There were many reasons why I chose the NSW Government Graduate Program: the wealth of experience I’d gather from working in different departments, its reputation amongst other graduate programs, and the opportunity to serve others. But the most prominent reason was that I wanted to work in an inclusive workplace that celebrated diversity. I’m an Aboriginal person with a disability and in my previous workplaces I often found it too challenging to balance my health needs with my responsibilities at work. I knew this graduate program would best enable me to find this balance, so I could do the best in my work and have an enriching career.
I felt supported throughout the whole recruitment process for the program. As an Aboriginal person, I was invited to an information session that helped me prepare for the assessments. As a person with a disability, I was offered alternate ways to complete each assessment, though I did not take these up. I was easily able to contact assessors if I had any concerns or questions. Once I had passed all the assessments, I was able to directly contact a representative from the graduate program who helped me in the final stages.
The recruitment process for the graduate program was long and tough at times, with some of the assessments really testing my resolve. There were moments that I felt like I had failed, but when I didn’t, I gained more confidence in my ability to succeed.
Prior to joining the program I studied Primary Education and worked as a teacher. I had my doubts going into the application process, as I wasn’t sure my background was the right fit - but I was able to use my skills, knowledge and experience to succeed. I never felt truly lost. No matter your background, no matter what you studied or where you worked previously - if you want to do this program, apply!
What helped me get through it was:
- I studied the core values of the NSW Public Service and reflected on how they resonated with me. This kept me motivated when times got tough and provided an anchor that I could refer to in all my responses.
- I read about NSW Government projects that I was interested in. As a teacher, this meant education or community-based projects.
- I reached out to friends and family for guidance and to help me prepare.
- Most importantly, I played to my strengths and brought myself to each stage of the process. I made sure that the interviewers knew who I was because I knew I wanted to work in a place that appreciated me, for me.
I started working for NSW in a Clerk Grade 1/2 HR Administration role at Legal Aid while I was completing my HR degree. I worked at Legal Aid for four years and held roles in Human Resources and the Aboriginal Services Unit. During my time at Legal Aid I also undertook a six-month secondment with Office of the Children’s Guardian as a Children’s Employment Officer.
From Legal Aid, I moved to the NSW Public Service Commission. I worked as a Senior Advisor in the Aboriginal Workforce Development team and also in the Leadership Academy team as a Program Manager. I’m now working at the Ministry of Health, managing the Organisational Development team. I’ve been here for just over three years. This year is my 10th year working for NSW Government.
The Aboriginal networks that I’ve been part of in my different workplaces have been a huge sense of support and connection for me over the past 10 years. People I’ve met through these networks have supported and mentored me throughout my career and have played a huge part in my journey to date.
My mum has also always been a very inspiring role model for me and for many years she worked for Family and Community Services. When I saw the role at Legal Aid, she encouraged me to apply and supported me with my application. I hadn’t applied for a government role before, so I had no idea how to respond to selection criteria: a requirement of the recruitment process.
I would encourage anyone looking for a new role to consider working for NSW Government. I get an enormous sense of fulfilment knowing that as a public servant, I am working to support the people of NSW. Working for NSW Government has given me the flexibility to undertake further studies while working and simultaneously progressing my career and starting a family. It opens up so many diverse job opportunities that you may have never even dreamed of. There aren’t many employers that have the same breadth of opportunities available for you to transfer to new roles or undertake secondments and come back to your home agency afterwards.