13 students and staff of MCIE’s Certificate I in Work Education program were given the opportunity to spend the morning at the Victorian Government Reporting Service (VGRS). A bit of background on the VGRS – it was originally established as the Government Shorthand Writers Office in 1854 and with all the technological advancements through its 160 years in operation, the VGRS now provides high-quality recording and transcription services to Victoria’s courts and tribunals.
After passing through the metal detector, we were granted entry into the building housing the Supreme Court of Victoria. We were warmly welcomed by VGRS Acting General Manager Linda Petrone. Linda introduced her team members to us. A representative from each of the teams were on hand to talk about their roles as well as personal stories of how their careers began at the VGRS. First up was Colin who prepared an in depth power point presentation about his role, the equipment that was used and great background information of how court proceedings were transcribed. Stuart spoke next about his role as a court transcript team leader. His personal experience volunteering for RPH (Radio for the Print Handicapped) and working at the National Relay Service which is an Australia-wide phone service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment helped him secure a role at the VGRS. This really goes to show how volunteer roles and accepting different opportunities oftentimes leads to a rewarding career! Stuart fleshed out the supportive culture at VGRS very nicely to us. They have a peer support system and professional help in the form of a psychologist who is on hand to assist staff members who may be challenged by the court cases they have to sit in and transcribe for – how great is that!
Denise, manager of the court reporting team candidly shared her career journey prior to starting recently at VGRS. As part of the senior management team, Denise ensures quality and service levels are maintained and manages projects and operational teams. Her background is in banking and science and she offered reassuring proof that it’s never too late to shift industries. Denise shared some great tips about asking great questions during interviews with the students. Our top 3 favourites were:
What’s the leadership style at this organisation?
What more would you like to know about me that would help you find out if I’m right for the role?
What’s your absenteeism rate like?
These questions were so apt for our students who are in the process of looking for employment. The 6 month Certificate I in Work Education program comprises of classroom studies where students work on resume building, presentation and communication/ interview skills as well as work experience and career days like the one at the VGRS. The presentations from the VGRS team members were definitely spot on in addressing topics that our students were interested in.
Last but not least was David who brought entertaining stories from the past alive for us. Called for jury duty in 1976, it sparked an interest in the legal system for him and he’s been a part of the court reporting service since 1978. And yes, that’s 36 years!! It is common to see staff stay on for many years which really reflects the great leadership and culture that makes team members want to stay and grow together.
After the engaging presentations, we were brought on a tour of the office and saw transcript officers in action. This was followed by a practice session as students worked on transcribing a court proceeding as a hands on activity. This was much harder than it appeared which gave us a lot of respect for the VGRS team. At the end of our day at the VGRS, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the cohesiveness of the VGRS team. Change is imminent in an industry with technological changes and yet the culture of inclusivity and promoting staff consultation has made the change process not only relatively seamless, but has also allowed for people to be brought closer together. In our books, that’s certainly worth emulating, and celebrating.