Case Study

A boost for the local manufacturing industry: matching trained jobseekers to employers 

Our local manufacturing industry is experiencing skills shortages. So we developed a program that provided paid pre-employment training and matched employers with local people who may face barriers to employment. The result: 100 people in ongoing work.


Jobs Victoria


Melbourne’s south east is Victoria’s manufacturing heartland, and we knew that the industry was experiencing a significant skills and labour shortage.

At the same time, we recognised that there were people in our community who were facing barriers to employment and who, with training and support, could be a good fit for a career in manufacturing.

In response we developed the Engineering Project and secured funding from Jobs Victoria for its implementation.

Our goal was to recruit, train and support 100 jobseekers into sustainable jobs with industry employers across Melbourne’s south east. These roles were production welders, machine operators, and fabrication and mechanical apprenticeships.

Through this Jobs Victoria ‘earn and learn’ project, jobseekers were able to earn an income, while also gaining hands-on engineering skills and training from leading experts in the industry.

The challenge

The program was open to people who may have faced barriers in finding and retaining employment, and we knew that this would, in some cases, require individual assistance. We also needed to find employers who would benefit from participation in the project and be open to hiring diverse employees.

Training had to be realistic, engaging and meet industry standards. And jobseekers, including people who had been out of the workforce for some time, had to be work-ready so that they could make the most of the opportunity this project offered.

The solution

We took an inclusive employment approach that promoted diversity and offered genuine career opportunities to people in our community who would benefit from additional support.

We began comprehensive recruitment and worked closely with South East Melbourne Manufacturers Association (SEMMA) to link us with employers and with disseminating information across their networks.

We developed a tailored training program to upskill jobseekers quickly and prepare them for a manufacturing career. Developed by our Engineering Department and SEMMA, it covered topics such welding, sheet metal folding, hand and power tools, mill and lathe operations, CNC machining and safety standards.

Training took place in Chisholm’s state-of-the-art engineering training facility, which simulates a real workplace. This gave jobseekers a genuine insight into how industry works and what their jobs might entail. The training took place for eight days across a four-week period, and participants were paid while they trained.

Wraparound support provided to participants was key to the project’s success. This involved pathways advice, access to resume and interview advice and assistance through our Chisholm Jobs and Skills Centre, individual counselling and more – anything they required to set them up for successful careers. Our Chisholm student support team assisted participants who were experiencing wellbeing challenges and helped with welfare checks and counselling whenever that was required.

An important element of the support we provided throughout the project was individual mentoring. From the time that a person signed on to the project, until they had been in the job for six months, they were able to access the support of a mentor.

Our project team also worked hard to build rapport, strengthen relationships and educate the manufacturing industry on the benefits of employing diverse jobseekers. We regularly checked in with employers to make sure that the placement was going well, and to help address problems if they occurred.

The result

The Jobs Victoria Engineering Project was delivered successfully, with positive outcomes achieved and high levels of satisfaction expressed by both jobseekers and employers.

While many employers initially took on jobseekers in operational roles, we are pleased to say that around 50 per cent of placements turned into apprenticeships, with 75 per cent of these being mature aged apprenticeships. This is proof of the value of our pre-employment training and ability to match jobseekers with the right employers. An important part of the project’s success was due to our efforts to reduce barriers to employment.

The project is on track to meet targets.

“SEMMA’s members are experiencing an increasing skills shortage in manufacturing in the south east of Melbourne. We need, welders, engineers and CNC machine operators work ready if we are to maintain and grow our manufacturing base – a base that currently employs over 267,500 people and generates $42b in gross regional product. Chisholm’s Engineering Project is working to rectify these shortages as this program is delivering skilled, ready to work people that fit a range of manufacturing sectors including metal fabrication, transport, food and fibre, packaging and advanced manufacturing.” - Honi Walker, CEO, SEMMA

To learn more, contact our industry specialists.