eat – and create.

She grew up learning the ins and outs of old-fashioned baking from scratch – scones, sponges and gingernut biscuits – from her grandmother Grace on the family’s farm property in the Hunter Valley.

She was hooked from the age of 10.

“My Nan was famous for her coffee sponges in the area and her gingernuts, too, so I started off with those basic biscuits and cakes,” Thompson says.

“All of her cooking was from scratch. She hardly ever used bottled anything.

“She loved creating, and loved cooking for the family and friends, and the community. It’s what she did. It was her passion and she really passed that, and those skills, on to me.”

Two years ago, Thompson decided to leave behind a career in business administration to embark on a career as a chocolatier with the launch of her brand, Madam Cocoa.

She runs the entire operation on her own, moulding and decorating 600 chocolates a week out of her commercial premises in Newcastle.

After studying under master chocolatier Dean Gibson at TAFE NSW Hamilton campus and Melbourne pastry chef Paul Kennedy at Savour School, Thompson ditched the idea of opening a cafe to focus on chocolate.

“Studying and learning to create chocolate, it just really sung to me and my personality, and my perfectionist streak,” Thompson says.

“I fell in love with it, so I’ve run with it since then. The process of making chocolate is just so precise and finite that everything about it has to be perfect. Everything has to occur in the perfect time, environment and space.

“It all has to align for the end product to come together beautifully. It’s a far more intricate process and it resonated with me at a core level a lot more than what a cake does.

“I love the artistic side of it and creating amazing fillings.”

Madam Cocoa’s entire range is packaged gift box-style and features 12 flavours in white, milk or dark using Belgian Callebaut couverture chocolate, including botanical mint, espresso, raspberry splash, Caribbean cherry, salt flake caramel, hazelnut crisp, vanilla smooth, lemon tang, Mrs Jones blueberry cheesecake and creme coconut, which is sprayed teal blue with flecks of white and gold.

Each morsel is meticulously decorated like a piece of edible art.

Another is the Valley Mango which is Thompson’s vision of summer encapsulated into a chocolate.

“When you bite into it, it has this beautiful mango jelly and this intense mango puree through that, and then the ganache has Hunter Valley Distillery’s mango liqueur through it. It’s a delicious absorption of summer on your palette,” she says.

“It’s not too intense, it’s just a beautiful blend.”

Thompson, who says she is a “dark chocolate fan, all the way”, is in the process of developing three new products in time for Valentine’s Day which will be available to order online or in-store at Pork Ewe Deli in Mayfield and Cooks Hill (online orders for Valentine’s Day need to be placed no later than February 10).

She already has plans for a Christmas range later in the year.

Her beloved Nan passed away in June last year. Fortunately, Thompson was able to spent time in the kitchen with her earlier in the year.

“She was a driving force behind my career change and she was very encouraging about me taking on a food-based career and being creative, so she was an amazing support. She loved taste-testing the new products and seeing how it all came together. She loved being a part of it, so it was great to have her as part of the initial journey.”

 
Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5842066/crafting-a-new-career-in-cocoa/

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visualization 101

What’s Visualization?

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

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

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

The Science

How Does Visualization Actually Work?

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

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

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

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

The Exercises

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

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

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

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

Picture the Worst-Case Scenario

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

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

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

Focus on Specific Skills or Goals

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

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

Write it Down

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

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

The Next Steps

What Else Do I Have to Do?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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

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

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

 

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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/

1

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/

1

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/