City of Sydney Trainee Steps Up

City of Sydney Trainee Steps Up

City of Sydney Trainee Steps Up

Samoan born, Seela Lotam, has flourished in her traineeship with the City of Sydney. In just nine months into her traineeship she was promoted to a Business Support Officer for the Strategy and Urban Analytics Unit.

“I had many highlights throughout my traineeship, but this was most definitely my biggest,” exclaimed Seela.

I was only nine months into my traineeship, graduated from high school the year before, and still, I was given the opportunity to become a Business Support Officer for the Strategy and Urban Analytics Unit. This is something beyond what I could ever imagine.”

 Seela started her traineeship in 2018, having only worked in retail and warehouse jobs, she was after something different.

“I grew up in a family where it is accepted to go straight into the workforce and work in a warehouse as a pick/packer. I soon realised  that I didn’t want to be in a warehouse, and I wanted to work in a career that was more fulfilling.”

“I set myself out to do the one thing I didn’t think I could do, and that was to take on this traineeship. The traineeship was explained to me in more detail – and I pushed myself to go forward with it. It was and has been everything I wanted it to be.” 

In her first nine months with City of Sydney, Seela worked as Assistant in the Strategy and Urban Analytics Unit where she was responsible for helping with financial systems, diary management, office management, organising workshops and assisting with events.

“I honestly assumed I would be given very basic administrative tasks, but surprisingly found myself doing a lot more than I could ever imagine. 

“I was given endless support and assistance from the City of Sydney Council, especially the Strategy and Urban Analytics Unit.  They understood that I was learning and gave me many opportunities that allowed me to grow.”

As part of her traineeship Seela studied a Certificate III in Business which allowed her to gain a deeper insight into her role and the industry. 

“Every single module I completed was relevant to my role, some more than others. But it was great to study new things because it allowed me to connect information that I was learning, to the tasks that I was doing.” 

“But really, I received more than just a qualification. I received an insight into the City of Sydney council, and not only witnessed what goes on inside, but become an integral part of it. I did not get treated like a trainee and was given the opportunity to participate in what the City of Sydney had to offer.” 

Hard work, grit and passion saw Seela excel in her traineeship and the City of Sydney rewarded her with a promotion and a new challenge.

“In my new role as Business Support Officer in the Strategy and Urban Analytics team, I am basically in charge of the whole administration side of things. It’s a huge step in my career and I couldn’t feel more blessed.” 

Doing a traineeship is amazing but not easy. I knew that some sacrifices had to be made when undergoing a traineeship, but those minor sacrifices do not compare to the amount of experience and joy you actually get out of the traineeship. “

Seela owes a lot of her success to the support she received throughout her traineeship.

“I got to where I am because of the ArtsReady program and the support I got from my AFL SportsReady Field Officer, Rog Chhabra.

I can say with confidence that a traineeship is definitely worth it – especially coming from barely any experience or no experience at all.

Thanks to my traineeship I was able to land myself a role at the City of Sydney and make my family proud.”

Click here to read the story from Seela’s host employer, Kate Deacon, Executive Manager of Strategy and Urban Analytics at City of Sydney and get the hosts perspective.

To find out more about the diverse range of rewarding careers available through vocational education and training, and watch the real skills for real careers video, visit


Date: 17th April 2019

Image: Seela Lotam in her workplace.

Author: Marissa Pagliarello