28 Jul 2017
Driven either by technology or evolving consumer needs, workplaces around the world today operate in a seemingly constant state of change. The creation of a supportive workplace environment complete with regular feedback from managers and opportunities for personal and professional growth – inspiring employees to go the extra mile – is proving to be more effective for contemporary employers than pure financial reward. According to Brendan Neil, putting time, effort and energy into upskilling the ‘people’ within a business will empower employees and ultimately improve business performance.
Brendan is a business development officer for TAFE Queensland’s east coast region and works throughout the entire Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay region to help link businesses with the latest in learning and training innovation. He reflects on his journey into business development, and what helping business’s means to him.
This is his story:
I love living on the Sunshine Coast and connecting with businesses in our region. People are creating world-class products and services right here in our own backyard, bringing growth into our community. There’s a great sense of strength and stability in our local business leaders at present and I take enormous pride in trying to add value to this ever deepening network of professionals by connecting businesses and people.
I have substantial experience in creating, nurturing and growing business relationships. I hold post graduate qualifications in business and information systems management and have spent around 15 years in senior management and advisory roles working throughout Queensland with companies including Santos Ltd, Traffika and Reed Property Group. During that time I worked closely with several national brands, market innovators, State and Local Governments and high growth start-ups, and was involved in numerous world-class projects. My experiences have given me the capabilities to create solutions and streamline business processes for scalability in every industry.
Investing in education and training to upskill employees will future-proof any business. Businesses should continually aim to improve the current level of skills within their workforce and explore new and innovative ways of doing things where possible. Upskilling people will make employees feel more valued at work and ensure businesses operate with the latest in industry procedures and practice.
I realise upskilling employees can be a big commitment for employers, especially if they’re already facing high workloads, but at TAFE Queensland we’re highly skilled at partnering with businesses to not only develop customised training solutions, but also determine manageable workloads and successful delivery modes.
TAFE Queensland’s east coast region has been delivering food safety and nutritional courses to Queensland Health food staff throughout the state for a number of years and together, we’ve not only developed leading edge learning, but also established successful modes of training to a large organisation with multiple departments separated by vast distance. In essence, we changed our practices and instead of making the thousands of Queensland Health staff come to us, we took the training to them. In doing so, we delivered state-wide training to every corner of Queensland.
Locally, TAFE Queensland’s east coast region is a Gold Sponsor of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN). Agribusiness is one of the economic pillars of our region. This fantastic group is full of businesses that grow, value add, innovate and sell around the globe. They’re amazing ambassadors for our region and we’re privileged to partner with them to upskill their workforce to ensure they’re capable of continuing their hard work across the world.
Away from work, I try to live the stereotypical coastal lifestyle and stay as active as possible. Most mornings I’m at the beach either running, surfing or swimming. Every year I enter the Sunshine Coast Marathon and the Island Charity Swim (Mudjimba Beach around Old Woman Island to Mooloolaba), swimming 10 kilometres on the wrong side of shark nets to raise much needed funds to support the Currimundi and Nambour Special Schools.
I’ve got two young boys who also love the surf and keeping active. As a father, my job is to inject as much adventure and memory-making experiences into their early lives as possible.
Recently, I’ve taken a leaf out of my own book and have been working hard on increasing my skills in the kitchen. I’m trying to perfect a few signature dishes that match with the old red wines I’ve managed to stockpile over the years. My 21-hour cooked spicy rubbed meat with southern style vegetable puree is in its infancy, but with expert tutelage and a few handy hints from my friends at FAN, I’ll have it nailed shortly.
In 2014 I spent a week with Red Bull for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Besides being a keen F1 fan, I loved observing all of the high class teams in action. One of the biggest takeaways for me underlying Red Bull’s success was that each team member was highly skilled and had very clearly defined roles and responsibilities to perform. For example, Mechanic #3 was responsible for the gearbox and another technician for tyre pressures. Neither is more important than the other – they’re both essential to the whole team’s success. Everyone is highly trained and treated as a valued input to the whole and this approach is organisation-wide. It really hit home that if we improve the skills of ‘people’ then we will ultimately improve and empower our businesses and communities.