Ascot Vale Leisure Centre is located in the multicultural north west of Melbourne. In Ascot Vale, over a third of the population was born overseas and speak a language other than English at home.
A linguistically diverse team is important at any venue, but at AVLC it has been essential due to the demographic of the local community. For this article, we spoke with AVLC Sales and Guest Experience Manager Vanessa Laino and Community Engagement Coordinator Verity Shepherdson about working with council to attract linguistically diverse candidates and their two newest Guest Experience Officers, Ashwaq and Yasmin.
Welcome Ashwaq and Yasmin
Ashwaq and Yasmin both live in the local community and speak Somali, in addition to English. As a Community Engagement Coordinator, Verity is keen to express the importance of linguistically diverse staff in connecting with local communities, “It’s very helpful to have team members with the ability to communicate with members in multiple languages,” she said. “We have patrons who are more comfortable communicating in languages other than English, and if our staff can do that it clearly provides a positive experience for them. In addition to this, having a workforce that comes from the local community helps to make AVLC a welcoming community space.”
Vanessa is pleased with how quickly Ashwaq and Yasmin have settled into their new roles. “They have been able to speak with customers in their first language and provide customer service in cases where there may otherwise have been a language barrier,” Vanessa explained. The two new Guest Experience Officers have also helped with the translation of their upcoming new café menu, which will be launched in the near future.
Working with council on the recruitment process
“When we started the recruitment process, I worked with Moonee Valley City Council in an effort to attract candidates from the local community,” Vanessa explained. “The process managed to attract applications from candidates who may not otherwise have considered employment with us.”
Vanessa plans to liaise further with MVCC about other possibilities for attracting candidates from the local community. “It’s important that we think about different ways to attract potential employees. Only using traditional recruitment methods (such as online) puts us at risk of missing out on great candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds,” Vanessa concluded.
Find out more about Ascot Vale Leisure Centre here.