The Angus Knight Institute recently delivered bespoke training for disability support provider Aruma.
AKI collaborated with Aruma (formerly House with No Steps) to adapt and deliver training in cleaning and infectious disease control to more than 200 employees, including 140 with disability. The result of this collaboration was recognised by NSW Government, who selected the submission from both as a finalist for the 2021 NSW Industry Collaboration award.
Learning Sphere (RTO 91718) and Aruma, an Australian Disability Enterprise, collaborate closely to improve the work skills and career options for Australians with a disability by improving their participation in quality vocational training.
Since 2018, 400 out of approximately 500 Aruma employees have participated in certified and competency-based workplace training, with a 94% completion rate. For most of the supported employees, this has been their first vocational education and training (VET) experience and qualification, with participants reporting increased confidence and expanded career pathways as a result.
“In 19 years of working…this is my first course I have done…I want Paul [the trainer] back for more training,” said Ross C, Line Operations.
Aruma’s supervisors and Learning Sphere’s industry-specialised trainers collaborated to produce a training program that was accessible to people with a range of abilities, engaging, and career building.
After extensively analysing job processes and tasks, the team then matched employee capabilities and aspirations to ensure each employee had the opportunity to enter the best training path to
meet their needs. While some employees completed a skills-based training program, others completed a Certificate 11 or Certificate 111 qualification.
Trainer-learner dynamics were important factors of success. Learning Sphere trainers are experienced working with people with disabilities and were able to tailor language and learning aids to increase student engagement.
“It wasn’t like you were back at school…it was delivered so you wanted to listen…more talking with us, not talking down to us.” – Brad (Aruma Commercial Laundry).
Achievements for training
When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Aruma’s workforce was identified as high-risk. Prioritising staff and customer safety was paramount. The collaboration delivered Cleaning and Infectious Disease Control training to more than 200 employees, including 140 with disability. These practices are now uniform across Aruma businesses which supports cross skilling staff, and importantly, supports employees to maintain best practice infection control.
In the past three years, the training program has graduated 400 students with competencies in:
· health support (laundry)
· skill sets (entry level skills)
People with a disability are significantly underrepresented in education and employment. VET completion improves the chances of a person with a disability getting and keeping a job. It also links
people with disability to employment networks and helps them to develop other important on-the-job skills.
What’s more, as more government and private organisations seek to engage social enterprises as part of their supply and procurement chains, Aruma’s skilled workforce will be crucial to its capacity to meet demand and continue to grow.
Sustainability and future of the collaboration
Through our collaboration we were able to pilot training programs from design to evaluation and it is viable that this model can be replicated in a range of employment areas for other ADEs. Corporates can also learn from this model of workplace skills acquisition.
Aruma and Learning Sphere are confident in this model of excellence and are broadening the scope of training to deliver new programs in horticulture, quality principles for fruit packaging.