Madelaine Barry WorkSafe Victoria Graduate

Madelaine Barry

RMIT University
Graduate Officer
Madelaine studied Bachelor of Arts at RMIT University

What's your job about?

WorkSafe Victoria is a regulator, insurer and educator. Every employee has the same job; to make sure that Victorians get home safe from work. I am a part of the Diversity and Inclusion team, in the Change and Capability stream. Essentially this means that I get to work on initiatives that increase the diversity and inclusion of WorkSafe itself and workplaces in Victoria. My job means I help to increase inclusion and celebrate the skills and lives experiences of women, people who identify as LGBTI, Indigenous people, people with different abilities, and culturally and linguistically diverse people.

The work is really diverse; a mixture of meetings, collaborations, speeches and writing up documents. I don’t spend my days always at a desk and the variety makes it very exciting! Some of the work I have done includes:

  • Visiting regional towns across Victoria to consult with Indigenous focus groups, in order to shape the develop of a traineeship program for Indigenous students
  • An audit of WorkSafe’s external forms to assess the how many forms have a third gender option, and writing briefs and communicating across the organisation to ensure all forms will soon have a third gender option
  • Collaborating with a technology consulting team to create a prototype of a website, similar to Trip Advisor, where people can judge the physical accessibility of a workplace and incentivise corporations to increase their accessibility

What's your background?

I grew up in Geelong. I did a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) because I’ve always been passionate about making a positive difference in communities. Throughout my studies I began to see that there were big issues within Australia that needed to be tackled, and so I decided to focus my social studies knowledge on more local issues. In my third year of my Bachelor, I did a subject called ‘Public Policy’ and loved it! It was very lucky that I did that subject, because I found that policy work suited my skills in writing and analysis, and that policy work was also an avenue to tackling social issues. In order to gain more skills and knowledge, I enrolled in a Master of Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne, of which I still have 6 months left.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes! I think that anyone who has a passion to serve the community and decrease disadvantage can do this job. So it’s a job that anyone with good writing and communication skills, and social science knowledge, could do.

The WorkSafe Graduate program is designed to support AND push its graduates. The most important attributes of a WorkSafe graduate is a people focus, teamwork, emotional intelligence, communication, critical thinking, innovation, leadership, learning agility and resilience.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that the purpose of everything I do is to increase the diversity and inclusion of Victorian workplaces and WorkSafe. Serving the community every day is very professionally satisfying; you feel like you’re doing something good.

The design of the graduate program is also excellent. I have been given a lot of control over what rotations I want to do. Also, the graduate team is very tight knit, and everyone I meet throughout the organisation is supportive and friendly. For example, the graduates have met the executive leadership team, including the Chief Executive, many times, so there is a huge feeling of being valued as an employee and a person, even though I am so new to working life!

What are the limitations of your job?

There really aren’t any limitations at all! If my workload is too heavy, I have the support of my host to reduce it. If I have any concerns or questions, there are lots of people to ask.

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

  • Try not to be downhearted if you apply for lots of jobs and graduate programs, and don’t seem to be getting them. It took me a year and a half of doing applications regularly to get three job offers, and I applied for over forty! Some people I know have applied for a hundred! Applications are a skill. First you get knocked out at resume stage, then at video interviews, then at psychometric testing, then at assessment centres, then at final interview, but eventually you become good enough at all stages and you get the job! Keep on applying and applying.
  • Do things to make yourself stand out from the crowd. If you are lucky enough to have the time, do an internship, even if it is not for course credit. Or learn a language, join an extracurricular team, commit to becoming good at a sport or do community service.
  • Use your breadth subjects wisely. Doing a subject that teaches you a skill, like research, design, negotiation, might expose you to a skill you’re good at and a type of work you like, and that could guide you to your future career path!