Mid North Coast Community College has been improving the lives of disadvantaged people for almost four decades. Located in the beautiful coastal town of Port Macquarie, the college became formalised as an Adult & Community Education provider in 1984, when the Department of Education started to encourage regional towns to help their local communities. Since then, the college has provided support and training to tens of thousands of people, from a range of different backgrounds, involving them in enriching activities or preparing them for the confidence-building world of employment.
The college offers a huge range of training, including construction, business, hospitality, beauty services, and aged care, to name a small sample. Since joining aXcelerate in late 2017, the company has delivered Certificate III in Aged Care training to almost three thousand people. Port Macquarie Hastings Council produced a report last year that estimates a need for an additional 3,200 care positions in the local area by 2022, an estimation that is driving the college’s efforts towards aged care training.
A wide range of care sector courses are delivered by the college, including Community Service, Individual Support (Aged Care, Disability and Home and Community Care), and more. In addition to this, many aged care facilities need people who are skilled in business administration, hospitality, and horticulture. By delivering training with patience and care, the college is able to create new generations of multi-skilled carers.
The challenges that are faced with delivering training are numerous. If the students are to succeed, every unique program must be planned, coordinated, and executed properly. Training Manager Dennis Owen has been working at the college for two years, and believes that they’ve found a system that assists them in this endeavour.
“We needed to bring together all elements of delivery in one system: scheduling programs; storing results; keeping students engaged; communication, and more. aXcelerate allows us to do that.”
—Dennis Owen, Training Manager
For Dennis, the key is to have a system that meets the requirements of both the students and the trainer, which makes the delivery of their aged care training (along with every other course that they offer) infinitely smoother.
The hands-on nature of the aged care industry makes work placements a necessary part of training. For Mid North Coast College, having access to a system that supports work placements is essential to their effectiveness in planning and delivering aged care education. Employer placement contracts need to be written up between the college and the aged care facilities, and aXcelerate makes this process easier with its Resources Library feature—a central place for document management. Student progress and attendance is also kept in check with the system’s various in-built features, allowing the college to track and manage the journey of every single student on their books.
There’s also compliance to contend with, that dreaded word that can cast fear into the bravest of souls. aXcelerate helps the college to meet their rigorous compliance requirements, by assisting with AVETMISS errors, verifying USIs, keeping the knowledge of their trainers up-to-date and relevant, measuring the efficacy of their programs with automated Learner Engagement surveys, and much more.
“aXcelerate provides us with sound evidence of compliance”
—Dennis Owen, Training Manager
Student management is challenging to begin with, but even more so with a disadvantaged audience who can require blended learning methods, extended education, and supportive assistance programs to complete qualifications. These additional hurdles make an effective and flexible student management system all the more important.
Mid North Coast College aims to lift people out of long-term or under-employment, increase volunteering opportunities, and encourage life-long learning and contribution. In addition to other vulnerable groups in their community, they work closely with disengaged young people whose short lives are testimonies of adversity, tackling barriers to learning, gaining worthy employment, and participating in the local community. This is just a small sample of their inspirational work.
Many of the college’s aged care students are women returning to the workforce, who understand the importance of training and skill development, but are also aware that the role requires patience, calm, respect, positivity, and the ability to manage people with an attentive, benevolent attitude. They’re made aware of the high level of support that can be required for the elderly, in dealing with their complex, unique medical needs. The college aims to teach its aged care students such qualities, fashioning them into excellent carers.
After students graduate from the college and immerse themselves in aged care, they’re continually supported with info related to qualification changes and upgrades; how to meet legislative requirements; maintaining their training currency, and more. The sending of this information is entirely automated with aXcelerate’s workflow automation system, which removes the manual work by allowing the college to set, forget, and then focus on how to better support their communities.
For CEO Valerieanne Byrnes, one of the biggest joys of running the college is maintaining a balance between helping people, and keeping the business profitable—a tightrope that is constantly walked. Having been involved in various forms of education over the years, she’s aware of the ample difficulties of training and managing any kind of student, let alone those who are faced with immense personal challenges. Making sure that the college is in tune with the requirements of the community is a primary, ongoing goal for Valerieanne and her staff.
“We seek out vulnerable community members and communities and design opportunities to assist. We don’t subscribe to the pigeonhole principle when it comes to education and training.”
—Valerieanne Byrnes, CEO
The college is constantly engaged with the community in order to understand their needs, allowing them to deliver highly effective, nuanced training and support.
Mid North Coast College serves a wide range of communities, including Port Macquarie, Taree, Wauchope, Kempsey, Nambucca, and Coffs—a lot of people, with a ton of unique needs. Through their own diligence and benevolence, and with a little help from aXcelerate, the college is able to provide valuable, life-changing training and support to the people who need it the most.