From Traineeship to Job at the Bank
In 2010, when Ben Thomson walked in to Commonwealth Bank wearing a dinner suit, he was determined to leave with a job.
Like many young Aboriginal people, his path to employment was not easy.
Ben found school tough and still graduated school in 2009 from Loyola Senior College Rooty Hill. It wasn’t long after graduation that his life just seemed to spiral out of control.
Unemployed, with limited skills and experience, he didn’t see himself getting very far in the world.
Ben acknowledges the crucial role that his parents played in getting him to where he is today. “Just because you are down at the bottom doesn’t mean you can’t get to the top, you just need to know the way there.” Ben’s parents helped to show him the way there.
After a stern life changing conversation with his parents, their expectations of him became clear. “They expected a lot from me; I let them down” he said.
This was Ben’s chance to change – and he took it.
He went to the bank, dressed in his dinner suit. Sitting outside the bank in the car park he steeled himself: he had nothing to lose by going in and asking for a job. So he strode in and asked to speak to the manager.
Several successful rounds of interviews, Ben secured himself the traineeship he thought was unattainable.
The competitive 12-month traineeship offers on-the-job training for a career in banking and finance. Ben was a standout because he was “motivated to wanting to build a career for himself. He was also willing to learn and listen to improve his skills,” said Phil Lockyer, Manager of Indigenous Employment and Training at the Bank.
The traineeship focused on a range of skills such as communication, cash handling, an understanding of financial products and services. This on-the-job training was relevant to the trainees’ varying roles, as well as professional development to increase their capacity to secure a permanent job with the Bank.
Ben completed his traineeship in September 2011 and now works at the Bank’s Mt Druitt branch.
Employment makes a huge difference in anyone’s life, but when you have a supportive family and workplace the difference can be tremendous. “Working means more for me, and more for my family”, Ben said.
By being himself, going to work and chatting to his customers, Ben is showing that young Aboriginal people have the determination and capacity to work. When friends, family and strangers come into the bank and see Ben, they often tell him how proud they are of him. He shares in their pride. “I’m not just proud of myself, my family are proud of me too,” he said.
Ben’s story is one of many successful Indigenous employment stories. Sky News Business channel will be airing a series of GenerationOne Real Stories in the coming months, which showcase the personal journey of young Aboriginal people finding work.
You can also watch more of Ben’s Story at the GenerationOne website www.generationone.org.au