Updating Results

National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees


I love being able to rotate through the agency to get a clearer idea of how the overall agency operates. It has also helped me try out jobs to see if they are a good fit for me or not. It is very cool to be in Canberra too, it feels like I am in the heart of the nation’s politics and press, and that can feel exciting. 

What's your job about?

I’m a graduate policy advisor at the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). 

The NIAA is responsible for leading and coordinating policy, program design and implementation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, with a focus on ensuring First Nations peoples have a say in decisions that affect them.  

As part of the graduate program, I’ve been able to rotate into three different teams across the agency. My first placement was for 5 months, and my second and third are for 3 and a half months. So far, I’ve worked in Constitution Recognition Communications, CDP Policy and I’m about to head into NT Land Operations. It’s been an excellent opportunity to learn more about what the agency does, to develop skills, and to explore my development goals. 

In Constitutional Recognition Communications, I experienced working on planning social media posts, drafting briefs and speeches for the Minister, writing updates for internal and external web pages and drafting material for the Voice Newsletter once a month. 

In CDP Policy, I learned about grant and novation processes, was able to do some procurement and event planning, and got to learn about remote employment programs. 

I’m not sure what I’ll learn in my next rotation, but I’m sure it will be really different from what I have learned so far. I’ll be travelling to Darwin to join the team in the Regional Office there and am really looking forward to challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone.  

What's your background?

I grew up in an outer northern suburb of Adelaide on Kaurna land. Neither of my parents finished high school, though my dad did return to complete his high school education later as an adult and went on to complete an engineering degree at university. 

I studied Journalism and International at the University of South Australia, but when I graduated I wasn’t really sure how to make a start. I tried to apply for a few journalism jobs, but I didn’t have a lot of confidence.  I ended up heading out to the APY Lands and East Arnhem Land to get some work experience, working in schools and local councils, which was quite different from what I studied. 

Working in remote Aboriginal communities, I felt really passionate about the politics that impacted people in the day to day. This drew me towards working in an Australian policy setting, and in particular, in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I realised I didn’t want to work as a journalist, but came to appreciate that I had a communications degree all the same. The kind of work a journalist does didn’t come naturally to me, but I still wanted to write, think critically, and apply research in my work. This led me to apply for the graduate program at the NIAA, and I was lucky enough to be offered a place in the 2023 program. I’ve become really interested in place-based approaches to doing policy work, and the NIAA feels like the best place to be able to do this type of work.  

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, though I think it is important to have a strong commitment to continuing to learn and to growing your cultural competency in order to be able to do work in diverse settings across Australia. One of the things I have noticed about the agency is that the people who work here are committed to the agency’s purpose and they care about the work they do. 

One of the reasons I think I got this opportunity is because of the values of the agency, how this is reflected in the recruitment process, and how my values align with the agency’s. The first agency value that resonates with me is about respecting multiple perspectives, and the second is about being authentic. Throughout the interview process, and in my time here in the job, I’ve felt that my colleagues and leaders have not only been respectful of multiple perspectives, but have sought different perspectives to inform the work they do. Being authentic is an important part of this – in order to understand others better, to build relationships and to do work that hopefully lasts well into the future. 

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love being able to rotate through the agency to get a clearer idea of how the overall agency operates. It has also helped me try out jobs to see if they are a good fit for me or not. It is very cool to be in Canberra too, it feels like I am in the heart of the nation’s politics and press, and that can feel exciting. 

But the other thing I am still getting used to, is just how much interesting work is within reach, and how many opportunities there are to grow, learn and pursue a career. In my first five months here, I was able to do comms work I have never performed before, and contribute meaningfully to my team. The wonderful thing about a grad program is that there is so much focus on the development of new graduates. There are so many opportunities and people to learn from. 

I was recently able to arrange job shadowing for a day with a team outside of my current rotation. I learned so much and gained exposure to yet another part of the agency. This ability to learn wouldn’t be as easy outside of a graduate program, it gives me such a great opportunity to understand the type of work I want to do going forward.  

What are the limitations of your job?

One limitation of the grad program can be the constant state of flux and change. Just as you think you have got the hang of things, you move to your next rotation! It can be hard to continually have to establish your competency and ability to contribute to a team each time you move. But dealing with a bit of uncertainty and a lot of change has been worth it. I’ve grown a large network in just my first year here, and have had so many opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have had.  

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Firstly, have more confidence and fret a lot less about the future. You have all the time in the world to figure it out! You will find a path. Keep the momentum going. 
  • Secondly, do what comes naturally. Doing this will lead you into work and communities of people with the same values as you, and from there things will just keep getting better. 
  • Thirdly, be real about what your needs are and stop trying to be who you think you should be or how you think you should be. Find a way to do new and scary things in a way that feels authentic to you. What is it you need? What is it you want? Listen to what your body tells you. Take yourself seriously, take your health and sleep seriously, and finally, don’t ignore what you intuitively know about yourself or your environment.