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Get Career Success With a School-Based Traineeship

Get Career Success With a School-Based Traineeship

Get Career Success With a School-Based Traineeship

From having no idea what to do after finishing high school, to being ranked 5th highest in terms of KPI achievement at the Commonwealth Bank in South Australia (SA), proud Kokatha, Mirning man, Tommy Zeaiter, is the perfect example of how school-based traineeship in a bank can lead to career success.

After years of climbing the ranks at the bank, to then operating his own business, Tommy is now working at the University of Sydney as Project Officer for Diversity, Leadership and Inclusion and he is doing something very exciting.

“So, I was recruited, to help with hiring trainees at the university. My traineeship journey has come full circle,” said Tommy.

“It’s a truly rewarding feeling knowing I am helping young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids just like how I was supported at the beginning of my career,” he added.

Tommy’s incredible journey starts back in 2010 when he decided to take on a school-based traineeship with Commonwealth Bank, King William Street Branch in SA, as he saw it as a great opportunity to get some experience at a young age.

“I had no career aspirations in high school, so the traineeship sounded like a great way to get some direction. I would be working one day a week at the bank, earning an income, while the other four days I would be at school. It all sounded really good!

The traineeship also provided me with a Certificate II in Financial Services which counted towards my year 12 certificate which was a bonus.”

Tommy was an instant hit at the bank. He worked hard and absorbed everything he could from the people around him and the opportunity he was given.

“I was in a Business Administrative role, so I was doing a lot of administration support work like assisting the banking staff with handling requests and needs. I was learning about all the different areas of the bank and gaining skills in customer service and communication.

Learning about how a big corporation works at my age was pretty amazing and I made sure to soak up every bit of information and knowledge I could!”

To support him through his journey, Tommy was assigned an AFL SportsReady First Nations Mentor, Eddie Sansbury, who was by his side through it all.

“Eddie was with me from start to finish. He helped me with the initial interview process and guided me through the experience. I could confide in him with everything. His mentorship has been a defining part of my career and my life.”

After completing his traineeship, Tommy was offered full-time work at the bank as a teller.

“It was an amazing feeling to know I had a full-time job at just 17 years of age. I didn’t have direction going into my traineeship but once I started working at the bank, I could really see myself in this industry for a long time.

Within my first year of working at the bank in a full-time basis, I was named number 5 in the state for the highest KPI’s.

I was killing it before I was even an adult!”

Tommy continued to progress in the bank, from working as a bank teller to then being promoted as a specialist.

“There are so many opportunities at a bank to keep moving up and trying new roles. It’s a great environment for career progression because there is always another higher role to set your sights on.”

After years of success at the bank, Tommy decided to move to Sydney to start a family business. He focused on this venture for a few years before taking on a role at Yarn’n Aboriginal (and or Torrs Strait Islander) Employment Services as a Recruitment Consultant and then onto a Senior Consultant role. It was this role that led him to his current job.

“I absolutely love what I do now, and I love the university. The plans they have in the Aboriginal recruitment space is incredible. I am so passionate about this role in helping to recruit Aboriginal trainees because I have seen first-hand what these opportunities can do to someone’s life.”

Tommy’s story is an incredible one. He proves that through the right opportunity, passion and hard work you can achieve anything.

“My traineeship provided me with an entry-level opportunity to work in a big corporation, something I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. If I didn’t take on that traineeship opportunity, I don’t know where I would be.

I never pursued further study because classroom learning just wasn’t for me. I am a hands-on learner, and the traineeship is all about this way of learning. So, I am here today because of my traineeship, and I am extremely proud I get to provide the same opportunity for other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”


We currently have several school-based traineeships in finance thanks to a partnership with the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ. Visit our jobs board to view the current vacancies!

Date: 5th of October 2021
Author: Marissa Pagliarello
Image: Tommy Zeaiter