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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 35 years, built around an ethical approach.You'll find the team in over 40 locations across New South Wales.

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Community Programs

Community Programs

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.
Indigenous Services

Indigenous Services

Tenants' Advice and Advocacy

Tenants' Advice and Advocacy

Disability Services

Disability Services

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Stakes higher than ever for VET sector review

Stakes higher than ever for VET sector review

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

There's no question in my mind that the VET sector needs an overhaul, and the recent announcement of a wholesale government review has been welcomed by many. But for me, one question looms large: Will they get it right? 

During my time in the sector, I've seen smaller reviews come and go without making the large-scale change that will make the difference to not only students, but industries and the economy as a whole. Now with skills shortages upon us or looming in many of our trades and key sectors, and disruption impacting every industry, the stakes are high.

For me, there are some key areas that will need to be addressed if the review is to achieve the outcomes the sector needs to succeed, and one of these is increasing engagement with industry. The whole purpose of the VET sector is to provide students with the competencies Australian industries need to thrive, so hearing from those at the coalface is vital.

Microbusinesses need a voice

We are experiencing immense disruption across all industries and undertaking a VET sector review now creates the opportunity to develop a sector that is responsive – if the right voices are given airtime.  Often, in these reviews, industry engagement involves reaching out to peak bodies but, while there is validity in their opinions, this approach is missing a key audience.  

Microbusinesses are key employers of VET graduates; small business tradespeople or family-run businesses, for example. They are at the frontline, and if the review is to be successful, in my opinion, they need a seat at the table too. 

Once there is clarity around what is needed at the coalface, there is also an opportunity to increase sector agility and streamline process to respond appropriately. 

Innovation must be encouraged

 I've talked before about the challenges presented by lengthy course review processes and rigid regulations and addressing this is an important piece of the puzzle.

Current regulations are often black and white and checklist-based, with compliance at the centre of decision-making.  And while compliance is important, it's often too focused on the journey, rather than the destination. When dealing with a competency-based system, like VET, the question should be as simple as "does the student possess the competency" instead of getting caught up in how they got there.  This is only exacerbated by regulators being chronically underfunded and understaffed, leaving little space for new ideas to be considered.

The regulatory environment is, in my opinion, stifling innovation, as providers are afraid to try anything outside the box, lest it be deemed non-compliant.  But in a time of such great disruption, innovation is necessary to keep Australian industry competitive in a global and fast-paced market. In fact, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, around 50 per cent of all economic growth is driven by it

Technology has to be at the centre 

Today, every industry is impacted by technology, and the VET sector needs to better incorporate existing and emerging technologies into course delivery.

The rise of robotics and artificial intelligence across every industry is only set to grow.  What was once limited to technology companies is rapidly becoming part of everyday life in a broad spectrum of industries, just look, for example, at how virtual reality is set to transform the retail experience

In fact, all our industries are impacted by technology in so many different ways.  In our heavy trades, machinery is advancing so rapidly, and VET students need access to these technologies if they are going to become competent users of them in the workplace. 

Much of this comes down to one of the other key issues for me: Funding.  In many cases, students are learning their trades on dated equipment as providers don’t have access to the funds required to upgrade them. 

Funding disparities a challenge 

Education is widely thought to be the key to navigating our digital future and keeping Australia competitive in a global marketplace, so it's no surprise that universities and schools have seen increases in funding over recent years.  What is surprising, however, is that the VET sector overall has seen a decrease. 

Spending is largely ad hoc and funding models are decided at a state level, meaning that there are disparities across the country, creating an uneven playing field.  Rural and regional areas are often the victims, not getting adequate funding to deliver local education options – only accelerating the decline of local populations as people migrate to metropolitan areas in search of employment and training opportunities, and exacerbating a raft of social issues in the community.

It's not just in funding – the VET sector faces an uneven playing field when it comes to attracting school leavers too. 

School systems need to support VET 

Our current high school system is geared towards one outcome:  the ATAR, a ranking that only applies to university admission.  Add to this that school ranking measures university entrants as a key metric, it's easier to see why the system is actively encouraging students toward university options, thus painting VET courses as a poor cousin. 

Contrary to this mindset, more than half a million new jobs in the next five years won't require a degree, and VET offers school leavers such a variety of opportunities, it is key that students are encouraged to consider these options.

There are many opportunities to be realised 

Holding such a large-scale review at a time when disruption is changing every facet of our workforce is a good thing.  There are many areas to examine, but also many opportunities.   

The key to success lies in having the foresight and fortitude to do things a little differently, not just rolling out the same old playbook.  If the review can put innovation and future-proofing at the forefront, the outcome just might have the impact required to strengthen the VET sector and drive economic growth into the future.  

Financial subsidies to increase regional apprenticeships in 2019

Financial subsidies to increase regional apprenticeships in 2019

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

The employment situation in our regional and rural areas is always going to be tougher for both businesses and individuals than it is in our metropolitan areas, and this has a flow on to the local community, and even the economy as a whole. 

Stimulating employment in our regional areas has been on the political agenda for some time, as has addressing the skills shortages in many of our trades – two major challenges facing the labour market in Australia today.  That's why I am pleased that the Federal Government has announced a $60 million wage subsidy for apprenticeships in our regional and rural communities.  

From 1stJanuary 2019, eligible businesses can receive wage subsidies of up to 75 per cent for first year, 50 per cent for second year and 25 per cent for third year apprentices, balancing out the short-term cost for employers and leading to long-term gain for us all.  

It will help small business 

When it comes to our traditional trades, many of the players in our regional communities are small businesses, family concerns or individual tradespeople and it can feel like an expensive exercise to take on an apprentice. 

In the first year of an apprenticeship, as a young person is just learning the ropes of a new trade, productivity and, therefore, return on investment, for the employer can be lower. For a small business, this short-term cost can be crippling, even if it is for long-term gain, and can be a roadblock when it comes to taking on an apprentice.  

The whole community can benefit 

Local businesses are at the heart of the community in our regional areas, providing services, employing local people, and often supporting local initiatives, such as charity events or sporting teams.  Helping these businesses stay strong into the future will provide support for the wider community.  

I've talked before about the disastrous impacts a lack of employment opportunities can have on a community, with two of the main ones being population decline, as young people migrate to cities to find employment and, of course, long-term unemployment.  

The impacts of long-term unemployment are felt at an individual, community and national level, with the costs of welfare, support services, and healthcare rising in line with unemployment rates.  

And it's no different when it comes to population decline.  Population decline often leads to a drop in property prices, reduction in new construction activity, the closure of local businesses as demand for services decreases, less job opportunities, and a significant decline in skills within the local community as people leave to find employment - and it can be very hard to reverse. 

The subsidy will encourage small businesses in regional areas to take on an apprentice, or even additional apprentices by reducing the financial burden, creating local jobs, and even potentially addressing skills shortages in the process. 

Skill shortages may be eased

Not only is the subsidy designed to stimulate local economies, it's also designed to address the skill shortages that are facing our traditional trades and small businesses are at the heart of many of these. 

From carpenters and locksmiths to cooks and hairdressers, Australia needs more tradespeople and this subsidy applies directly to trades on our National Skills Needs List.  Addressing the skills on this list is a top priority for the Australian government and encouraging more small businesses and tradespeople to take on apprentices is a step toward this goal. 

It's part of a broader support package 

Supporting and growing our apprenticeships is not just a financial issue, and while the subsidy does form an incentive for employers, it's also part of a package that employers can access when they sign on an apprentice through an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider, like VERTO. 

AASN providers work with employers to help them access these incentives and assist with paperwork and administration to ensure this doesn’t become a burden for time-poor business owners, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

We connect employers with the right apprentices and provide ongoing mentoring support to help young apprentices and employers have a long and productive relationship, that ultimately, benefits the individual, the business and the wider community. 

At VERTO, we welcome this financial support as another piece of the apprenticeships puzzle and look forward to working with more businesses to upskill young people in our regional and rural communities in the new year. 

To find out more about how VERTO can help employer’s access incentives, click here

VERTO Awarded Sole Provider Status for Skills Checkpoint Tender

VERTO Awarded Sole Provider Status for Skills Checkpoint Tender

4 December, 2018

VERTO has today announced that it has been awarded sole provider status for New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) under the federal government’s Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program.

This $17.4m program, announced as a part of the 2018/19 Budget, will provide eligible Australians with assessment, advice and guidance on transitioning into new roles within their current industry or pathways to a new career, including referral to relevant education and training options. Eligible individuals will be those aged 45 to 70 who are employed and at risk of entering the income support system, or recently unemployed and not registered for assistance through an employment services program.

Commenting on the successful tender, VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said “This is an incredibly exciting win for VERTO. To be awarded sole provider status in NSW, VIC, and the ACT is a fantastic result for our entire organisation. This delivers another core component of our growth strategy, aimed at increasing our ability to deliver services for those in the community who require support, training, and guidance on entering the workforce. I would like to thank the entire VERTO team involved and the Australian Government for the opportunity to deliver these much needed services to older Australians.”

“To be able to deliver these services across a number of states and territories is something we’re incredibly proud of. Alongside our expansion of our Employment Services across NSW in July 2018, VERTO now covers more than 40 locations across Australia” Maxwell added.

The Skills Checkpoint Program is a joint initiative between the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Jobs and Small Business, while it’s also linked to the latter’s Skills and Training Incentive. This incentive will be administrated by Skills Checkpoint Providers and is available to individuals who have been assessed as part of the Skills Checkpoint Program. The incentive will provide recipients with up to $2,200 (GST inclusive) to fund suitable training to help them make a career transition.

To find out more information, please contact VERTO on 1300 4 VERTO or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Housing affordability and employment: They really do go together

Housing affordability and employment: They really do go together

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

There have been plenty of column inches devoted to housing affordability. Given that your home is one the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, it’s not surprising that house prices dominate discussion for many of us. 

It’s particularly tough in our major cities. Even with Sydney recording a drop in housing prices of up to 7%, it’s coming off such a high base that it’s not making a difference in terms of housing affordability when the median house price is still around $1m.  

What can be overlooked is the impact housing affordability has on employment and the general wellbeing of the community. For many occupations, high house pricing means long commutes and a complete inability to live close to where you work. This is becoming such a problem that it will begin to impact the choices people make, both young and old, in terms of what career they pursue. 

Have we reached a crisis point?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that housing unaffordability has already become a crisis, particularly in Sydney. 

I read an article from earlier this year, talking about how many core professions – such as nursing, teaching, and emergency services – now find it so difficult to locate appropriate housing in the areas that they work that it has led to extremely long commutes. The knock on effect of that is clear: Long commuting times lead to a poor quality of life and long term health impacts, especially for those with a family. 

And it’s not just the jobs mentioned above that are impacted: It’s widespread. There are plenty of careers where the salary being offered just cannot keep pace with the price increases we’ve seen in the property market. 

It can even be argued that some of the property slow down we’re seeing is from the overheated market, leading to people making decisions to leave Sydney and live in other areas, often regional. In fact, given that I’m living in regional NSW, I’ve seen plenty of friends and former colleagues who have moved to Sydney, tried to make it work, and purely due to cost of living pressures have moved back to regional towns. This often leads to a career change, with people looking at undertaking mature age training to re-enter the job market. 

Youth employment has seen the biggest impact

For our youth it’s become a real challenge. Housing affordability in somewhere like Sydney, without significant support from family, is now a near impossible goal for many, especially if you want to live close to the CBD.  

Add in the impact of the gig economy and the overall casualistion of work in general, and you can see why it’s never been harder for young people to own their own home. For my generation, the knowledge that if you studied hard or gained the right training full time employment was an option, is now a thing of the past. Our young people today face intense competition for jobs, coupled with less full time employment. That all leads to further barriers to entering the property market. It’s incredibly difficult to gain finance if you don’t have fulltime work.  

While I’m certainly not trying to make excuses, it needs to be recognised that this kind of change means that people have to make different career choices. Even my family has been impacted: I have a child who is in their early 20’s, living and studying in Sydney. The cost of living, even with support, is astonishing. Just rent alone is a frightening prospect. I can understand the frustration our younger generation feels. 

The solution may be a change in focus

Rather than argue the merits of tax changes or other measures to alleviate the problem, I will look at our areas of expertise - employment and training, to find a potential solution.

Housing affordability and general cost of living pressures, are influencing career choices. Our youth in particular may not see the benefit of moving to a major city, and may look at more options locally. University, while always a viable option, may not be the best way to enter a career path, particularly with the glut of candidates fighting for entry-level positions. This makes vocational education and training (VET) even more attractive, particularly as more employment options require a VET qualification than ever before

Rising property prices will also lead to more people making a career switch to match a tree or sea change. The attractiveness of living in a big city will always be there, but at what cost? I believe more and more people will make the decision to live and work in areas where they can afford property. With remote working on the increase, it’s not a stretch to imagine more people moving to areas like the Central West and North/South Coast NSW. 

For many it comes down to a choice: The impact on family life, caused by increasingly long commutes, will surely mean that many people will make a decision to move away from the corporate grind in the city. It will be interesting to see how employment opportunities and demand will change as a result. 

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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