HVTC 40th Anniversary - Dominique Kay

Dominique Kay’s first introduction to vocational education and training was through a School-Based Hospitality Traineeship in the last two years of high school. Initially interested in the hospitality sector, Dom spent one day a week working at Anoushka’s Cafe while completing her HSC. This experience helped Dom realise that hospitality wasn’t right for her – but it also opened her eyes up to the value of apprenticeship and traineeship pathways in getting real paid work experience while you study.

After school Dom went on to complete a Business Traineeship with HVTC hosted to Newcastle Newspapers. The suite of administrative skills Dom acquired in this traineeship led to ongoing employment opportunities with her host, from Administrative Assistant to Personal Assistant to the National Advertising Manager then finally to Executive Assistant to the General Manager.

After six years, Dom left Newcastle Newspapers to go overseas and spent a year working and travelling in Canada. Upon returning to Australia, she was fortunate enough to secure a maternity relief position at HVTC.

“I worked at HVTC as a recruitment administrator and inherited some of the payroll responsibilities as well,” she said.

“After the maternity role I ended up working full time as a Recruitment Officer. I think I was the first official Recruitment Officer at HVTC and the position was put in place to really champion that process and put systems in place.

“Then I eventually moved into the Assistant to the Operations Manager role. This was a new role as well as Lib’s role was getting busier and busier and she needed support. My background as an EA plus the experience and knowledge I had developed at HVTC made me a good fit for that role.”

In the five years she spent with HVTC, Dom became increasingly interested in Human Resources, so when a HR traineeship with Centennial came up, she decided to jump at the opportunity.

“While working at the Herald I assisted the HR Manager with various tasks so that was kind of my first taste of HR. Then it just sort of evolved from there,” Dom said.

“Working in recruitment on tasks like Interpretation of awards, payroll queries from host employers and getting to work alongside the HR team at HVTC expanded my interest into the general HR space. I learnt a lot from being in that environment.

“Around the time that the traineeship with Centennial came up I had been thinking about studying a Cert IV in HR anyway, so it seemed like good timing. Though it was a really hard decision to make, I enjoyed working at HVTC and really loved the people I worked with.

Dom commenced her traineeship with Centennial in September 2018, at their Fassifern office. Her studies were undertaken through the Australian College of Commerce and Management.

In addition to working in recruitment, Dom also got to work on a number of projects, such as updating position descriptions and the implementation of a new HR system to streamline records management and onboarding. Towards the end of the traineeship, Dom also got to assist with workers compensation and legal matters.

After completing her traineeship in just nine months, Dom was offered a permanent role with Centennial.

“Earlier this year, I’ve had the chance to step up and take on more responsibilities in things like preparing staff contracts, assisting with the negotiation of new Enterprise Agreements to name a few – things involving greater responsibility and confidentiality,” she said.

“We also have a new HR trainee, Georgia, so it has been really nice to be able to mentor her and help in her new learning journey, having been in her shoes before.

“I always enjoy learning something new and I’ve been so lucky with all my roles where they have come with a lot of variety, no one day is the same. It has also been really great to be involved in helping coordinate the apprentice/graduate programs with Centennial and keep that connection to HVTC. We also won the HVTC Large Host Award in 2019 and it was nice to be a part of that application process.”

Outside of work, Dom and her fiancé Cal are expecting their first child in September and are also renovating their house in Lake Macquarie.

“We are both really excited about the next chapter in our lives.”

Dominique Kay