Community Services Sector in Werribee

Community Services Employer panel
30 October 2017

Panel members:      

Shara Thisananthan (HR Partner) – Wyndham City
Jaicy Kumar (Business Services Manager) – Wyndham Community and Education Centre

Hosted by:                  The Skills and Jobs Centre, Gordon TAFE, Werribee

The Community Services employer panel provided an opportunity for Gordon students and Skills & Jobs Centre participants interested in a career in Community Services to gain an insight into the sector and what employers are looking for in potential employees.  Below is an overview of what it’s like to work in the community services sector and information, tips and tricks from our panel.

Make a real difference in people’s lives

Working in community services, you have an immediate and profound impact on the welfare of vulnerable people.

Every single day you make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. Your actions help those who are struggling the most to build better lives, and to give them hope for a brighter future.

You also help to build stronger, more inclusive communities.

What an amazing career. Can you imagine the job satisfaction you would get from that?!

Job variety: one qualification, lots of roles

Unlike a lot of other sectors, community services gives employees a huge selection of client areas to work in.

This means that you can try out a number of different areas, before settling on the one that you are really passionate about. It also gives you room to move if you feel stagnant in a particular job or area.

Client areas in the community services sector include:

  • Aged care
  • Disability services
  • Indigenous and multicultural support
  • Asylum seekers and refugee services
  • Mental health and counselling
  • Child protection
  • Family services
  • Schools
  • Emergency relief
  • Youth justice

(https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/blog/2016/08/01/ca-10-reasons-start-career-community-services/)

Panel insights and career story – Jaicy Kumar

Wyndham CEC has been providing educational programs and community services to the local community for 40 years.  Wyndham CEC offers a range of programs and services that include: pre-accredited and accredited training courses and community programs for individuals between the ages of 15 and 64 from a broad cross section of the community with a strong emphasis on the disadvantaged, youth, refugee and humanitarian entrants, and other new and emerging communities.

The types of opportunities that may be available are mainly associated with teaching, caseworkers and business including facilities management, bookkeeping and HR.  There are also volunteering opportunities.

What we look for when recruiting:

>Passion
>Languages
>Interest in the sector
>Commitment
>Industry knowledge
>People skills
>Team work

When recruiting for a vacancy, the HR department advertise firstly to the volunteer pool, networks and then externally online.

Personal Career Story – Shara Thisananthan

Shara graduated with a bachelor degree in Information Systems from Melbourne University and secured an entry level role for two years with Baker’s Delight in HR/Finance/Production.  Shara then moved to Wyndham and applied for a role in Aged Care/Disability wanting some work life balance and a job in the local community.  Whilst she wasn’t success in gaining the first role, she was offered another role as the employer could see potential.  She worked in Administration support and was able to demonstrate commitment along with many other transferable skills, and was subsequently offered an ongoing role.  Shara reassessed her career again and after returning to work after some maternity leave applied for an internal role that became available in HR and Administration.  Shara’s current role is Business Partner.

Shara’s tips

>Continue to learn and develop new skills (more flexible training/courses are now available online)
>Be open minded and embrace change
>Demonstrate commitment and passion

Panel insights and career story – Shara Thisananthan  

Wyndham City are located across Werribee, Tarneit and Point Cook with a focus on diversity, culture within the community, being progressive and dynamic, and working in partnership. 

Recruitment Process

>Wyndham Careers website (job alerts may be set up)
>Online application process
>Positions may also be advertised on Seek and in local papers
>Tertiary placements may also be arranged – contact relevant area
>Information and tips about resume, cover letter and key selection criteria
>Shortlisting process
>Interview (3 parts) 1) Questions, 2) Behavioural Interview (use STAR technique) 3) Technical questions specific to role.
>Pre-employment check – Police check, Working with Children, and sometimes a Psychometric test assessment.
>Referee check

Personal Career story – Jaicy 

Jaicy began her career as a scientist in intellectual property and litigation.  She was very interested and passionate about the community sector, in particular Social Enterprise and organisations such as Saffron Kitchen, and was involved and volunteered for five years.

This experience and passion led Jaicy to apply for her current business role.  Jaicy promoted and demonstrated her commitment and passion in her application.  Jaicy also demonstrated and included her strengths and transferable skills.

Tips
>Perseverance
>Ask HR for feedback
>Apply your transferable skills to the role
>Tailor your resume for each role
>Spend time on your application
>Attention to detail
>Build skills

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