The Quarrying Award recognises a company’s commitment to workforce planning and development, and leadership in skilling new entrants and existing workers in the quarrying sector.
SkillsDMC Chairman Ray Barker praised all the individual and industry award recipients for their ongoing leadership in and commitment to workforce development in the resources and infrastructure industry. “Their leadership is helping to strengthen the industry’s workforce, increase productivity and combat critical skills gaps,” he said.
Bob Bennetto, the chief executive officer of Hazell Bros, accepted the Quarrying Award on behalf of the company. He described the award as a vindication of Hazell’s commitment to training and workforce development.
“When we started our training work and our workforce planning a year ago, we engaged SkillsDMC to give us some assistance. I have to say they have been really supportive, encouraging, flexible and responsive because we wanted something that was specific to our business,” Mr Bennetto said. From the outset, Hazell Bros was keen to customise its training programmes to the demands of its business, not just “something off the shelf”.
The programme that Hazell Bros and SkillsDMC developed is called “Our Growing Together”. Today over 200 people are undertaking fully customised, nationally accredited training that spans work from the quarry face to the IT department through to the boardroom.
“Our training activities involve pipe laying, surveying, quarrying, civil programmes, right through to the Advanced Diploma in Business Management,” Bob Bennetto explained. “We’ve actually had some of the training providers coming into our business at 4:30 in the morning, sitting in our trucks and doing work with us!”
The training programme is mainly based on the Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program and RII09, the national rationalised training package for the resources and infrastructure industry. Mr Bennetto said that the strength of the rationalised training programme is that “we are able to mix and match competencies with particular people and skills programmes with different competencies”.
“The strengths are the diversity and the flexibility of those packages and the fact that you can adapt them to almost any enterprise,” he continued. “So you can custom make them. So, 80 per cent of the training would be standardised for everything but there’s another 20 per cent that you can customise to your own business. Every business is slightly different and I think it’s really important that you get the providers in to talk to you about what you really want to gain out of your training programme.”
Hazell’s training focus has predominantly been in its home base of Tasmania (80 per cent of its workforce is based there) but it is starting to roll out some of its training programmes in Queensland and in coming months into Victoria as it seeks to expand its commercial operations on the mainland.
Indeed, Bob Bennetto said that Hazell’s commitment to its training was integral to its growth. “We determined that if we were going to grow we needed the right skill sets and we needed to upskill a lot of our absolutely committed employees to a level that we could get the best out of them. We would not have been able to move forward without upskilling them – and particularly with our expansion onto the mainland we’ve now been able to transfer a number of upskilled people into our mainland operations.
“It just makes good business sense to ensure that you upskill your people. And we see it particularly with the Gen Ys, that it’s a good retention strategy at the same time. You can train them, keep them going, give them more skills, get them into different areas, you get a much broader base of an employee that can cover many different work areas by upskilling and multi-skilling.”
Other businesses recognised at the SkillsDMC Chairman’s Awards for their commitment to workforce planning and skills development were Suffren Contracting and Plant Hire, Barminco Ltd, Boart Longyear Australia and Muswellbrook Coal.
Sources: SkillsDMC, Hazell Bros