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University of Melbourne
Regulatory and policy officer
Christina studied Bachelor of Science major in Environmental Science at University of Melbourne.
What's your name and job title? What did you study? When did you graduate?
My name is Christina Rosato and I am a Regulatory and Policy Officer at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. I studied a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science at the University of Melbourne and graduated in December 2016.
Where did you grow up? Important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)
I was born in Perth and moved to Melbourne with my family when I was 10 years old. I attended Fitzroy High School and after completing Year 12 decided to go straight to university. Many students choose to take a gap year before or after completing their university studies, however I ended up taking mine in the middle of my degree. I worked full time in the private sector for six months in an administration and office management role and then travelled overseas to complete an exchange semester at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Once I was back in Australia, I had one year left of my degree and began the search for graduate employment. Throughout my studies I held a number of hospitality jobs and other extracurricular roles which was helpful when it came to applying for the grad jobs.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I started in the Department through the graduate program at the beginning of 2017. I first heard about the program while attending a careers fair at university. The application process was fairly straightforward and I was very excited when I found out I had been successful. I completed the grad program in December 2017 and have now been at the Department for a year and three months.
What does your employer do?
The Department is responsible for the design and implementation of the Australian Government's infrastructure, transport and regional development policies and programs. The work of the Aviation and Airports Division spans a wide range of topics including aviation safety, airspace and air traffic management, agency governance, industry development, economic regulation, airport planning and development, environmental management including aircraft noise, Australia's participation in international fora and bilateral international air services agreements.
What are your areas of responsibility?
In my current role I contribute to a range of matters associated with the development and regulation of federally leased airports including Melbourne, Moorabbin, Essendon, Hobart and Launceston. My responsibilities include contributing to assessments of major development plans and other airport development proposals. I am also involved in the economic and fiscal oversight of all 21 federally leased airports, including on matters relating to insurance, payments in lieu of land tax and rates, and assessment of compliance on airport ownership.
Can you describe a typical work day?
A typical work day usually involves a combination of working independently and meeting with my team to discuss our work program and any key priorities. This may include writing correspondence and briefs, reviewing and providing feedback on various documents, and engaging with external stakeholders. I usually also check the aviation news headlines each day to keep on top of any major or emerging issues in the industry.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study? Are there any soft skills it would beneficial for them to develop? Should they pursue any sort of work experience?
Working as a generalist in the public service is all about the transferable skills. I have found strong written communication to be particularly important as many core public service tasks require these skills in the preparation of briefs and correspondence for the Executive and Minister. I also think it is important to be able to pick up new information quickly because as a generalist you are often working across a range of different and new subject areas. In my opinion, any work experience where you are being challenged and developing skills is valuable!
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
To succeed in this career, I think you need to be open to change. Working in government provides unique opportunities to work across areas you can’t work on anywhere else, but it also comes with more change than you may otherwise be faced with. This is partly because as governments change, policies and programs may also change too. To succeed as a generalist in the public service, you also need to be open to learning and working across a range of different areas.
Pros and cons
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
The best thing about working at the Department is the breadth of the work I have been exposed to. From maritime and shipping to aviation, Australia’s engagement in international organisations, environmental issues and economic regulation, my job has provided me the chance to gain knowledge and experience across a diverse range of interesting areas. I also enjoy seeing the bigger picture of how my work fits into delivering outcomes for the government and ultimately for the Australian public. In terms of specific tasks, I really enjoy meeting with stakeholders. I also really enjoy analytical tasks such as reviewing documents and providing feedback, and developing practical ways to address challenging issues.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Is your job physically demanding?
One limitation of my job was that it required me to move interstate. While I saw this as an exciting adventure, it can be difficult to organise everything and settle in. However, the Department is really supportive regarding the relocation and in the end it has definitely been worth the effort!
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I would probably be back at university undertaking further study. After studying management as electives on my exchange semester, I developed a real interest in continuing studies in this area. However, I decided that I’d prefer to take a break from study for now and get some practical experience in the workforce first.
A word to the wise...
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
- Make the most of available resources. I found the university’s career services really useful in developing my skills in applying for grad jobs.
- Be open to opportunities you may not have previously considered. As a science graduate, some people are surprised at my decision to work for the Department. However, through pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I have gained invaluable experiences and developed knowledge and skills that will hold me in good stead throughout my career.
- Applying for grad jobs and deciding what career path to pursue can be really stressful. Be focussed and put in effort, but remember that there are many pathways to get where you want to go, be grateful for every opportunity and make the most of every experience.