The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) was an early adopter of CareerHub Central. DAFF has an annual intake of over 50 graduates, which has remained steady since they first started using CareerHub Central in 2008. DAFF uses CareerHub Central to advertise a variety of jobs to Australia’s CareerHub universities, ranging from their annual graduate intake and university vacation programs to one-off positions and, by their own admission, isquite a cost effective way to reach a large audience.In the time DAFF has been using CareerHub Central, the number of students, graduates and alumni registered on CareerHub job boards has grown from 300,000 to over one million throughout Australia.
We had a chat with DAFF’s Graduate Manager, Wendy Swain about what her role entails:
My career started when…
I undertook an Arts Commerce degree at the University of New England in Armidale and during this time had some valuable work experience at the Visitor Information Centre in Tamworth. I was then fortunate to receive a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study a one-year post graduate course in Wales. I studied a Masters of Information and Library Studies. Whilst overseas, I applied for the DAFF graduate program and was fortunate to be offered a position.
How are you finding graduate recruitment overall?
I think it’s a really exciting area to work in, it’s busy and fun. I visit career fairs, develop promotional brochures and meet with service providers and I really enjoy talking to people from different backgrounds. It’s rewarding to assist people to launch their careers or build on existing life experience. Being a former grad myself, I know the benefits of the DAFF Graduate Development Program first-hand and I enjoy encouraging others to apply so that they might have the same opportunities.
Apart from your busy graduate recruitment schedule, what else keeps you busy?
My partner Greg and I have a miniature sausage dog called Winston so we like walking him. We’re renovating our first home and I take singing lessons — I participated in the National Eisteddfod this year. We’re going on a trip to Tasmania in November, which we’re both very excited about.
“My proudest moment was…”
My participation in the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Program. I travelled to several Rotary Clubs in Wales and spoke about my experience of growing up in Australia, and on return to Australia I presented on my time in Wales. I think that experience gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of life experience.
“I get excited when…”
When Dolly Parton comes to Australia. She came last year and it was the first time in 20 years. I think having grown up on a farm near Tamworth (the Country Music Capital of Australia) has influenced my taste in music.
“I would think twice about…”
Skydiving or bungee jumping, but I might be convinced to go on a hot air balloon ride. I think I would be quite nervous and a bit scared but it is a popular activity in Canberra where the balloons fly over Lake Burley Griffin. I’m sure it would be a pretty view across Canberra.
What’s the key to recruiting great candidates?
It’s about being visible and getting your organisation’s positive reputation out there, so you’re seen as an employer of choice. A lot comes through word of mouth. We have a University Vacation Employment Program for continuing university students and it gives them a little taste of what DAFF does. Participants complete a six-week project and from that we encourage them to go on and apply for our graduate program. I also think having an efficient recruitment process and keeping the lines of communication open with candidates throughout the process is really important. The work of DAFF is so diverse, from our corporate areas to internat
ional trade and biosecurity we really feel we have a lot to offer future employees.
Can we expect to see some visible graduate output from your organisation?
Absolutely. We view our graduates as future leaders and we have numerous former grads working at DAFF in this capacity.
What are the ambitions for your graduate recruitment efforts?
DAFF really values its Graduate Development Program. We will continue to evaluate our program and make improvements so that we remain an attractive graduate employer. We will continue to work closely with our workforce planning team to ensure we are attracting the graduates with the skills, expertise and experience we need. We remain committed to the ongoing learning and development of our staff, so there are opportunities for further study and training after completing the department’s graduate program. For example, during the graduate year participants complete a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration. This qualification provides graduates with credit points towards a Masters should they wish to continue their studies with the assistance of DAFF’s Studybank initiative.
Any future predictions for the graduate recruitment industry?
I definitely think graduate positions will continue to be popular amongst those finishing university. I think grads are very savvy and are often coming to us with loads of life experience. From our point of view, it’s about offering a competitive program, appealing to their interests and making the recruitment process as smooth as possible for them.