Graduate Trainee profile – Stephanie

Year joined


Current position:

Budget Development Section

Other positions in the department:

Divisional Coordination Unit (International Organisations and Legal Division) and Passport Workload Management Section.

Where did you live and what were you doing before joining the department?

I was living and studying in Sydney. During my studies I completed internships at Kimberly-Clark Australia and Westpac.

What qualifications do you have?

Bachelor of Accounting from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Have you used your qualifications/experience during your time in the department?

Yes, I have applied my accounting skills in a variety of roles. I have also valued the opportunity to develop other skills across a range of corporate functions.

Do you speak another language?

German and basic Nepali.

Why did you apply for the graduate program in the department?

I wasn’t motivated by the ‘typical’ private sector accounting graduate program.  I wanted to develop broader corporate skills and experience a range of opportunities.  I chose to apply for DFAT for the variety of work placements, the excellent training program and (of course) the opportunity to travel.

What was the most challenging aspect of the recruitment/selection process?

I found the initial online application the most challenging and time consuming.

Do you have any tips for applicants on how to approach the selection process?

Start your online application early so you don’t end up rushing it. If you make it through to interviews, try to enjoy it!

Has the reality of working in the department differed from your perceptions of what it was going to be like?

I’m going to be unconventional and say that working at DFAT hasn’t differed from what I expected. Everyone is really friendly, colleagues are willing to share their experiences and there are lots of opportunities for skill development.

What has been the highlight of your career with the department so far?

I valued the opportunity to visit the department’s office on Thursday Island as part of the regional travel program. Another highlight was providing support and information to the Australian public by working in the consular emergency call unit following Typhoon Haiyan.

As an economist/accountant/lawyer etc, why would you recommend the department over other career options?

As an accountant DFAT is a great place to work as you have the opportunity to work in a variety of different roles whilst continuing to develop financial management skills. DFAT also supports corporate graduates to complete professional accounting qualifications.

How do you enjoy living in Canberra?

I really enjoy living in Canberra. After growing up in Sydney, the change of pace and outdoor lifestyle that Canberra offers is a welcome change. Canberra is a great place for anyone that loves the outdoors.

Have you any other insights for potential applicants?

Don’t let the application process stress you – just be yourself and be confident.

Last Updated: 22 January 2014