IPAA Young Professionals Event “Burning the Brown Cardigans … Government as a Career of Choice” Speech Notes by Dr Tahnya Donaghy, Director, Office for Youth My Story • Brief overview o Grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. o Between 1992-1994 attended the University of Adelaide, completing a Bachelor of Arts. o As part of the degree, was selected in 1994 as one of three South Australians to participate in the ANU’s inaugural Australian Political Internship Program. o Moved to Belfast in 1995, staying for seven years. While living in Northern Ireland completed a Ph.D. in politics at Queen’s University; worked as a university researcher, tutor and lecturer and involved in a range of community consultations and initiatives. Also completed projects for the European Union’s Employment and Social Policy Division and the UK’s Economic Social Research Council. o In 2002 returned to Adelaide, winning the position of the inaugural Hawke Research Institute’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of South Australia. o Widely published in academic journals on topics such as representation, participation, and how public policy can be framed by equity and diversity principles. These interests led me to attend in 2003 a United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) session in Geneva and in 2005 a United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) session in New York. o In 2004 I worked for the Australian Education Union as their Women’s Officer where one of my main achievements was to research, publish and advance policies and understandings around work-life balance. o In November 2005 I took up the post of Director, Office for Youth. My work as director is driven by my vision that the Office for Youth be respected by, relevant to, and considered innovative by young people, the broader youth sector, and other government agencies. • I believe it’s important to make a difference DIRECTLY as opposed to relying on academia/unions to carry the flag. Key pointers for getting ahead in the Public Sector: 1. Have an interesting life. • Broad work AND life experience counts for a lot, so travel, try new things, have hobbies • Understand how it is done elsewhere – research, put yourself out there, ask people about their experiences • Outside Work Life Counts- volunteering organisations; clubs and memberships 2. Build relationships. • Sometimes it’s valuable to take jobs because of the opportunity to work with experienced people, not because the classification is better • Remember that the trainee in your Office today could be your boss of tomorrow, so be kind. 3. Be Brave, Be Confident! • Take initiative to put your self out there- and get involved in things that scare you – (including talking to 300 people like today!) • Have the confidence to ASK for help when you need it. • Put your hand up for things that will stretch you. 4. Attitude Counts- a lot! • Can-do • Lead positive change • Be pleasant, courteous, smile, don’t be a victim. 5. The only thing you are ‘owed’ is your pay (and that is assuming you have earned it). • No-one is “owed” a job promotion and a new position – these, like respect, are earned, and gained through initiative. • Concept of “incentives” – be a professional, do your job, make a difference, get the benefits of being a government employee, which include the ability to contribute to the community and make a difference. 6. Do one thing every year that will stand out on your CV. • Big or Small • IPPA question • Seek out a secondment or asking to assist with a particular project such as the Govt Reform Commission 7. Be Flexible: contracts V permanency • Work out what is really important to you regarding this, because there is often a trade-off between security and the most exciting jobs • PSM Act – in many areas where there is high competition for interesting work, they are rarely permanent positions. 8. Tips for Interviews: 3 points • Be sure you know what your key message is about and what you can offer (your point of difference) and that you don’t leave the interview until you’ve managed to get this across • Ask questions, show that you are interested • Don’t assume that panellists will know the detail of your CV - you must explain and demonstrate how your previous experience or study is relevant by providing good examples. Public Sector Reform: Drive Cultural Change (if you want things to happen, you need to be a part of making the change) • Take advantage of windows of opportunity for change – like this one today • Manage expectations – remember what’s possible, don’t expect that by giving feedback on what you would like fixed, that the GRC will solve all your problems – positive change involves ALL of us. You need to help create the groundswell, so go back to your workplaces after today and talk about it, share ideas, ask others for their ideas • Be practical – feedback may infiltrate in other ways: worksites/EB/CEs or Directors • E.g potential skills versus experience • Secondments including with other government departments.
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