Students are traditionally defined as young people embarking on an early career, but at Victoria University, students come in all ages and from all walks of life.
An increasing proportion of VU students are in fact already in the workforce, working for large or small organisations who want to improve their staff's skills through customised training.
VU's workplace training has spanned a variety of industry sectors over the years, in workplaces ranging from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to Zoos Victoria.
Among current employees taking advantage of VU's workplace skills training are Williamstown shipbuilders seeking to improve their literacy and numeracy, local city council workers upgrading their management expertise and Melbourne fire fighters learning leadership skills.
In 2010, VU delivered almost two million student contact hours of workplace training across a range of training modes, including in VU classrooms, on-the-job, online, or in a customised combination of these.
Executive Dean of VU's Faculty of Workforce Development Grant Dreher says VU's workplace training is a response to industry and government demand for higher skills and higher-level qualifications.
"Our customised training can help an organisation assess gaps in its existing workforce skills, identify opportunities for productivity gains, and add new skills and a sense of staff empowerment," says Dreher.
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Leadership and Development Manager Tony Westcott says a 13-week senior station officer development program designed with VU provided station officers with the necessary attributes, knowledge and skills to be promoted to station manager.
The program was mapped to VU's Diploma in Business and partly aligned to the Australian National Training Framework, enabling participants to gain a fire-fighting management diploma. The program recently won a VU Vice-Chancellor's Award for outstanding industry engagement.
"The program involved a strong collaborative relationship and cultural fit between VU and the MFB, and provided innovative customised training to meet the changing needs of the MFB's 21st century workforce," says Westcott.
Wyndham City Council was among Melbourne's first local government councils to offer Certificate IV qualifications in local government to its staff. Through VU's Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process, long-time employees with few formal qualifications had on-the-job assessment projects incorporated into their current roles while receiving credit for the expertise they had developed over the years.
Robyn Armstrong, personal assistant to the Council's organisational development manager, says she became increasingly aware of a need to develop her skills if she wanted a meaningful career at the Council, after starting there several decades earlier as a 16-year-old casual.
"When I was given the opportunity to do the certificate, I thought I was long past going to school," says Armstrong. "But I've blossomed personally and professionally because of my studies, and am now much more confident in my work."
City West Water earned first place in the Victorian Government's Minister's Award for Excellence for its technical officer development program, created in partnership with VU as a five-year accelerated cadetship. The program includes on-the-job rotations and internal training delivered through Certificate III business courses, as well as a VU Diploma of Engineering Technology, with options for further study.
City West's Organisational Development Manager Sophie Sigalas says that until this program, there had been no accredited training for water technical officers in Australia since 1995.
"Working with VU, we conducted a skills recognition program, then developed tailor-made training that's helping us address succession planning and knowledge management," says Sigalas.
Who we train
Victoria University has provided workforce training to the following organisations:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Australian Department of Defence
- Australian Federal Police
- Australian Nursing Federation
- Australian Tax Office
- Australian Workplace Authority
- BAE Systems
- Barry Plant Real Estate
- Barwon Health
- Bega Cheese
- Boral Limited
- Cancer Council of Victoria
- CitiPower Pty
- City West Water
- Highpoint Shopping Centre
- Housing Association of Australia
- Linfox Logistics
- Melbourne Storm Rugby Club
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade
- Nissan Australia
- QANTAS Catering
- QANTAS Freight
- Royal Children's Hospital
- Salvation Army
- Shiavello Group
- Southern Health
- Victorian Department of Human Services
- Victorian Department of Justice
- Woolworths Australia
- Work Safe Australia
- Wyndham City Council
- Yarra Trams
- Yarra Valley Water
- Zoos Victoria