Graduate Profile Lahiru Weerasinghe

Name: Lahiru Weerasinghe
Stream: Finance
Qualification: Bachelor of Business (Accountancy)
University: RMIT University

Why did you apply for the DSS graduate program?

I applied for the DSS Graduate Program to gain experience working in a large government department. With DSS’ extensive portfolio there are a range of opportunities for graduates to gain exposure to such a large component of Australia’s social policy and federal budget.

What were your rotations like?

I was fortunate enough to work in three different areas of finance. This helped me develop my skills and extend my knowledge of the different financial aspects of the Department.

My initial rotation was very exciting and vital for my development because I got to learn about how the Department was structured financially. I was working in the IT financing area which has a relatively large budget and I was given the chance to work on a range of areas such as asset procurement, accounts payable, contractor management and departmental budgets.

During my second rotation I was working in a more central area of finance and this experience was a vital part of my development as a Graduate. I had the opportunity to manage the budgets for all programs that are under DSS’ portfolio.

In my final rotation I was involved in a more complex and challenging aspect of budgeting. During my rotation I was very pleased that I had the opportunity to work in developing the estimated budget figures for the current and future years as this will form a vital part of the financial outlook.

What were your key responsibilities?

My key responsibilities involved accounts payable, IT asset procurement, spending proposals for future years, modelling, forecasting, project management, report writing and stakeholder engagement.

What opportunities were made available to you?

In addition to my regular duties, I was offered the opportunity to undertake a project in financial reporting. I was also given the opportunity to attend important workshops that helped with my personal development and various graduate meetings both internally and externally to help with the transition into the public service environment. The Diploma of Government qualification I undertook was invaluable as it will help with my future progression in the APS.

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

. Working in one of Australia’s largest government departments and learning about managing such a large budget was a great experience as a graduate.

Travelling to the Parliament House to meet the Minister was an exciting opportunity and definitely a highlight of the Graduate Program along with all the APSC events which prove to be quite entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.

The transition into Canberra was a breeze – the graduate team were really helpful and were organised from the start and this made the transition that much easier. For someone who has never lived out of home adjusting to life in Canberra was made easy by the lovely people in Canberra.

Where are you working now?

I am working in my final rotation in Budget Estimates.

Why would you recommend the DSS Graduate Program?

DSS has one of the best environments to work in. The Department is full of great people with wide-ranging experiences in the public service. They are always willing to pass on knowledge and will always make time for your development.

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