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Report on Performance

Growing our graduates
Volunteering in the Outback

Management and Accountability

Growing our graduates

Every year Australian Government departments seek to attract the best university graduates from across Australia to their graduate programmes.

These programmes provide unique opportunities to experience what a career in the public service entails, from learning about the legal and ethical responsibilities of public service' to hands on work experience.

They can also be the catalyst to a successful public service career-departmental Deputy Secretary, Mike Mrdak, started his career as a member of the department's graduate programme 17 years ago.

This year we welcomed 31 graduates, twice as many as in 2004, and next year we expect this number to increase again to around 40 to meet our growing need for skilled staff.

The diversity of DOTARS

A major attraction of the department's graduate programme is the enormous diversity it offers in both their choice of work and programme elements.

Our portfolio covers a vast array of areas and offers graduates many career opportunities,' Sue McDonald, coordinator of the department's graduate programme, said. Our regional network also enables graduates to apply for jobs anywhere in Australia.'

Maximising the experience

To help graduates get as much as possible out of the 10-month programme, we typically rotate them across three different business areas. Each rotation lasts around 14 weeks.

A graduate's first work rotation is determined by the graduate coordinator, based on the graduates skills and experience. For their second and third work rotations, graduates nominate preferences and are guided in this process by a mentor-an SES or executive.

Snap shot of our graduates

We look for a broad range of skills and experiences in our graduates,' Sue McDonald said. Intakes are based on the department's capability framework which matches the skills of graduates with the department's needs.'

The current intake split is 50/50 between males and females. Of mixed ages, with an average age of 24, they are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and life experience. Their formal qualifications range across graphic design, engineering, commerce, economics, statistics, arts and aviation.

For more information about our graduate programme, visit www.dotars.gov.au/department/careers/graduate/index.aspx

(from left to right): 2004 graduate recruits Nicole Russel, Dinukshi Ferdinand, Catherine Bunney, Michael Merriman, Andrew Zile and Darryl Miller.

(from left to right): 2004 graduate recruits Nicole Russel, Dinukshi Ferdinand, Catherine Bunney, Michael Merriman, Andrew Zile and Darryl Miller. (Photo Craig Stone DOTARS)

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Volunteering in the Outback

One of our staff members, Tracy Svensson, was the first Australian public servant to volunteer with Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV), a national, not-for-profit a company which provides skilled volunteers to help Indigenous communities grow their business and employment potential.

While the ICV programme has been running in the private sector for a number of years, its introduction to the public sector is recent. Tracy heard about the opportunity after Dr Peter Shergold, Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, wrote to all departmental heads seeking support for the programme.

Tracy's successful application saw her seconded to Katherine in the Northern Territory to mentor the first Indigenous female manager of a group training organisation, Didge Campbell. The training organisation, Burridj, employs apprentices and trainees and places them with host' employers to gain on-the-job training.

Tracy's secondment lasted around 12 weeks and was completed over two time periods. It was a lifetime experience which achieved much and helped forge a strong partnership between the two women.

Didge said the opportunity provided by ICV has given her immediate hands on help in her new role, including helping enhance her knowledge about work practices to better deal with everyday management issues.

I now have a vision of where I want to take Burridj and am very excited about working towards that goal,' Didge said.

Tracy has been instrumental in assisting me to settle into my new role. She has brought a lot of expertise to Burridj, and we will now use this experience to grow and improve services for our clients.'

Tracy too gained much. I now have a greater understanding of life in a place where a number of very different cultures come together,' she said.

In fact, the volunteers appear to get just as much, if not more, out of the programme.

We have seen that the results of volunteering extend well beyond the skills transfer provided to a community,' said Paul Tyrrell, ICV's Chief Executive Officer.

Some of our volunteers have embarked on full time employment with us while others have gained life changing experiences as a result of the mutual exchange experienced through volunteering projects.'

VolunteersSince its inception in 2000, a total of 226 ICV skills transfer projects have been completed. Projects are community designed and driven, with volunteers invited and selected by the community. ICV also provides cross-cultural training and 24-hour support for all volunteers on projects.

For more information about ICV, visit www.volindigenous.org.au

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