Featured Member Profile - Trevor Ashenden

28 Feb 2024 3:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

This month we spoke with Trevor Ashenden, Coordinator - Community Rangers and Fire Prevention Officers at City of Onkaparinga, about his role, professional development and what's next for him. 

How long have you been in local government?

I started with City of Onkaparinga in August 2020 as a casual Ranger, with no previous regulatory or local government experience.

In October 2021, I was the successful candidate for the role of Technical Support Officer within our section, responsible for drafting political correspondence; giving legislative advice to internal and external customers; and assisting in the development and review of policies and procedures.

Then in late 2022 the role of Coordinator became available. Following a rigorous selection process, I was the successful candidate, commencing in January of 2023.

Here I am, 3 ½ years later, happily supporting and leading a team of 17 Rangers and 2 Fire Prevention Officers.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day often starts early. I like to get up about 5:30am most days and go to the gym in the morning. Regular exercise is probably my best stress manager (as well as managing that office chair waistline).

I get to the office between 8-8:30am and start by checking my to-do list for any pressing items incomplete from yesterday, before checking my calendar for the day’s meetings and putting together a new to-do list.

I always keep myself available to the team to answer questions or assist with their investigations, as well as attend complicated site visits.

There are a lot of variables in my day, which means I’m constantly prioritising and rearranging my day. The last 15 months have been a serious lesson in time management.

In 2022 you participated in the LG Professionals SA Australasian Management Challenge; can you share some reflections from your experience?

WOW!!! What an amazing experience. City of Onkaparinga have a great program leading into challenge day, where participants attend weekly catch ups and meet with all the Managers individually.

We learn about the different aspects of the organisation including projects, challenges, and council’s place in the community.

Challenge day itself is a wonderful experience. To be under so much pressure all day but keep so positive and produce so much work is amazing. It gets you so far outside your comfort zone.

I recommend this program to everyone; what you learn about yourself, your workplace and your community just can’t be achieved anywhere else.

After participating in the Challenge, you then furthered your professional development by undertaking LG Professionals SA Short Courses, Performance Coaching, and Speaking with Influence. Could you provide one to two valuable take aways from each course?

With such a large and diverse team, performance conversations can sometimes arise. With no previous training and guidance, these conversations were difficult and often poorly executed.

This course was great in giving me the basic knowledge and skillset I needed to be confident and competent in these situations. A couple of key takeaways include:

Planning - I used to think about how I might like the conversation to go, imagining how it might play out over and over, but I didn’t know what point ‘a’ or ‘b’ should be or how to get there. The Performance Coaching short course gave me the tried and tested structure that allowed me to plan the conversation, understand the goals of the conversation and ensure a positive outcome.   

Keep on topic - We have all experienced people who deflect away from the conversation or look to point blame. Speaking with Influence showed me how to identify deflection, address it and keep the conversation relevant, while simultaneously letting the person feel heard and supported.

What’s next for you in your professional development journey?

The training and development offering by LG Professionals SA is incredible and I am very lucky to work in an organisation that values ongoing development of all their people.

In my true ‘not to miss an opportunity’ form, I am participating in the LG Professionals SA Ignite program.

This is another great program, consisting of 12 sessions over a 12-month period. We work as groups and individually, with the aim of developing ourselves as leaders and attaining Cert IV in Leadership and Management.

We began last week with our first units of ‘effective relationships’ and ‘make presentations’.  From day one this was very enlightening and really broke down our barriers and allowed us to analyse ourselves as people and leaders.

I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I have a small family, my wife, Jodie and our 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Before beginning at council, I was a Kite Surfing instructor and my family love the beach. We also spend as much time as we can in our caravan.

Fortunately, its very easy to combine these things, so you’ll usually find us on a long weekend camped somewhere along the coast, making the most of the sunset.  

Mailing Address: 148 Frome Street ADELAIDE SA 5000   Phone: 08 8224 2080   Email: admin@lgprofessionalssa.org.au

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