Polly - 2010 Graduate Program



I've come to the department by way of a somewhat meandering path, accompanied by a hefty HECS debt and an increasing need to work in an organisation that has the genuine potential to positively impact the environment and community.

After school I went straight into a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and marketing at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. However, once I actually graduated it suddenly dawned on me that, even though the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ad with the wombat is kind of cute, advertising in general is really quite awful, and that I could probably be contributing in a more meaningful way to the world. This realisation led to further study in arts and science and, eventually, education. I then spent a bit of time working in publishing and then teaching in remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

I was attracted to the department because it offered the opportunity to work in areas combining the passions and interests I had developed during study and work. The graduate program has been a great opportunity to explore different areas of the department, and has allowed me to access the advice of people who I wouldn't otherwise get to meet, so that I can choose the right area for me.


First Placement: Indigenous Visual Arts section

My first placement was in the Indigenous Visual Arts section, which administers the National Arts and Crafts Industry Support program. It allowed me to use some of my existing knowledge of the Indigenous Visual Arts sector, as well as gain experience in the arts funding process. During this placement I also researched and drafted a policy discussion paper which was an excellent way of seeing how policy is developed.

Second Placement: Indigenous Partnerships section

My second placement was in the Indigenous Partnerships section. Here I learnt how Indigenous ranger groups are funded and supported by the department. I also assisted in the organisation of the National Indigenous Land and Sea Conference and provided secretariat support to the department's Indigenous Advisory Committee. This placement was a great opportunity to meet and work with community groups and individuals outside the department.

Third Placement: Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), Parks Australia

My third placement was in the ABRS, in Parks Australia. I provided contract management and logistical support to an ABRS project called Bush Blitz, a series of large-scale biodiversity surveys across Australia's National Reserve System. This placement was gave me fantastic practical experience in project management. I was also lucky enough to go gallivanting through the bush on field surveys.

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'