Volunteers Week, Spase

Humans in Geelong – Celebrating Volunteers Week! Experience for work – the break through Career Seekers need. One retrenched worker’s story. Looking for a job can be the hardest thing you will ever do. Especially when you have been retrenched from a career you might once have thought would last a lifetime. Spase Saplamaev started his search for a new career two years ago, as soon as Ford Australia made the  announcement his assembly line job would finish.


‘I thought this is my chance. I enjoyed ICT.  I had been helping friends with their computers, building websites. I thought maybe I can turn my interest into a career.’ Spase started computer studies courses and by September last year was completing his Diploma in IT.

‘I was following the system. Doing everything everyone told me to do, to try to find a new job.’ But Spase was finding the process complicated and dispiriting.

‘I just wasn’t sure I had what it takes to make it in a modern ICT workplace.’

 Then, a few months ago, he found a break-through opportunity. On the Geelong Careers site Spase regularly used to apply for regional jobs, something new caught his eye: Experience for Work, a range of experience tasters for career seekers who wanted to see how their skills sets and training matched the requirements of real careers in trending industries.

Spase applied immediately, choosing ICT data analysis for the Geelong Careers site.  Before he knew it he found himself in the Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network  office meeting Marianne Messer, Geelong Careers creator and manager, and being briefed on his project. Spase agreed to take away the data generated by the Geelong Careers apps and turn it from boring excel spreadsheets into engaging dynamic charts and graphics.

‘I was excited to see how I could use my experience and skills straight away.’ Energised by the scope and creativity of the task and the realization he had the skills he needed, Spase got started straight away.

‘I loved it. It took me a while to get a system going, but after that I couldn’t wait to add new charts and do new comparisons.’ Working independently, communicating via email and the occasional face to face meetings, Spase began to work in a new way, an authentic 21st century ICT workplace.

He shared the resources he made on line, in the cloud and via email.  Over the next few weeks Spase took Geelong Careers jobs, industry and applicants data and made a range of comparative charts plotting the numbers of jobs advertised, what postcode they came from, what industry they represented, and who were the main users accessing Geelong Careers.

While the work is as a volunteer, and Geelong Careers, a free resource, is not in a position to offer on-going work, Spase acknowledges the benefits he is enjoying. Hope for a real career dream.

‘Experience for Work is the only thing that is giving me hope. I am so lucky I found this. I almost gave up on my ICT ambitions, but now I feel more confident I can make a new career in ICT.’

His second Experience for Work, with Deakin University, was spending a half day immersion in ICT support in an educational setting.

Spase has a new range of skills, a glowing reference, the satisfaction of volunteering and of seeing his data charts out there being used to inform and encourage fellow career seekers.

Story compliments of Geelong Careers.