Christopher Notaro WorkSafe Victoria Graduate

Christopher Notaro

La Trobe University
Legal Graduate
Christopher studied Bachelor of Laws at La Trobe University

What's your job about?

WorkSafe Victoria regulates a wide range of Acts of Parliament which set out an employer’s workplace health and safety obligations. WorkSafe has an extensive legal team that deals with varying aspects of regulation from the development of policy positions, to the management of personal injury litigation, to enforcement of the legislative instruments that we administer – the work is very diverse.

At the time of writing, I am undertaking my first rotation in the Legislation, Policy and Information Services division. To date I have undertaken research, reviewed feedback from public comment, drafted documents to stakeholders, completed numerous ministerial briefs, prepared certificates required to undertake legislative amendments, completed minutes for stakeholder reference groups, and much more.

What's your background?

I grew up in Melbourne. After high school I completed an Arts degree, and after some travel and deliberation I decided to commence a Bachelor of Laws. During my law degree I completed various internships and voluntary work in both private and public law and it was through these experiences that I discovered my passion for work in the public sector. I wanted to make a positive difference within the community, whilst also being able to engage in challenging and interesting work.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes and No. A legal qualification is not mandatory for every role. For example, a number of the roles within Legislation and Policy do not require a practising certificate and members of the team come from varying backgrounds – i.e. Public Health or Psychology. There are also legal support roles (like paralegals) which any graduate could undertake, regardless of their background.

The WorkSafe graduate program has been designed to push graduates outside their comfort zone (if they so desire) – so if you want to try something completely new and unfamiliar, and you want to diversify your skillset, it’s something WorkSafe will facilitate and encourage.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I would say I’m an intellectually curious person, so I love knowing that I can try new things, have varied and interesting work and gain exposure to a range of issues. I also have a lot of control over my graduate program; I’m quite interested in enforcement and litigation and I feel lucky that I can shape the program according to my interests and long-term goals.

Some of the work is high profile, with ranging stakeholders or media involvement and it makes the outcome of your work feel more tangible – you can more easily perceive the influence your work has on the broader community. WorkSafe itself has an incredible culture, it’s so inclusive and diverse, there’s a big focus on flexibility and mental health and everyone is really supportive and friendly.

What are the limitations of your job?

I actually haven’t experienced any limitations. When my workload is light, I can ask for more work. When my workload is heavy, I’m quite happy to rise to the challenge and be pushed outside my comfort zone. If I have questions or concerns, there is generally someone ready and willing to address them.

Pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Build up your network and resume from early on. Join groups/associations to learn about opportunities that might be open to students. Extracurricular activities are important – they help you to stand out from the crowd, to write a good cover letter/application and to answer interview questions.
  • Be persistent and resilient – getting a grad role is no easy feat. You’re up against an exceedingly competitive job market, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of applicants applying for the same roles as you. The system is imperfect – sometimes really good candidates slip through the cracks. If it happens, don’t let it get you down. You have to believe in yourself in order for someone else to believe in you.