What did you study? What university did you graduate from and when?
I studied Bachelor of Commerce and I majored in Human Resources at Curtin University. I graduated in 1 Semester 2020.
Where did you grow up?
I spent the early years of my childhood in Halls Creek, a small town in the Kimberley, Western Australia. I relocated to Perth with my mum for school and studied at Penrhos College. In high school, I was heavily involved in the arts but also thoroughly enjoyed the areas of politics and law and English. In the senior years of my schooling, I was a form captain and part of the big sister program, which played a key role in my love for working with people and building nurturing environments for others. I had thought teaching should be the pathway I pursue, but it wasn’t until I interned as a teacher’s assistant and enjoyed spending time assisting and learning from the teachers more so than teaching the children that I knew this might not be for me. Instead, I thought a job in Human Resources where the idea is to assist an organisation in recruiting, developing and retaining talent would be the better choice for me. Western Australia has always been home for me, and I feel fortunate to have found a job I love in a leading Australian company with their headquarters right here in WA.
How did you get to your current job position?
I participated in the Woodside Summer Vacation program in the first and second year of my degree. I was encouraged to apply after received a Woodside Scholarship through Curtin University. I was offered a Graduate Position in the People & Global Capability function off the back of my Summer Vacation work. In the year gap between finishes the Vacation program and my Graduate Program, I was given the opportunity to work at Woodside 4 days a week while I finished my studies. This was such a great opportunity as it enabled me to apply my studies to real-life situations and vice versa, apply real-life experiences to my studies. In February of 2020, I officially joined the graduate program, which is three years with a rotation into a different role each year.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Human Resources (HR). I chose a career in HR because I wanted a job that I could do anywhere in the world that involves creating meaningful relationships where every interaction is a different learning opportunity. What I love most about HR is how dynamic it is, Woodside’s response to COVID-19 and how quickly we were able to adapt the way we worked, really spoke to this. Through high school, I weighed up many alternative careers, such as teaching, law, events planning and music theatre. I think exploring your options is extremely important as now that I have settled into my role I am glad I gave everything a go and found a great match for me.
What was your interview process like?
After I was successful in receiving the Woodside Scholarship through Curtin University, I was invited to an informal catch up with two recruiters from Woodside to discuss the potential opportunities for me at Woodside. From there, I went through the formal interview process for the Woodside Summer Vacation program which included an interview with two senior managers from the People & Global Capability team within Woodside. This interview was comprised of technical questions in relation to my studies and behavioural questions which were linked to personal experiences. The types of matters discussed in the behavioural questions were linked to teamwork, problem-solving and work ethic.
What does your employer do?
Woodside is Australia’s leading natural gas producer, operating 6% of global LNG supply.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I am responsible for assisting with various Human Resources issues, such as creating employment contracts, working with SAP (our employee data software) to carry out transfers within and between sites, flexible working arrangement requests and other changes of employment conditions. This is the first year graduate rotation in People & Global Capability at Woodside and plays an important part in developing the fundamental skills and knowledge in Woodside’s processes and policies in order to be set up for success as an HR professional.
Can you describe a typical workday?
A typical workday involves coming to Mia Yellagonga, Woodside’s headquarters in Perth. I find a desk on my floor and open up our service portal where my activities for the day are listed. On any given day I do tasks such as carry out transfers within and between sites, assist employees with setting up flexible work arrangements, prepare employment contracts and any other employment letters and documentation and work within SAP to update and input employee data.
The last project I worked on was inputting a new process to hire our Summer Vacation Students for this summer. We have opted to go paperless with this process and digitalise all aspects of record creating and storing. Where we would normally print contracts and employment information, we will store these online and work without printing, using and storing paper.
What are the career prospects with your job?
HR is quite broad and opens you up to many opportunities within your chosen field and also sidestep careers. The key reason I chose HR is that the majority of organisations have a human resources function, regardless of where you are in the world. There are so many different facets to HR, examples include, inclusion & diversity, learning & development, industrial relations, recruitment and IT systems. The purpose of the Woodside Graduate Program is to provide you with three years in three different roles to eventually become a subject matter expert in your field. As a result, beyond the Graduate Program the opportunities are endless. Next, I would absolutely love to work on-site to gain an understanding of the operations side of our business and work with the production workforce in Karratha.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely. The beauty of HR is that there is a focus on inclusion and diversity; anyone can do the job if they have enough passion and drive. At Woodside, having employees from many different backgrounds is the strength of our workforce.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t working in HR, I’d have pursued a career as a lawyer. As an Indigenous woman, I am particularly passionate about the high incarceration rates and deaths in custody of Aboriginal people so I would specialise in Aboriginal Legal Services.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love the relationships I build while I do my job. Every day involves interacting with a different team within the business at Woodside and I get to meet and talk to so many interesting and inspiring people from diverse backgrounds in a variety of roles. In regard to tasks, I thoroughly enjoy project work where I can manage a project from start to end and see it implemented within the business and the positive outcomes of it.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
The biggest limitation to my job is that HR has many facets that are very different; for example, working as a recruiter is extremely different from liaising with unions in the Industrial relations team. Therefore over the three-year graduate program, if you are put into a role that isn’t well suited to you, it could mean you may not be motivated in the role and gain as much as you would from being in a better-suited team. Thankfully at Woodside, we have graduate coordinators & skill pool managers in each function as well as a great organisational development team that works to ensure we get the most out of each graduate rotation.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?