Graduate Profile Eliza Harris

Name: Eliza HarrisEliza Harris
Stream: Generalist
Qualification: Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Sociology), Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Sociology)
University: The University of Melbourne

Why did you apply for the DSS graduate program?

I am passionate about social policy and I was keen to help contribute to the development and implementation of innovative programs and policies that support the Australian community and effect long-term positive change.

What were your rotations like?

My DSS rotations, in Women’s Safety Policy and Financial Management Program Policy and Performance, provided me with great opportunities to expand my knowledge of social policy and work on new and existing policies and programs in a friendly and supportive team environment. 

What were your key responsibilities?

My key responsibilities included writing briefs and minutes for managers and our Ministers, participating in focus groups, undertaking research, contributing to papers and reports, writing Ministerial Correspondence and analysing Financial Management Program data collection methods.

What opportunities were made available to you?

During both my rotations I was afforded invaluable professional development opportunities, including training in statistics, legislation and policy-writing. I was also included in the planning and development of new and existing projects and initiatives related to both The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and the Financial Management Program, and encouraged to continually enhance my skills and knowledge.

I attended the three-day Australian Social Policy Conference in Sydney and heard from leading national and international researchers, practitioners and policy makers about contemporary challenges for social policy in Australia.

What were your professional and personal highlights during the Graduate program and how did you find the transition to Canberra?

The DSS Graduate Program offers many professional and personal opportunities and key highlights of the year for me include the Australian Public Service Commission Panel Discussion hosted by Tony Jones, the International Women’s Day Canberra Lunch at the National Convention Centre and the DSS Deputy Secretaries Forum.

Moving from Melbourne away from my family, partner and close friends was difficult, but also a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with Canberra and the other graduates. Whether it is a 6-hour hike up Mount Tennant or a dumpling dinner party, as part of the DSS graduate cohort you always feel welcome. Canberra itself always offers up plenty of cultural events, interesting museums and galleries and, of course, The Skywhale.

Where are you working now?

I am currently completing my second rotation in the Financial Management Program Policy and Performance section of the Welfare Payments and Money Management branch.

Why would you recommend the DSS Graduate Program?

The DSS Graduate Program offers invaluable learning and training opportunities, including the Diploma of Government qualification, a variety of exciting and challenging work and an exceptional graduate network. It’s an excellent and rewarding introduction to a career in the Australian Public Service and to a thriving professional and social life in Canberra – be prepared for a great year!

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