Workers preparing for life after Electrolux

ELECTROLUX workers will be able to opt in to one-on-one interviews with training consultants to find out what skills they need for their future careers as part of the company’s three-pronged approach to helping them find new jobs when the plant closes.

The company formed an 18-member consultative committee just days after the plant’s closure was announced.

Since then the group, made up of five Electrolux HR and training staff, four senior union delegates who work on site, two area union organisers and seven employee-elected members representing each of the plant’s departments, has met once a month.

Electrolux HR manager, and one of the committee’s members, Geoff Drummond said the group was putting together a transitional plan beginning with employee information sessions in late February with help from the federal government’s Department of Employment and State Training.

The sessions will use information garnered from business surveys to look at the future needs of the Orange district and opportunities for existing businesses or new businesses to employ the workers if they gain the right skill set.

“They’ll be able to think about what they want to do and this will put the right training plan together for them,” Mr Drummond said.

Plant manager Mark O’Kane said Electrolux was going to “significant expense” to retrain workers.

So far Electrolux has paid $19,000 in enrolment fees for 16 workers to take up the state government’s offer of TAFE training positions allocated for at least 60 workers.

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Mr O’Kane said the workers who had taken up the training so far were enrolled in front-line management and diplomas of business.

Mr Drummond expects more to enrol after Electrolux co-hosts a free jobs expo with Orange City Council at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club in March.

The expo will be open to all job seekers, as well as Electrolux workers, including contractors affected by the plant closure.

“At this point [the workers] will know ‘this is what I’m interested in doing’, that’s when we’ll have a gap and that’s when we have consultants come in and work with groups of possibly eight [workers] and then break it down individually,” Mr O’Kane said.

“By then they’ll have a good understanding of what skills they require.”

Mr Drummond said feedback from the individual interviews would  allow the company to identify what training each worker needed.

“You might have 50 people that want to get their OH&S white card, but obviously we need a budget finalised for that and we’re also working with the state and federal government,” he said.

Mr O’Kane said since the plant’s closure was announced there had been no communication with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, member for Calare John Cobb or Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, but the plant had received “tremendous support” from member for Orange Andrew Gee and Industry and Investment NSW and was also working with the federal government’s Department of Employment.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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