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Alumni Experiences – Deng

Deng is a Participant in our Opening Doors Program, a joint initiative with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)Here’s a snapshot of his experience.

Deng Deng | Bachelor of Business (Economics), Queensland University of Technology | Australian Taxation Office Graduate Program 2019

Difficult beginnings

Deng spent most of his childhood and early adult years in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Born in South Sudan, he and his family lived in the Refugee Camp (home to over 185,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers) until Deng came to Australia, ready to “seize some of the rare life opportunities that Australia has to offer.”

While Deng did find opportunities on arrival in Australia, in particular the chance to undertake tertiary study, he has also faced a number of challenges.  He had high hopes that he would find work in his chosen field.   

“I started applying for internships when I was in my second year of University and, later on, applied for many graduate-entry positions and other entry-level roles. But all my applications were unsuccessful”. 

Needing to support his young family, Deng ended up working at a fruit and vegetable company as a Quality Controller. While he was grateful to be working and providing for his family, he was disheartened that his study had not resulted in any openings in his field.

Opening doors

Deng was elated to learn that he had been successful on the Opening Doors Program in Brisbane.  Over the past ten months, Deng has worked as an Administration Officer in the Economist Practice at the ATO, and has gained invaluable experience. 

Deng feels that the opportunities afforded him at the ATO have been a “game-changer for my professional career”.  “The last ten months have been transformative”, he says. 

“Working at the ATO as a junior economist has offered me an opportunity to apply what I have learned at University.  It has also given me access to a lot of learning and professional development opportunities. It really has kick-started my career in the ATO and, by extension, the Australian Public Service”.

Over and above the uplift in technical skills, Deng shared that a highlight has been the “job readiness advice and support provided by the Jesuit Social Services team”.  

This has included one-on-one expert advice on crafting your elevator pitch and putting together a professional resume and cover letter. 

Paying it forward

The advice on how to approach applying for jobs in Australia “has been invaluable as I never knew how valuable it was to call the recruiter with my ‘smart’ questions before applying for a role, nor did I understand the subtleties around tailoring my elevator pitch to the audience“, he shared.

Deng has recently been successful in securing a position on the 2019 Graduate Program which he is “extremely excited about.” 

 “Giving back to my community is part of my culture, so I have a responsibility to share my good fortune with those around me.  My success will send a clear and uplifting message to the younger generation in the migrant community that university education has value for them also and that there is light at the end of the job-search tunnel.”

If your organisation is interested in finding out how to develop your own program, please contact info@corporatediversity.org.au or phone the Corporate Diversity Partnerships team on (03) 9421 7600.