November 30, 2022

From students to Northern Health employees

Each year, Northern Health offers students’ the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace, via a program with Apprenticeship Groups Australia (AGA).

Students are employed directly by AGA and matched to workplaces and organisations across Victoria. Students who join Northern Health as a business trainee can complete a Certificate III in Business Administration as a full-time trainee, working five days a week. Students also have the opportunity to complete three hours of onsite training each week.

Since the partnership began six years ago, Northern Health has had great success from this program. Sanjali Das, Advisor, Organisational Capability with People and Culture, said most students start as a school-based trainee, completing a Certificate II in Business Administration, before going onto a Certificate III in Business Administration.

“In total, Northern Health has had 49 students complete either a Certificate II or Certificate III in Business Administration,” she said.

“Six of these students have gained ongoing full-time employment with Northern Health. It gives students the opportunity to gain exposure into the work field, as well as hands-on learning.”

Students can work in different departments across Northern Health, including Transcultural and Language Services (TALS), Engineering, Health Information Services (HIS), Payroll, HRO, Wellbeing, People and Performance, Organisational Capability and Recruitment. In 2023, the program will expand to Pharmacy and ICT.

“A highlight from 2022 is Olivia Martens, who is currently working in our Payroll department full-time. In 2021, Olivia commenced and completed a Certificate II in Business Administration. In 2022, she was offered a permanent position with Northern Health,” Sanjali said.

“We currently have four students pursing a Certificate III in Business Administration who have been placed in various departments like TALS, HIS, Payroll and Recruitment. All students are going to continue their placement in the same departments in 2023.”

Olivia said the support she received as a student at Northern Health was, “incredible.”

“If I had never applied to be a part of the AGA program, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am now a full-time Payroll Officer at Northern Health, working alongside such an amazing team. They taught me so much about Payroll and customer service, while also being very easy going when it came to my study times,” she said.

“The program helped me find what I was meant to do, even though I had never thought of working in Payroll prior to this program.”

“I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is feeling stuck and unsure on what to do. It opens up so many great opportunities, and also allows you to gain experience in a certain field while studying.”

Odette Taylor, Director Health Information Services, said the AGA program is a fantastic opportunity for young people wanting to explore working in administrative roles across the health sector.

“We have been very fortunate to have a very motivated and engaged student, Grace Eastick, working across the HIS administrative areas. As HIS oversees many different administrative areas from Emergency Department, Victorian Virtual Emergency Department, Ward Clerks and reception, the administrative exposure we can provide is quite extensive,” she said.

“This program also benefits our team by having an enthusiastic student who is willing to undertake work in all different areas. It is also an investment for Northern Health as there is potential to hopefully retain students within our workforce, long-term.”

Student April Murray worked with the TALS department. Yue Hue, Director, TALS, said it was a please to have April learn in a professional environment with a multicultural team.

“She has been involved in each step of the way of the service, from booking allocations to conference call connections, which has greatly supported the language service for the whole organisation,” she said.

Emily Dawson, Director, Organisation Capability and Recruitment, said the AGA program is a fantastic opportunity for individuals to have access to roles within Northern Health, that they night otherwise not have been exposed to.

“We have a wonderful partnership with AGA, and have seen many students now flourish within the program and then move into permanent roles at Northern Health,” she said.

The AGA students, along with AGA representatives and Northern Health staff, including Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director, People and Culture, gathered for an afternoon tea last week to celebrate their achievements, and to look forward to 2023.