A conversation between a training expert and the human resources manager of Woodend’s biggest employer has led to lasting benefits for workers from a non-English-speaking background.
Kyneton Community Learning Centre (KCLC) was recognised at the state government’s Learn Local awards after conducting a 10-week course with 10 Barker Trailers’ employees, who are originally from the Philippines.
KCLC education and training manager John Thomas said the program, which helped explain concepts such as occupational health and safety, and entitlements, also fostered language learning and greater understanding among Barker’s 175 workers, who turn out about 450 custom trailers a year.
‘‘A lot of these guys felt a little bit isolated; they weren’t really sure of themselves,’’ Mr Thomas said. ‘‘But by the end of it they better understood their importance to the business, and a lot of trust was built up.’’
Barker Trailers human resources manager Lois Hunt said the initiative, which won the Learn Local award for business, had helped break down cultural barriers – ‘‘even things such as leave, how it works and what they’re entitled to,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s a lot of things that most of us who have English as a first language take for granted.’’
Mr Thomas said KCLC was keen to run similar programs with other businesses.