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Trainee Embraces Each Opportunity Throughout Journey

12 August 2021

Congratulations to Tahlia Sydenham, who recently completed her traineeship at Wollondilly Shire Council! Tahlia started her Certificate IV in Business Administration in January 2020, in Council’s Governance department. In this time, Tahlia has taken on the challenges of working through the COVID-19 situation, and the overall challenges of finding your place as a trainee in the professional world.


Tahlia has taken each opportunity presented to her with both hands, impressing her colleagues along the way. Her hard work has been rewarded with a full-time role at Council. We spoke to her about her recent completion and the things she has learnt throughout her traineeship journey.

Q&A with Tahlia

Congratulations on completing your traineeship recently – how does it feel to have completed your qualification?

Thank you! Thinking back to this time last year, I never thought that I would be finished my traineeship and already started a full time job at Wollondilly. Last year wasn’t a normal year either so that makes finishing that little bit more special. I was only working face-to-face at Wollondilly for just under three months before we started working from home. That was a bit of a struggle at first but I came to adjust to that.

What were some of the main skills you learnt?

The main skills that I learnt throughout my traineeship were how to deal with complaints, document production and diary management. I also learnt ways to manage dealing with difficult customers over the phone, which is very useful in my role.

What did you enjoy most about your traineeship?

I enjoyed the on-the-job learnings and experiences I got as a trainee. I was very lucky to experience a wide range of areas which including Risk, Insurance and Audit. My mentor in the Risk space was really great. This helped me in securing my role now at Council.

What were some of the most important lessons you learnt during your traineeship?

As much as you would like to know everything and be able to do everything you can’t as you are a trainee. You are in the job to learn and develop so don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself to know everything. That is something I struggled with at the start of my traineeship as I felt like I should have been at the same level as the people in my team. Also I feel that you need to take every opportunity and advantage that you can whilst being a trainee because all the experience you get goes towards future opportunities.

What were some of the highlights of your traineeship?

I can’t pin point an exact highlight in my traineeship but one would definitely be being awarded trainee of the year at the My Gateway Trainee Awards last year. This award showed a piece of the hard work and dedication that I put into my job over the year before. Another would be being able to participate and help coordinate an event such as our ALGWA candidate session for the women of our community to hears stories and gather information on becoming a councillor in the upcoming election. I have enjoyed making amazing friendships with my co-workers and being able to participate in wellbeing programs at lunch times.

Can you tell us a bit about your full-time role with Council and some of what you do?

My full time role at council is in the role of Assistant Enterprise Risk Officer. This includes claims management and assisting with renewals and enquires regarding Council’s insurance portfolio. I also assist with the scheduling meetings, agenda production and minute taking for the Audit function at Council, which includes our Audit Risk and Improvement Committee. In my role I also manage under excess claims that come in at Council. These include pothole claims and personal injury claims.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a traineeship?

If you are unsure about what career you want to choose in the future, a traineeship gives you the opportunity to complete a certificate whilst also gaining the on-the-job learning and experience that most company’s look for when hiring. I would also suggest taking every opportunity that you are handed. This can also help you for future opportunities. Also don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions if you have any. The more questions you ask, the more information and knowledge you gain.