Hazelwood closure not end of road for brothers

Like others affected by the closure of Hazelwood Power Station, brothers Gary and Brian Renwick weren’t quite sure what to do after they finished up as coal and ash operators at the station in June.

However, after seeing an advertisement for a course in non-emergency patient transport, the Yinnar brothers thought they’d try their hand at something new.

“We used to be fitters, so it was a complete change of career, ” Mr Renwick said.

The brothers completed their Certificate III in non-emergency patient transport with training provider Best Practice and excelled, so much so that both were recommended by their trainer to Health Select and were later employed there as non-emergency patient transport workers.

“We really enjoy the work,” Brian said.

“It was busy at the start. We’re just working casual at the moment.”

Best Practice general manager of health education Mark Hulbert described the role the Renwick brothers were now employed in as “non time-critical transfers”.

“There are no lights and sirens unless directed by Ambulance Victoria,” he said.

“A lot of the transfers are from hospital to hospital or from hospital to home.”

Mr Hulbert said enrolment in the course did not guarantee employment, but vacancies in the area meant there were certainly opportunities for work.

“We’re really keen to grow in this region,” Mr Hulbert said.

“There are currently four other providers looking for patient transfer (workers), so we’re keen to continue to provide training in the region.”

Health Select Group owner and managing director Jeannette Cunningham said Health Select was a contracted Non-Emergency Patient Transport provider to many healthcare facilities in Gippsland and also a state-wide contractor to Ambulance Victoria.

“The most recent of the patient transport courses was delivered in Traralgon with the graduation of six participants last Sunday at a ceremony in Traralgon. Health Select has employed four of the six graduates from the course, three of whom had previously worked at Hazelwood for more than 20 years,” she said.

“There are a number of private providers in Gippsland who face the challenges of gaining suitably-trained staff. The Best Practice course prepares participants to be work-ready, further increasing their opportunities to gain employment in this fast-growing sector.

“All Non-Emergency Patient Transport providers are actively recruiting in the Gippsland region to service their contracts.”