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Department of Defence

  • #2 in Government & public service
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees


A mini introduction of you

I’m originally from Melbourne, but a few years ago I moved to Canberra to study at ANU, and last year I graduated with a Bachelor in International Relations and Bachelor of Laws (Honours). While I was studying, like most uni students, I dabbled in the hospitality industry and then started working as a paralegal at a corporate law firm for about four years.

As I got deeper into my degree I became more interested in the International Relations side of things. I was interested in working for DIO as it seemed like a great way to explore the other half of my degree (IR) and put into practice what I had learnt at uni – not to mention it was a welcome change from corporate law to a more fulfilling career with meaningful work.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has restricted much of the quintessential grad experiences such as the interstate military familiarisation tour and networking events, however, we have still managed to socialise outside work. Some other grads have also organised fortnightly grad sports days where we can have a run around and get to know the other grads.

A brief day in your life

I work in a fast-paced operational team, so we typically start the day at 0700 - the benefits of flextime mean if you start early, you can leave early, and if not, you can accumulate flex and leave early another day or take a whole day off. Our work is done in support of ADF operations, which is really interesting because you get to work with uniformed personnel and get an understanding of what happens at the tactical level (and also hear cool deployment stories). I often liaise with our counterparts out at Headquarters Joint Operations Command and the Office of National Intelligence. Our section is also really big on morning teas which is great because we have a lot of bakers!

After work, I like to go to the gym, play touch footy or go for a run. The proximity of the lake and Mt Ainslie to work is great because you can easily get in a lunch run/walk and enjoy some sun. I also sometimes go out to drinks with work colleagues – Brodburger and Pedlar are by far the most popular spots!

In my team, we have a mix of weekly set tasks and ad hoc tasking. Short turn-around tasking tends to ebb and flows depending on whether there is a hot topic. My team is generally quite happy for me to independently take on tasks, which has enabled me to experience a range of things like drafting products, contributing to meetings with international partners, running tradecraft sessions and briefing seniors.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the practical impact of your work, particularly if it’s long term. However, you can still influence decision making – my product was read by both a four and a five-star military officer and is being relied upon for an upcoming decision.

What do you like about the Graduate program in DIO?

DIO’s culture is really warm and welcoming. Everyone here is so friendly and eager to help you progress professionally and personally. It’s also a massive plus that everyone here seems to love food and baking – morning teas can both be a blessing when you haven’t had breakfast, and a curse when you have inhaled a whole tray of brownies.

I have made a lot of new friends since being at DIO, both grads and non-grads. It’s been great meeting the grads and ex-grads from around Defence who have had different experiences both from a general friendship perspective as well as getting to know wider Defence. I think it’s especially good to have friends in our workplace whom you can lean on and talk to about your work with when things get challenging. I’ve also been able to develop mentor-type relationships with more experienced colleagues.

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