What’s it like being part of the department’s Graduate Development Program? Former and current graduates talk about the work they are doing.
Q: Why were you inspired to join the department?
Seb: I was inspired to join the department because of the breadth of the portfolio. I think in no other department do you get to work across so many different interesting things that are important to Australia's future.
Jamie: The reason I was inspired to join the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources was the diverse work that the department does to help support economic growth. After studying economics at uni I knew how important businesses were, how important the resources sector was to the economy and I knew I wanted to work in a place where I could follow policy. From writing the policy documents all the way through to program implementation.
CY: The department's work just seems like a really good fit for me and you know, before I signed up for the grad program I had read lots of reviews online and I could see that the department was a really good place to work. So it was a sort of alignment between my own personal interests in terms of what I wanted to do at work but also knowing that I would be coming to work for an organisation that was a really good work environment.
Q: What motivates you to come to work each day?
Seb: You get access to heaps of challenging opportunities, lots of... a strong culture of learning and development and you get to be around a lot of interesting, smart, dedicated people.
Jamie: What motivates me is that we all are working towards the same goal, we all want economic growth and prosperity for Australians and we all work in our own way on our own programs to do that.
CY: I really enjoy working with my colleagues. Many of the people I've have had the chance to work with over the course of the past two years are credibly enthusiastic, kind, passionate about the public service. So it's definitely a very inspiring environment to work for.
Q: What opportunities were you exposed to during your rotations?
Seb: I was exposed to heaps of opportunities in my rotations, ones that I'd never expect. So I started off in defence industry policy, which was fascinating. And then I got to move into being an economic analyst, which was tremendously difficult. And now I get to work in strategic policies.
Jamie: As a graduate with the department I have been exposed to a plethora of opportunities. From sitting in an Innovation and Science Australia board meeting with billionaires who are angel investors in companies all over Australia, to emceeing the launch of the APS innovation month with their Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
CY: So I started in the industry growth division looking at health technologies, which was really aligned with my academic background. And then I went into the Office of Innovation and Science Australia. So getting to dabble a lot more on the technology policy side and innovation policy side. That is a big pillar for economic growth here in Australia.
Q: How was your transition into the department?
Seb: So it's a smooth transition into the department, and you get well supported by the employment programs team. You get lots of access to training modules, you get great supervision, people who are experienced in it and who are there to support you, so very easy and very smooth from my end.
CY: As you can imagine, it's quite a big organisation, so it can be a little bit daunting to get used to initially but we're all given a grad buddy, so someone who could mentor us and take us through the organisation and tell us about all the sort of tricks and insights about how to be successful in an organisation like this department. And certainly, you know, the graduate team and HR has been really supportive as well making sure that we have access to training that allowed us to develop the really core competencies and skills that really set us up well for a role in the organisation.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about your time in the Graduate Program?
Seb: You get to lead your own grad major project, which has great exposure to the executive.
Jamie: The thing I've enjoyed most in my time in the graduate program is the diverse inclusion that was involved. It's not just about where you're from or your academic background, but it's also about diversity of thought, diversity of your culture, your language. And the department has a range of activities you can get involved in to support you in that.
CY: Having the opportunity to see sort of across the department what people were doing, what sort of issues we help with and lead on and also at the same time being able to bring my experiences and knowledge from one area to the next and hopefully helping to bring some new perspectives and solve some problems across the organisation as well.
Q: What would your advice be to someone joining the Graduate Program?
Jamie: By leaving university and moving to a new place I'm not giving up all the things that I used to love. At the department, there's a range of clubs, sporting groups. There's even a choir now where you can get involved in the community.
CY: If I have one piece of advice to offer it's to keep in mind that this is an organisation that really wants you to succeed. And that definitely changed the perspective for me.
Seb: The piece of advice that I'd give is that people aren't that scary. Approach people, ask for help, show initiative. It really pays dividends to be an entrepreneur with these things. The best opportunities you'll get are the ones you find yourself, not the ones that are thrown to you, so take charge.