John Fitzgibbon, Founder and Director of CLOS – Cross Laminated Offsite Solutions has provided this story relating to Be Inclusive.
Please provide a brief background and some context:
I joined GROW in 2018, after being introduced to Liz Everist by Ben Hassett (formerly Built now H4 Projects). Ben and I were both working as team leaders on the Quintessential Equity WorkSafe Project for Built at the time. Ben was known for his knowledge and enthusiasm for local/social procurement.
Having established Cross Laminated Offsite Solutions in late 2017 after a commercial site management career in tall concrete developments, I started my career as an apprentice plasterer with my dad and brothers in Warrnambool. With a stable and supportive upbringing, doing a trade in my father’s business was an easy step for me. Many people are not so fortunate and have multiple barriers to employment, not least of which can be a lack of positive role models to influence them.
What steps did you take to make a change?
Part of our CLOS GROW Action plan was to work closely with Northern Futures and the Gordon Tafe to build a program of employment opportunities to be linked to GROW target communities. This meant looking to give students work exposure to construction after their studies. I initially gave talks to students underlining the importance of upskilling every chance they get.
What was different after the change?
Earlier this year Northern Futures finished their Cert II Civil Construction course and CLOS took on five students for a trial period working 3 days per week in the factory. We did this so they could have exposure to a working environment to see if they wanted to work in this industry and also for me to observe their work and fit within our team.
What was the outcome?
One of those students has recently signed on with us as an Apprenticeship in Carpentry. The other three have been offered apprenticeships with Air Radiators, Shell and another Geelong business. Another has been working with us for the last 4 months but has recently taken a break from further work. We are also likely to sign on another two apprentices soon from the school system.
Bryan from Northern Futures concurs, ‘For these work ready students to be able to step straight into a working environment after their learning with us is only achievable through the collaboration of industry. Thank you, CLOS.’
Photo is John Fitzgibbon from CLOS.