“It was the best email I’ve ever received,” said Grace. “I was with my aunty and she was so excited she screamed!”
Grace had received a job offer for the Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme (IAP), a career path for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to join the Australian Public Service.
The 12 month IAP provides a tailored approach to learning, based on academic and cultural needs – offering Indigenous peoples of all ages and abilities a full time entry level position with a Government department.
Grace is one of the 197 people who joined the Department of Human Services (DHS) in the 2017 intake. She now works as a Customer Liaison Officer at a DHS Service Centre in Melbourne.
“I love this job because it’s different every day,” she said. “People often come in unsure what support is available and I get to help them. I feel like I’ve made their lives a little bit easier, and that’s really satisfying.”
Grace heard about the programme from her family. She has aunties and cousins who also work in government and they urged her to apply.
“They told me I would get some valuable skills and experience and from what I read it sounded amazing. So I went for it,” Grace said.
“The recruitment process was exciting. Every time I got through to the next round, I felt like I was on X Factor!”
Since she started in her new role, Grace has been helping people learn about the self-service options available to them.
“Not everyone is open to using self-service at first, but once you show them how to use our digital channels, most people realise it’s easier,” Grace said.
“They feel more in control of their experience with the department because they can do their business themselves.
“People are always really appreciative. If I can get them online and feeling confident, it’s really rewarding, and that’s why I do it.”
Grace is also completing a Certificate IV in Government as part of the IAP, and has a mentor to help her along the way.
“You have a mentor and people are really supportive,” she said. “The people I work with have been with the department for a long time, so they have a lot of knowledge which is really helpful.
“Seeing their career paths also makes me excited about my own future. Hopefully one day I’ll get to work in Indigenous communities around Australia.”
Sharing some insight into the recruitment process, Grace had some useful advice.
“During the interview try to stay calm and just be yourself,” she said. “It’s also important you show that you can talk to people and want to try and help people, so let that shine through.”
The Department of Human Services is a leader among government and private sector organisations for recruitment of Indigenous peoples, reaching its 5 per cent Indigenous workforce target in December 2017.
Applications for the 2018 IAP open 10 April 2018 and close 6 May 2018, with the programme starting in November.
- Read more about the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program
- Apply for the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program