2018 graduates

Colleen Lawrence

Colleen Lawrence Graduate Program 2018

I grew up on the South Coast of NSW (south of Wollongong and near Jervis Bay). I completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Japanese and English Language and Linguistics at the University of Wollongong (UOW). I also did Honours in English Language and Linguistics at UOW.

I was drawn to the NDIA because of how strongly its purpose resonated with me. I grew up surrounded by people with disability, and have worked, volunteered and studied with them too. I have seen the positive impact that the right supports and choice and control can make in someone’s life and I chose the NDIA Graduate program because I wanted to make the difference in the lives of people with disability.

My favourite experience on the graduate program was being able to travel to Canberra – where I studied and spent time with graduates with other departments and agencies. This was a great networking opportunity, as I am still in contact with a number of my peers.

Learning and Development was my favourite rotation during the graduate program. I got to work on a bunch of cool projects and work with lots of interesting people from lots of different parts of the business. I love the learning culture at the NDIA - there are so many interesting opportunities and you are encouraged to actively develop yourself and keep learning in multiple ways.

I really like how everyone at the NDIA is passionate about making the difference in the lives of people with disability. It’s the first place I’ve worked where it’s like this – everyone united in a common purpose - and it’s really nice.

Kiera Love

Kiera Love Graduate Program 2018

In 2017 I started at the NDIA as a paralegal on secondment from a private law firm for 6 months. During this time I realised that I aspired to have a career at the NDIA. Every day I feel like I make a difference for participants and providers. 

In pursuit of a career at the Agency, I commenced as a legal graduate in 2018. This was a great opportunity to get involved in establishing precedent and developing new policies. I thoroughly enjoyed my legal rotations, I believe this experience has made me a more well-rounded APS lawyer. I feel fortunate to have been mentored by such incredibly knowledgeable and experienced lawyers from such diverse legal backgrounds. Everyone is very approachable and always ready to lend a hand.  

Although I only rotated in the legal teams, I was able to engage with a large cross section of the Agency through the Australian Public Service (APSC) Graduate project. On a weekly basis I was consulting and interviewing various business areas across Australia. The project taught me the value of stakeholder engagement and about how the various business areas intersect with each other.

The graduate program taught me invaluable skills such as public speaking, brief writing and the ability to analyse complex information and situations. Through such training I was given the skills and confidence required to ascertain a junior lawyer position in the legal team this year. My role primarily consists of assisting the senior lawyers on their files, attending conferences and reviewing Agency decisions.

Rodney Sujamto Sor

Rodney Sujamto Sor Graduate Program 2018

In 2018, ten graduates were given the opportunity to join the NDIA graduate program. 

I wanted to join the NDIA to show my appreciation to everyone who has helped me in removing all the barriers relating to a disability before the NDIS was established. Basically, I want to pay it forward. I know working with the NDIA I will be able to do just that. This is by supporting people and enabling them to have a positive experience with the NDIS.

During the graduate program, I was provided with many opportunities. These include travelling to Canberra to learn about the Australian Public Service. Other opportunities include being able to complete graduate rotations that is totally different to my university degree. These rotations are Scheme Practice Approaches and Risk.

A typical day at the NDIA is always different and never a routine, which makes it so exciting. My day usually involves working on the next steps on a few short and long-term projects, such as implementing the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD) Strategy.

The best thing about working for the NDIA is knowing the work I am doing will help at least one NDIS participant to receive the supports they need with an NDIA Plan. Overall the program was an experience that allowed me to ‘make a difference’ in the lives of people with disability.

2017 graduates

Ivanka Bilowus

I grew up in Adelaide and studied Public Health, majoring in Health Promotion at Central Queensland University through distance education study. I applied for the NDIA Graduate Program during the last year of my degree. I was drawn to the amazing work the NDIA does to improve health and social outcomes for people with disability.

In the NDIA Graduate Program there are plenty of development opportunities, including participating in the APSC Graduate Development Program to learn fundamental APS skills to succeed in the workplace. On the job learning is important at the NDIA, and in the graduate rotations I was able to gain experience working in the public sector.

During the graduate program I have worked across some very diverse areas of the agency. I have had rotations in Co-Design and Inclusion and Human Resources. Both of these rotations have provided me with a perspective on working with people with disability and working with employees and managers.

One of the positive things I have found about working at the NDIA is the quality and amount of support I receive from the employees. My managers and colleagues from my graduate work rotations have been encouraging and helpful in my first year at the NDIA. I was able to learn something new every day during the graduate program which made the program even more worthwhile.

2016 graduates

Ernesto Villata

As part of my graduate year, I was provided with opportunities to be involved in activities that accelerated development and understanding of the National Disability Insurance Agency.

It is a competitive recruitment process and challenging year, with only three to five per cent of applicants offered a place in the NDIA Graduate Program, but the outcomes are rewarding and rich.

Opportunity to work with people who are passionate about making a positive difference to society and the lives of people with disability.

As a NDIA Graduate, we get the opportunity to work with graduates from across the Australian Public Service and build strong professional relationships.

Mathew Christo

My name is Mathew Christo a graduate of the 2016 Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) graduate program. I joined the NDIA because it provides for a great opportunity to utilise and expand my skills and abilities in a growing and passionate workplace post tertiary studies. I have completed degrees in both sociology and law and look forward to contributing and building a unique and dynamic National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to support all Australians with disability.

As a visually impaired individual now working as a paralegal in NDIA legal services, in addition to having roles including chairing a participant network and being an employee representative in the agency, the graduate program has indeed given me a foundation to gain experience and facilitate learning to enable me to become a strong team member, advance my career and give back to the public service. Through opportunities to speak in simulations and workshops, the graduate program gave me the confidence to exercise my strengths and undertake leadership roles once I became an ongoing employee of the NDIA.

As the graduate program also provided many opportunities to network and make contacts within the workplace and wider public service, the support of mentors and guides has been an invaluable source of learning. Not only to progress and excel in the graduate program with the winning of awards, but also to inspire me to mentor others and emulate management practices for new staff members joining the NDIA.

I look forward to continuing my various roles in the agency and to improve my skills both personally and professionally. The graduate program has given me the platform to contribute to the work of the NDIA and develop lifelong skills. I would encourage others thinking of working in the public service to complete a similar graduate program to transition in to the workforce.

This page current as of
9 September 2020