Meet the team: Gay Donnelly

As part of our Meet the Team series, we'd like to introduce you to Gay, one of our Workforce Solutions Specialists based in the Southern Regions. With International Women's Day approaching, it's fitting to profile a woman who continues to be a driving force behind the success of many of our talented apprentices and trainees.

How long have you been at HVTC? I started with HVTC in March 2020. The day I started was the day Australia started to go into lockdown due to COVID. It was challenging learning the role and getting to know the existing trainees and apprentices and having to build rapport with them via Teams and phone calls. However, I believe these challenges strengthened the relationships once we returned to face-to-face interactions.

What does your role as a Workforce Solutions Specialist involve? A lot! From the initial screening of the applicants to the induction process and end-to-end mentoring once the newbies start their journeys. I also support with monitoring their study progress, working with the Registered Training Organisations (RTO's) involved, monitoring and working closely with the Host Employers to ensure the relationships are developing well, and monitoring the on -job training and safety of the trainees and apprentices. Sometimes performance counselling may be required if any issues arise, as well as supporting anyone experiencing life challenges that may arise, whether it's providing an ear of support and backing it up with referral information to appropriate services if needed (such as head space or AccessEAP). This is just a brief overview as no two days are the same. There are always new challenges and learning opportunities, which helps me continue growing and building the skills I need to support people across different areas.

If you could pick one highlight from your career, what would it be? It is hard to pick just one. Overall, I enjoy being a part of the bigger picture; supporting the apprentices and trainees from start to finish, watching them grow into successful, qualified individuals and guiding them through the unknown and out the other side. I suppose the biggest highlight would be having some of my apprentices and trainees win awards at local, regional and state level, such as the HVTC Excellence Awards, NSW Training Awards or the Apprentice Employment Network Group Training Awards. I love being able to be there to watch them at the award's presentations, reflecting on their growth and how I have been lucky enough to walk alongside them on that journey. It's pretty special and I feel grateful to be a part of that.

Tell us about a success story of one of your apprentices/trainees: Again, it's hard to pick just one but the most recent would be Charli Croker. Like myself, Charli had to overcome challenges brought on with COVID while completing her apprenticeship. She put in a lot of hard work to complete her qualification, wanting to learn as much as she could and then went on to win HVTC's Woman in Non traditional Trade Apprentice of the Year in 2023. I'm very proud of Charli and how much she grew over the four years I supported her.

Finish this sentence: The best part about my job is: Being a part of people's journeys and knowing that we are truly changing lives.

What do you love about working for HVTC Group? Definitely the growth and development opportunities. In my time I've transitioned from a Workforce Solutions Specialist to temporarily covering as Manager. I have completed a Certificate IV in WHS and am currently working towards a Cert IV in Leadership and Management. It is great being a part of such a supportive and wonderful company that provides me with confidence and support to be the best version of myself.

You act as a mentor/coach for apprentices and trainees. If you could pick one person to be your mentor, who would it be? I can't go past my current mentor Mick Ruddock, our Workforce Solution's Manager. He is always so supportive, believes in me and supports me to no end.

Tell us what your goals are for your career? To continue to grow personally along with continuing to support our region and field team when Mick is on leave, learn more of the larger scale operational side of the business and continue to work with such a wonderful organisation that truly believes in what we do.

HVTC Workforce Solutions Specialist Gay Donnelly