The Citi New Recruits Program, now in its fifth year, has had some remarkable results. With appreciation to Citi Australia and Citi Foundation, Skilling Australia Foundation has impacted the lives of over 800 disadvantaged youth in Melbourne and Sydney since the program’s inception in 2013.
Pathways to Progress is Citi and the Citi Foundation’s response to the persistent issue of youth unemployment globally. Led by the philanthropic efforts of the Citi Foundation, and strengthened by the active involvement of dedicated Citi volunteers, the Pathways to Progress initiative supports programs that help young people, ages 16-24, build an entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership, financial and workplace skills, and begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job.
The Citi New Recruits program run by Skilling Australia Foundation has held 43 workshops and eight school-based boot camp style programs with the goal to transition the disadvantaged and disengaged program participants into employment or further education and training. The Citi New Recruits program begins with a free job-readiness program developing essential ‘soft skills’ of participants, after which work placement is undertaken. Following this three week program, graduates are placed into a mentored Traineeship or Apprenticeship.
Enter Alicia Doolan. Now an ambassador for the Citi New Recruits program, she graduated from the first phase of Citi New Recruits in 2013.
With limited work experience, young mum Alicia thought her best bet would be to earn a qualification which would lead her to a secure job afterward.
“I quickly came to realise that the best way for me to gain any kind of experience, particularly after two years out of the workforce after having my daughter, was to commence a traineeship.”
Through the Citi New Recruits program, Alicia honed in on her soft-skills and became a desirable candidate for prospective employers. As part of the free program, Alicia completed a week long work experience component in the office at Precision Metal Group. Following her work experience, Alicia was offered a full time mentored traineeship studying a Certificate III in Business.
“The Citi New Recruits Program changed my life and not only allowed me to pursue a career and fulfil career goals but also fulfil my life time goal of becoming a great role model for my daughter. With self-belief, the right support and the right program anyone can make their dreams come true.” Said Alicia.
Throughout the 12 month traineeship, Alicia had a steady income and was undertaking study for her the nationally recognised qualification in business. She continued to build on her technical skills and demonstrate her soft-skills in the workplace. Alicia was recognised at the 2015 Western Sydney Regional Training Awards winning the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award for her achievements as a business trainee in vocational training and education.
Upon graduating from her Certificate III in Business, Alicia knew that she could take on more and decided to enrol in further study with a Certificate IV in Marketing. As a result of her hard work and dedication Alicia was awarded the Skilling Australia Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in 2016. Alicia was offered a permanent position with her host employer Precision Metal Group, which she accepted without hesitation. Alicia has continued to apply herself to her work and study. Alicia is now an official Ambassador for the Citi New Recruits Program affording her opportunities like meeting Treasurer Scott Morrison and interviewing with Skilling Australia Foundation CEO Nicholas Wyman, live on Channel 9 News.
This about brings us to 2017, and specifically last Friday night.
The Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT (AEN NSW & ACT) conducts the 2017 NSW & ACT Group Training Awards to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The awards reward and honour the achievements of apprentices, trainees, host employers and group training organisations. This year the Awards Night presentation dinner was held on Friday 13th October 2017 at Dockside Convention Centre Darling Harbour.
Alicia was nominated, along with 9 others from NSW and ACT, in the category of Trainee of the Year. An achievement in itself to be nominated, Alicia went one step further and took home the award! Alicia remains humble in her achievements, “What a shock!! I wasn’t expecting to win at all!” she said after winning the top award.
“I am both honoured and proud to have been awarded Trainee of the year. I feel as though all my late nights studying, hard work and determination has been recognised and rewarded.”
Alicia’s journey has been guided and supported by a mentor allocated to her as part of the Citi New Recruits Program. “One of the best things about my traineeship was having a mentor. Lisa made my time as a trainee very rewarding and enjoyable, if it wasn’t for my mentor at times there is a possibility I may not have completed. There were times when I felt very overwhelmed and short of defeat, one phone call to my mentor Lisa and everything was ok and I was back on track.”
The mentor-mentee relationship is a powerful one and plays a large role in the high level of completion rates of WPC Group who sit at around 78% against an industry average of 49%.
“Assisting young people into an entry level career pathway is a role a mentor takes on with great enthusiasm and pride. There’s no better day than shaking their hand and sharing the moment with them when they qualify… except of course for being able to celebrate an achievement like winning Trainee of the Year! This is incredible and very well deserved.”
says Lisa Lee who has been Alicia’s mentor since 2013.
Alicia credits much of the opportunities and achievements in her career to date to the Citi New Recruits program.
“The Citi New Recruits Program gave me the skills, knowledge, and confidence I needed to enter the workforce and perform to the best of my ability during my traineeship and will be beneficial throughout my entire career.”
“Winning the NSW & ACT trainee of the year is the biggest honour by far and one of my proudest moments within my training journey and it all started with the Citi New Recruits Program.”