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Australian National University
Policy Officer - Department of Education and Training
Travis studied Bachelor of Science (Physics) at The Australian National University.
What's your job about?
I work on the federal government's policy positions with respect to non-compliance in the childcare sector. We develop educational materials for those who just misunderstand their requirements as well as look at trends and possible consequences we can implement for those practices that are deliberately fraudulent.
What's your background?
I studied theoretical physics (topics such as general relativity and quantum mechanics) at university. I majored in physics, chemistry and specialist maths in high school in the ACT, and before that studied in a binational and bilingual school in Canberra which means I have a French and Australian high school certificate (and completed maths, history, geography, science etc in both languages until year 10).
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, there are people in my team with backgrounds in Law, psychology, arts and international relations. The core requirements are good communication skills and an ability to learn on the job.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
What we do has a direct effect on the country. A policy we come up with could change what childcare providers have to do, or how easily they can access information and therefore how effectively they run their business, and so on. It helps to motivate me to do things to a high standard, but also comes with some pressure and responsibility.
What are the limitations of your job?
The number of approvals things have to go through are a blessing and a curse. While it means things get double and triple checked, it does also limit how quickly a task gets done, and it sometimes feels as though your original work gets lost in the red tape.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Take your time. If uni gets too stressful, defer for 6 months or take a reduced load, and don’t be concerned if that means you’re at university for longer. It’s better to come out of uni as healthy as possible, both mentally and physically, than to try and push yourself through and just be burned out by the end.
- Don’t take rejection personally. When applying for jobs, a lot of almost random factors can determine whether or not you are successful. Just put your best foot forward and if you don’t get that position you really wanted, you can always try again next year. And who knows, an opportunity could come up where you least expect it.
- The people you’re with matters more than what you’re doing. This goes for hobbies, subjects, jobs, etc. Find a group of people you like or work well with, and everything else falls into place.