I had never really considered a career in the public service. However, when I saw the many opportunities for career development that exist, as well as the wide range of policy areas that the Department deals with, I decided to give it a shot and apply.
What does the Graduate Development Program involve?
The Graduate Program has been fantastic. We've been kept extremely busy! On top of gaining experience in three rotations through different areas of the Department during the year, we also have a range of duties as part of the Department's Social Club, complete a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration at the University of Canberra and undergo lots of formal training.
What is the best part of the job?
There are many positives. Firstly, the learning and development opportunities have been amazing. We have been given training in public speaking, stakeholder engagement, parliamentary process and many other areas. Studying at the University of Canberra also gave us a great theoretical understanding of public policy making that has been helpful when thinking through policy issues at work. It's also been great to work in an environment where you get to apply your critical thinking skills and knowledge to help shape government policy and deliver better outcomes for the community.
Highlights of the Graduate year?
The highlight of this year was definitely the Graduate Industry Tour. The Industry Tour involved us engaging with industry and community stakeholders on a policy area of interest to the Department. We then delivered a report and presentation to the Department's executive on our findings. The Industry Tour was a great opportunity to work closely with some fellow Graduates and the Senior Executive. We planned the trip from beginning to end, including the budget and meetings with nearly 30 different community stakeholders. Our group travelled to Norfolk Island – an incredible experience – while others went to various locations across Australia.
How is the work/life balance?
Fantastic. The Department offers Flex time, meaning that I can negotiate my working hours with my supervisor.
What sort of support have you received this year?
The Department provided relocation support, and there have been great formal and informal support networks, including a number of great networking events through the Department and the Australian Public Service Commission.