Graduate profiles

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The Department of Jobs and Small Business Graduate Program is designed to provide you with a range of experiences, challenges, opportunities, social events and a great range of learning and development programs all within in a workplace that has a great culture and sense of community, along with a supportive network of previous graduates. But why take our word for it, meet some of our past graduates below! 

Alastair, Economics Graduate

Why did you apply for the Department of Employment 2017 Graduate Program?

I applied for the Department of Employment Graduate Program because after 5 years at university I was well and truly ready to apply my skills practically. I knew that working for the Department of Employment would allow me to not only utilise the writing and analytical skills that I had developed at university, but also help everyday Australians to find employment. The Department’s Graduate Program has provided me with plenty of opportunities to advance my personal development and all of the other graduates and staff in the Department really appreciates the fresh perspective that I bring.

What do you do in your job?

I’ve had vastly different experiences during my two rotations in the Department. In my first rotation I was involved in evaluating the Department’s biggest program, jobactive. This introduced me to the role the program plays and how it helps Australians find employment. My second rotation was as a labour market analyst. I was part of a team that prepared briefs, labour market information and analysis for use in program and policy areas. On some occasions this role required me to work on requests directly from the Minister, executive staff, as well as from other Departments.

What are three highlights from your graduate year?

  1. One of the great things about the Department has been the social club and the events that are put on. I was fortunate enough to be part of the graduate team that put on the Department’s annual trivia night. We were able to raise more than $6,000 for charity —it was an amazing night to be a part of!
  2. As part of my second rotation I took part in a “lock-up”, where our team was given access to embargoed data to analyse. This high-pressure environment is very exciting, and you get access to data firsthand. It’s also very interesting to watch the effect of the data on the markets when it is released.
  3. Finally, as part of the graduate year I’ve had the opportunity to work in great teams across both rotations and also with other people in the Department. Working with such amazing people always makes it so easy to come to work.

How have you found living in Canberra?

Having moved from Sydney, Canberra has actually been an exciting change. There’s always something going on, and it’s so nice to be surrounded by the bush with great hikes and national parks, and the snow only an hour away! I’m living in a great share house which is only a 10-minute walk to work and to the city, and the rent is so much cheaper than Sydney. The Department’s Graduate Program also has a great relocation assistance package too; they set you up really well to make the move.

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Bradley, Quantitative Analysis Graduate

Why did you apply for the Department of Employment 2017 Graduate Program?

I applied for the Department of Employment’s Graduate Program because of my interest in working in an economics-related position. Due to my keen interest in economics, the Department’s direct connection to the labour market and labour market analysis made it an appealing workplace. 

The Quantitative Analysis stream in particular appealed to me as I enjoy working with numbers. I thought the Department’s Graduate Program would be a good opportunity to further my data skills, and that’s definitely been the case so far. I’ve been surrounded by some really smart, data literate people who are down to earth and engaged with the work they do. Throughout the Graduate Program I’ve been well supported by my teams and supervisors to further develop my technical skills through formal and on-the-job training.

What do you do in your job?

During my first rotation in the Department of Employment, I worked in a team responsible for the evaluation of the Empowering Youth Initiative program. This involved tracking the progress of certain initiatives and preparing theory and program logic to assist with the qualitative fieldwork. This was interesting work as most of the initiatives operate on a smaller scale and target cohorts of young people who face a range of quite specific barriers to employment. It definitely put the work of the Department into reality and gave me insight into how some of the funding allocated is used at a grassroots level to improve outcomes.

In my second rotation of the graduate program, I’ve been working in a team responsible for sending job seeker surveys, capturing the relevant data and reporting on the findings. Through this rotation I’ve been able to improve my technical statistical skills and have exposure to a range of ad-hoc tasks.

Both teams have great work culture and have given me a solid insight into the overall function of the Department of Employment.

What are three highlights from your graduate year?

  1. I’ve been lucky enough to travel interstate twice to collect qualitative research data on youth employment programs. This was a great opportunity to understand how the funding allocated by the department is actually used at ground level. As part of the evaluation process, I was lucky enough to meet with participants and mentors in Indigenous communities, and hear from employers and other stakeholders.
  2. There have been a range of on-the-job learning opportunities for me. My teams use statistical software regularly in their work, and I’ve been able to learn some coding skills (mainly SAS) which has been an extremely useful skill to learn.
  3. Alongside being stacked with great people, the teams I’ve worked in have been very open to my input. Since my first day I’ve felt like my opinions have been given the necessary respect. Any contributions or suggestions I make to the team or a decision-making processes are given fair consideration, which has made my experience more enjoyable as I’ve felt like a worthy member of the team.

How have you found living in Canberra?

Canberra has been a really enjoyable change from Sydney. The lifestyle is a bit more relaxed, as are the people. It’s definitely got a bit of that small town vibe to it (at least relative to Sydney) which is cool. Because everything is geographically closer, it’s way more common to bump into people than I expected. The other advantage means that travel time is next to nothing which leaves plenty of time for the good stuff.

Alongside working full-time I’ve found plenty of time to keep healthy and social which are important to me. There’s a pretty strong social sport scene and I’ve joined a few teams which have kept me busy and enjoying myself after work. Although Canberra is severely lacking a beach, it makes up for it by being close to the snow. Having the ability to do day trips to the beach in summer and snow in winter is pretty good!

The numberplates say it all: “Canberra – Heart of the Nation”.

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Hannah, ICT Graduate

Why did you apply for the Department of Employment Graduate Program?

I was really keen on getting into a Graduate Program that had an ICT specialist discipline. I was really impressed with the variety of opportunities and possibilities that were presented to ICT Graduates with the Department of Employment so I thought I would give it a go.  

What do you do in your job?

I currently work in the Data, Analytics and Reporting team as a Developer. My team has a range of different responsibilities relating to Business Intelligence such as managing our data warehouse and the development of employment services reporting. On a daily basis I develop reports using our new dynamic reporting software and provide technical support to our stakeholders who also use it. I also assist with user testing when required.

When I joined the Department as a Graduate in 2016, I was part of a team supporting one of the biggest ICT projects in the department. It was an amazing way to start out as an ICT Graduate as I got an over view of all the IT projects that were taking place throughout the entire Department. In my second rotation, I got the opportunity to demonstrate my technical skills as a Business Analyst. My tasks varied from day to day, however I was mainly supporting the team in rolling out a new software package.  

What are three highlights from your graduate year?

  1. Getting to experience two completely different roles in two different areas during my Graduate year. While both roles were different, I was able to understand how both team’s functions contributed to the bigger picture of the Department.
  2. I really enjoyed the Graduate Orientation that occurred at the beginning of the Graduate Program. It was three days of being inducted to the Department and the public service, and I felt so welcomed by the other Graduates and the staff. 
  3. Getting to know the Department and its amazing work culture in different ways throughout the year—whether it was being involved in meetings, making a contribution to a project or by just talking to my co-workers and getting involved in events and forums.

How have you found living in Canberra?

I came from North Queensland, so I will start by saying it is shockingly cold in Winter. Despite that, Canberra has grown on me so much. It has that busy “hustle and bustle” vibe you would feel in a city, that is well balanced with also a very relaxed feel. There is also so much to do - Festivals, Restaurants and Cafes, Sporting, National Parks – I could go on! 

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