Our 2015 Graduates

Saskia Lillywhite

photograph of Saskia Lillywhite

Where in Australia are you from?

I'm from Melbourne, but I also lived in Mexico for a number of years.

What did you study at University?

I completed a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Italian and Spanish at the University of Melbourne and a Master of International Relations at Monash University.

What made you decide to apply for the Infrastructure and Regional Development Graduate Development Program?

I was looking for a program that had a lot of variety and opportunities to try new things, but also one that supported my development as a new public servant.

What do you think makes the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Graduate Program different?

The Graduate Development Program (GDP) is very different to other programs because as a graduate, you are able to have a say in your development as a public servant. Many graduate programs do not allow their graduates to have a say in their own job. You are encouraged to try different types and areas of work as a graduate. Graduates also preference where they want to work each rotation and their final placement at the end of the Program.

What type of training and development opportunities were offered?

The GDP has many training and development opportunities. A benefit of the Graduate Program is that graduates complete a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration. The industry tour completed as part of the research component of the course is a particularly valuable experience, as you have the chance to meet directly with stakeholders across Australia. In-house training was also provided as part of the GDP, with three weeks of training courses to build our skills and knowledge as public servants, as well as individualised support with career coaching sessions. There are also opportunities to attend conferences and events from across the APS throughout the year.

What is an interesting piece of work that you have been involved with?

As part of my Graduate year I worked on the Norfolk Island Reforms which ended the island's self-governance. The work exposed me to the challenges of service delivery in remote and regional areas. In particular, a project on waste management on Norfolk Island proved how complex policy design and implementation can be. I was lucky enough to visit the island and meet with members of the community to learn about their views on the issue.

What is your current position and main tasks?

I am currently working in the Transport Security Operations (TSO) Reform Program team. The Transport Security Operations Branch is responsible for the delivery of the regulatory activities (approvals, compliance and enforcement) under the Australian Government's aviation and security legislation, industry engagement and supporting the implementation of major policy initiatives. I am involved in the design, development and implementation of improvements to the Department's regulatory activities.

What are your future goals?

I hope to build my skills and knowledge by exploring the different opportunities across the diverse policy areas within the Department. I have found program delivery to be very satisfying, as the Department's work improves the quality of life for Australians in many ways. However, given my academic background I would like to have the opportunity to shape international policy and undertake a posting to one of our international offices.

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Last Updated: 26 February, 2016