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Meet our Indigenous program participants


Kylie, Faith, Elijah, Garigarra, Harry, Kayla


2020 Graduate

I am a proud Kuku Yalanji woman who was born and raised on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country in Canberra. I graduated from the ANU in 2019 with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/ Bachelor of Arts with a major in International Relations. I have worked in the public service for the last five years whilst studying at university but always knew I wanted to work for DFAT once I graduated. Being a part of the “COVID cohort” (2020 Grad cohort) has brought some very challenging but rewarding moments that has shaped my understanding of the Australian Government’s role in the international sphere, especially during a worldwide crisis situation.

My first year in the graduate program has taught me the importance of being open and flexible to new tasks and different environments. Whilst my first year in DFAT is nothing like I could have predicted, I have been able to work in a variety of sections throughout the Department including the Australian Passport Office on internal communications, Consular Division which involved managing the data of Australians overseas who were impacted by travel restrictions, assisting our High Commissions and Embassies in New Delhi, Pretoria, Manila and London respond to Australians seeking to return home, and assisting Australians and their family’s stuck overseas through our Emergency consular hotline.

I’m looking forward to what this next year might bring and where my career with DFAT may take me.

Portrait of Kylie,


2019 Graduate

I am a proud Yuin woman, formerly from Brisbane, Queensland. I have a Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of International Relations from Bond University. Before joining DFAT, I worked in the international development sector with a small Brisbane based NGO. I was a little nervous about relocating to Canberra, however this was short lived after meeting a wonderful, diverse group of aspiring diplomats who have supported me with the transition to a new city and work life.

Since joining the program, I have worked in a variety of areas across the Department. I have been involved in policy development and evaluation, post-performance evaluations, and worked on the Department’s response to COVID-19. In each rotation, my supervisors and team members have been incredibly supportive and have provided me with opportunities to develop and expand on my existing skill set.

I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had thus far and look forward to where my DFAT career will take me.

Portrait of Faith.


2020 Graduate

I graduated from Curtin University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Economics and Finance. I worked in management consulting and accounting during my studies which I really enjoyed, however I was always interested in a public service career. I was accepted into the 2020 Graduate Program and moved to Canberra from Perth at the start of the year.

Moving across the country, starting a new career and dealing with COVID-19’s impact has been a fast-paced, challenging and rewarding journey. I have had the opportunity to work in multiple areas at DFAT, from our budget team to assisting with the launch of Australia’s new international development program, Partnerships for Recovery. I am now working in our consular division, providing advice and assistance to Australians overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our training helped prepare me to hit the ground running across these broad areas.

My time at DFAT has been amazing. Whilst sometimes being an intense challenge, my experience has been immensely rewarding. The work we get to do is fascinating and has allowed me to build new skills and develop my world view. I look forward to my future graduate rotations and the many exciting opportunities that I’ll be able to take up during my time at DFAT. Colleagues and supervisors have been supportive, allowing me to leverage my experience from the private sector and make real contributions towards outcomes. As expected, working at DFAT is very different compared to the private sector and it can take some adjusting, but I quickly found my rhythm with the help of colleagues.

My graduate cohort have become some of my closest friends after moving to Canberra. It has been great to explore all that Canberra has to offer such as the wonderful nature reserves and all of the restaurants serving delicious food. Canberra has beaten all of my expectations that I had for the capital and I look forward to further establishing it as home.



2019 Graduate

I am a Wiradjuri and Bundjalung woman, originally from Dubbo NSW. I graduated from the Australian National University in 2018 with a Bachelor of International Relations and was successfully accepted into the 2019 DFAT graduate program. Coming into the program was made a lot easier as I came in with a cohort of young aspiring diplomats from a diverse range of backgrounds who have become my greatest support network. Since joining the program I have worked on bilateral issues, such as trade and human rights, for specific countries. I have worked on a development program for the Indo-Pacific and created advocacy tools for free trade agreements. I was also given the opportunity to travel to Singapore to be part of a negotiating team for a digital economy agreement. Every rotation gives you an opportunity to learn and try new things, and as a graduate trainee you are offered large amounts of support from senior officers and the Learning Program Management Section. I’m looking forward to finishing my last few rotations and where this career in DFAT will take me, either in Australia or overseas.

Portrait of Garigarra.


2019 Indigenous Apprentice Program

I am a proud Wiradjuri descendant from Cowra NSW.  I currently reside in Canberra and have lived here for most of my life. I also attended most of my schooling here.

The Indigenous Apprentice Program (IAP) gave me an opportunity to study a Diploma of Government while working full-time.  I work at the Australian Passport Office (APO) within DFAT and I am the first IAP graduate to be based in APO in Canberra.  I have worked in passport client services doing a range of different roles from counter services, interviewing clients, printing, quality control and legalisation to name a few.  More recently I have been placed in a new section in APO investigating and working on FOI requests and conducting internal reviews.

Highlighting one aspect of the program which I enjoyed was being invited to speak to staff as part of a panel for the Understanding Indigenous Australia workshop.  This was a two-day course designed to increase cultural awareness of participants, and to support staff to engage more confidently on Indigenous issues as part of their work in Australia and internationally.  It was a unique opportunity to be able to share my personal story and my perspectives.

Portrait of Harry.


2019 Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP)

I am a proud young Aboriginal woman – on my dad’s side I am Arrernte / Kaytetye and on my mum’s side I am Gooreng Gooreng / Punthamarra. DFAT has been my first experience working in the APS and through the IADGP, I’ve had the opportunity to rotate through three vastly different areas: I started in the diversity team working on the next Reconciliation Action Plan; then I moved to the social media team; and I’m now in a team that will deliver a high profile Ministerial conference on disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region. I’ve since graduated from the IAGDP and now look to completing my Bachelor’s Degree, while maintaining full time employment with DFAT. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and I know I wouldn’t have them had I not applied for the IAGDP.

Portrait of Kayla.
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