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Sinead Hourigan's reflections on two years as Board President

Time certainly flies when you are having fun.

As my term as RCSA’s president draws to a close in November, I wanted to reflect on and share with our valued members, colleagues and friends some of my fondest memories and learnings during this time.

It’s been such a pleasure to act as RCSA’s president and work with such a special group of people who are truly ‘leading in the world of work’.

For the past two years, I’ve been fortunate to speak with RCSA CEO Charles Cameron for an hour every Monday afternoon to discuss strategy, policy positions, advocacy and any other topical issue which comes up in our weekly meeting.

It’s these catch ups I will reflect back on fondly, as they provided me with a real opportunity to get to know our CEO and provided a unique platform for us to push each other in the right direction to get the best outcomes for our members, our RCS-A team and our industry as a whole.

For anyone who doesn’t know Charles; he loves a sporting analogy and is a confirmed cricket tragic. It’s with this in mind I’ll combine two of his favourite things with the words of Rahul Dravid, “what drew me towards team sport was the camaraderie and the friendship. The chance to celebrate victory and success with a group of other people is something I have always enjoyed doing.”

This quote perfectly reflects how I have felt working with RCSA as it shows what the difference a great team can make. The commitment and passion this team displays for our industry every day is second to none.

Another exceptional memory was the two day strategy session we held for the Board and senior leadership team earlier this year in RCSA’s new and much improved offices.

Taking on the role of President taught me many things, but the most important thing I learned over the past two years was that my opinion always needed to come last and for all of my fellow A-type personalities out there, you will appreciate that this can be a challenge!

I spent the two days scribbling ideas furiously on whiteboard walls, covering everything from superannuation thresholds for temporary workers through to the ever-pervasive double-dipping issue.

I walked away from this experience with the conviction and confidence that we have a strong group of people with a variety of ideas and a willingness to share them. I feel confident that we have an energised and passionate board who will continue to lead our members in the right direction for many years to come. I’m proud and humbled to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

There have been many great achievements for the association this year and they all deserve a mention.

They range from the influence the RCSA has had in the changes made to the remuneration threshold for 457 visas for recruitment consultants to the amendments under consideration for the South Australian Labour Hire Licensing.

The exceptional awards ceremonies across Australia and New Zealand, the inclusion of our new TechXpo events held in Sydney and in New Zealand, and the major conference in conjunction with our friends and colleagues from the World Employment Confederation are all examples of an association focused on delivering unparalleled events for our industry.

I spoke at the Australian awards ceremony earlier this year about legacy and the importance of reflecting on those who have built the industry that we celebrate today. But of course, legacy has to start somewhere and one of the most outstanding memories I will cherish from this year and something I feel will be a legacy for the future is the recently launched #LoveYourWork campaign.

We are all fully aware of the attacks we have faced as an industry and the way in which some elements of our society like to denigrate agency work as though it is an unsavoury and unethical type of employment.

We also know this is untrue and this year, we have decided to reclaim the narrative, not by attempting to launch a counter-attack and waste our energies and our valuable members’ funds on an unwinnable argument.

We decided to rise above this negative approach and launched a campaign, which speaks to the positive benefits agency work offers to our candidates, our clients and our communities at large. From the young worker seeking their first opportunity in the workforce to the older workers struggling to get back into the workforce and for those who choose the flexibility of agency work as their long-term career choice, we present a real and genuine alternative and we are ready to share those stories to remind our policy-makers of what the value of our industry actually is.

So, although I may no longer be representing you as President of this wonderful association, I will be taking up the challenge and am asking you to do the same. Share your stories far and wide of all those workers you have helped to secure employment and tell as many people as you can about how much you #LoveYourWork and how proud you are of the industry that has provided you with that chance.

We owe it to the future of our industry.

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