When you have 380 (and up to 625 in 2014) apprentices and trainees in 175 workplaces around the country, then making sure everyone’s in the right shape to start work could prove a logistical nightmare. That’s why Australian Industry Group and Training Services (AiGTS) turned to Konekt seven years ago to organise pre- employment medicals for the staff it supplies to employers across Australia – and they haven’t looked back.
“There are 35,000 apprentices and trainees around Australia, and AIGTS has supplied 7,000 of them since it began in 1961”
AiGTS National Work Health and Safety manager Alan Roydhouse says.
“We specialise in placing people in manufacturing/engineering sectors, in warehousing and also office administration.”
AiGTS now uses Konekt’s new and unique pre-employment assessment service, Konekt JobScreenTM. “It has given us highly reliable results and the fastest turnaround in the industry,” Alan explains.
Konekt JobScreenTM addresses the major inadequacies of the traditional pre-employment model: excessive time taken to carry out assessments and inconsistencies between medical reports. It also allows highly reliable pre-employment assessments to be carried out with a much faster turnaround than traditional services thanks to a built-in booking system, online medical questionnaire coupled with face- to-face functional assessment.
Another factor in the success of the program has been Konekt’s ability to have staff on the ground in any area. “The local knowledge of the Konekt staff is a huge benefit when assessing potential employees,” Alan says. “By using local people with intimate knowledge of their community, we are assured that they not only understand the local market, but can connect with the job seeking community using contacts and knowledge of the area’s unique strengths as well as its needs.”
Many of the young people AiGTS places work in a range of roles and industries, from air conditioning / refrigeration mechanics, electrical (industrial), fitters/machinists, heavy fabrication (boilermakers), light fabrication (sheet metal), maintenance fitters and toolmakers. AiGTS also regularly has traineeships in retail, business, warehousing, information technology and engineering production.
Alan says many employers – particularly those in industries with traditionally high levels of workplace injury – arrange for potential employees to undertake a pre- employment assessment. These medical and functional tests ensure that the employees’ capacities are suitable for the work environment.
He says a cornerstone of the AiGTS corporate culture was commitment to ensuring the Work Health and Safety of its people. “Our apprentices and trainees are often young people entering the workforce for the first time. We have a legal, but also moral and ethical responsibility to ensure that they are safe in the workplace – and that includes making sure that they are fit and healthy before we send them into a job situation.
“Our apprentices go to placements in industrial situations and we want to ensure, for their sake as well as their employers, that they will be physically and emotionally fit to cope with places that can be dangerous.”
He believes his organisation’s success is based on the selection of capable, willing and determined people. “Since AiGTS began we have placed over 7,000 such people and many of them have gone on to achieve their ambitions of self-employment or greater career responsibility,” he says.
Alan says Konekt’s national coverage was an important factor in ensuring consistently reliable results when it came to pre-employment medicals for its staff.
“Having a single supplier for our pre- employment medicals has given Australian Industry Group Training the national consistency that we were looking for in the booking, results and invoicing. The transition and ongoing support has been
made very simple with the single point of contact at Konekt.”
He says Konekt was a natural fit for AiGTS for several reasons. “Konekt was able to understand our needs and requirements when onboarding. We only need to communicate this message once and Konekt then implements it nationally. It also simplifies our contact with a central point of contact at Konekt. There is also a single point of referral via Konekt’s online referral system.
“Other benefits are that Konekt provides support wherever our projects are across Australia and provides a consistent process for our job candidates, regardless of where they are located. Candidates are booked into the closest Konekt branch or external provider.”
In addition, the potential impact of work- related injuries and the resulting labour replacement costs caused by mismatched employees and job demands were a compelling reason for ensuring pre- employment assessments were thorough.
“Research shows that employees who are screened are less likely to be injured in workplace accidents, have lower absence rates due to injury and lower medical costs resulting from injury,” explains Peter Bouhalis, Head of Product from Konekt.
“One major study found there were significant reductions in the frequency and severity of musculoskeletal disorder injuries in the screened employee population. Non-screened applicants are more likely to experience knee, shoulder and back injuries than screened employees while claims of employees who were not pre-screened were quadruple those of screened workers.”
Konekt offers a flexible pre-employment model. Each assessment combines a comprehensive medical questionnaire and functional assessment, along with add-ons, including: drug and alcohol testing, audiometric testing, visual acuity testing and spirometry. Peter says Konekt’s online medical assessment records all past and current health issues. “If a candidate answers ‘Yes’ to a primary question, then it is more thoroughly investigated.”
Alan says he thoroughly recommends Konekt to any employer. “Hiring and training new staff is a huge cost to any business, so high turnover caused by injury or unsuitable staff is a major concern,” he says. “The money we spend on Konekt’s services is a valuable investment that helps to ensure the staff we provide to employers stay safe and stay in the job.”
He adds that the benefits of Konekt’s summary reporting system ensured that AiGTS had an at-a-glance capability that enabled it to measure the results of using the company’s services. “Konekt provides us with reports that enable us to compare its results with KPIs that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Using Konekt truly is a smart option.”