What it does: Runs WA's public health system
Staff stats: Over 40,000
The good bits: Supportive team environment
The not so good bits: Lots of bureaucracy
The WA Department of Health story
The WA Department of Health started life, in 2011, as the Public Health Department of Western Australia. In 1984, a merger with the Department of Hospital and Allied Services and Mental Health Services saw it renamed the Health Department of Western Australia. In 2001, it was again renamed and became the WA Department of Health.
The department includes health service providers and health support services spread across Western Australia. Local health services are governed by health support boards. Information technology, finance, business analysis and other support services are provided to hospitals and health services by the department.
The department also has programs that focus on the early detection and prevention of illness. By running immunisation, sun safety and cancer-screening programs, the department aims to minimise risk and ensure good health outcomes for all WA communities. The department provides health care to nearly 2.4 million people. As well as running WA’s public hospitals, it runs many other services including community health, disaster preparedness management, mental health, dental health and Aboriginal health. The department is overseen by a Director General who reports to the Minister for Health and Mental Health.
With a positive culture that strives to “improve, promote and protect the health of Western Australians”, the department aims to create a supportive team environment for staff.
The department values diversity and strives to ensure that the workforce is representative of the community. The department has a non-discriminatory hiring policy. It encourages young, Indigenous and disabled Australians, as well as those from diverse cultural backgrounds, to apply for positions. There are also policies in place to assist more women into senior management roles. Staff are encouraged to attend events and training programs that celebrate culture and diversity.
Western Australia has both a growing and ageing population. The department aims to deliver a patient-focused and sustainable health service to that population through improved service delivery, technological innovation, training, partnerships and policy.
The department also seeks to recruit and promote Indigenous Australians to help deliver culturally appropriate health services and improve Aboriginal health outcomes. To achieve this, Aboriginal cadetships are on offer, providing an income as well as work experience for Indigenous university students.
The recruitment process
The department recruits graduates from a variety of disciplines including medicine, health sciences, business, finance and communications. The department looks for high-achieving graduates who are self-motivated, eager to learn and innovative thinkers.
The recruitment process starts with an online application. A selection panel reviews all applications and invites the “most competitive applicants” to come in for an interview, which also usually involves a panel of three people. Before a job is offered, a qualification, criminal record and health-screen background check is undertaken.
There are three grad programs offered. GradConnect is aimed at newly qualified enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwives who are placed at a public hospital or health service or a participating private hospital. The Graduate Development Program (corporate) is open to those from a range of disciplines who want to provide back-office support in areas such as finance and business, ICT and ‘general corporate’. Final year medical students can also apply for medical internships. (Applicants for these internships go through a recruitment process coordinated by the Postgraduate Medical Council of WA.)
The Department offers “competitive salaries” as well as salary packaging, which can reduce the amount of tax you pay. Given the variety of roles on offer, salaries differ greatly. For example, a registered nurse level 1.1 starts out on $65,697 compared to an enrolled mental health nurse at $56,500. All department staff can access flexible working hours and various forms of leave, including generous study leave. The department encourages staff to eat healthily and exercise, providing free access to on-site gyms and various wellness programs.
There are a variety of job opportunities across many disciplines, including medical, nursing, allied health, research, information technology, communications, administration and support services. The department provides plenty of access to education and training opportunities, as well as leadership and professional development programs. So, you shouldn’t have much trouble advancing your career if you’re the ambitious type.
The vibe of the place
Experiences will differ depending on where you’re working and what role you’re undertaking but the department aims to create supportive, friendly workplaces. It's a family-friendly workplace with staff who are breastfeeding getting paid lactation breaks. Parents can also make use of childcare facilities available at Princess Margaret Hospital, QEII Medical Centre, Fremantle Hospital, Joondalup Health Campus, King Edward Memorial Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital.
Star Rating: 4.3 stars
From the Employer:
"The WA Department of Health provides safe, high-quality health care to nearly 2.4 million Western Australians across almost 2.5 million square kilometres. We employ over 40,000 dedicated staff in metropolitan, regional and remote areas of the State to attend to the health needs of our growing population.
We are looking for innovative thinkers and self-motivated high achievers. Our graduates are clear communicators, able to work in a team, show aptitude, dedication and a commitment to learn and sharpen their skills. They are prepared to step up and be WA Health’s leaders of the future.
We offer four program streams designed to develop your skills based on your academic background, areas of expertise and personal interests.
The streams include:
- General Corporate: This stream offers 3x four-month placements in areas such as health system reform, strategic planning, policy development, project management, program development, public health and health promotion.
- Finance & Business: This stream offers 3x four-month placements in finance and business areas, as well as the additional opportunity to complete a number of funded units towards a professional accounting qualification (e.g. CPA).
- Information Communication Technology (ICT): Graduates in this stream rotate through 3x four-month placements providing research, support and advice for information technology projects across the department.
- Workforce Data Analysis: Graduates in this stream will work with the WA Health Workforce Directorate, supporting workforce planning through the extraction, manipulation and analysis of workforce data.
With WA Health you’ll thrive working in a professional, public sector environment where your qualifications, skills and abilities will not only be appreciated but developed and supported. Our Program is designed to give graduates a head start in WA Health by placing significant emphasis on their personal and professional development. We offer:
- A 12 month paid contract with WA Health.
- Extensive professional development - training workshops, executive shadowing and career coaching.
- A fully-funded, industry recognised Diploma of Leadership and Management qualification.
- An opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas across WA Health.
- Personal support networks - a dedicated program coordinator, supervisors at each placement, an experienced mentor and a buddy who is a past graduate of the program.
- The chance to make a difference to the lives of every single person in WA.
To apply for the WA Health Graduate Development Program you need to:
- Have completed your degree last year or plan to complete it this year.
- Have a degree issued from a recognised university.
- Visit http://www.jobs.health.wa.gov.au/ and keyword search for “Graduate Officer” or “Finance and Business Analyst”. Download the application package, complete and submit as an attachment with your academic record."