Graduate story: Stanley's experience as a Victoria Government graduate

Stanley has degrees in engineering and commerce, a background in project management and 5 years’ experience as a real estate agent. So with his diverse skill set, he saw the graduate program as an opportunity for learning and development.

Stream: Project Delivery
Home department: Department of Education and Training
Studied: Engineering and Commerce
How he describes himself: Curious, methodical, observant, proactive, ambitious and creative.
Pronouns: He/him/his

About Stanley

For the past 5 years, I’ve worked part time as a real estate agent. And I kept doing this when I started my graduate role.

Coping with 2 jobs comes down to time management. It means I pre-plan my social activities and find the right balance between work and leisure. It also helps that I enjoy the work!

In the future I’d like to leverage my engineering background. Construction, transportation and renewable energy are my key areas of interest, so the Victorian School Building Authority in Department of Education and Training, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Department of Transport are where I’d love to work in.

What I expected

I think like most other public servants, I wanted to work in the VPS because I’m passionate about making a difference for Victoria. Instead of working to gain profit for a company, working to better the state and our communities is more in line with my core values. 

Starting a new role is always daunting, and I imagined starting multiple roles in one year would be like riding a rollercoaster! With the government being so massive and each department having different projects and workstyles, everyone’s experience is going to be different. I figured the best approach was to be like water; go with the flow, adapt and wherever I ended up, make sure I contributed any way I could.

What I experienced

The graduate program was like going on a multi-legged travel journey. Each new department you work in, you gain new skills, new perspectives, and an appreciation for the work going on behind the scenes.

It’s an environment set up to help you succeed. Everyone is there to support you from your managers and team members to the graduate program coordinators and fellow grads - support is always just a call away.

The program focuses on the learning and development of graduates, including general and specialised training, and access to mentoring from an executive. My mentor was invested in the future of my career which was important to me. You don’t see that in other programs.

Regardless of where I was working, hitting a milestone or finishing a task was always a highlight. Each day is different and there are challenges that arise, so being able to check off tasks feels like an accomplishment. 

Who I worked with

My first rotation was with Department of Education and Training (DET), in the Project Delivery Minor Works Team. My second rotation was with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in the Emerging Energy Technology Team under Commercial Investments and Attractions.

Having a team that felt like family made me love coming to work. The whole branch was welcoming, so it was quick and easy to fit in. The work I did was interesting, and I could see the tangible outcomes of the projects I took on. I also enjoyed connecting with like-minded grads in my cohort and sharing our experiences.

The work we do in Government is different to the private sector because we’re not trying to generate profit. We’re working collaboratively, in a diverse workforce, towards a common goal of improving the state. Our actions have a direct impact on the people of Victoria, so there’s a sense of responsibility and accountability.

How I worked in 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic added an extra layer of complexity with the lockdown restrictions. I’m very proud of the way my team and I handled it. The experience tested my ability to adapt, overcome issues and step up to provide support.

Working from home has been an interesting experience. The advantage is not having to commute to work and instead using the time to do a bit of self-care, like practicing yoga or brewing a nice pot of coffee. The department helped by sending me all the resources for my desk setup so I could continue to do my job.

The teams I worked in were very understanding; if any issues came up, we reallocated tasks to make sure nothing was forgotten or left behind. This was made possible by strong lines of communication and the team’s willingness to help each other.

I was pleasantly surprised by the flexibility of the job and the emphasis on maintaining a work life balance. In a culture that’s becoming more fast paced and demanding, sometimes we forget that our mental state is equally important. Working with the VPS I can happily say everyone is supportive and always makes sure your personal wellbeing comes first.

Advice for future applicants

If you’re interested in working on diverse projects, learning general and specialised skills and making a difference I highly recommend you apply. 

Even with the limited time in each rotation, aim further than you think you can reach. It’s ok to not know how to do a task, because with the support around you, there’s no better time to take a leap and try to be the best you can.

Utilise your grad buddy to the best of your ability. They’ve just completed a year in the graduate program and will have lots of handy tips for you that will make the transition more enjoyable. Also, your manager is there to guide and nurture you with any issues you have.

Oh, and no ties.

Reviewed 30 March 2021

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