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Meet the team - Gay Donnelly.

Meet the team - Gay Donnelly

Our powerhouse leader in Sydney .

How long have you been at Zeal Futures? I started with Zeal Futures in March 2020. The day I started was the day Australia commenced the transition 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 only strengthened these relationships once we returned to face-to-face interactions.

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 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.

You were recently promoted to the role of Sydney Workforce Solutions Manager. How does your role differ to your previous position as a Workforce Solutions Specialist? The main difference is that I've gone from mentoring and working directly with the trainees and apprentices, to leading the Sydney team of Workforce Solutions Specialists as they support and mentor their caseloads.

My role now is heavily focused on leading, supporting and mentoring my team in building strong and long-lasting relationships with our host employers and supporting hosted employees throughout their whole journey, from recruitment through to completion.   

What do you love about working for Zeal Futures? 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 just about to finish my 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 and now your team. If you could pick one person to be your mentor, who would it be? I can't go past my mentor Mick Ruddock, who was my Manager prior to my recent promotion. He is always so supportive, believes in me and supports me to no end. I also look up to my current manager, Libby, and the broader team who are truly committed to our growth as individuals.

If you could pick one highlight from your career, what would it be? My recent promotion is a highlight, but 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. 

Another highlight would be having some of my apprentices and trainees win awards at local, regional and state level. 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 what your goals are for your career? To continue to grow personally within my new role and encourage my team to be the best they can be, along with continuing to support our regions and field teams. I'm looking forward to learning 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.