As an inaugural member of GROW Bendigo, we recently caught up with Tania Gamble and Joe McKern from McKern Steel, to find out how things are going on their GROW journey.
McKern Steel is a family-run business and is Victoria’s premier supplier of structural steel to the state’s main domestic home builders. They also run the McKern Foundation which is an active player in the community that aims to support healthy, happy, active lifestyles in Bendigo’s youth by providing fresh fruit to almost 40 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in the Bendigo area each week.
McKern Steel signed up as a signatory to GROW Bendigo in 2018 and chose to work with WestVic Staffing solutions to identify some potential candidates to join the McKern Steel team.
WestVic Staffing have referred close to 15 candidates since 2021 to start in entry level drilling positions at their facility out in Eaglehawk.
“While we have had mixed results so far, we are learning all the time and have been able to identify areas for improvement through this process,” explains Tania Gamble, HR & OHS Manager at McKern Steel.
“A few of the candidates, have shown outstanding determination and initiative which has enabled them to move up the ranks quite quickly, while others have had some challenges and eventually dropped off,” Tania continued.
There have been a number of reasons for this, including:
- Candidates not being ready for the consistency of a full time role
- Candidates having significant personal challenges; and
- Candidates needing more mentoring support than McKern Steel is currently able to provide.
“A really important lesson we have learnt is to give someone a go even if first impressions suggest otherwise,” Joe continued.
“Some of the candidates that we didn’t expect to last, have really risen to the challenge and become valuable team members … so it just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover,” said Joe McKern, Operations Manager.
McKern Steel’s experience is a great reminder that becoming a GROW Bendigo signatory isn’t just about growing employment opportunities for at-risk people, but also about growing and improving as a business.
If you want to find out more about how your business might benefit from becoming part of the GROW Bendigo community, please contact the Be Bendigo office on 5442 7816.