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  • Hear from our graduates

    Past graduates from different streams talk and write about their experiences of our Graduate Program.

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    Experiences by stream

    Watch videos of our recent graduates talking about their experience in the Graduate Program:

    Design graduate – Angela Tsui

    Angela Tsui talks about her experience as a Design grad.

     

    Data graduate – Andrew Watson

    Andrew talks about his experience as an Data grad.

     

    Human Resources graduate – Eleanor Ross

    Eleanor talks about her experience as a Human Resources (HR) grad.

     

    Taxation graduate – Muhammad Anwar

    Muhammad talks about his experience as a Taxation grad.

     

    Marketing graduate – Liam Cross

    Liam talks about his experience as a Marketing grad.

     

    Experiences of the program

    Recent graduates talk about their experiences of the different elements of the program:

    Induction

    Damien Holmes – Taxation

    When first starting the Graduate Program, I was excited about the opportunity and somewhat apprehensive about working in a large, sophisticated organisation. Thankfully my concerns were laid to rest early in the program, as the induction process was well communicated and impressively supported. It was very clear from the start of the program about how the program would be run, what was expected from me and what resources were available.

    The onboarding process was the best I have ever seen in the 25 years I have been in the workforce. The induction program was well structured, it ran you through the key elements of the organisation, connected you to the services, networks, groups, etc. that currently existed both locally and nationally. Also having one day a week to learn new elements of the organisation was fantastic, as I was exposed to a variety of areas in the ATO that I did not realise existed and found work that I really enjoyed that I did not expect to.

    Training

    Andrew Watson – Data

    The first milestone was training about the income tax equation, which is the fundamental basis for a lot of the work we undertake. Understanding concepts such as taxable income, deductions and offsets have been essential for rotations. My 2 rotations had a lot of work variety. Because analytics is a multi-disciplinary field, we learned about statistics software, corporate intelligence analysis and machine learning. This was combined with workplace training like the Agile and Lean methodologies, risk management and resilience. Altogether, we learned a lot of skills which will forever aid us in our careers - both in the field of analytics and in other fields we choose.

    A highlight was travelling to Sydney to be trained on 'machine learning' by Eugene Dubrosarssky with the other analytics grads from around Australia. It was an exciting introduction to emerging technology, and it was good to meet graduates from other sites and compare experiences.

    Cheng Vuong – Taxation

    My experience as a Taxation graduate in the ATO Graduate Program has been very rewarding. The highlight of the program for me has been the training and development opportunities provided through the year-long training program, milestone tasks and work rotations. I was already working at the ATO prior to starting the program, and the program has been a great opportunity to continue my professional and personal development.

    The training program covers various topics for taxation graduates including fundamentals of income tax and the taxation of business structures; and soft skills (for all graduates) including emotional intelligence and presentation skills.

    The training program has been delivered by knowledgeable and experienced trainers who are to be commended for their ability to make complex tax topics easy to understand. The milestone tasks and the weekly discussion forum have been effective in consolidating my learning.

    Rotations and post-program placement

    William Nim – IT

    My first rotation was based in the Superannuation Program of Work (SPOW), where I was placed in the Value Management Group (VMG). There is a huge amount of work that SPOW release, and it is up to the VMG to estimate the effort, priorities, and scheduling of development items so that it can effectively be distributed among the SPOW scrum teams.

    This rotation provided me with a taste of how project management is handled within the ATO. My placement in this team revealed the wide range of teams across the ATO and how they collaborate with one another to implement work items.

    For my second rotation, I was placed in the Business Automation Team (BAT). The team develops applications and automated solutions for business areas within the ATO and maintains these applications after delivery to the client.

    In this team, I was given the sole responsibility of developing various applications for clients. I was given a lot of freedom with developing applications as the requirements gathering, solution design, programming, testing, and maintenance are done by individual application developers. The BAT provided me with a huge opportunity to improve my application development skills as well as help out ATO staff by making their processes more efficient.

    Jessica Chal – Taxation

    My first rotation was in Superannuation – Private Rulings and Interpretive Advice. This involved a range of responsibilities, including interpreting legislation, drafting a private ruling that would allow or decline the taxpayer’s request or influence a decision about their superannuation issues. Being able to draft my own private ruling and have ownership in it was challenging but also a very rewarding learning experience. During my rotation in the Superannuation Team, I had been assigned a mentor and a supervisor. They were very supportive and guided me to understand more about our taxation and superannuation system.

    My second rotation was in the Small Business Assurance Team where the graduates had a chance to contribute to the Black Economy Taskforce. We undertook a range of tasks from planning and contributing the Shadow Economy project to conducting the actual walk-ins itself. In addition, we also had a chance to profile, audit tax gap cases and attended the audit interviews during the second rotation. This had allowed us to expose to various types of tax technical work and meet face to face with our clients.

    Anne Marie McKenzie – Data

    Entering the graduate program was daunting but being assigned a program manager helped tremendously with transitioning into work at the ATO. The program is a great way to get a feel for the different areas of the ATO and learn where you fit best. My first rotation was in Enterprise Analytics, Smarter Data. A typical day would involve a stand-up meeting with the team where everyone updates on their work progress and problems they are having, followed by finding, gathering, interpreting and displaying data to other departments of the organisation.

    My second rotation was in Data Science, Smarter Data. I worked on larger scale projects, and a typical day was filled with more research and model building than rotation one. I was able to utilise my university skills including the intricacies of data storage in warehouses, languages used to query that data and statistics. I have had regular capability meetings with my program manager to make sure I’m on track, and they are also available to reach out to whenever you need them.

    Mentoring and support

    Patrick Hewitt – Taxation

    I always felt considered when changes were being made or opinions were requested of us. The amount of support I received from my mentor, the trainers and program managers could not have been any greater, and there was never a time where I felt left out. My learning style was considered, and I was trusted with enough responsibility to work from home if need be. The collegiality I have experienced, the flexibility I have witnessed and the quality of the work I have completed at the ATO has cemented my belief that I made the right decision to accept that offer when it arrived in my email inbox late last year. The ATO’s response to the rapid rise of COVID-19 could not have been better, for both their employees and the community we serve.

    Maddison Bell – Taxation

    Despite the ATO’s responsibility for administering one of the biggest ever stimulus packages, it remained committed to ensuring all graduates were supported. The graduate program made a quick yet thoughtful decision to allow us to work from home to demonstrate our safety was a priority. My experience has been nothing short of wonderful. Our managers and trainers provided amazing support and assistance during the working from home period, maintaining regular contact to ensure that we were coping with the change. This support continued as we returned to the office to service the needs of the community. I am very grateful to be a part of an organisation that supports and prioritises people.

    Client contact experience

    Scott Seow – Taxation

    The client contact rotation – while dreaded at first by many of us – turned out to be a very valuable part of the graduate program. The client contact experience allowed me to really interact with the general public, dealing with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, age groups and circumstances. Furthermore, it helped me become very familiar with ATO systems, which is a valuable skill in any business line within the ATO. It was a very different experience from speaking to tax agents, and really puts into perspective the type of people that we should be considering during the course of our work.

    The main challenge during the client contact rotation for me was picking up the first phone call. Despite the weeks of training provided, I felt quite hesitant about taking the first call. I remember opening as many pages as I could to anticipate the first call, which didn’t really help. The best way to go about it is to just take the plunge and use the ‘hold’ function when you need to (which will initially be a lot), and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Social events

    Liam Cross – Taxation

    Engaging in social events in your graduate year is a must! Not only are social events a great chance to meet those on the same journey as you, but they are also an excellent opportunity to network with many former graduates. Start building a network that will stick with you throughout your career. There are always heaps of events to pick from – from local site initiatives to graduate social events (and everything in-between). You just need to take the plunge and get involved!

    Andrew Proudley – IT

    As a graduate, it has been very easy to get involved in the various social and site events within my office. Our graduate cohort regularly went out for drinks on completion of various milestone tasks. We also joined the local Green Team and became involved in the promotion of green activities within the site, running an event for National Tree Day, and a large site expo.

    Last modified: 08 Dec 2021QC 49428