Achieving Employment Outcomes for Local People
Huntlee Academy was established in 2014 to provide work, skill development and higher level career opportunities for local disadvantaged people. Trainees are typically young people, long term unemployed, mature aged workers, people with a disability and Indigenous Australians. For these people, the benefits are immediate and the repercussions very much long term as they learn skills, complete training and receive the support they need to ensure they are job ready.
Located at the start of the Hunter Expressway near Branxton, the township of Huntlee is first new town built in the Hunter Valley in more than half a century. On completion, it will boast 7500 dwellings in four villages surrounding a vibrant town centre and will have a population of around 20,000, similar in size to Singleton. The first village, Katherine’s Landing is already a thriving community.
Huntlee Academy was planned and established as an essential component of the Huntlee development. In addition to providing opportunities for trainees, it offers employers – both those associated with the building of the new town and those engaged in other activities in the local area – access to a dedicated pool of employees managed by the Academy.
As well as meeting their labour demands, it allows employers to fulfil an important social responsibility in the burgeoning new township by offering sustainable employment opportunities to a wide range of local residents. On a broader scale, supporting the Academy’s operations will also assist with the development of the local economy; reduce welfare costs and deliver a sustainable model for job creation in the region.
We also anticipate that by increasing the skills, experiences and responsibilities of local people, the Huntlee Academy will, in the longer term, create the opportunity for the incubation of new small businesses.
Huntlee Academy is a standalone organisation governed by a board which includes community members. We are a registered charity.
Since commencing operations in September 2014, we have established a management structure; work site, policies and procedures; invested in essential plant and machinery to enable capability across a wide range of activities; and partnered with an RTO to roll-out training, and a jobseeker agency.
We are entirely independent of Huntlee and LWP Property Group (the project manager), however LWP Property Group and a number of its contractors have committed to assisting the Academy by providing commercial work opportunities. Having access to this level of ongoing work is a significant benefit for our enterprise.
Huntlee is actively seeking to expand our business activities through natural growth and by developing relationships with potential new customers within the locality.
What We Do
Huntlee Academy achieves employment outcomes directly by sourcing candidates for its business units and indirectly by facilitating opportunities through other employers.
Under the direct employment provided by the Huntlee Academy, daily activities currently include:
Key business partners who provide additional opportunities for local people (especially those from disenfranchised groups) include:
- Huntlee’s prime civil contractor.
- Civil subcontractors.
- Builders and their subcontractors.
- Service providers including consultants, businesses, chambers, RTOs and Job Networks.
The Academy has formed a number of effective partnerships with local organisations who assist us in the delivery of training and employment goals. These include government agencies, Jobactives, organisations in the disabilities sector and Registered Training Organisations.
Huntlee Academy’s focus is on providing on-the-job training. To facilitate this, a number of Business Units have been established. The Business Units operate like small businesses, providing commercially competitive services in an open market environment.
Each business unit is subject to normal business tests to ensure its commercial viability. Trainees are attached to business units so they are working in a normal employment environment under normal industry conditions. This helps develop industry skills and provides a genuine work history on which they can build. Trainees also have the opportunity to complete on-the-job and classroom-based training courses to gain qualifications related to the areas they are working in.
Business Units undertake work both independently and in partnership with local businesses. Working with local businesses provides mutual benefit in terms of skill development, resource flexibility and providing access to a large scale, regional development.
By having a number of separate units, we can offer our employees diversity and allocate them to the area which best suits their skills and interests, increasing their chances of success.
Progress to Date
In its first full year of operation, the Huntlee Academy turned over more than $1 million and generated a surplus of around $150,000. This surplus was reinvested in capital to provide increased and additional business opportunities. Within two years, the Academy turned over more than $2 million and more than doubled the number of trainees it employed.
The Academy commits at least 20% of all profits towards a training budget used to pay for a partner Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to roll-out training in certificate and licensed courses, academic assistance, and a dedicated Jobseeker Agency.
Huntlee Academy Retention Rates