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The AIHW Graduate Program provides an opportunity for graduates to gain exposure to the broad work undertaken across the AIHW by participating in cross-agency projects and managing the Social Club. Graduates are also provided with the opportunity to participate in internal and Australian Public Service (APS) wide graduate events. At the AIHW we value a positive, friendly, cooperative and productive workplace where people are treated with respect and courtesy, and diverse and unique attributes are recognised and valued. We are committed to providing flexibility in working arrangements to recognise the importance of balancing work commitments with family, caring and other personal commitments of employees outside of work.
We are committed to creating genuine opportunities for all, and encourage applications from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people(s), people with a disability and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Team: Burden of Disease and Mortality Unit
Position: Project Officer / Data Analyst
When did you join the AIHW Graduate program?
I joined the AIHW Graduate program in November 2017.
What did you study at university?
Bachelor of Health Sciences (Hons).
What has your experience of the grad program been so far? Most interesting or fulfilling project you have worked on?
The AIHW graduate program has brought many eye-opening experiences to my professional life through endless training and work opportunities within and across different government departments and agencies.
During my graduate year, I was able to be part of a team working on the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015, where I was able to apply research skills I gained at university and develop new analytical and project capabilities. I was also given opportunities to rotate around various units to get a taste of different work and projects within the institute.
The AIHW is awesome at creating a friendly and supportive working environment to ensure its graduates feel comfortable.
What are the best parts of working at the AIHW?
A highlight for me was the extensive training programs offered both internally and externally to graduates, the challenging responsibilities that I was given, as well as being part of a cooperative and approachable team, with the luxury of having an excellent supervisor and unit head.
Do you engage in any extra-curricular activities at the AIHW?
Another great thing about working at the AIHW has been my involvement in the Social Club and Ideas Working Group. Last year I took on the role of Secretariat and Events Coordinator. This has been a fantastic way to become an active and contributing member of the community, both the Institute and in the ACT, through organising a range of social events, fundraising for charities and being part of a committee that works towards improving the organisation.
What advice would you give to any future applicants or graduates?
It’s worth giving it a shot! With a positive attitude and an open mind, there will always be something you can get out of the AIHW graduate program.
Team: Economics & Expenditure Unit
I joined the AIHW Graduate program in January 2018.
Undergrad: Anatomy and Physiology
Postgrad: Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics)
The grad program has been a great first step in my career. Being my first ‘real’ job out of uni, the program has offered me an insight, not only into the public service, but into the wider industry surrounding big data and information and the kinds of skills that are valued in this space.
The most interesting and fulfilling project I have been involved in so far has been the production of Health Expenditure Australia (HEA). My experiences with HEA have shown me just how far-reaching our work is at the AIHW in terms of policy and evidence-based decision making at a number of levels of government.
Along with the wide variety of work that you get exposed to, the best part of working at the AIHW is definitely the AIHW community. The people I’ve met here are amazingly talented and there is a lot to learn from the diverse group of individuals that we have working here.
As a graduate, I was involved with the Social Club in planning the AIHW birthday and trivia night. I also recently served as secretariat for the Ideas Working Group. Both these experiences have proved invaluable for developing my network throughout the organisation and skills outside of my immediate work area.
If you’re interested in developing a more technical set of skills in statistics and data, then the AIHW is definitely for you! Not only do you learn how to build these evidence bases but you also are exposed to the political implications of our work from a bottom-up perspective.
Team: Health Performance and Quality Unit
Position: Graduate Data Analyst
Bachelor of Biomedical Science and a Masters of Public Health.
What has your experience of the graduate program been so far?
Excellent experience. I’ve had morning tea with the CEO, shadowed meetings with my Group Head and attended a number of highly insightful training workshops. The institute has made particular effort to ensure I am settling in- I had a ‘catch-up’ session after two weeks of starting with HR and my unit is regularly asking how I am going. It’s been great to also be involved in the larger graduate community within Canberra. I participated in a scavenger hunt with graduates from AIHW and other departments, which was a great way to get to know Canberra as well as meeting like-minded people.
Being a smaller agency, I have a real sense of community at work. Within 1 month of working here, I recognise a number of familiar faces and it’s easy to find my way around the institute. Everyone has been very approachable and friendly. There is a strong focus on learning and development.
Current project you’re working on?
Our team just released a report titled ‘Bloodstream infections associated with hospital care 2017–18: Australian hospital statistics’. It was exciting being involved in the release process and reading media responses to our report. Currently, our team is working on the Australian Health Performance Framework, which aims to provide a single, enduring and flexible vehicle to support system-wide reporting on Australia’s health and health care performance.
Do you engage in any extra-curricular activities at the AIHW?
All graduates are involved in the Social Club at AIHW. We coordinate various fundraising and charity events throughout the year. It’s been an excellent opportunity to meet different people across the institute.
AIHW is a great place for graduates. You get stuck into project work as soon as the program begins, and unlike other graduate programs, you stay within one team for the entire program- allowing you to see the full cycle of a project. Being a smaller institute- there are great opportunities to network across many different work areas. People are really approachable and dedicated to their work, which is really inspiring. Another great benefit to the graduate program is that you are employed on an on-going contract, meaning you have the opportunities to apply for higher APS classification as soon as you feel up to it.
Team: Community Services & Housing Linkage Unit
Position: Data linker, i.e. I bring together data from different sources to create enriched datasets capable of answering complex public health questions
Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours in Population Health) – focusing on the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases
What has your experience of the grad program been so far?
Friendly. My team are always open to giving me a hand and answering any questions. Something I have enjoyed in this grad program is that I have a constant job to return to after my various graduate trainings/rotations. I do not know that this is common across many graduate programs. I have had the opportunity to spend time in other teams and better understand the work that the Institute does as a whole. However, at the end of these experiences I always come back to my linkage unit where I feel part of the team.
Most interesting or fulfilling project you have worked on?
I have been organising a small group in my linkage unit to develop machine-learning solutions for parts of our linkage process. I had not previously worked with artificial intelligence, so this has been a big learning curve for me, especially since I am in charge of motivating the other members of my team to progress this project. I hope that our machine learning solution will be integrated as part of our linkage process within the next two years.
The flexibility of my hours and the willingness of my manger to invest in my training. I have enjoyed being able to choose my hours. It has helped me be able to make medical appointments during a workday or allowed me to leave early on a Friday for a weekend away. My manager has been supportive in my undertaking of in-person, online and self-paced learning. This training has improved my efficiency and supported the confidence I have in my role.
I am the Healthy Snack Stations coordinator, so I organise for small ‘snack stations’ with healthy alternatives to be set up around the Institute. All of the money we raise goes towards our staff Christmas Party. I also semi-frequently attend the Monday lunchtime Craft Group where we share pictures and ask for advice on our current DIY projects. We hope to branch out to have a book club sometime soon.
Be willing to learn. Your university qualifications are unlikely to be one-to-one correlated with the skills you need in the workplace. Be involved with as many projects as you possibly can in your graduate year, even if they are not directly in your field of interest. Your graduate year is an opportunity to expose yourself to the variety of work conducted by the organisation.
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