The Graduate Development Program prepares graduates for a career as a future leader within AFMA by exposing you to a broad range of AFMA’s activities and a targeted training program.

Throughout the Graduate Development Program you will:

  • build on your degree
  • become part of a workplace where we make and implement decisions for the efficient and sustainable management of Commonwealth fish resources
  • make a real difference in the management of Australian fisheries
  • have a five day industry tour where you will meet with key industry stakeholders
  • complete a Diploma in Project Management
  • attend training including communication skills, achieves results and promotes diversity
  • be mentored by senior staff
  • receive competitive remuneration, flexible working arrangements and conditions of employment.

The program has three diverse work rotations to equip you with the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career in the agency and the Australian Public Service, including one rotation within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. On completion of the program, graduates can access ongoing training, development and career opportunities.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for graduates with a genuine interest in a career in natural resource management from the following academic disciplines (but not limited to):

  • natural resource management
  • marine science
  • fisheries management
  • environmental science
  • maritime and environmental law
  • natural resource economics.

Apply now

AFMA partners with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Graduate Development Program.

Applications for the program should be lodged through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

For more information about the AFMA Graduate Development Program contact the Recruitment Officer on 02 6225 5444 or recruitment@afma.gov.au

Still not convinced? Read about what our past graduates have to say below.

What did you study and where?

I studied International Relations at the Australian National University with a focus on environmental policy and golbalisation

In what year were you a graduation with the agency?

I was a graduate in 2016.

Why did you choose AFMA’s Graduate Development Program?

I had worked at AFMA for a few years when I started the program, first as an intern and then in a number of roles across the Fisheries Management Branch (FMB). I chose AFMA because I already knew that it was conducive to the things I value in a workplace. The people here are passionate about making a positive difference. There is also a palpable link between the work you carry out each day and the impact it has on our stakeholders and the overall efficient and sustainable management of Commonwealth fish resources.

Tell us about some of the things you got up to in your graduate year?

Across the graduate year, I undertook three rotations in very diverse areas of work (Fisheries Management, Human Resources and Communications). I really valued the opportunity to work alongside people with different skill sets, priorities and perspectives.
In addition to rotations, I completed a Diploma in Governance, a number of other trainings targeted at providing graduates with foundational skills and knowledge and joined as many of the working groups and networks happening across the agency as I could.
I also undertook the co-fundraising coordinator for the annual graduate trivia night which saw the cohort raise over $8,500 for Rural and Remote Mental Health.

Tell us about the weeklong industry visit that is part of the Graduate Development Program, what was your industry visit topic and where did you go?

The industry trip was a highlight of the year for me. My group went to my home state, Tasmania, to consider the drivers and constraints to the Tasmanian aquaculture industry. This provided a really interesting comparison to wild caught fisheries and my team was made up of savvy, critical thinkers with diverse backgrounds. I learnt a lot from them and from the experience itself.

What advice would you give to future AFMA graduates? 

My best advice would be to really embrace opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone. You may end up loving them. If not, they will only make you better at doing whatever it is you end up doing. You’ll gain a better understanding of how other areas of the agency work, you’ll increase your network of people and knowledge to draw on in the future and you’ll establish which skills you can bring to the table.

Contact Sophie
Sophie Fisher
Phone: 02 6225 5555
Email: sophie.fisher [at] afma.gov.au

What did you study and where?

I completed a Bachelor of Science with honours in Marine Biology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

In what year were you a graduate with the agency?

2015

Why did you choose AFMA’s Graduate Development Program?

I’d heard of AFMA and the work they do managing Commonwealth Fisheries and was immediately interested. AFMA was at the top of the list in terms of where I wanted to work after uni and the graduate program seemed like a great way to get my foot in the door. I submitted an application hoping to be selected and I was lucky enough to be offered a place in the program.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of a graduate at AFMA.

Each graduate’s experience is different which I think is one of the best parts about the program. You’re given three workplace rotations; two at AFMA and one at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and each rotation is tailored to give you exposure to working in fisheries management and in the public service more broadly. A typical day can include anything from working on a ministerial brief, attending a meeting with industry or assisting with the day-to-day management of Commonwealth fisheries.

Tell us about the weeklong industry visit that is part of the Graduate Development Program, what was your industry visit topic and where did you go?

The industry visit was my favourite part of the grad year. It was great to get the opportunity to meet stakeholders face-to-face and discuss issues that were both important to them and the department. My group travelled to Hobart and Victoria to explore power imbalances in supply chains in the seafood, dairy and poultry sectors. Stakeholders very much appreciated us taking the time to get their first hand experiences on how they conduct business to help the department work better with industry.

What do you find most challenging in your graduate year?

I think the most challenging part was digesting all the new information I was learning. I came into the graduate program with some knowledge about fisheries but very little about government processes. It took me a while to get my head around all the acronyms (and there are a lot of acronyms!) and the names and responsibilities of all the different departments that you work with on a daily basis. I ended the grad year with a great appreciation of how much work goes on behind the scenes to make things run smoothly for operators out on the water.

What did you study and where?

I studied Science (Honours) at Monash University, majoring in Zoology and Conservation Biology. I then completed a Master of Antarctic Science through the University of Tasmania.

In what year were you a graduate with the agency?

2014

Why did you choose AFMA’s Graduate Development Program?

Working for a regulator rather than in policy development was appealing in terms of opportunities to really interact with industry and other stakeholders, so the ability to make a difference to sustainable management seemed very clear. I also liked that AFMA has direct interactions with research/researchers, and wanted to maintain a link with my scientific training.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of a graduate at AFMA.

It depends a little bit on the day of the week and the rotation.  In my first rotation in the National Intelligence Unit in AFMA’s Fisheries Operations Branch, I worked on a report detailing the economic impacts of quota evasion. My last rotation was in the Policy, Environment, Economics and Research section, where I produced a report providing a review of AFMA’s uptake of Fisheries Research and Development Council funded projects, and recommendations to improve uptake and engagement where appropriate. Both rotations involved project management and liaising with subject matter experts and other government agencies.

I also completed a rotation with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of the grad year. This rotation involved supporting a Fisheries Branch team in their day-to-day duties, which included providing administrative support for the Parliamentary Secretary to travel to New Zealand and Tokelau, and brief-writing for a range of international fisheries meetings.

Tell us about the week long industry visit that is part of the Graduate Development Program, what was your industry visit topic and where did you go?

My industry visit topic was investigating beef industry supply chain characteristics, and impacts on profitability. We decided to focus on the northern beef industry, and flew into Brisbane, hired a van, and did a five day road trip up to Rockhampton via Kingaroy, Mundubbera, and Biloela. We visited researchers and academics in Brisbane, and a range of farmers, agents, stockyards managers, vets and rural accountants on the way through the region. We finished up at the saleyards in Rockhampton, watching the weekly sales.

What do you find most challenging in your graduate year?

The graduate year was an amazing development experience, and as with any period of intense growth it was pretty… intense. Towards the end of the year there were a number of big things on the schedule, including writing up a third rotation project report, finishing essays for a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Administration, writing up the industry report, preparing the industry tour report oral presentation, and putting together the trivia night. Nearly all of those tasks involved working with a group of graduates from the department. I consolidated a few things around clear communication, scheduling catch-ups with other (very busy) grads, meeting deadlines as a team, and prioritising tasks, so the challenge was definitely worth it.

What have you done since the Graduate Program?

After the graduate year, I worked in the Northern Fisheries section, in the Torres Strait team.  I then moved up to the Thursday Island office for a year.

I supported meetings of the Protected Zone Joint Authority (made up of the Federal and Queensland ministers for Fisheries and the head of the Torres Strait Regional Authority), visited Indigenous communities on other islands to talk about fisheries management in the Tropical Rock Lobster and Beche-De-Mer fisheries, and spent a week in Port Moresby as part of the Australian delegation at the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Bilateral Meeting.

I moved back to Canberra in March 2016 where I continued supporting the Torres Strait office until June when AFMA supported me to take 4 months of leave to volunteer with seabird monitoring and research in California. I’m currently working with the Bycatch and Discards Program in the Fisheries Services section, where I’m the Executive Officer for the Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group. I’m looking forward to getting out on boats and supporting the team with at-sea trials of seabird bycatch mitigation devices in the future.

Where are you from?

I grew up on the Northern Beaches in Sydney

What did you study and where?

I attended Macquarie University where I completed my undergraduate degree in Marine Science and started my Post Graduate Degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. I then took some time off to travel then headed back to study and completed my Masters in Fisheries Policy at the University of Wollongong.

In what year where you a graduate with the agency?

2017

Why did you choose AFMA’s Graduate Development Program?

After spending some time with fishers in less developed countries, I started to see the importance and need for strong management and sustainability of the world’s oceans. When I researched AFMA and started to understand their role in Australia’s fisheries, I realised that the goals that AFMA strive to align with my own personal beliefs and I wanted to be a part of it. I saw the graduate program as a great opportunity to enter an agency at an entry level that allowed me to build up skills while getting a hands on and across the agency perspective of how AFMA works. The training and exposure that was also provided throughout the year made the program extremely rewarding and invaluable to my career.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of a graduate at AFMA.

The great thing about the grad year is that the work varied on a regular basis, so a ‘typical day’ was different dependant on where and what you were working on. Throughout the year though I had the opportunity to manage and work on my own projects, worked with my teams on briefings and stakeholder engagement, completed a Diploma in Project Management and completed many different tasks. AFMA is an amazing place to work with a lot of communication between teams and sections, so I was also able to attend meetings on different projects that were happening across the agency and learnt so much above the different tasks that AFMA completes. AFMA has a great work life balance ideology , so the inclusion of lunch time sports, flexible working hours and great morning teas were also a bonus!

Tell us about the weeklong industry visit that is part of the Graduate Development Program, what was your industry visit topic and where did you go?

The industry visit was without a doubt the highlight of my grad year at AFMA. I was lucky enough to head to Tasmania and Lakes Entrance to meet with various stakeholders that included fishers, scientists and State agencies to investigate how industry sees the impact of Climate Change on AFMAs management style. It was such a great experience to engage with industry so early in my career and gave us all a hands on look at how the management decisions we make at AFMA impact the day to day work life of the fishing industry.

What did you find most challenging in your graduate year?

The grad year was the first time I experienced the Australian Public Service, so understanding the policies and procedures that come along with a government agency was all new. Throughout the year there was a need for time management to ensure that every day work, diploma tasks, industry visit work and other committees tasks were all completed. However saying that, it was also the best part. I love being busy, so putting my head and taking in as much as I possibly could in my first year was the best opportunity to engage with different teams within AFMA. AFMA has such a strong, passionate and supportive group of people working here, which made moving to a new role away from friends and family really easy!

Contact Elisa Plati

Phone: 02 6225 5555
Email: Elisa.Plati [at] afma.gov.au