Innovations - in Employment, Hearing, and Entertainment!

Yesterday (Thursday here) had us visit with Ben Thompson, founder and owner of Employment Innovations, Employment Hero, and Power-2_Motivate. The company started as an employment law firm, and quickly grew to HR consulting, employee leasing, HR software platforms, innovations in employee motivation and engagement, and more recently full-on HR function outsourcing. Ben talked to the students about the HR and labor market atmosphere in Australia, a little history concerning how they got to where they are today, and the challenges faced by organizations in today's market.

After a quick tour of the office, we had a short break for lunch and then made our way to Cochlear Hearing Implants. This organization was the pioneer in modern hearing technology - not hearing aides, but rather implantable hearing technology.

After a brief explanation of the technology used in their products, our tour guide Andrew showed us their production facility. These are Class 3 medical devices, which means that they are held to tighter tolerances and regulations than other implantables like joints or even heart valves because they run on their own technology once implaned. We were not allowed to take pictures in the production facility, but it was an amazingly clean facility. The clean room where the devices are assembled and packaged is 8 times cleaner than a surgical theater used for open heart surgery. All workers inside the clean room are trained on various clean technology practices. Once the devices have been assembled, they are packaged in a bacterial resistant solution until time of implant. 2 devices are always sent for each device to be implanted in the event of a breach of the sterile environment.

After our tour, we made our way back into town and "the herd" scattered. The approaching return trip home is on everyone's mind and the reality that last minute souvenir shopping or sight seeing is coming to an end. Many students visited Paddy's Market (the local market that offers a wide variety of vendors booths offering everything from Opals to boomerangs, to didgeridoos. After shopping, a number of students decided to take in a football game, others went to the opera, while others relaxed.

As I write this post, it is just past 6 a.m. Friday here and we ar eon a "quiet train car" on our way to Lithgow to tour the Blue Mountains. We started with 17 "yeahs" yesterday, which wittled down to 14 last evening, with a final number of 11 hearty souls willing to get up and head to the trains before 6 a.m. The sacrifice is well worth it... Pictures and more to follow tonight or tomorrow...

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