Tom's graduate story: disability pathway, data analytics stream

Tom’s experience applying through the disability pathway helped him feel like he was in the right place. His work during his rotations allowed him to apply his data skills in meaningful ways for the Victorian community.

Image of male graduate with blue background behind him

Pronouns: He/him/his
Studied: Bachelor of Science (Data Science)
Stream: Data analytics
Pathway: Disability
Home department: Department of Education (DE)

About me

I’m from north-west NSW but moved to Melbourne for uni. I studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Data Science. I always enjoyed maths in high school and wanted to learn more about how I could apply mathematical models to the world around me.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy a range of hobbies from the nerdy, like Warhammer and Sid Meier’s Civilization, to the not so nerdy, like swimming and the gym.

What ‘Working with purpose’ means to me

It’s understanding how my role relates to broader outcomes in Victoria, not just in terms of business performance, but also connecting what I do with my personal goals and values.

Something I found particularly valuable throughout this year, was the ability to see how what I was doing related to outcomes for the Victorian community. Having that holistic view gave me the sense I was contributing, working with purpose.

Why I applied

I’ve always wanted to have a meaningful career where I can add some value to the world around me. A career in the public service seemed like a great way to give back and do some good.

My experience with the disability pathway

I applied through the disability pathway and I was quite nervous about doing that. Sharing something that’s quite personal about myself, I was worried that maybe my application wouldn't be taken as seriously because of it or would be seen differently.

But that wasn’t the case at all. I was contacted very quickly after applying to see if I needed any adjustments or support to help me participate fully in the process.

I was never asked to ‘prove’ my disability, it wasn’t about doctor’s notes or medical certificates. It was just about putting my hand up and asking for the things I needed to participate equitably. It was very encouraging.

Where I worked

My 3 rotations were:

  • Department of Education (DE)
  • Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF)
  • Department of Education (DE)

The rotations have been a rewarding aspect of the program. It can be challenging, learning new systems and settling into a new team, but everyone from the business units I’ve transitioned into, to the graduate team coordinating the process, have been understanding and supportive.

In my first rotation, I was given a project to analyse and report on trends in the quality of early childhood education and care services. I found this role rewarding because I felt like I was supporting Victoria’s youngest to get quality early education and care. I got to develop my own approach and apply techniques I’d learned at uni.

In my second rotation I got to develop and apply my data visualisation skills while exploring different options and layouts for internal facing dashboards related to state budget performance. It was great to get a perspective on whole of government systems and processes, like the state budget.

My final rotation was working on a project looking at school socio-economic composition and the impact it has on enrolment behaviour. The variety of work, and the challenges that come from that variety, are a big part of what keeps me motivated.

When I reflect on it, I’m shocked and proud at how far I’ve come since the start of the year. I’m grateful to the program for that personal and professional development and the opportunity for further development is something that keeps me excited about work.

Tell us about hybrid working

I started the program working entirely from home. Even now I’m back in the office 3 days a week, I still deeply appreciate hybrid working and the greater work-life balance it provides.

Overall experience

I’ve loved the program. Everyone was exceptionally welcoming and really did actively try to help me transition into my roles.

What I wanted most of all going in was the ability to learn and develop my skills while maintaining a work-life balance. I’m very pleased that the program, and the Victorian Public Service (VPS) in general, are committed to these aspects.

Advice for future applicants

Apply! You won’t be any worse off – in fact, I’ve found the skills and experience gained from the recruitment process is likely to aid you in future applications - and if you get an offer, that’s great! The VPS is an excellent place to start your career.

And if you’re thinking of applying through the disability pathway, I would say not to rule yourself out. The graduate team aren't looking for a particular kind of disability or a particular kind of person. They're just looking for someone who wants to participate and contribute to the Victorian community.