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ATO Grad Program – interactive video transcript

Transcript of an interactive video about the 2021 ATO Graduate program.

Last updated 8 March 2021

Opening video

Sharmila: Hey, I'm Sharmila from Smarter Data.

Maddison: I’m Maddison from the Tax Technical area.

Dean: I’m Dean from Law Design and Practice.

Lovevish: I'm Lovevish from IT.

Isabella: And I'm Isabella from the University Partnership Employment Program.

Sharmila: And I went through an entry level program at the ATO. To hear about working in Smarter Data, click me.

Dean: To hear about my journey from being an ATO grad to becoming an Executive Level employee, click me.

Maddison: To hear about working in the Tax Technical area, click me.

Lovevish: To hear about being an IT grad, click me.

Isabella: And to hear about the University Placement Program, click me.

Sharmila – Video 1

Sharmila: Thanks for clicking on me. There's a few things I'd like to tell you about so click the option that interests you most. What's it like working in Smarter Data? What's it like going through the ATO grad program? Why the ATO is such a great place to work? Or click the back button in the corner to take you back to the main menu. Click on any of the choices.

Sharmila: Working in Smarter Data my day-to-day is basically first in, we do our stand up. So we tell our team members what we've done the day before, what we're going to be doing today, and we can give our inputs and have a discussion on our issues. Our technology in the ATO is very much state of the art. We're always looking for the most innovative ideas and the most innovative programs that we can then put into action in our projects. The first project I got to work on was the Paradise Papers. We were to investigate high risk clients and identify fraudulent activity in Paradise Papers and Panama Papers. So it's the most interesting work I've ever done. Every single day is something different. It's always 'there's a new program,’ there's a new issue, we're helping team members, so it's never really the same thing day in and day out, and that's what's the most exciting part of this.

Sharmila – Grad Program

Sharmila: I started the grad program in 2017. We were placed in two placements throughout the entire year, six months apart. The grad program gave me many opportunities in training and learning about the resources we use in the ATO. My favourite part of the grad program is the fact that I have developed lifelong friends. I still keep in contact with most of the grads regardless of what year we come in. Every single year you get to meet new grads and interact with them and always go back to them with networking or any problems that we might have. So it's basically a community.

Sharmila – Working at the ATO

Sharmila: The most surprising part about the ATO is that we always work as a team. When you come into a project and you belong to a team, you belong to a team. People think the ATO, they always think it's all about business and myTax but that's not true. I went from working in the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers, to working on shares and units, to work related expenses, to now Cloud POA team. So there's a range of different projects that we can work on, and you get to choose what you'd like to work on. We do a lot of mathematics, we do a lot of engineering, and a lot of architecture. There's a whole other world to the ATO.

Dean – Video 1

Dean: Thanks for clicking on me. Now, simply click on the option you'd like me to tell you about. What's it like working in Law Design and Practice? How the ATO grad program furthered my career. Why the ATO is such a great place to work. Or, you can hit the back button to take you back to the start at any point. Choose an option.

Dean - Working in Law Design

Dean: The core of my job is providing technical tax advice on new policy proposals that come over from the Treasury. Making sure that those policies are legally sound and basically providing technical quality assurance for new policy proposals and ideas. We also do some internal advocacy work, which are ideas generated from within the ATO. Changes that we think would be beneficial to the tax system. One of the most interesting projects that I worked on was the Australian Longitudinal Individuals File Project. It's basically a project the ATO is running where the unidentified tax data is placed in a fully secure research environment where external researchers can access that data to conduct policy modelling, to really get some insights into how the tax and super system is operating. And I got to do a lot of the data and privacy advice on that; the legal advice to make sure everything was in compliance with the tax laws, the Privacy Act, APP guidelines, all that sort of stuff. And it was really interesting for me because I've never worked in privacy. It was a lot of learning on the run, but that was part of what made it really exciting and really worthwhile to do.

Dean – ATO Grad Program

Dean: I left the grad program early 2017, and I moved into revenue analysis, conducted legal advice there for about a year, then transferred into law and policy design. I spent a couple of months there and then I got a secondment over to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which was working on the Data Availability and Transparency Act. When I came back to the ATO full time I remained in Law and Policy Design and over the course of 2019 I was successful enough to be promoted up to manager level. What you really get out of, long term, out of the program is the networking, and the relationships you build. So I'm still in touch with a few of my colleagues from the grad program. I got my job from one of my fellow grads who recommended me over there. So, you know, you really do build some good relationships on the program and they can not only give you a career leg up, but they're just great personal friendships, that you can carry forward with you.

Dean – Working at the ATO

Dean: What surprised me about the ATO was the really good culture. The public perception of the ATO is obviously, we're in the news, we're catching tax cheats and evaders, it's all very grim and serious, but working in the ATO, it's a really good relaxing environment. There are a lot of friendly, really nice people who happen to take the time to mentor you, and it was a really pleasant surprise to find that support in your workplace. There's a real sense of purpose to working at the ATO. I found this, especially since the pandemic happened. In the early days, in Law Design and Policy, In the early days, we were doing quite a lot of support work on the JobKeeper initiative. It was really striking to be there in the middle of this huge event that was shaking the whole community, and there was so much uncertainty. And it was really good to feel like I was doing something for people, that my work was actually going towards something that was going to benefit thousands and thousands of Australians. So that was incredibly rewarding.

Maddison – Video 1

Maddison: Thanks for picking me. Now select the option you'd like to hear more about: what it's like working in the tax technical area, what it's like going through the ATO grad program, why the ATO is such a great place to work. Or select the back button to return to the main menu.

Maddison – Grad Program

Maddison: I chose the ATO grad program because of the work-life balance that it offers. So here I'm able to have flexibility in my times that I work. And the graduate program is great for building all those social social connections as well. A few of the other grads decided to get together a basketball team where we now, once a week, play a game of basketball after work hours. They're really lovely people, every single one of the graduates. And I was really impressed that everyone's been so supportive and really nice. That sense of belonging that I got through this. I think the graduate program at the ATO was looking for a very diverse group of people with a range of different backgrounds. Anything from law, IT, data analytics. They've really got everything for anyone here. I think the ATO is a great spot to start in your APS career as it provides that client interaction, which other departments don't offer. In 10 years I see myself as an accredited APS employee with a wealth of career opportunities, and I would have liked to experience lots of different Government departments such as Treasury. I'd say, for people considering applying, just do it, it's a really great opportunity.

Maddison – Tax Technical

Maddison: In my day-to-day I'm currently in the Review Dispute and Resolution as a case officer. I process objections for individuals. So we're doing a lot of looking at their emails, we're researching law, and writing the technical decision for taxpayers. I think my work in particular benefits the community in ensuring that there's a level playing field and that there's not people who gain advantages from disobeying taxation laws. I love being able to work with the other graduates. At the moment, a few of us are in the same business line, so we get to interact and understand what others are doing in the same area and seeing how that is different from us, but also the same in writing technical decisions. I think my current position does give me a sense of purpose in that I'm able to provide the extra benefits for individuals who missed out prior in submitting their income tax returns, if they've made a mistake, so I'm able to help them achieve that.

Maddison – Working at the ATO

Maddison: I think a lot of people think that the ATO strictly deals with tax, but there's so much more to offer. You can work in marketing and communications, there's IT and security. It's a very diverse place to work. I was unaware at how large the ATO was before I joined. And then I realised that there are multiple offices all around the nation, and it is one of the largest Government departments. The lifestyle at the ATO is really good. We can choose our hours, which is very different from the private sector. Some of the grads that come in at 7am so they can spend time in the afternoons doing sport, extracurricular activities. Other people come in at 10am. It's all about that flexibility, and it really helps maintain a work life balance. The ATO definitely helps support my career goals, and there's so much mobility in the Australian Public Service. Having studied economics and philosophy, I would love to be able to contribute to policy development. The ATO provides the opportunity to do secondments with Treasury, with the ability to come back to the ATO and apply the experiences and what you've learned from the different Government departments and I think that would be really hard to do without the graduate program. If anyone is considering joining the ATO, I would say, just do it.

Lovevish – Video 1

Lovevish: Thanks for choosing me. What do you want to know more about? I could tell you what it's like working in IT. What it's like going through the grad program. Why the ATO is such a great place to work. Or you can hit the back button to go to the main menu.

Lovevish – Typical workday

My typical workday at the ATO is actually within the enterprise tele-hub. Now, the team responsibility is to make sure that all data throughout the ATO is ingested into the data hub and data warehouse. We then prep the data, and send it off to either data scientists, data analysts, further business lines that then give back to the community and help taxpayers lodge better taxes. What I love most about my job is, in fact, the people. They're all willing to help you, and you can always contact others seniors to gain further insight their teams and branch off into new sections. So the ATO has helped me that way in finding my footing and actually find my interests.

Lovevish – Grad Program

Lovevish: Walking in here I first thought maybe it will be very formal and very strict. However, it has a very casual feel, and also the level of care here is incredible. Whichever team I landed in, they had this perfect training scheme that actually trained me up to be able to use the technologies, and script in various languages. And so I found myself technical in a couple of months. The most valuable thing I got from the grad program as an IT graduate is to be able to convert technical knowledge to business needs. To me, that was a massive learning and has helped me greatly to connect to stakeholders. The ATO is a big organisation and that enables great opportunities. Whether you have an interest in data mining, security or cloud, you have the flexibility to move around at any time. If you're considering applying for the grad program, honestly, just go for it.

Lovevish – Working at the ATO

Lovevish: So the people within ATO are very open and welcoming. For example, my manager provides me with better training, allows me to look over his workings, and steps me through from my own working, to be able to learn best, equip myself with the technical knowledge I need and pursue my interest in the IT world. The organisation definitely embraces diversity. It doesn't matter where you're from, all they care about is how can you be the better version of yourself. And that is what I've found in ATO, they are always interested in how much potential can you give to the department.

Isabella – Video 1

Isabella: Thanks for picking me. There's a few things I'd like to tell you about. So select the option that interests you most. What it's like working in fraud prevention, what it's like going through the University Placement Program, and why the ATO is such a great place to work. Or you can hit the button in the corner to take you back to the main menu.

Isabella – Working in Fraud Prevention

Isabella: I'm an Administration Officer within Fraud Prevention and Internal Investigations. Every day looks different. Some days I'll be sitting by someone within my team and assisting them with their case. Other days I'll have been assigned something myself, and I'm able to then conduct my own intelligence work. My job has enabled me to actually have more interest in my studies, as I have real-world experiences to how people do behave within a corporate organisation. As a psych student, it's really difficult to find real-world work experience and so being able to have a job that not only complements my studies, but is also slightly different is really exciting for me. I definitely feel a sense of purpose with the work that I'm doing. I feel as though, that I can make really significant contributions, not only to my team, but also the ATO as a whole.

Isabella – University Placement Program

Isabella: I think my favourite part of coming through the UPEP program is honestly getting to know other UPEPs. Getting to know other people who are as motivated as me, who are interested in meaningful and diverse work, whilst maintaining university studies. The university placement program actually takes into consideration the study that you're doing and tries to find the most suitable job for you within the ATO. I was able to sit down with my managers and determine the hours that I work, when I work, how long I work. And so it's entirely flexible and suitable to that person's studies, which is something that I don't think exists in any other casual employment out there. You can have casual, flexible employment that is relevant to your studies, and can help facilitate you to get a permanent career in your future, so I would definitely, definitely recommend going for it.

Isabella – Working at the ATO

Isabella: The lifestyle working at the ATO for me has been flexible, it's been engaging and it's been really supportive. I think what surprised me the most about joining the ATO as an organisation is just how close-knit and connected the community is, and the amazing culture that we have here at the ATO. I've been given a lot of confidence, networking skills that I'm constantly learning and has now opened many doors for me. I think with any large organisation you don't really know what you're getting yourself into. But I've been really pleasantly surprised with how supportive and connected I've felt throughout this whole process. I would highly recommend the ATO as a place to work. It's been an incredible experience for me. I did not think that me with a psychology background would find such relevant and meaningful work here but it's been an incredible experience and I would highly recommend it.


Maddison: To apply for the grad program, select ‘Apply’. If you'd like to learn more about our staff experiences with the grad program, click on the person or the area that interests you. Thanks for watching.