Graduate Profile Tori Haar
Name: Tori Haar
Stream: Data and analysis
Qualification: Bachelor of Behavioural Science/Bachelor of Arts
University: Flinders University
Why did you apply for the DSS graduate program?
I felt that the Government would be proactive as an equal opportunity employer for people with a disability. DSS has a high number of employees with a disability as a percentage of their workforce.
While I was studying at university I became involved in a State Government committee looking at potential reforms to services and supports for people with disability. I enjoyed being part of the project as well as learning about how government works. This experience led me to apply to DSS because it was the Federal Government equivalent of the department I had worked with. I felt there would be more opportunities in Federal Government and upon successful completion I would be offered a permanent position.
What were your rotations like?
My first rotation was in a strategic and high-performing policy team in Family Payments. It was fast-paced and stressful at times, but never boring! There was an amazing variety of work and the team was really supportive and we all worked collaboratively. The team believed in me and gave me opportunities to develop my skills and prove myself.
As a data and analysis graduate, my second rotation has been more data focused. I have been working in the research and data section in Disability and Carers Payment Policy. I’ve been able to work on long-term projects looking at trends of welfare recipients over time. I’ve also been able to learn to use different data tools, do quality assurance, read research papers and respond to data requests.
What were your key responsibilities?
Between my two rotations my responsibilities have included working on ministerial minutes and policy costings, research and analysis projects, extracting and analysing data and quality assuring data and reports.
What opportunities were made available to you?
I had the opportunity to work on projects that interested me. My supervisors always tried to ask what I wanted to learn and get out of my experience. I’ve experienced a variety of projects and learnt about the different aspects of the public service and the budget process.
I have had monthly one-on-one catch ups with my Branch Manager in my second rotation and completed extra data training through the Department of Human Services. I also had the opportunity to go to a couple of conferences.
DSS staff see your graduate year as a development year, so there are lots of opportunities to attend training programs and events, even where they’re not specifically relevant to your work area.
What were your professional and personal highlights during the Graduate program and how did you find the transition to Canberra?
It was pretty exciting getting to go to the post-budget drinks and meet the Minister and a couple of the Deputy Secretaries. I like the layout of Canberra and have found a lot of good restaurants to check out. It was also great to watch question time at Parliament House.
I enjoyed the transition to Canberra, but you really need to make the most of opportunities to get to know the area and to meet people. We really bonded as a graduate group given many of us didn’t know many people in Canberra. People have gotten together to do all sorts of things including going to restaurants, sport, hikes, playing board games and having a cooking club.
Where are you working now?
I am still currently in my second rotation but hoping to go back to my home section in December. There are lots of opportunities for the future and areas I’d like to explore down the track.
Why would you recommend the DSS Graduate Program?
The culture of the Department is really positive and supportive. They want you to work in an area you enjoy and find out what you want to do. The graduate team is approachable and all staff are open to you asking questions. The breadth of policy under DSS is expansive so there are lots of different areas which you could potentially be involved in and learn about. Some areas even run occasional seminars on their work so you can find out more about it.