• Chris Plumridge

Behind the Scenes: Make the Shift

Jet Streamer is, as you might know, proudly based in the beautiful South Gippsland region, in the South-East corner of Australia. Gippsland itself is huge, running from the Eastern edge of Greater Melbourne right through to the New South Wales border- some 400-odd kilometres incorporating everything from the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and the snowy mountain peaks of Mt. Baw Baw down to coastal inlets and lakes and the biodiversity paradise that is Wilson's Promontory; jutting out into Bass Strait like a giant hand reaching for Tasmania. Since my partner and I moved down here from Melbourne (pre- Jet Streamer), it's been a privilege learning about this wonderful part of the world.


And it's with that in mind that I'm reflecting on Make the Shift, a shift working podcast produced in conjunction with Gippsland Primary Care Partnership. You see, Gippsland, and especially Wellington Shire, where the program was based, has an economy that relies heavily on shift work. From offshore oil and gas workers who work on rigs in those same Bass Strait waters, to food industry workers making cheese and other dairy products from the many dairy farms around here, plus corrections workers in Fulham, and your usual swathe of nurses and coppers. For a region dotted with sleepy little towns, it seems that not many folks are actually getting much sleep! Now shift work can be tough enough when you're a shift worker in the city. But in the country, where there's no 3am 7-Eleven runs to be had and your drive home after being awake for 24 hours might be rudely interrupted by a wombat... well, that's even more of a challenge.


So it's with this in mind that Gippsland PCP produced the Make The Shift toolkit, and I was lucky enough to help put together the Make the Shift podcast to go with it. Gippsland PCP had done a lot of research, talking to shift workers, managers, and experts to find ways of making shift work, especially shift work in a regional area, easier. My job, (which I reckon was a lot easier!) was to take all that brilliant work and make shift workers and their managers see the brilliance in it!


How we put Make the Shift together:

The podcast plan:

The first job was putting together a comprehensive plan for the podcast and what we were intent on doing. As this was a government-funded project, there was a lot of planning involved to make sure that everyone was on the same page with what was going to happen and how the final project would look. Jet Streamer produced a comprehensive plan of each episode including what we would cover and who would be involved before we proceeded with production. Gippsland PHP put together a superb collection of experts for me to interview, and together we came up with a format that would allow us to share the knowledge of our experts in a fun and engaging way.


The interviews

The next task would be interviewing our experts, which was done remotely. Working from the questions in the podcast plans, we created a list of topics to discuss and then I went and interviewed the experts. And wow, what an eye-opening process that was! From scientists looking at how sleep affects your performance to why your metabolism tanks when you eat at 3am, it was all extremely interesting, even for a non-shift worker like me.


The script

From there, the next step was to weave all that wonderful information into a cohesive narrative so that the audience can understand not only the individual pieces, but how all those pieces fit together. It allowed us to weave another element of the narrative on top: how a dodgy metabolism affects your sleep, and how a bad exercise routine affects your mood. But, also, thankfully, offering heaps of solutions on how to make shift work easier and better for people. And having a bit of fun along the way, too!


Production

Once the script was approved, it was sent off to a professional voiceover artist for voicing, before we put the whole lot together with our interviews, some music, and a sprinkle of sound effects, too.


Publication

All that work is no good unless there's a way for people to listen to it! After writing the show notes and description, we popped it all online through Jet Streamer's podcast hosting provider, and submitted it all to your favourite podcast hosts.


Take a listen!

Check out the finished podcast below! And check out the rest of the toolkit at maketheshift.org.au.





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