Meet Fabian

Fabian studied psychology and worked as a graduate policy officer working for Youth Justice NSW, part of NSW Department of Communities and Justice. We interviewed Fabian when he commenced the Graduate Program.

What did you study and where?

I studied psychology with a focus on neuroscience and clinical psychology and graduated with a Master of Science in Psychology. I started at the University of Dusseldorf, however, I also studied in Adelaide in South Australia and Tampere in Finland for half a year each.

What attracted you to the NSW Government Graduate Program?

The main differentiator for me among the multitude of programs was the fact that during the 18-month period graduates complete three rotations in different disciplines. This to me sounded like the perfect opportunity to gain diverse experience, especially because I didn’t know exactly what area I was most interested in. The promised diversity and Diploma of Government also made it a no-brainer. Another motivational factor was the prospect of being part of a diverse and inclusive workforce that harnesses the full potential differences create.

What advice would you give a graduate thinking about applying for the program?

Think about your personal values and whether working for the government is your cup of tea. If you feel it’s right for you, I encourage you to put your true self forward – we all have attributes we can bring to the table and it’s about finding out how to effectively use our own talents, rather than trying to fit into a prototype we believe the recruitment team is looking for. For instance, I don’t believe I fit into any prototype and feel this was the key ingredient to being accepted into the program. Embrace your differences and the qualities you think are weird, as these attributes will differentiate you from everyone else!

Tell us about your current role.

My official title is ‘Graduate Policy Officer’ and I work for the Custodial Operations team that is part of Youth Justice NSW. I’m currently focusing on how to develop effective policies that increase the wellbeing of young people under supervision of Youth Justice NSW. I base my policy work on neuroscientific evidence and strong collaboration with other teams within Youth Justice NSW.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

It is amazing to utilise my academic knowledge of psychology to inform my work, which makes working for Youth Justice very meaningful. In addition, I’ve been spearheading cultural events that promote diversity and raise awareness for topics that are close to my heart, including an event for International Women’s Day as well as a Cancer Council fundraising event. It was clear very early on that my team provides an environment that enables everyone to succeed by bringing together unique skills, viewpoints and experiences. This celebration of diversity motivates me to perform my best every day and strongly identify with the NSW Government.

What value have you drawn from having a mentor?

My mentor is fabulous. In the past five months, she has guided me through some difficult periods where I felt unsure about my responsibilities as a graduate. She provided me with role clarity and shared her wealth of knowledge, which has helped me to find my feet and feel integrated in the NSW Government. It is a great opportunity to confide in someone like-minded outside of my direct team. She has helped me to put my work into perspective, suggest career-development opportunities and motivates me to believe in myself and play to my strengths.

What’s the best professional advice you’ve been given that you’d like to share with others?

A senior colleague whom I greatly respect advised me to rotate as much as possible, diversify my experience and network as much as I can. In his opinion, leadership relies on human connection, genuine relationships and a wealth of experiences. This advice was in line with what I think is one of the most important aspects of the graduate program: a strong focus on continuous learning and personal development.

What’s the best thing about finishing full-time study?

Finishing my full-time studies allowed me to move from Germany to Australia as I was not bound to my German university anymore. With the move to Australia, I was finally able to live with my Australian husband on a permanent basis (in previous years we had maintained a long-distance relationship). While I enjoyed being a student immensely, I highly value the independence and financial security that comes with finishing full-time study. Plus, joining the NSW Government Graduate Program made transitioning from university to full-time work extremely easy because of the extensive support, including more than 180 other graduates in my cohort to share experiences with and my mentor that has been providing me with guidance and support along the way.