Indigenous Cadet, Public Diplomacy Branch, Cultural Diplomacy Section.
Where did you live and what were you doing before joining DFAT?
Before joining DFAT I worked for two years as a journalist at a regional daily newspaper in North-West Tasmania. I really enjoyed the work but after my first trip overseas decided it was time to pursue other career opportunities. I had always aspired to work at DFAT and saw the Indigenous Cadetship Program as a great way to achieve this goal. After being selected as a cadet I moved to Hobart to study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations/Communications at the University of Tasmania.
Why did you apply to DFAT?
I applied to DFAT for a number of reasons: the opportunity to work in government, diversity of work, lifelong career opportunities and fast paced work environment. I had a strong interest in international affairs from a media perspective, and the time I spent travelling overseas only intensified this interest. More generally, I had long aspired to apply for the Indigenous Cadetship Program due to the rare opportunity it presented to combine government work that complimented my full time studies.
What was the most challenging aspect of the recruitment/selection process?
I expected the panel interview to be the most challenging part of the selection process but the interviewers were friendly and helpful in answering my initial queries about the department and the Indigenous Cadetship Program as a whole. The recruitment process for DFAT can be quite lengthy so the difficult aspect for me was being patient while the required security clearance was undertaken.
Do you have any tips for applicants on how to approach the application process?
When applying for a position at DFAT it's important to research what the Department actually does and how this relates to Australia's foreign and trade policies. Having a background of applicable knowledge and skills from relevant work experience is also helpful. Other advice would be to also tackle recruitment tasks as soon as you receive them. DFAT requires considerable information from prospective employees but as long as you complete them when you receive them this should not be too daunting.
Has the reality of working in DFAT differed from your perceptions of what it was going to be like?
Yes, definitely. I had a modest understanding of how large DFAT was and the sheer scope and diversity of work available in the department. As a cadet I was given a great level of responsibility and respect from my colleagues.
What have been the highlights of your career in the Department?
You find yourself in the most amazing situations when working at DFAT. The key is to appreciate each opportunity that comes your way. Highlights during my first placement include; preparing an options paper for the Minister, taking part in meetings at Parliament House, visiting galleries for cultural diplomacy activities and building friendships with members of DFAT's talented pool of employees. Learning how government works in a real sense has also been very valuable.
Why would you recommend DFAT as a career?
I would highly recommend DFAT as a career pathway. As an employee you are placed in an environment where the scope and diversity of work is constantly changing. DFAT is well suited for those with a keen interest in Australian foreign policy and trade issues but this should not deter others with broader interests. The opportunity to work alongside governments and organisations from Australia and overseas is also very attractive.
Have you got any other insights for potential applicants?
My career has only just started but during my time I have found it to be a challenging but rewarding place to work. I highly recommend DFAT to potential cadetship applicants.