• Skilling South Australia

The right idea for upskilling

Landscaping and construction company Outside Ideas site manager Gavin Scott works with first-year apprentice Emma Pawelski at the Shamrock Rd Reserve playground upgrade. Picture: MIKE BURTON

Courtesy of The Advertiser.

Developing skilled staff at all levels of the business has become the focus of major South Australian civil construction and landscaping company Outside Ideas.

With the help of $80,000 in funding from the State Government through the Skilling South Australia initiative, company director Aaron Superina says the group is ensuring upskilling and training is a priority.

“It all goes back to the thing that restricts us from growing the most, which is not having enough staff, and not having enough quality staff,” says Superina, whose company has done major commercial landscaping projects, including Adelaide Oval and Henley Square.

Outside Ideas has been running a large apprenticeship program for seven years, with 34 apprentices on its books and plans to take on 15 more. Two years ago it hired Learning and Development manager Carla Mellor to explain the opportunities in civil construction to secondary school students. She also acts as dedicated support for apprentices.

However, Superina was concerned young 17 and 18-year-old school leavers were being lost from the program because of potential communication problems. “If we can create a really nice work environment for these guys and understand they are not quite as tough as a 40-year-old, and they do need a little extra help and care,” he says. “Imagine all of those guys and girls who probably would’ve been really good... but just got scared off the industry.

“We thought, if we could make our leaders better that would, in turn, accelerate how quickly our apprentices would learn, create a better environment for them to learn in and we really want to be known as a great place to do an apprenticeship and to have a career into the future.”

The company’s first supervisor training program for 12 of its senior operators was recently completed, with another 12 supervisors to take part in a second course next year. Premier Steven Marshall says Outside Ideas is a prime example of a growing South Australian business focused on training the next generation of skilled workers in South Australia.

David Pisoni, Minister for Innovation and Skills, says the Building Supervisor Capability program will allow Outside Ideas to take on new apprentices, providing each with inhouse mentoring and one-on-one training with a senior employee.

“This Skilling South Australia project will ensure the company’s leadership group has the skills required to train, mentor and supervise an increased group of civil construction, landscape and concrete workers,” the Minister says.

For more information, see Projects.

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