Olkola and Kalkadoon woman, Casey Millward, started in the APS in 2006, in the predecessor program to the current Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP).
'After the completion of the program I worked in the APS for a further three years, and then I resigned to undertake a university degree. After 12 months of study, I decided that I wanted a long term career in the APS so I applied for a Cadetship through the APS Indigenous Pathways Program to get my foot back in the door' says Casey.
'When I joined the APS I knew very little about what role Public Servants played, what type of work I would be doing or what opportunities were available to me. I heard that working in a "Government job" provided good pay and stable employment. You could also keep your long service leave and move between agencies. That was very appealing to me as a Gen Y in my early 20's, as staying the same job for 10 years seemed impossible. That was about as much as I knew when I first applied,' said Casey.
Casey currently works as the Indigenous HR Advisor at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In this role Casey provides strategic HR leadership on Indigenous workforce matters. Casey helps build frameworks to provide support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees on recruitment, retention and career development matters. This includes implementing practical initiatives to build the capacity of the ATO's Indigenous employees, such as structured mentoring programs and vocational qualifications.
'There are many things I enjoy about my job, the main one would be the variety of tasks I undertake from providing informal mentoring to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, organising and presenting at events to increase cultural confidence in our workplace, and liaising with key stakeholders from our entry level participants to senior executive.I have a unique opportunity to influence not only internal Indigenous HR, but to be involved with strategies regarding how the ATO can better service Indigenous taxpayers' said Casey.
'I like how I can influence and shape the way forward for Indigenous affairs in my agency. It was recently mentioned by one of our Indigenous Champions that they have seen real changes in our agency, which gives me a sense of pride that my hard work is paying off. But mostly I love that in my role I get to assist my people to reach their full potential' said Casey.
Casey feels the benefit of participating in a number of development programs early in her career, including the predecessor to the IAGDP, the cadetship program, and also the APS Indigenous Graduate Program. 'These all provided a great platform for a career in the APS. During these programs you receive experience and training and development to help you get started in your career. You get to participate in networking opportunities you would not otherwise undertake,' said Casey
'I am particularly glad of the support I have received to further my education. Since joining the APS I have gained qualifications including two Diplomas, a Business Degree, and I am now undertaking a Masters of Business Administration,' said Casey.
The experience and skills I have gained in the APS have set me up for a longer term career. If I remain in the APS or move through the private or not-for-profit sectors the skills I have gained are transferable. Working in the APS, particularly working in a number of different agencies, the Department of Finance (a central agency), the Department of Education (a policy agency) and the Australian Taxation Office (a service delivery agency) has given me a greater understanding of how and why Government works. This has also given me a greater understanding how Government interacts with Business and Community.
Casey's advice to anyone contemplating a career in the APS:
- Listen and learn as much as you can, connect to mentors both formal and informal, and say yes to every opportunity.
- Don't stagnate in a position where you are unhappy - look around for a change.
- You don't need to leave the APS to study. But if you want a break, seek advice about options for leave without pay.