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National Apprenticeships, Employment & Training Provider | VERTO Skill to Transform

VERTO is an award winning, not-for-profit organisation assisting businesses and individuals with all their apprenticeship, employment and training needs. Our expertise covers a range of areas including Aboriginal services, Australian apprenticeships services, disability services, employment services and vocational training to help businesses, individuals and local industry to thrive. Our mission is to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities and we’ve built a track record of exemplary customer service over 30 years, built around an ethical approach.You'll find the team in 26 locations across New South Wales.

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VERTO offers a number of community programs that focus on assisting and supporting disadvantaged individuals with their search for employment and managing daily life issues.
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Indigenous Services

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Tenants' Advice and Advocacy

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The future of retail in Regional Australia

The future of retail in Regional Australia

By Ron Maxwell CEO - Nearly eight million Australians call our regional areas home, and in most of these areas, the retail sector is amongst the biggest employers. But the retail sector is rapidly changing, and the shift to online presents challenges for regional areas.  When you consider that regionally-based employees account for around a third of the entire Australian workforce, it's a problem that needs addressing.

You can often tell a lot about the economic health of a region by examining its number of commercial vacancies and for many rural and regional townships, these figures are on a sharp incline. Additionally, The Regional Australia Institute released its annual report on job vulnerability last week and found that retail checkout operators are amongst the most vulnerable in the country, due to the role's susceptibility to automation.

It's not all bad news, however. Face-to-face retail still has a role to play in our regional communities, particularly those where main street shopping hubs still act as the heart of the community – the key is in providing an excellent customer experience. Online too, can present opportunities in other areas, such as warehousing and logistics, but it will require action from all levels of government.

Local authorities must get on board

To realise these opportunities, it will take collaborative action between local, state and federal authorities. While it's often noted that our governments aren’t hugely successful when it comes to large-scale coordinated responses, there are a few in the works right now that could make a difference.

Transport projects, such as the Parkes Inland Rail, will make these areas more appealing to big business, combined with their open space, cheaper rents, and access to a ready, willing and large workforce.

These projects are often driven by local authorities and business chambers with a clear vision for the future and a commitment to seeing it through. Often, this is local council and businesses working together to advocate for their region and lobby state or federal governments for the services they need to thrive into the future.

Local authorities must step up and take initiative or risk being left behind in a landscape that is dominated by online retailers, often large multi-national corporations with the ability to offer more competitive prices than local stores. One example of this is the Parkes Council, in the NSW Central West, who pitched to online retailing giant, Amazon, when they heard the business was seeking a location for a fulfillment centre.

Federal government must step in

Unfortunately, while the initiative taken by Parkes was commendable, Amazon ultimately chose to situate its warehouse in the outer Sydney suburbs.  And this is part of the problem.

Making regional areas more attractive to big business must be on the top of the agenda for our political leaders. In fact, a recent parliamentary committee report recommended "examining incentives and strategies to improve private sector investment in regional areas" is key to regional development.

And there have been some inroads into this, initiatives such as the skilled migrant visa programs that encourage migrants to settle in regional towns are stemming population decline and bringing new skillsets to the areas, which may make them more attractive to corporates. But there is considerably more work to be done.

Young people, existing employees, must prepare

While we await broader government solutions to address these challenges, there are some things young people and existing retail employees can do to boost their chances of success in an evolving industry.

Technology is playing an increasing role in retail and it’s important, particularly for older people who aren't 'digital natives', to build the skills that will help them thrive in a digital world. Programs like the federal government's Career Transition Assistance program, which will be run by VERTO in Central West NSW, offer older people the opportunity to develop digital literacy and confidence with a range of devices to increase their employability.

Social and interpersonal skills, particularly for our younger generation who often haven't learnt these skills due to the increase in online interaction, are also key.  Delivering a tailored and memorable customer experience is important to keep local bricks-and-mortar stores trading and a big part of that is how you interact with customers.  For many retailers, it can be their only point of difference in an online world.

Individuals in retail will need to build the skills to strengthen their careers today, while the government, hopefully, plans for tomorrow. Local authorities and business chambers will need to step up their initiatives and play an advocacy role for their local area. 

Giving our young people the skills to succeed in a tough job market

Giving our young people the skills to succeed in a tough job market

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

With youth unemployment sitting at around 12.5% and underemployment even higher, it’s harder than ever for young people to find secure, full-time employment. Add in the challenges presented by digital disruption, and I believe that we must find a way to better prepare emerging generations for work.  

Digital literacy is a core skill that is often discussed when we talk about preparing for the jobs of the future, but in my experience, this isn’t where the main challenge lies for our youth. Emerging generations are digital natives, they have been immersed in technology from a very young age and as a result digital literacy is relatively high amongst this demographic.  

But it’s this very thing – the immersion in technology – that has also contributed to what I see as one of the biggest challenges – a lack of social and communication skills. Previous generations had many organic opportunities to develop critical self and social awareness during childhood and young adulthood. The digital nature of our society today means many face-to-face interactions have been replaced by online platforms, such as social media, and this limits the incidental opportunities to learn these skills. 

Interpersonal and soft skills are developed and nurtured by experience, not in a classroom.  There is a mountain of research that supports the view that soft skills, such as interpersonal skills, collaboration, analytical thinking and willingness to learn are key to employability.   These skills sit alongside digital literacy in a group of skills known as ‘enterprise skills’, the generic skills an employee needs to succeed in a workplace, regardless of industry. They complement an individual’s technical skills, knowledge and experience and they are in high demand amongst Australian employers.

VET has a part to play

Finding opportunities to gain real-world experience is key, and it must be more than a short burst of work experience to have an impact. It’s one of the many advantages of an apprenticeship or traineeship – alongside the technical skills and qualifications, apprentices and trainees develop a toolkit of generic workplace skills.  These skills will set them up in good stead, no matter how many times they change careers.  

Although there is no doubt that automation and AI will impact the way we work, according to the Department of Employment jobs requiring creativity, complex judgement, advanced reasoning, social interaction and emotional intelligence are only set to grow.  Many of these are human skills, not everything can or will be replaced by robotics and AI.

In fact, vocational education and training (VET) offers many opportunities to develop on-the-job experience, and even in the classroom you’ll likely be working with those who are on the coal face.  At VERTO, for example, our trainers must prove their workplace currency and relevance to industry.  In fact, many of them are actively working in their industries and teaching part-time.  

The competency-based nature of VET also means that achieving a certificate is a guarantee to employers that an individual has a specific skill set and, in a crowded job market, this can give job seekers an edge. 

Interacting with employers

I am a big supporter of networking and mentoring programs, and believe we need to offer more structured opportunities to job seekers, but they are out there for those motivated to find them.  National Skills Week, for example, that is happening this week, offers a wide variety of events to network, interact and get exposure to a range of career opportunities. 

Taking the time to engage with these programs builds confidence, provides an opportunity to interact with potential employers and develops communication skills. ‘Meet The Tradies’, for example, an event that VERTO is offering in Bathurst this week, brings together tradespeople from fifteen different industries and attendees can engage with them to learn about the industry and find out what skills they’ll need to succeed.

Schools and industry can collaborate

Many schools are starting to introduce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specific subjects and we need to expand this into a range of workplace skills.  For my son, who recently entered the workforce, the basic workplace skills his primary school taught him, such as how to type, have been an advantage in securing employment.  

The reality for our youth today, is that they will change jobs an average of 17 times and have 5 careers in their lifetimes. We need to equip our up-and-coming generations for that uncertainty and schools have a key role to play.  

Resilience and emotional intelligence will come to the forefront as we navigate more and more uncertainty in labour markets, across the globe.  Focusing on building enterprise skills and expanding learn and earn study options from a younger age is critical.  Germany’s dual education system, which fosters strong relationships between schools and companies is great example of how this can work, to the benefit of future generations, industry and the economy alike.

In a world where the only constant is change, we can’t focus narrowly on the skills needed to simply find a job, we need to give our students the skills to manage a varied and changing career from a young age. 

VERTO’s Meet the Tradies Open Day to celebrate National Skills Week 2018

VERTO’s Meet the Tradies Open Day to celebrate National Skills Week 2018

To celebrate National Skills Week 2018, VERTO is proud to host a ‘Meet the Tradies’ event where members of the public can join our team and local tradesmen to discover more about potential careers in the Australia’s Vocational Education and Training sector (VET). Guests will also get the chance to explore the VERTO facilities, and meet with representatives from the apprenticeship, training, employment and disability teams.

Date: 30 August 2018

Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm

Address: VERTO, 227 Howick Street, Bathurst, NSW, 2795

Celebrated on August 27th– September 2nd, National Skills Week is the focal point for the promotion of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training sector (VET). Each year the week continues to celebrate and inform students and the wider public of the diversity and career pathways available through VET.

Ron Maxwell, VERTO CEO commented on the event, explaining that, “The Meet the Tradies Open Day is a great way for senior students who are contemplating their post school journey to find out more about alternative career paths.”

The event will connect local school students with local tradespeople from various businesses such as Hynash, Kelso Electrical, Geoff Bennett Plumbing/roofing and Toulon Welding and Fabrication.


As a proud partner of the Accessible Bathurst project, VERTO are also excited to have the team from Everywhere Venues attend the Open Day. They will be able to explain how to search for venues in the local area to obtain accessibility information and ensure that when organising events and activities that your friends, family and colleagues with accessibility needs can safely attend.

Why Australian businesses need to see the potential of mature-aged employees

Why Australian businesses need to see the potential of mature-aged employees

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

Australians are living and working longer, according to the latest data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.  People over the age of 55 account for approximately 25% of the population and 16% of the total workforce.   

This is the fastest growing segment of the Australian population and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, yet Australia ranks only 13th among OECD countries in employment of people aged 55-64.  And this is an issue, for individual wellbeing, for the labour market, and for the economy. 

It will cost us all 

The Regional Australia Institute recently warned the government that lack of employment opportunities for older Australians, particularly in our regional areas, could negatively impact economic growth and increase the strain on public resources.  

There are some obvious economic consequences of an ageing population with limited job opportunities, such as decreasing number of tax payers and increasing aged pension costs, but it doesn’t stop there. Employment is key to a person’s wellbeing – not just their hip pocket, but also their feelings of self-worth. Long-term unemployment increases depression and other mental health issues, and this cost is passed on to our public health system. 

The cost isn’t just financial either.  By reducing the ability of older Australians to actively contribute to our workforce, we are losing untold amounts of experience – specialised industry experience, life experience and skills developed over an extended period in the workforce, such as problem solving and critical thinking.

Additionally, more workers create more demand and a stronger economy, which in turn leads to more jobs, so by marginalising mature-aged workers we are essentially disregarding a quarter of the population, and we all stand to lose. 

Employers can realise the benefits

There is an abundance of research out there that tells us that diversity in a workforce pays off for a business.  It increases innovation and enables businesses to connect with a multigenerational customer base, it keeps employees more engaged and the culture more positive.  A diverse, multigenerational workforce is a source of competitive advantage

Yet, according to a Human Rights Commission report, 27% of older Australians reported feeling discriminated against in the workplace and a third of those gave up looking for work as a result. There are two misconceptions about older Australians in the workforce that I hear often, and, in my opinion, play a significant role in age discrimination in our job market.   

Employers can feel that mature-aged employees are a cost, not an investment, e.g.  They’ll leave me after a few years to retire, so anything I spend in training or development is wasted”.   The reality is that Gen Z employees will likely leave in less than two years, and take those skills to another organisation. Compare this to the Baby Boomer generation who typically stay for 6+ years, and you’ll see that your older team members are likely to remain committed for a longer period, potentially right up to retirement.   

The other misconception is that mature-aged workers can’t adapt or learn new skills, but in fact, they typically have more resilience and can navigate uncertain times much better. In my own experience working in the employment industry, I have always found mature-aged job seekers eager to learn new skills, adaptable and keen to succeed in the workplace. 

Building confidence is important

What can be an issue for mature-aged workers is confidence, particularly following a redundancy.  Programs like Career Transition Assistance, a government backed program to help those over 55 to re-enter the workforce, are designed to turn that around.

These programs give mature-aged workers the confidence to re-join the labour market.  Participants build skills and increase their digital literacy, but also learn how to translate their existing skill bases into a digital world.  Older Australians can bring a wealth of experience and strong skillsets but often report feeling like these skills aren’t needed in today’s workplaces.  It’s about reframing these skills, so that both the individual and employers can see their potential. 

Small changes make a big difference 

To realise this potential, there are a few things employers can do to make the workplace more age-friendly. 

Mentoring programs are a fantastic way to harness the experience of mature-aged employees and create an inclusive workplace.  I’ve talked before about how mentoring has a positive impact on young people and engaging older employees to mentor them can prove a win/win.

As with any employee, providing continuous learning and training opportunities is key to engagement and this is no different for mature-aged employees. Part time and flexible opportunities can be great for older Australians too, and can be utilised as part of a phased retirement plan. Other changes are subtler and tend to apply when fostering any sort of diversity, such as embracing different communication styles to give everyone airtime.  

Engaging more mature-aged Australians is a must for individuals, employers and the Australian economy. There are around 85,000 older Australians currently looking for work, offering a wealth of experience and strong skills – if we can realise their potential, everyone will benefit.

What our
clients say . . .

  • "Our local VERTO group of consultants have been in the business for many years now and have a very strong knowledge of the requirements of our apprentices and trainees. The team are always available to answer any questions that may arise, making their customer service excellent. It is with their commitment and dedication that we as a large company are able to achieve an above average completion rate for our apprentices and trainees."

    Mark Smith, Director - Masterfoods
  • "VERTO’s highly professional and dedicated Careergate™ team have been immensely conducive to our Post School Options Program. We were fortunate to have them as Guest Speakers at a work readiness program preparing students for the world of work. VERTO have gone above and beyond their commitment to our students, delivering information about apprenticeships and traineeships, and helping develop their knowledge about the job seeking cycle."

    Suza Puljic, Specialist Teacher Student Services - Catholic Education Diocese
  • "THE VERTO team are fantastic and we appreciate their expertise and support. They always go the extra mile in everything they do…. nothing is ever too much trouble."

    Samantha Palise, Pathways Program Manager - Mid Coast Connect
  • "VERTO provide great advice and support throughout the entire recruitment process, from assisting with the position description and advertising, receiving applications, to providing office space for interviews. Friendly professionalism, courtesy and prompt responses all added to a positive result – which our organisation greatly appreciates."

    Jenny Bell, Manager - Cowra Tourism Corporation
  • "VERTO care about my wellbeing and helped me find a great job! I now work outdoors with a friendly bunch of people, for a local employer that treats employees with compassion and understanding. I’m now looking forward to a long term future in the workforce."

    Liam McFarlane - Former Job Seeker
  • "The disability employment services team are very caring. They take time with me and for me and are very understanding. They go above and beyond to help me in all aspects, not just employment."

    Stephen - DES Client
  • "VERTO has been very flexible and helpful with my training needs. The consultants and Trainers have been fantastic and there is always someone around to help me when I need support."

    Natasha Kauri - Learner
  • "VERTO responded professionally and efficiently to all requests for help. I cannot thank the organisation enough for their positive and professional manner."

    Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan - Tenancy Client
  • "Our VERTO consultant provides exceptional customer service, expertly handling all our traineeship needs and being available whenever we need information or advice."

    Kay Dhami, Managing Director - My Kindy Early Learning Centres
  • "Our VERTO Consultant has demonstrated significant industry knowledge and developed a tailored approach to our business needs time and time again."

    Jordan Shoveller, Duty Manager - Davistown RSL

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