Cire Training and Hubs (T&H) has reached new and innovative heights in service delivery during the COVID-19 restrictions, highlighting its expertise and commitment to offering flexible teaching and learning opportunities to people of all ages.
Whilst the physical sites have been closed, much has been happening in the cyber world with T&H rapidly embracing the challenge to deliver online and providing learners with extra support where necessary.
“It has been fantastic to see how quickly we have been able to adapt to successfully deliver training online, and find ways to continue to support our students and broader community virtually across all of our services. This is a testament not only to our trainers and support staff, but also our students who have been working closely with us to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Laura Shortis, Executive Manager of T&H.
“We have even seen higher levels of engagement among some people with our flexible delivery to enable learners to continue with, or commence their studies and be engaged and connected.”
A standout has been First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE), which grew out of Cire’s Women’s Warehouse and has been creating all kinds of COVID-19 restriction ‘inspired’ records.
FICE provides long-term unemployed and financially disadvantaged and vulnerable women with access to quality and affordable clothing, on-the-job-training through its Mooroolbark shop, together with a broad range of teaching and learning opportunities and other supports.
With its shop closed, FICE has undergone its own makeover with a vengeance reaching more than 10,000 people through social media platforms. It is planning to continue the online sessions post COVID-19 to foster an ongoing connection with the broader community and complement Cire’s face-to-face learning platforms.
With engagement of over 7,000 and videos views at 7,400, the digital campaigns are playing an integral part in keeping the community up-to-date and providing practical assistance on finances, accessing material aids such as food, bill paying and providing advice on job searching and applications. Sessions have also been expanded to assist people to update resumes and cover letters in anticipation of the job market reopening.
FICE is confident that it will connect face-to-face with approximately 100 women a week when its shop reopens while its virtual reach will be many thousands a week.
Other initiatives from Cire Training and Hubs include:
- Training’s pre-accredited and accredited courses have moved online with great results in terms of attendance and feedback from students. Training has worked closely with those experiencing online learning challenges such as limited access to technology and resources and provided tailored support where needed. The success of the transition in such a short period of time is a true testament to the dedication and expertise across the training team. Expressions of interest are being invited for Cert III Individual Support and Cert IV Education Support, both starting in July (Term 3). The style of delivery will be determined on restrictions at the time.
- Smart Money has been delivered virtually for the first time and has been well received. Cire’s pre-accredited team has been providing additional support to small businesses given the current environment. Small Business Hub is offering a special discounted membership fee for those joining the pandemic.
- Community Hub programs online. Using Zoom for the Fit 4 Life seniors exercise class and weekly craft group has been extremely successful. We have also been trialling new initiatives such as the Lego Lockdown Challenge and Minecraft competition.
- Hub staff are volunteering with the CHAOS Chatline to assist those in the community who are reaching out for connection and support during this challenging time.
- For the more vulnerable, Cire has distributed items such as Quilton toilet paper from Good360 which distributes new and surplus goods donated by its network of Australian manufacturers and businesses. While the FICE shop has been closed, there has been much online delivery of services and support such as virtual ‘Frock up Fridays’ with Good360 pamper products as prizes, and a Zoom makeup session with donated L’Oreal makeup packs for participants.
Laura said the feedback from learners has made worthwhile all the hard work in embracing change so quickly and overcoming the challenges along the way.
The following helps capture the appreciation:
“It is fantastic to do all these exercises online with others. You still get the community feel even in isolation. It is so nice to see other people we used to see all the time, plus it actually makes sure we do exercise and do it properly with supervision. Great fun for all” – Julie, Fit 4 Life participant
“I have enjoyed studying online as it gives me the flexibility to study from home and enables me to perform my family commitments. The workload is manageable and my teacher is easy to get in touch with and flexible in providing extra support when required” – Gavin, Certificate IV Education Support student (pitured above)
“I never thought I would enjoy learning about superannuation so much! Sue steers you through the confusing world of superannuation, with clear, informed and easy to follow teaching. The course is well thought out with the different aspects uncovered in each session, Sue takes the time so you truly understand what it is you are learning, I feel so much more confident and empowered in understanding my superannuation – thanks for such a fabulous course” – Alexandra, Smart Money attendee
Students and trainers have embraced the changes during this challenging time, as seen in this video for a Kitchen Kaos.
The Training and Hubs team are excited to be able to welcome people back to both the Yarra Junction and Chirnside Park Community Hubs following the announcement of the easing of restrictions. Both hubs will be re-opening on the 1st of June and will be resuming standard programs and services as the restrictions allow.
If you have any questions please contact us via email or call 1300 835 235