A traineeship experience that is so much more than developing business skills

Introducing Makayla Holz
24 November 2020

I chose to take part in the traineeship program as I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to get my foot in the door for many other fantastic opportunities within the University.

Makayla Holz started at ANU in October 2019 working in the Research School of Psychology as the Indigenous Trainee Administrative Assistant. “My role is quite broad, I am the local Occupational Strains Liaison Officer (OSLO), fire warden, and first aid officer. I also assist with many enquiries regarding facilities, marketing, and events to name a few. I love working at the Research School of Psychology as it keeps me busy, ensures my skills are always updated, and all of the friendly staff are just an added bonus.”  

“When I first applied to work at ANU I was very excited. I chose to take part in the traineeship program as I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to get my foot in the door for many other fantastic opportunities within the University. I have always had a dream of leading a team and being in senior management and I can see my future flourishing before my eyes here at ANU.” 

Her role has had a great impact on her life, Makayla reflects. It has given her amazing opportunities to build a network with fantastic people, continue her journey of self-discovery, find out more about her Aboriginality, and to complete her Certificate III and IV. 

Image: Makayla Holz
Makayla Holz

“I am currently on a journey of self-discovery, as I have recently found out that I am a part of the Kamilaroi Tribe descending from Moonbi. Although with COVID closures recently I have not been able to connect with people locally at ANU I now know that there is somewhere that I can go to learn more about my culture and parts of myself that were lost for some generations. I completed my Certificate III in Business two months ahead of time, and my employers assisted me in setting realistic goals and helped me to maintain my workload to make sure I wasn’t overloaded. Once the University shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic my work died down and I put my head down and studied hard to endure that something was ensure that I kept meeting the end goals. My achievements showed my employers the hard work and commitment that I am willing to implement in the workplace therefore, I was offered another contract and to study my Certificate IV with ATC.” 

Upon arriving at the University, Makayla tells of her initial struggle in finding her sense of belonging within the broad ANU community. “I was invited to a smoking ceremony at the Tjabal Centre where I met Aunty Anne and mingled with fellow Indigenous staff and students.

“The biggest challenge I experienced was connecting with fellow trainees. After having a conversation with Karyn Hunter, the accounts managers at ATC, we decided that there is a real need for a network within our trainee and apprentice community at ANU.” 

Makayla has played a key role in establishing the ANU Trainee and Apprentice Network, including assisting with the Microsoft Teams group, starting weekly virtual catch ups, and face-to-face coffees since restrictions lifted on campus. She has shown a lot of support to other trainees, especially those just starting out at the ANU. 

When asked what she would say to others undertaking or considering undertaking a traineeship, she gave the following 5 tips: 

  1. Never be afraid to ask for help. 
  2. Always make time for yourself. 
  3. If you are feeling overwhelmed by work and study commitments don’t be afraid to speak up. 
  4. Being positive encourages others around you to be positive.  
  5. And finally, believe in yourself – you can do this!

The traineeship program has come with many rewards, says Makayla, this includes the qualifications obtained, skill building, and the opportunity to be able to meet so many wonderful people within the ANU and ATC community.