The Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award recognises those employers who have made innovative improvements in training which benefit the outcomes for their apprentices and/or trainees in Australia.

Clinipath Pathology has been a leading supplier of pathology services for Western Australia for more than 20 years. In 2012, the decision to adopt vocational education and training (VET) aligned to Clinipath Pathology’s core values of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement, led to significant benefits for the business and its employees.

Clinipath Pathology employs around 800 staff, with about 250 of those employees currently in traineeships. All employees are encouraged to embark on a training journey for life and over 500 have now achieved a VET qualification.

Training is broad so that employees learn the importance of their own role in the overall pathology processes, but it is also targeted to individuals, including through monthly meetings of managers with the training providers. Complex rostering changes on sites away from the laboratory ensure that individuals receive face to face, as well as, online training.

Clinipath Pathology’s training program began with some female-dominated areas such as its Patient Services Department, where 98 per cent of over 350 staff are women. Traditionally across the industry, qualifications have often not been required in these areas.

Ann Poole, Patient Services Manager, says that there have been clear benefits to the business.

“The introduction of a training culture to Clinipath Pathology, along with clear career pathways, has greatly improved our employee retention rate in an industry that normally has high workforce mobility.”

Training has also achieved the desired alignment with Clinipath Pathology’s core values, says Ann. “For example, quality outcomes and continuous improvement are reflected in the dramatic decrease in the need to recollect specimens, with obvious benefits to patients, referrers and our bottom line.”

While Clinipath Pathology was already an industry leader, its Australian Training Awards success means that it now receives approaches from beyond its own industry, across the broader VET sector, to share its knowledge and experience.

“We are happy to do this,” says Ann. “Using training to full effect across businesses helps build the whole economy, which is good for everyone.”