I feel so grateful to have been part of the Department of Health’s 2020 Grad program. I have been lucky enough to have experienced three diverse rotations which have each taught me new skills and helped me establish a broad network. I started the year in the Quality, Performance and Reporting Section of the Health Economics and Research Division. In this rotation I was able to utilise skills learned from studying economics to contribute to broader policy development while working on the National Clinical Quality Registry Strategy.
With the increasing impact of COVID-19 the Department quickly activated the National Incident Room and starting searching for a flexible workforce. I was able to move into a role in the Epidemiology Surveillance team working closely with a diverse team to provide reports and briefings to the Chief Medical Officer Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
For my final rotation I was given the opportunity to work in the Data and Analysis Section of Mental Health Division. The main projects I have been involved in are the new mental health clinics in Victoria (HeadtoHelp) and modelling the mental health impact of the pandemic.
Throughout the year I was also a part of the Graduate Data Network where I was involved with the Data Maturity Working Group. We conducted interviews and ran surveys with Senior Executives across the APS to gain a better understanding of how data is collected, stored, accessed and utilised in their agencies.
Another part of the Grad experience is being part of the buddy and mentoring programs. These relationships helped me settle into Canberra and understand what it means to work in the public service and build awareness of the broad range of career opportunities available.
Being a grad in the Department of Health has been both rewarding and challenging at times, especially in the year that was 2020. Your experience depends on you and what you hope to accomplish in the year. My advice is to have an open mind and say yes to every opportunity as you never know where that may lead you, even if it isn’t the path you anticipated.