Jun 16, 2021, 14:00 PM
Like thousands of young people working in the hospitality trade, the COVID pandemic plunged Kris Lattin (right) into a world of uncertainty.
Just two months after arriving in Melbourne and landing a “dream job” at a local café, the Brisbane-born barista was out of work and wondering where to turn next.
Fortunately for Kris, his boss had introduced him to the State Government’s Working for Victoria (WFV) program, which quickly led to an opportunity on one of Citywide’s prominent street-cleaning teams – the first step on what would prove an enduring career ladder.
Today, Kris is one of 38 WFV employees who’ve secured full-time jobs with Citywide, in a variety of roles ranging from infrastructure management and industrial cleaning to work in our corporate office.
“Since April 2020, we’ve hired 2,070 people through Working for Victoria, in jobs ranging from street-cleaning and graffiti removal to tree-planting and door-to-door health information,” says Citywide’s National People and Culture Manager, Tina Sabec.
“While most of these jobs were temporary, they helped people get back on their feet after what was, for many, the biggest shock of their lives.
“But when we cross paths with talented, dedicated people, we do our utmost to hang on to them - actively finding and even creating new roles. For me, investing in people who are worth investing in is a big part of what our Employee Value Proposition should be."
Today, Kris, 26, has gone from leading a cleaning team on the streets of Port Phillip, to planting indigenous trees and now on to working on the frontline of a new digital program scheduling work for Citywide’s infrastructure and maintenance contracts.
The program is a GIS-enabled software that helps staff track and record asset maintenance work through an app on their phone. Citywide began trialling the system in Bayside and Canberra last year, and are now implementing it in Melton.
“It’s a very cool system through which employees and clients can see an audit trail of services provided by Citywide,” explains Kris. “You can then use this data to move away from routine maintenance to smarter servicing and data-driven scheduling.”
Kris is balancing his work as the digital program support officer with a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management at ANU, and says the two roles are highly complementary.
“I’ve always worked in hospitality which is mainly physical work – but in this job I’m using my energy to think about real-world challenges.
“Part of my environmental studies focuses on GIS systems, and I realise how lucky I am to have a job that lets me experience how these systems work and inform people in the real world.”
Mastering our systems
On the other side of Arden Street, another former WFV recruit is also making waves in the IT world – this time in our payroll and recruitment departments.
Abbas Syed, 26, also served on Citywide’s street cleaning teams – doing “nine months of solid walking” across Glen Eira, Stonnington, Port Phillip and downtown Melbourne – after losing his job as a software engineer last June.
Finally, in March, he was offered a full-time job in our recruitment office after Recruitment Advisor Shilpa Lloyd spotted a talent she had need for.
“Abbas is a gem,” says Shilpa. “His enthusiasm, competence and commitment were evident as soon as we started working with him. He’s mastered our payroll and timesheet systems, and identified and fixed up a lot of system errors and pain points we’d been having challenges with.
“He’s got a delightful personality and is a great team player. Plus he’s an excellent baker, and brings in great chocolate brownies and sweet treats!”
Although his real passion is software development, Abbas says he’s delighted to be dividing his time between Citywide’s recruitment and payroll offices.
“This company has a culture of looking after people, and if you’re committed and good at what you do, they’ll help you learn new skills and broaden your career prospects,” he says.
“One thing I really like about Citywide is this focus on what people can do as workers, as opposed to what kind of credentials they have. When I came to Australia as a student in 2017, whenever I looked for a job, I was usually told ‘your qualifications are not relevant’ or ‘you’re not entitled to work here’.
“But at Citywide, there’s a much more supportive culture. They appreciate what you have and what you can give to the company and your team. And they’ll always push you to improve yourself and have better opportunities within the scope of what you’re allowed to do.”
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications
M 0427 307 216