I’m Holly. I completed the National Graduate Program last year. I’m a communications officer in the Executive and Staff Communications team.
I was excited to apply for a graduate program that was relevant to my communications experience. I liked that it offered a wide range of opportunities. I looked forward to working with different people with different experiences to reach a shared outcome. This allowed me to learn from people with different skill sets.
I liked the idea that the graduate program transitioned us to APS5 staff members. This stood out to me. Department of Human Services graduates finish at a higher APS level than many other government graduate programs. Also, I liked that the program was a steady transition from the graduate level to the APS5 level.
Something that surprised me was how excited business areas, staff and even senior executives were to have and support graduates. My managers have gone above and beyond to ensure I had exposure to different areas and opportunities to upskill. The graduate team supports all the graduates throughout the year and they’re very patient and understanding. Likewise, my senior executive mentor was a huge help. He was very patient and down to earth and encouraged me to pursue opportunities to help my career.
Now I’m a communications officer in the Executive and Staff Communications team. The highlights of my job are:
- the people I get to work with
- the diversity of the work
- the creativity I get to use.
I enjoy writing stories for news hub, our internal online publication. It’s great to interview staff and get their insight. It’s very satisfying to see something you’ve written get published and have people like and comment on it. One of the misconceptions I think people have is that in government there’s no room for expression. I have had the opportunity to inject my personality into a lot of my work.
One of the challenges my team runs into is trying not to be Canberra focused in our communications. The department has a huge national footprint, so there are many opportunities to work with people all across Australia. We need to make all-staff communications relevant to different teams and staff working in exceptionally different circumstances.
A piece of advice I would give to students is that it’s okay to change your mind. I started a Bachelor of Arts at the Australian National University, but knew that my passion was for communications. As soon as I started studying public relations, I knew it was for me. I was on the public relations committee at uni and did an internship with Her Canberra. You may start studying or working somewhere you thought you wanted, only to realise it’s not for you. It’s okay to try something else.
My other pieces of advice are to:
- maintain your hobbies and interests to help keep a healthy worklife balance
- surround yourself with people who support you and encourage you to grow.