2011 DSS Graduate: Emma Banyer

Emma Banyer Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (Hon. Australian Literature), PHD in Contemporary Australian literature (awaiting results)

University: Sydney University

Stream: Generalist



Why did you apply for the DSS graduate program?
I wanted a fresh start. DSS had vision and integrity, and I respected its work with vulnerable communities. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I followed my nose to DSS and I’ve never looked back!

What were your rotations like?
I hit the ground running in my role as a project officer in the Education and Advisory Programs Section. This section was part of the newly formed Autism Spectrum Disorders Branch, which was tasked with promoting awareness and providing support for children under six years old with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), their families and carers. My second placement, in Engagement Branch, saw me working with Stolen Generations organisations, as well as completing briefs for the Minister and other tasks.

What were/are your key responsibilities?
In the Autism Branch, I was responsible for:

  • assisting with the roll-out and implementation of a round of national workshops for parents and carers of newly diagnosed children and children who are displaying ASD-like symptoms.
  • assisting with reviewing content for, and managing the launch of the Raising Children Network - Children with Autism Website.
  • undertaking a major research project to explore strategies for providing autism services to culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Indigenous communities.

In my second placement, I edited a newsletter for members of the Stolen Generations, answered Ministerial Correspondence, managed funding contracts, and more.

What opportunities were made available to you?
I was heavily involved in organising the launch of the National Autism Website. I worked really hard on ensuring this launch was a success. Throughout my work on this project, I got to meet with a variety of stakeholders, from parents of autistic children, right through to national bodies and community support groups. I even got to meet the then Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, who personally complimented me on the success of the launch.

What were your professional and personal highlights during the DSS Graduate program and how did you find the transition to Canberra?
I moved to Canberra from the inner-west of Sydney so coming to Canberra was a big change. It’s all about your attitude—if you have a positive attitude and put some effort into making new friends, you’ll find that Canberra’s just as good a place to do it as anywhere else. Personal highlights included meeting some great people, who became my core group of friends, and meeting my lovely partner. Professionally, my life has just gone from strength to strength, with opportunities to study and attend conferences.

Where are you working now?
Two years after my grad program, I have found my way into working for the DSS Library, which I absolutely love! I do research and client services, and am currently on a taskforce exploring innovative ways to provide library services. My branch is even supporting me to get a Masters in Information Studies at University of Canberra! I am looking forward to a bright future in the information management arena.

Why would you recommend the DSS Graduate Program?
DSS is a fantastic place to develop your talents as a graduate. It has a very supportive culture, and promotes work-life balance. Not to mention, the working conditions, workplace culture and pay are very reasonable!

Content Updated: 2 December 2013