Industry Insights into Careers at Wyndham City Council

Wyndham City Council is a place like no other. They are the engine room behind one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities. They design towns, build roads, run libraries, inspect buildings, manage events, look after kindergartens and so much more. The people who work at Wyndham City Council are leaders, skilled and passionate about community.

It was great to hear that Wyndham City Council is taking such affirmative action to address concerns from the community about employment in the municipality. Council is really prioritising employment for residents and they outlined a number of programs including student placement, early talent programs and traineeship pathways aimed to provide opportunities for people from all walks of life to work at Council.

Those that braved the weather on Tuesday, were able to enjoy a panel discussion featuring key staff from five departments at Council who generously shared information about the roles available in their team as well as some handy tips and tricks to help navigate the recruitment process.

Here are my highlights from the five panel members; 

Mick Keogh (Talent Acquisition) has been working at Wyndham City Council for 12 months. Mick manages the recruitment function at council and with 30 departments and 100 business units there are usually 10-15 roles being advertised. Mick makes it his job to make sure that the recruitment process is a positive experience for every applicant, regardless of the outcome.

Insider Tip (**Total Cliché Alert**) – Be yourself! Use the time at interview to sell yourself, not your resume. This is the time for you and the employer to find out about each other and if you can work together, so don’t waste time pretending to be someone you’re not.

Dave Hamra (Community Planning & Development) has been working with Wyndham City Council for nearly six years and his work as Co-ordinator Neighbourhood Hubs involves leading a team of 25 community development staff located in nine community centres across Wyndham to engage and enable local residents to build a sense of community. While a qualification in Community Services is desirable, relevant experience, being a people person and having a clear passion for working with the community is mandatory for a role in Dave’s team! With over 120 applications being received for a casual role in this team it is a competitive environment, but as Dave personally reads every application, make sure you clearly articulate your passion and excitement and provide examples of your engagement with the local community.

Insider Tip – Have a chat with someone working in that field/role or business unit at Council (if you’re lucky) to find out more about the position, the team and their goals so that you can talk confidently at interview about how you fit into the picture.

Laxmi Boodhun (Finance) has held four roles in three different departments during her three years at Wyndham City Council. She started as a Financial Accountant and most recently is employed as the Team Leader for Transactional Services – which includes Payroll, Accounts Payable and Receivable, Banking and Investment. Many of the 60 roles in the Finance department do require you to have a relevant qualification and on top of that your ability to get in and get the job done well is critical. Make sure you include an example of how you have done just that in your cover letter if you are applying for a job in Laxmi’s team!

Insider Tip – Triple check your spelling and grammar. The smallest mistake can count you out early on…particularly when you are applying for a job in a department that relies on attention to detail to get the job done!

Elaine Bugeja (City Amenity & Safety) has over 28 years’ experience in Local Government with qualifications in leadership and effective animal management.  She started her animal career through volunteer work at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne. Although animal welfare is Elaine’s passion, she manages a very broad portfolio of staff ranging from Parking Officers to Local Law Enforcement to Animal Welfare. One role that Elaine is often recruiting for is School Crossing Supervisor. This permanent part-time role (10 hours per week) is well suited to young people or parents returning to work.

Insider Tip – Follow your passion. Skills can be taught and professional development is readily available to assist with that growth, but passion definitely can’t be taught!

Anthony Bonnici (Facilities & Open Space) has been with Wyndham Council for seven years. He commenced his career as an Engineer and is currently the Area Leader of Open Space within the Facilities and Open Space department. Anthony’s team is responsible for overseeing the mowing and horticulture maintenance of over 2100 hectares which includes over 300 parks. If you’re thinking that a role in this department might be for you, a qualification in Horticulture, Arboriculture or Turf Management is desirable. Anthony is also looking for candidates who are eager to learn and progress and who show initiative.

Insider Tip – List achievements from previous roles at the start of your resume to help you stand out.

I also picked up these hot tips about what’s new in recruitment at Wyndham City Council.

Move over key selection criteria! What great news, you’ve got your weekend back! Wyndham City Council has joined the list of organisations that has removed the need to respond to key selection criteria. Instead focus your efforts on your cover letter. Provide a strong, convincing story about who you are, what you are about and how you can provide to the role and to the team you’ll be working with.

Catch you later STAR interview techniques! While the STAR technique of interview questions definitely has a place in recruitment, Wyndham City Council want to know about you. Why do you want to work at Council? How do you want to help the community? How can you benefit the organisation? How well do you align with the strategic plan of the organisation?

Collaboration is the #1 skill for 2020. With so many demands being placed on Council, many business units within the organisation are working together on projects, so being a people person, being adaptable and open to change and working well with different departments is a highly regarded skill.

A word about agency and casual staff. With approximately 300 of the 1800 strong workforce being agency and casual staff, a short-term opportunity certainly isn’t to be sniffed at. Wyndham City Council use a third party agency liaison organisation for short-term work. Now you can’t register directly with them, so I won’t give you a link to their organisation, but they deal with most of the Public Sector recruitment agencies like Hays and RandStad, so make sure you have registered with these agencies.

Here is a link to Wyndham City Council’s career page https://recruitment.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers

Here is a link to the Skills and Jobs Centre workshops and events for Werribee

https://www.thegordon.edu.au/sitedocs/sjc/what-s-on-february-july-2020-w.aspx

Insights into the Building and Construction Industry – 26/11/19

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Building and Construction is often reported as being one of the major growth sectors for employment in the Wyndham region. With major projects such as the Metro Rail and the West Gate Tunnel drawing skilled tradespeople away from construction, but with the demand for building new homes remaining high, it was a good opportunity to hear about apprenticeship opportunities in Building and Construction.

MEGT are one of 11 Apprenticeship Network Providers contracted by the Australian Government to provide Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) services. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, they make apprenticeships and traineeships easy and with completions rates higher than the national average, MEGT are your go-to people in this field.

Today we were joined by Field Operations Manager, Ollie Gladwell who gave us some tips and tricks about finding an apprenticeship.

  • Set up alerts on job-seeking sites, so you receive instant notifications about new opportunities.
  • Have a look at your socials and make sure your profile pics are appropriate for someone looking for work and that your privacy settings are up to date.
  • Keep your resume to two pages and put your qualifications on the front page.
  • Make sure you let employers know if you can speak a language other than English.
  • Put your resume into a plastic pocket if you are handing it out directly at construction sites.
  • At an interview, don’t fall over at the first hurdle! Practice responding to the guaranteed question of “Tell me a bit about yourself”.
  • At an interview, don’t fall over at the last hurdle! Prepare a question to ask at the end which isn’t about money. A good go-to question could be “What are the growth opportunities with this company?”
  • Drink the water! No joke! During an interview, use that time as a pause to help you gather your thoughts and prepare an answer.
  • Check in with your references and make sure they are recommending you as an employee, not just as a nice person!
  • Make sure you let people in your network know that you are looking for work. You never know who they can connect you with.
  • Don’t give up. Stay positive and just remember it is a numbers game. Your perseverance will pay off.

Aqua Tap Plumbing was established in July 2002 and started out with humble beginnings as many trades businesses typically do, from the back of a van and with an apprentice at hand. With great enthusiasm and passion for plumbing and the building industry as well as a dedication to training and developing talented apprentices, the Aqua Tap Plumbing team has today grown to over 50 employees operating from its impressive professional facility located in Point Cook.

Anthony Pante, the Company Director spoke about the importance of employing apprentices. In fact Aqua Tap Plumbing has employed close to 150 apprentices in the past 15 years and some of the original apprentices are still with the company in leadership roles. Anthony is so committed to supporting his apprentices that he has developed a project area in the back of the premises, where apprentices can practice using tools or working on small projects after hours. Anthony encouraged attendees to find an industry that they enjoy and connect with. 17 years after completing his apprenticeship, Anthony is as comfortable on the tools as he is as the Company Director.

Our final guest speaker was Tony Grey, General Manager of HR at Dennis Family Homes. While Dennis Family Homes are probably best known as a quality home builder in the region, Tony explained that they do have two other arms of the business which are shopping centre management and residential estate development. While most of the building and construction work is completed by over 2000 subcontractors, Tony was able to tell us about the non-trade related roles in high demand at Dennis Family Homes such as Administration, Estimating and Drafting.

It was really encouraging to hear from all three presenters that apprenticeships are no longer just for school leavers. Many employers are willing to consider mature-age / career changers, noting that they tend to learn quicker and be more committed to finishing the apprenticeship. Having a mix of skills, experience and diversity is important to many organisations. Most employers do prefer candidates who have either completed Year 12 or have completed a Certificate II (pre-apprenticeship).

Useful Links

Here is a link to MEGT’s Jobs Board https://www.megt.com.au/job-board

Make sure you check out the other resources available on MEGT’s website including a Career Quiz, Aptitude Tests and a Job Seeker Toolkit.

Here is some information about the National Skills Needs List

For help with your resume or interview techniques, come along to our free monthly series of workshops at the Skills and Jobs Centre at 24 Watton Street, Werribee or book a one-on-one appointment with a Careers Counsellor by calling 5225 0700.

Follow the Skills and Jobs Centre on Facebook for information about further Industry Insights panels in 2020.

Contact The Gordon to learn more about pre-apprenticeships being delivered from our Hoppers Crossing campus.

Thank you to Wyndham City Council for their assistance with facilitating this event and providing a fantastic space at the Encore Events Centre.

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