COTA Victoria launched its Reach, Train, Employ project in 2020 to support jobseekers 50 years and over into training and employment in the aged care and disability sectors. None of us could have predicted the disruptions caused by the global pandemic in 2020 and how quickly everyone needed to respond and pivot their plans.
Due to social restrictions, the project’s 38 participants were unable to secure work placements when planned, a vital part of their training and employment pathway, which meant we needed to come up with alternative ways to support them to stay engaged and help them to be ‘job ready’, when the time comes.
RACV has a volunteer program that provides staff with the opportunity to volunteer for up to one full day each year. This program also had to pivot from featuring hands-on and face-to-face volunteer opportunities to something that could be delivered under the COVID-19 social restrictions. COTA Victoria was delighted to have the opportunity to work with RACV’s People and Culture staff volunteer team, to link our participants with volunteers who are recruitment and HR specialists, for one-on-one mentoring. Offering job-seeking support to our participants via online platforms and over the phone was the perfect fit for RACV and for us.
The goals of the mentoring were to provide Reach, Train, Employ participants with the tools to:
- write an engaging CV
- navigate job-searching websites
- set up a job search profile
- learn how to write a compelling cover letter and ‘sell yourself’
- tailor cover letters for each job being applied for
- improve presentation and interview skills
- attend practice interviews over Zoom with their mentor.
Participants were even given homework, such as navigating job-seeking websites at home between sessions, and had up to four sessions each with a mentor.
The mentoring program went well, and we hope to offer more opportunities for our participants in 2021.
Here’s some of the great feedback from RACV mentors:
“I am sure that XXXX could land a job if she applied for one tomorrow. She has a great attitude, is very motivated to work in the industry and genuinely cares about what she does, which is so important to see from a prospective employee.”