Comcare’s Graduate Development Program is a key strategy in our organisational renewal and aims to build internal capability to support future business needs. During the program, graduates participate in two six-month rotations across a range of business areas within Comcare. The rotational placements are aimed at developing and broadening their capabilities within Comcare and the APS. Comcare graduates are provided with a number of support networks during the program including a ‘buddy’ chosen from the former graduates and a mentor from Comcare’s Executive.
The program, in its current format, has been successfully running for three years, and a total of 37 graduate positions have been offered. The retention rate is 84 per cent.
The 2010 graduates completed a range of training through the APSC Whole of Government Graduate Development Program along with other Commonwealth agencies and departments such as Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Australian Electoral Commission. On completion of the 12-month program, the graduates were awarded the Diploma of Government.
The program concluded with a graduation ceremony and the CEO, Paul O’Connor, addressed the graduate group, supervisors and mentors. The 2011 graduate program commenced in February 2011 with six generalist graduates participating in the APSC Whole of Government Graduate Development Program. They are in a cohort with the Murray Darling Basin Commission, the National Library and the Australian Electoral Commission. This year the program will be ten months in length, concluding in December 2011 with a graduation ceremony.
The APSC offers a series of Graduate events which includes the Great APS Graduate Debate. Elizabeth Sinclair auditioned along with 63 graduates across 24 agencies for a position on one of the debating teams. Elizabeth was successful in being selected as one of ten debaters and was the first speaker for the negative team. Her team won the debate and she will now debate a team of APS Secretaries for the second round of the Great APS Graduate Debate.
‘Work at Comcare is often challenging but always interesting. Each placement in the graduate program was vastly different, but each team was always welcoming and supportive. It’s a diverse and dynamic workplace with people from all walks of life and with enormous amounts of knowledge and experience.
I’d always wanted to work for an organisation that helped people. I had interests in public health and government and Comcare just happened to tick all the boxes. I knew that working for Comcare would help me pursue these interests and provide me with great career opportunities and skills for the future.
As graduates, we completed a Diploma of Government (Management) which can lead towards a Masters in Public Policy or Public Administration.
I enjoyed the major graduate project on a topic closely linked to Comcare’s strategic priority, it was a top 5 finalist in the Australian Public Service Commission’s Major Project Outstanding Achievement Award. The project was a good experience in working in teams, learning project management, risk management and communication skills and negotiation and conflict resolution.
Comcare is a great employer, my team and supervisor are very supportive and I have been given opportunities to work on projects that challenge as well as use my skills. We definitely have a good work-life balance at Comcare with flexible working hours and the focus on improving our health and wellbeing. Moving out of home for the first time and moving from Perth to Canberra, Comcare has made this transition seamless.