Percy's graduate story: disability pathway, generalist stream

Having never worked an ‘office job’ before, Percy had no idea what to expect! But they were impressed by the inclusiveness and flexibility on offer in the public service.

Image of graduate with pink background behind them

Pronouns: Any/all pronouns
Studied: Human Geography and Town Planning
Stream: Generalist
Pathway: Disability
Home department: Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA)

About me

I came straight from my honours year at uni to the grad program, moving from far north Queensland, so it was a big change but definitely worth it!

Outside of work I’m a bit of a homebody. I love a cosy night in with friends and look forward to our ‘movie night’ every week. I do a lot of craft! Friends say I always have stuff for one or two hobbies taking up space in my bag, currently that’s chainmaille and crochet, though I also do cross-stitch, painting, and papercrafts. Oh, and I’m also learning Yiddish!

What ‘Working with purpose’ means to me

For me, ‘Working with purpose’ links into our broader mission as public servants, to improve the wellbeing of Victorians and to serve our communities.

Why I applied

I wanted to make a move to Melbourne after uni and really liked the structure of the program and the support that was available through the disability pathway.

I didn’t have many expectations at all! I’d never worked an “office job” before, so the graduate program was a big change for me.

My experience with the disability pathway

I’ve had a really great experience in the program and have been well supported on the disability front from the very beginning of the application process all the way through. Many organisations say they’re inclusive, but not many actually put in the work - it has far-exceeded my expectations.

Where I worked

My 3 rotations were:

  • Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA)
  • Department of Education (DE)
  • Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH)

I got an amazing set of rotations, all places I really wanted to work!

My home role was about building community engagement around bushfire safety.

In my second rotation I helped with the ever-expanding ‘Best Start, Best Life’ kindergarten program, doing policy work to implement free kinder for all 3 and 4-year-old Victorians. As part of my work here I got to work with The Front Project, which I really loved. They’re an organisation that helps reduce barriers and provide support for marginalised groups and older students to make it through university, and it was amazing to see how passionate their team was about looking after their participants and supporting them all the way.

My final rotation was in an internal-facing strategic team helping the newly established department with divisional and strategic planning, as well as working on the Diversity on Boards project.

Tell us about hybrid working

Hybrid working is a lifesaver for many disabled employees like me. It’s so much easier to be present and get my work done without having to worry about travel and food and new chairs and anything else that could flare up my disabilities.

Overall experience

What I’ve most enjoyed is the community that’s built up between the grads, particularly those of us in the same department. We often organise social events outside of work and regularly catch up as a cohort. It’s made the adjustment process so much easier having a community to share it with who are all experiencing similar things.

Advice for future applicants

Do it, it’s so worth it!