Zack's graduate story: Aboriginal pathway, generalist stream

Zack is a Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung man who is following in the footsteps of his family by starting a career in the public sector.

Stream: Aboriginal Pathway
Home department: Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP)
Studied: Criminology and Psychology
How he describes himself: Curious, resilient, committed, warm, passionate and open
Pronouns: He/him/his

About Zack

I play lots of video games and am the proud father of 8 indoor plants.

Being both LGBTQIA+ and an Aboriginal person means that consideration for human rights, and my rights are at the centre of much of my decision making throughout my career and in general.

Career wise, I hope to be in a manager role within 5 years. I plan to stay with Aboriginal Justice because I feel dedicated to that specific area of government.

Because of my background as a person from multiple minorities, I think it’s important to be the thing you wished you saw as you were growing up.

What I expected

I challenged my ideas of what I thought working for government might be like. There can be a fixed idea of what a government worker should be and an assumption that the work will be boring. But it’s not! I’m proud I took the chance and gave this job a go.

My anxiety about the recruitment process was alleviated when I spoke to the people who run the Aboriginal pathway. They explained things to me and put my mind at ease. I’m glad the process was more about who I am as a whole person and the capacity I have, rather than who I am on a piece of paper.

What I experienced

The program helped me develop skills and gave me support while I navigated the, often confusing, world of work. The support I received made the experience warm and bonding, rather than feeling like I was in it alone.

I enjoyed working in a team with people who were well versed and passionate about what they were doing. They made me feel more confident in the types of work I was doing. I loved the location of my work too.

I was pleasantly surprised by how willing people were to help and assist. Managers, mentors, buddies, and even my peer graduates. If I had an issue or a question someone would step up to the plate and make sure I was okay.

Who I worked with

I worked with Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) as a Project Officer. I had the opportunity to work on issues faced by children in and out of home care.

How I worked in 2020

Working virtually using programs like Microsoft Teams and Zoom was kind of awkward at first but I got used to it pretty fast. I also saved a lot of time because I didn’t have to commute every day. Overall, it’s been a positive experience.

Advice for anyone thinking of applying

Take your time with learning. You might feel like you’re behind, but that’s expected from everybody there.

Ask lots of questions, somebody is always willing to answer them for you.

Write down acronyms so you don’t forget them – it can be hard to follow a discussion because there’s a lot of acronyms, but over time you’ll confidently be able to participate and follow along.

Reviewed 19 July 2021

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