Deep diving into managing one of our greatest resources!

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

The program runs for 12 months and consists of 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 the opportunity to undertake one rotation within the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. On completion of the program, graduates can access ongoing training, development and career opportunities.

Today marks the International Day of Women and Girl’s in Science. This year’s theme is “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us” and we thought it the perfect time to catch up with one of graduates Phebe Rowland.

What drew you to apply for the program?

I studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a major in marine biology at the University of Queensland. Some of my favourite lecturers worked in fisheries and consistently advocated fisheries management as a great career avenue for marine science graduates. I applied for AFMA’s graduate program because it seemed like a great start to a career in fisheries, and because it seemed like a unique opportunity to diversify my experience and apply the skills I have developed throughout my degree in novel and creative ways.

Could you please tell us a bit of your background? What happened to draw you to study in the marine area?

I grew up in Wollongong, which is a stunning coastal town on the south coast. My dad loved the ocean, and his passion was contagious! He encouraged me to try every water-based activity from snorkelling to surfing to spear fishing. I loved exploring the reef and adjacent rocky shore at Port Kembla beach. When it came to choosing a university degree, I discovered my fascination stemmed from an appreciation for the mysterious beauty of ocean ecosystems and a passion for ocean conservation.

What are you career goals post completion of your graduate year?

I plan to continue with AFMA at the completion of my graduate year (provided they’ll have me) in either a content development or communications capacity. I have worked in a variety of teaching and presenting roles, which I hope will provide the foundations for a career with high creative input, and which involves stakeholder engagement. That being said, I expect to learn a lot this year and the best thing I can do is remain open to the possibilities that will emerge as I continue to grow both professionally and personally.

Any words of advice for those who are looking at the graduate program?

Don’t regret something you did not do.

If you’re thinking of applying for a graduate development program, it’s because you’ve closed one chapter of your life and are looking for the next big opportunity. I am going to go out on a limb and say most people don’t know what this opportunity is going to look like. Instead of waiting for an epiphany, actively hunt for opportunities to improve yourself. If you don’t see this program as a career move, then it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to develop new skills and extend your capabilities. Just do it.

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