What’s your name? What did you study? When did you graduate?
I’m Mel and I studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Western Australia (UWA). I majored in Environmental and Marine Science and completed my undergraduate degree in 2015. I then went on to do Honours in Marine Science and finished in 2016.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia (WA). I completed all of my schooling and university in Perth, except for a semester in the United States where I studied at Montana State University as part of UWA’s student exchange program.
Throughout high school and university, I worked part-time at my local Bakers Delight. During that time I sought work experience and volunteering opportunities with agencies like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and local community groups. I secured an internship after my undergraduate degree with the CSIRO working in the Land and Water team in Canberra. This was not only a great experience educationally but also to expose me to what it is like to work full time in an office environment.
I also did some volunteering work after university with the then WA Department of Fisheries. This experience helped me to gain employment with the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development working in licensing and customer service.
Can you describe a typical work day?
So far, the work in my two rotations has been quite varied and no two days have been the same, which makes me excited to come to work each day. In my current rotation in Communications, I have been able to work on projects like the annual interstate Regulator Site visit for our Regulator Board and help with our weekly agency newsletter. This often involves making phone calls to external stakeholders, identifying interesting topics to write about for the newsletter and working with other teams in the agency to help them communicate their work.
Suppose a student was considering CER’s Graduate Program. What would you advise them to study? Are there any soft skills that would be beneficial for them to develop? Should they pursue any sort of work experience?
The people and the work of the agency are so diverse that it is difficult to say one area of study would be more beneficial than the other. It would depend on what you wanted to do in your career in the agency but I would recommend studies on environmental/climate science, energy studies, economics or something business related.
Any work experience that will get you into an office environment would be beneficial. I found that it was the little things like email organisation, learning how to use the agencies phone capabilities, how to record leave, the administrative stuff that you don’t get taught at university but is integral to working in a professional setting.
What do you love most about your job? What kind of task do you enjoy doing the most?
I love knowing that my work and the work of the agency is directly benefitting a cause I am passionate about. The people are also really great at the agency. Everyone has an interesting background and their own reasons for working for the Clean Energy Regulator and it has been really enjoyable to hear everyone’s stories.
I can’t pin down one thing that I enjoy doing most, I would say that it’s all been enjoyable so far. Like I said earlier, the work is so varied in your graduate year. If there is something that you don’t find as stimulating or that you don’t like as much, there will be opportunities to move onto other work.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I think I would still be working in government but perhaps with another department or agency. Working in the Australian Public Service has amazing benefits and opportunities, there are so many interesting people and I would highly recommend a career in the public service for new graduates.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?