Our past graduates

Our graduates go on to work in all areas of the ACCC. You can read about their experiences on the graduate program below.

2018 graduates

Gena O'Brien

Current position: Project Officer

I started at the ACCC in January 2017 as an intern in the Consumer Product Safety Branch. I then worked part time while I was finishing university and returned as a grad in the 2018 Graduate Program. I have since settled in Product Safety, which was a great fit for my background and skills.

Having studied science and law, it was important to me to find an opportunity where I could use the skills I learned in both degrees. Working in a job that also provides an important public function (literally saving lives) was a bonus. In my day to day work, I go from doing legal research and progressing important law reforms, to analysing data and combing reports for the latest statistics.

If you have an academic background that is not one of the ‘usuals’ (law or economics) use this to your advantage! There is plenty of work for people with experience with research, data analysis and other technical skills. After all, the ACCC regulates a vast number of industries and products across Australia – you never know what you may be working on or how your experience may come in handy!

Daniel Dale

Current position: Analyst

I graduated from a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Economics. I’ve been able to use soft and technical skills from my university education to excel in different areas of the ACCC/AER. Being able to learn about new things (or complete industries) quickly, prioritise tasks, and communicate well have been important throughout the graduate program and my work. In addition to this, I have been able to use my technical skills from both my Economics and Accounting studies to analyse and present data and statistics, review models, study markets, and even conduct legal investigations.

I cast my net far and wide when applying for graduate programs, with a few options arising elsewhere in tax and auditing. The ACCC/AER stood out to me as an opportunity to challenge myself to learn about industries I didn’t have a strong knowledge of, and be able to hit the ground running with an accelerated, yet comprehensive, graduate program. “If not, why not?” is a phrase heard around the ACCC/AER, promoting that if there is no reason not to do it, why not be open to it. If you are considering applying for ACCC/AER, I suggest taking this approach for taking opportunities in your work, deliberating on something in your application, or even considering whether to apply or not. The ACCC/AER thrives because it employs people from all different cultural and educational backgrounds, and promotes those things that make each of us different.

I enjoy the many opportunities that the ACCC/AER presents to learn and challenge myself outside of my main work stream, with a number of opportunities to take on new roles (permanently or on secondment), work with people with varying skillsets and experience, and join networks of like-minded people to discuss topics of interest.

Throughout the graduate program, I worked on investigations across a number of industries in the Enforcement branch, reviewed annual pricing proposals of distributors in the Networks branch, and analysed and published data and trends of retailer’s performance in the Market Performance branch.

Throughout the graduate program I have been able to rely on a lot of people for support when needed. From my supervisors and directors, through to assigned buddies, and even just my colleagues surrounding me. These support networks, both formal and informal, have allowed me to excel in my work, as well as opportunities to do something different, including completing an interstate rotation.

Since completing the graduate program, I have been working in the Distribution pricing team of the AER. In this team I am involved in approving prices for Distribution companies, as well as being involved in some policy work to do with the treatment of new technologies and innovations.

Robert Avery

Current position: Analyst

I graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (Honours). Many of the soft skills from university, like applying myself and focusing on tasks, have translated over into my work with the ACCC/AER.

Some technical skills from economics do carry over, though I think most of what you learn is new when you start the job. Your academic qualification signals a certain standard of cognitive ability and work ethic to your employer — learning should be happening continuously throughout your career.

The ACCC/AER stands out because of the meaningful work they undertake. I’d be hard pressed to think of many other jobs an economics graduate could do which are likely to produce as much sense of pride and impact for consumers.

The ACCC/AER’s graduate program provides you with immense opportunities to develop interpersonal, technical and analytical skills which you wouldn’t normally receive in other grad programs. The people at our organisation genuinely care about your welfare and career/personal development, and it shows in their investment of time and effort in grads.
Consider that a role in the private sector is unlikely to provide the same kind of investment in your development, nor will it provide the same work/life balance. Applying for the ACCC/AER means stepping into a community with a nurturing, collegiate atmosphere and I would not have wanted to be anywhere else for my grad year.

I enjoy being able to approach more executive staff with concerns and feel that I am being listened to. I appreciate opportunities to present at Board meetings and Committees. I enjoy the friendly culture, the flexible work/life balance, and the communal pride in what we do.

For my first rotation within the ACCC's grad program, I worked with the Northern Australian Insurance Inquiry team. My responsibilities included preparing summary papers for other members of the team, and analysing submissions from insurance companies in order to decide on the state of competition in the home and contents insurance market in Northern Australia.

For my second rotation, I worked with the AER's Wholesale Markets team (now Transmission & Gas). My responsibilities included preparing the updated Regulatory Investment Test (RIT) Guidelines for publication and conducting preliminary review/screening of existing RIT applications.

For my third rotation, I worked with the Digital Platforms Inquiry team leading up to the submission of their Preliminary Report. My responsibilities included the manipulation of data to produce charts and key statistics, proof reading and correcting draft chapters for the Preliminary Report, researching topics for exposition in the Preliminary Report, and recording file notes for meetings with key stakeholders.

My superiors have always given timely feedback on my work, and suggested ways to improve and adhere to standards within each team. People have invested in me not just in terms of developing technical and analytical skills, but in terms of personal development and career progression.

On a separate note, I have loved the opportunity to travel so often throughout the grad program, exploring different offices and meeting different people throughout the organisation.

I am currently placed in the AER’s Transmission & Gas branch, collaborating with gas companies to prepare and refine regulatory reset proposals, and conducting technical analysis on project costings.

I have also recently joined the ACCC/AER’s Innovation ‘Rockstars’ team, working with a colleague in Melbourne to develop a definition for innovation which will inform and direct the future initiatives of the organisation.

2017 graduates

Robert Albertson-Kill

Current position: Senior Investigator - Enforcement

I studied science and law at university and prior to graduation I participated in the ACCC/AER internship program. My time as an intern made me realise how much interesting work goes on here. More importantly, I thought that the ACCC/AER had a really good work environment where I felt welcome, relaxed and valued. I was confident that if I worked at the ACCC/AER, I would enjoy coming to work every day and this is what set it apart from my other options.

Over the course of the graduate program I was involved in drafting educational resources for small businesses, assisting with the new car retailing market study, court cases and investigations involving motor vehicle manufacturers, investigations into the representations made on indigenous style art products and outreach work relating to phone and internet scams in remote indigenous communities.

I really enjoy the investigative work that the ACCC does. I like getting stuck into the evidence and thinking about the best ways to frame contraventions of the act. The ACCC’s enforcement work gives me the opportunity to work hard at identifying and pursuing issues that have an impact on the everyday lives of Australians and I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing work that I think is important.

The people that I’ve worked for have been very diligent about providing me with new opportunities and getting me involved in as many different matters as they can. I’ve also learned a lot from people who have dedicated large portions of their time to reviewing my work and pointing out things that I can improve.

I was lucky enough to spend one of my graduate rotations in the Darwin office. This was an amazing opportunity to spend some time learning about how competition and consumer law issues affect people outside of the major cities. I also appreciated the opportunity to experience life in a really beautiful part of the country.

The ACCC/AER is a really large and varied organisation, so you probably don’t know all of the things that go on here. If you’re in doubt, then you should apply for the program because it’s highly likely that there’s some corner of the organisation that you would find interesting and where your skill-set would be valued.

Georgiana Copeland

Current position: Analyst - AER

I graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts at University of Adelaide.

In the final two years before graduating, I was considering practicing law and working in a commercial firm. To me, working in the public sector and specifically the ACCC/AER was appealing because of the nature of the work (not just legal) and the structured graduate program. I found the idea of being supported in that first year and completing rotations in different areas very appealing.

As a graduate I have been involved with investigations into a number of industries and businesses and have been involved with assessing applications for new entrants in to the national electricity market.

The graduate program gives you the opportunity to meet your interstate colleagues through a variety of training days. I have also found all my supervisors very supportive and encouraging.

The thing I enjoy most about working at the ACCC/AER is the variety of work, the positive and friendly culture and the work / life balance.

For those looking to apply to the ACCC/ AER, my advice would be to do your research into what the ACCC/AER does and how they fit into the regulatory landscape.

2016 graduates

Courtney Tsapoutas

Current position: Investigator - Cartels

I studied a double degree in Laws and Communication & Media Studies. I applied for a number of public service graduate programs, but the ACCC stood out as an organisation that can really make a difference and that was a huge draw card for me.

During the graduate program I completed two rotations in the Enforcement Division and one in the Legal Division. I worked on a range of interesting matters that helped to develop my understanding of the law and just how broad the enforcement work of the ACCC is. As a graduate in Enforcement I was a part of a team that investigated a number of franchising, misleading and deceptive conduct and competition matters.

What I enjoy most about working at the ACCC is getting to know the ins and outs of industries that I previously knew nothing about!

The organisation is really committed to learning and development of staff. During my graduate year I received fantastic training, and these opportunities have continued beyond the program. The ACCC has a great, supportive team culture, and I encourage anyone that would like to be involved in interesting, meaningful work, to apply.

More information

Graduate opportunities