Stephen Rea took a casual job in warehousing thinking he would one day be a rock star, but soon came to find he was more in tune with transport and logistics.
Rea, 58, is a team leader at Toll’s Customised Solutions, the specialised warehousing service of Toll Global Logistics. His role includes coordinating the handling of garments to retailers in a cross-dock and pick-and-pack system.
Based at Altona North in Melbourne’s west, Rea has eagerly participated in Customised Solutions upskilling of its workforce, including attaining a Certificate III in Warehousing.
The Certificate III is a national qualification developed by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC), who also brokered the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) that afforded Rea’s development.
“Initially I thought this training would be another management fad,” Rea says.
“It’s proved not to be the case. Toll is the most supportive employer I have ever worked for. I am really impressed with the commitment they have to training.”
“Customised Solutions is most interested to train its workforce towards continuous improvement, which is a method basically to make procedures and processes efficient. That’s been an enormous help to me and fits in with what we try to do here,” Rea says.
Training has been crucial to being able to answer those challenges.
“We try to be versatile in what we do, to respond more quickly to variations in the workload. Training has been crucial to being able to answer those challenges.”
“My skill set has been enhanced immensely and I am two or three times more confident now … to get the job done. It has been a real eye-opener for me.”
Rea entered the industry from high school, taking jobs that interested him – with a book publisher at one stage, and electrical components at another – before Customised Solutions.
“It was going to be a short-term thing until I realised that there was a lot of scope for development … and that I could contribute,” Rea says.
Long-term, he’d like to help other Customised Solutions sites implement continuous improvement.
“That’s important to me because I have seen so many workplaces where the work seems to have control of the people,” Rea says. “They’re not prepared, they don’t have the skills, and they’re very stressful places to work in.
“I am of the attitude you can always learn something new. You’ve got to be open to new things. For me, having a job and being trained should go hand in hand.”
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