A day in the life of a graduate

Anton Sasson, PM&C Graduate

Allie Lockhart - 2019 PM&C Graduate

Advisor
Ministerial Support Division

Queensland University of Technology
Bachelor of Laws
Graduated 2016

Time Activity
6.45am Wake up and get ready for work.
7.15am Leave home and drive to work.
7.25am

Arrive at work for Question Time Duty. It’s a sitting week so one member of the Health Branch attends work at 7.30am each morning to monitor requests from the Prime Minister’s Office to update our Question Time Briefs to help prepare the Prime Minister for potential questions in Question Time that day.

7.30am Choose my desk for the day and check through the night’s emails and cables from colleagues overseas.
7.50am Prepare a media monitoring email to the Health Branch which includes any hot topics that we will need to keep an eye on ahead of Parliament sitting that day.
8.15am Coordinate input for a meeting agenda between our Executive and the Chief Budget Officer at Department of Health.
8.30am Start drafting a response to an item of children’s correspondence the Prime Minister has received.
9.15am Attend our Social Policy Division stand-up. We have these stand-ups three times a week and they are a good chance to highlight what each branch is working on and upcoming events that are being held within the Division and by the diversity networks in PM&C.
9.40am Discuss changes to a brief we are preparing for the Prime Minister with my director.
10.00am Make changes to the brief for the Prime Minister following a discusion with my director.
11.30am Walk to Berton Grocer to buy some snacks for the day.
11.45am Follow up on the meeting agenda and compile input from the branch to send to our Executive.
12.15pm Attend meeting with the Chief Budget Officer and Executive team to discuss upcoming Health Budget priorities.
1.00pm Take a break and go for a walk around Lake Burley Griffin with a friend.
2.15pm Return to the Prime Minister’s brief and make further changes, before brief goes to my Executive tomorrow.  
3.30pm Attend high level meeting with Department of Finance and Department of Treasury to discuss upcoming Health Budget priorities.
4.30pm Complete administrative tasks including calling my contacts in the Cabinet Division to follow up on a weekly report that I send around to the Health Branch.
5.15pm Drive home from work.
6.00pm Head to the grocery store and start to plan dinner for the night.

 

Lachlan McDevitt 2018 PM&C Graduate

Lachlan McDevitt 2019 PM&C Graduate

Advisor
Critical Infrastructure and Countering Foreign Interference

Australian National University
Bachelor of International Relations & Languages
Graduated 2018

Time Activity
5.30am

Wake up, get in active wear, drink a coffee and head to the gym.

7.50am

Return home, make breakfast and get ready for the day ahead.

8.00am

I don’t change out of gym gear. Instead I pack my clothes and cycle to work and shower there. I have a locker at work that has all the essentials in case I accidentally forget something.

8.30am

Arrive at work, shower and change, login and check emails.

9.30am

Attend a policy meeting with colleagues and other relevant agencies.

10.30am

Grab a quick coffee from downstairs. Iced-Long black is the order, and it pairs perfectly with a fresh cinnamon donut from the café. Once caffeine is in hand, it’s time to return to my desk and work on a brief for the Prime Minister’s visit to the Solomon Islands. The brief will outline the key items that the Prime Minister needs to be aware of that are relevant to our team. The brief will also need to be concise so that he can quickly digest the essentials whilst on the plane. I will cross-reference this information with colleagues from the Cyber Security team and also the Pacific team in the International Division to ensure accuracy and consistency.

1.00pm

It’s lunch time and I’m itching for food after busting out that brief. Most days, I pack lunch and head to the Rose Gardens across the road to catch up with other grads and soak up some Vitamin D. If I forget to pack lunch, a nearby café makes a mean Reuben sandwich, which is hard to pass up on.

2.00pm

Head back into the office and check in with the team. We are often invited to attend talks by prominent speakers either within our Department, or at some of the neighbouring Departments. John Garnaut is speaking at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and I am going to listen and take notes. I pack my notebook and stroll over to DFAT for the presentation.

3.30pm

Walk back to PM&C. I grab my laptop and head downstairs for a Social Club meeting. As part of Social Club, I coordinate a Snack Shack on the 3rd floor which services the whole Department, and goes towards the Departmental Christmas party. I’ll update Social Club on sales and listen to any feedback and suggestions. It may sound like a small role, but when the Department is going through Senate or Budget Estimates, stock depletes fast and employees need their sugar fix to work long shifts.

4.30pm

Run back upstairs to continue working on briefs. I’m often given ad hoc tasks by people in my team which can vary in their nature. At times, it might be researching a topical issue in the media, or chasing up work that stakeholders are handling.

5.15pm

I check to see if there are any urgent requests that are sitting with the team. If not, I pack up my desk and head downstairs to my bike.

6.00pm I pack up my desk and get on my bike to head home for my 6.00pm gym class.
8.00pm

I usually enjoy dinner at home, however, one of the other grads has invited me to Laksa at a local restaurant, and that’s an offer I simply can’t refuse.

9.00pm

Head home, unwind and get ready for whatever tomorrow has in store.

 

Tristian Delroy, PM&C Graduate

Tristian Delroy- 2019 PM&C Graduate

Advisor
Citizen Engagement Team

Australian National University
Bachelor of Laws
Graduated 2018

Time Activity
7.00am Wake up and go for a jog through the park near Lake Burley Griffin.
7.45am Eat breakfast and do some reading (I’m currently reading Bury the Chains, by Adam Hochschild, a history of the anti-slavery movement). Get ready for the day.
8.45am Walk to the PM&C office.
9.00am

Meet with my supervisor to discuss priorities for the week and get advice on how to approach some of these tasks. There is a diverse range of work, as our branch advises and supports the Prime Minister across all areas of health policy.

9.30am Meet with all of Social Policy Division to share updates on key issues in each portfolio, including education, aged care and social services.
10.45am

10:45am – Get a soy flat white at the cafe with another graduate, working in in the Office for Women, to catch up and learn about what projects they’re working on.

11.00am Meet with the Department of Finance and Treasury to discuss policy proposals in the Budget.
12.00pm

Get a sandwich from the Barton shops and eat lunch with some other graduates working in different teams around the Department.

1.00pm

Meet with my team and our Assistant Secretary to discuss a policy deep-dive project, sharing the research and case studies we have prepared.
2.00pm Assist a colleague with urgent updates to a brief for the Prime Minister to incorporate statistics which have just been released.
3.30pm

Make some green tea in the kitchen.

3.45pm Meet with my supervisor to get feedback on how the event brief can be improved. Make these changes and submit the brief for clearance.
5.35pm Walk home. Canberra is a beautiful place to walk, especially in autumn and spring.
6.00pm Make dinner (ramen with tofu) and watch a film recommended by a colleague (Caramel, directed by Nadine Labaki).
9.00pm Do some reading (The Overstory, by Richard Powers), mediate and get to sleep.
Sioban Dwyer, PM&C Graduate

Siobhan Dwyer - 2019 PM&C Graduate

Advisor
Women's Safety

Griffith University
Bachelor of Government and International Relations
Graduated 2017

On the Job with Siobhan from the Department of PM&C

Siobhan Dwyer is an adviser at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She joined as a graduate in 2019.  Prior to the Department, she was working at the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University, after graduating with a Bachelor of Government and International Relations from Griffith University in 2017.

Why the interest in PM&C? 

The Department is a central agency, which means it offers exposure to work across a broad range of subject areas and the opportunity to provide whole-of-government policy advice. I was also attracted to the idea of being able to brief the Prime Minister and Portfolio Ministers, including the Minister for Women.

How does the grad program work? 

The graduate program is a 12 month program which provides the opportunity to rotate across the many different areas of the Department and also involves regular professional development seminars and peer mentoring.

When I first joined, I worked in the Office for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing team where I assisted with the Incoming Government Briefing process and a whole-of-Government Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy. I am currently completing a rotation in the Inclusion and Diversity team within People Branch. It is interesting to see the strategies currently being developed and in place dedicated to the inclusivity and diversity of PM&C staff.

Best aspects of the program thus far? 

The diversity of opportunities within the graduate program has been a definite highlight. Nowhere else would I have dreamed that in my first year I would get to attend an international women’s day event in Parliament House, directly participate in an Incoming Government Briefing process or present at the Secretary’s All Staff address.  

What has been most challenging? 

Adapting to the pace of the Department and the sheer scope of the work has taken time. The start of each rotation offers new challenges as you adjust to different workstyles and learn new subject areas.

The most surprising part? 

I have been continuously amazed at the generosity of colleagues here. People have taken time out of their days to share their stories both as graduates and beyond, to check in to see how I am settling into Canberra both professionally and personally and even to decode particularly difficult acronyms. PM&C fosters a collaborative and supportive culture, where staff are encouraged and supported to become curious, well-rounded advisers.

What did you do between studying and full-time work? 

I worked for a Federal Member for Parliament before starting with the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University. Both jobs provided me with great experiences to draw on when applying for graduate roles in the Australian Public Service.  

Advice to current students? 

Don’t be afraid to apply for your dream job – if you never try, you’ll never know. Applying for graduate programs can be very demanding and time-consuming, but it will all be worth it when you arrive at orientation on your first day and meet your new colleagues.

To apply

If you would like to apply for the 2019 Graduate Program, visit the PM&C recruitment portal.

More information

For more information on the PM&C Graduate Program you can email us at EntryLevelPrograms@pmc.gov.au or call us on 02 6271 6000.