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  • Hear from recent Indigenous cadets

    Read about the experiences of some of our recent cadets and what attracted them to our Indigenous cadetship program.

    Program participants

    Alex Fogarty

    Fresh out of high school I enrolled in the University of Queensland to begin a Bachelor of Business Management/Communications. I chose to major in advertising and public relations because the creative side to business has always interested me.

    Working in a fast food job, I wasn’t challenged nor had any opportunities to learn about the industry that I was hoping to pursue.

    That’s when I applied for the Indigenous cadetship program which was a great way for me to enter the business world. It provides me with a fantastic opportunity to combine work and study, which has proven to be both challenging and rewarding.

    Now that I’m well into my second year here at the ATO I always get the chance to put a creative flair into my work, adding in a bit of me into everything I do.

    The Indigenous cadetship program has given me great insights into working for a government agency where I have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in my studies and makes me happy to see the crossover into my work. It’s fulfilling to know that the work I am doing matters and the industry experience I am gaining will be so beneficial in my career whether it be at the ATO or another organisation.

    This program has provided me with every opportunity to get more involved. I have been exposed to networking, learning and development, mentor support, and events to attend that are always giving me new direction into what career path I can take.

    I have been given the chance to grow and work towards my professional development here at the ATO and can officially say that the Indigenous cadetship program is definitely worth it.

    Roshene Cowburn

    I started a Bachelor of Laws at university straight out of high school. After completing my first year of study, I decided to apply for the ATO Indigenous cadetship program to gain practical experience in a professional environment. This would allow me to apply and develop the skills that I had been learning at university.

    The application process was relatively straightforward. The most challenging aspect was the panel interview which was nerve-wracking at first, but the panellists do their best to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed. They made the overall interview process as easy and stress-free as possible.

    The highlights of my cadetship so far are the opportunities to apply and develop skills I have been learning in my studies, and to network and make connections with other staff in the office. The flexibility with work hours has allowed me to comfortably balance my work, study and personal commitments. I also appreciate the guidance and support I have received from my managers and work colleagues.

    The advice I would give to future applicants is to make sure that they capitalise on every opportunity that they are given, and take the time to network and make connections with others in the office.

    I strongly urge Indigenous university students to apply for the Indigenous cadetship program at the ATO. It opens you up to opportunities and experiences that can set you up for a rewarding career.

    Lochlan Kennedy

    Before I started the Indigenous cadetship program with the ATO, I was studying a degree in social work at James Cook University in Townsville and also working casually with National Disability Services (NDS) as a workshop presenter. I would work with other presenters going around to different secondary schools and colleges in Townsville and Charters Towers and would run workshops where the objective was to discuss different disabilities and the different jobs in the disability sector especially as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was beginning to roll out.

    I am really enjoying the work and the relationships that I am building through the program. It is a great environment and I am happy to be a part of the ATO People team.

    At this time my aspirations for the future focus around graduating and getting my social work degree and to continue to be an active member within the ATO.

    Participation in this program to me means progression and experience. I see this as an opportunity that is very important and helps me put my foot in the door here at the ATO all the while I am gaining the skills that will help me progress throughout my career and life.

    The highlight of the Indigenous cadetship so far for me has been working with and being involved with both the other entry level program (ELP) participants (graduates and evergreens). I’ve been very fortunate enough to work and help assist with the ELP Evergreen program, the Graduate program and am now placed in my rotation with site leadership; I’m looking forward to my future with the ATO.

    Kirsten Stanton

    I am a proud Aboriginal woman, born in Dubbo, raised in Newcastle and now living in the nation’s capital, Canberra. I am in my final semester studying double bachelor degrees in information technology and commerce. I had to transfer universities - from University of Newcastle, where I completed the first half of my studies, to the University of Canberra. This process opened up an opportunity to apply for the ATO Indigenous cadetship program, in which I was successful. It has been a decision that I have not regretted! It has been such an incredible experience that has allowed me to grow in my chosen fields and develop not only in my professional career but also with developing my personal skills.

    I have been on the Cadetship program for the past two years and have had the opportunity to experience both areas of my degrees. I have found the program to be extremely rewarding as my studies have been put into practice daily in real life situations. I truly believe this is such a great way to learn and to develop your skills for the near future, along with having a flexible workplace environment that allows flexibility with juggling work and university studies.

    The ATO has such a welcoming and supportive Indigenous Network (IEN). Being a part of the IEN has been a highlight for me. The network not has monthly meetings and provides support, but have regular events such as sporting days where I have participated along with other agencies. I have also appreciated the support from my program and rotation managers that I have had over my time here, they really want the best for you.

    I highly recommend this program to anyone wishing to apply, take advantage of the opportunities available to allow you to get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, build those network, inspire others and especially to appreciate the chance to learn and grow to set you up for a satisfying and rewarding career!

    Jessica Butler

    I began a Bachelor of Arts/Business straight out of high school with no idea what to major in but after taking an introductory marketing course I was convinced. I will soon be completing a Bachelor of Arts/Business with majors in psychology and marketing.

    I saw the ATO Indigenous cadetship program as a way to transform the knowledge from my degree into real world applicable skills. The opportunity to work towards professional development on a schedule that allows time for university commitments was one too good to pass up.

    The application process was straightforward, and the panellists ensured I felt relaxed and comfortable which allowed me to showcase my best self. While it may be intimidating – I know it was for me – to work in an established government organisation so early in your professional career, there is always support available to ensure you are reaching your full potential.

    Being in my third and final year of the program, I have had the opportunity to not only gain insight to the real world processes of the Marketing and Communications space, but to also apply my learnings at university to the workplace and vice versa. I have been a member of three teams, each with their own work styles and each teaching me invaluable lessons that will provide the basis for my own work style in my future career.

    The ATO Indigenous cadetship program is a highly valuable experience and is definitely one you don’t want to pass up. If you take one thing from me, it is to take every opportunity that is offered to you, and seek out your own opportunities as well! Confidence and a willingness to learn will take you far.

    Program manager - entry level programs

    Karen Ahern

    I am a proud Aboriginal woman and my people are the Kurnai/Gunnai from East Gippsland in Victoria.

    The ATO was my first job straight out of school. I sat a public service “special measures” test and was lucky enough to be successful and offered a job at the ATO.

    Over the years I have undertaken various roles within the public service and in the community which have provided the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge.

    I am a Program Manager with the Entry Level Programs team. I have been involved in the development, implementation and management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs nationally across the ATO. I am also involved in various Aboriginal networks both within the ATO and external to the ATO.

    I am able to share my knowledge and experience with participants whilst supporting, help them understand the expectations of the program and how to take ownership to succeed and advance their careers in the ATO.

    A highlight for me is when an Indigenous cadet successfully completes the program with new skills and knowledge in their career journey.

    Last modified: 18 Sep 2018QC 49424