By Samantha Smith
In 2020, Standards Australia launched its inaugural Graduate Program.
The program is an opportunity for talented graduates to kick-start their careers. For Standards Australia, it’s also an opportunity to attract talented individuals who are determined and can support our mission.
The program spans 12 months and offers new professionals the chance to rotate across several Standards Australia departments. It allows graduates to learn about the company’s processes, procedures, activities, and goals, while creating valuable connections.
“We’re pleased with the Graduate Program and enjoy offering younger people the opportunity to learn ‘on the tools’ at Standards Australia,” says Adrian O’Connell, CEO of Standards Australia. “It’s invigorating to see recent graduates join our organization, and not only learn from us but also offer incredible insights and ideas which we have implemented.”
Abbey Dorian, George Sfinas, Josie Gasparre, and I (seen in the photo at the top of this article) were the 2020 graduates, fondly dubbed the “Original Grads” (OGs).
We rotated across four departments: engagement, product, project management, and standards development.
During the 12-month program, we worked on a collaborative project to build capability framework models for the Standards Australia international team. The models were developed to be used in conjunction with assessment tools used by other national standards bodies to help determine what areas their organization excelling in and what needed strengthening.
“The graduates’ passion, enthusiasm, and insight has benefited our organization,” says O’Connell. “Our international team has gone on to use the maturity models with very positive feedback.”
By February 2021, all graduates had been offered permanent roles at Standards Australia.
Abby Dorian, now an international engagement manager, saw the Graduate Program as the greatest development opportunity for her career so far.
“Through the program’s mentorship, professional development, and cross-department training, I have been able to learn about myself as a professional and pursue my career goals,” Dorian says.
Looking 10 years into the future
In 2021, Angela Wang, Brianna Scott, Jasmine Brinsmead, and Summer Lamont joined Standards Australia as the next round of graduates.
As Standards Australia had grown new functions and had launched its online store, there were new departments to rotate across: customer success, and service design and delivery. The graduates spent fewer weeks in each rotation but gained more learning overall.
“Starting in new departments every few weeks has provided me with an incredible perspective of the business,” says Scott. “I believe these experiences have helped shape me to be adaptable, a quick learner, and proactive.”
The 2020 graduates were buddied with the 2021 graduates, acting as mentors to guide them when needed.
“The insights, skills and support network gained through the program created a pathway for future career development,” says Lamont.
Their year-long project was to plan for Standards Australia’s future in 2031. The ideas they presented to many internal stakeholders included creating media campaigns and virtual reality (VR) experiences to raise awareness of standards. Additionally, they introduced new partnerships and ways to integrate standards into new platforms to create broader access.
“I had the benefit to listen to the 2020 graduates’ presentation and I was blown away,” says O’Connell. “They’ve been with us for less than a year, but their insight into the potential for our organization was amazing.”
“The Graduate Program provided valuable experiences, opportunities, and genuine support to grow and gain confidence for the start of my professional career,” says Wang.
The centenary graduates
Lisa Osborne, Standards Australia’s head of learning, has been integral to the graduates’ onboarding and training, and is excited to welcome the next round of graduates.
“Every year, we attract energetic, switched-on people who bring with them fresh perspectives and ideas to help us innovate,” Osborne says. “This year, we are celebrating our centenary. It’s a significant and incredibly exciting time to be a part of the organization.”
At the start of 2022, Standards Australia’s newest graduates, Alexander Bland, Judith van der Eyk, Olivia Johnson, and William Giacometti, will follow a program like the original graduates and they will also be buddied with 2021 graduates.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming the next cohort of grads and sharing with them the lessons we learned,” says Brinsmead. “The working relationship we develop over the year is unique and builds support and friendship across our organization.”
The second part of the year will allow them to fit into a department that best reflects their interests, giving them the best opportunity possible to start their chosen professions.
The success of the Graduate Program is a testament to Standards Australia’s 100-year legacy and its commitment to provide net benefit to Australia now and into the future.
“As we enter our centenary year, we look forward to growing and supporting professional development and we’re excited to follow the careers of these talented young people,” says O’Connell.
About the author
Samantha Smith is communications officer for Standards Australia.