You can find local governments worldwide, and Australia shouldn’t be any different. From Bendigo to Brisbane, local government has grown in size and scope over the last two decades. They provide vital services like road maintenance that benefit communities every day. They also offer a variety of career paths for people from diverse backgrounds.
With thousands of councils across the country, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when starting your career in local government. Whether you’re looking to be a council worker or a council leader, there’s no better time than now to start. Here are ways to begin:
Know What Works For You
When starting, it’s easy to feel like there’s no right or wrong way to do things. The truth is that there are many different ways of doing things, and one may suit you better than the other. So, before taking on your first position, it’s essential to know what works for you. This means being clear about your goals, what you want to achieve, and where these overlap with the organizations. It also means being able to browse council jobs to know what kind of role would best suit your personality type and skill set.
Get Some Experience
You need to level up your professional experience to get a job in the local government. The best way to do this is through internships or work experience. This will help you make connections and build your skills so that when the time comes for an interview, you’ll be well prepared. When looking for an internship or work experience, ask around your university and see if there are any companies offering placements with local councils. Don’t be afraid to ask family members, friends, and even employers who might have contacts in the industry.
Attend Community Events
Attending community events is a great way to meet people and become more involved in your local community. You can attend events organized by the council or other organizations. You could even organize your event. If you want to learn more about how your local government works, council meetings are an excellent way to start. Attending them is also a good idea if something needs changing or if there’s a project that you want to get involved with but don’t know who has responsibility for it.
Work In Your Local Community
The fourth way to start your career is to volunteer in your local community. Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience, meet people, and find out if a certain kind of work is something you want to do as a career. You don’t have to do it because you’re looking for work; do it because you enjoy doing so. Volunteering can teach you new skills, help build connections, and boost your confidence. It also allows you to get involved with other people who share similar interests and the community you live or work in, thus making your mark in the area.
Join A Committee
You can make a difference by joining a committee. A committee is a group of elected representatives who meet to discuss issues and make decisions that impact their community or region. Committees may include councilors, local government employees, and community members.
Committees play an essential role in local government. They support council decision-making processes by providing advice, recommendations, and ideas to assist the council in making informed decisions consistent with its strategic plan. There are several types of committees. Find one that works for you as you begin your council journey.
Sign Up For A Mentorship Program
Another way is through a mentorship program. This is an informal way of fostering connections between new professionals and more senior industry members. Yet this can be done formally, too, where mentors and mentees meet regularly for professional development sessions, or informally where colleagues support one another when needed. An excellent example of this type of program is the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Mentoring Program, which aims to increase female participation in local government. The program pairs aspiring female leaders with experienced women currently working as senior managers within their councils. That way, the newbies can understand how the local government works.
Use Your Networks And Make New Ones
Your network can be a great target of information. If you’re looking for a role, you may ask for recommendations from people in the industry or keep an eye out for any opportunities. If you consider starting a career in local government, having a good relationship with your colleagues is critical. If you don’t know anyone currently working in local government, consider joining advocacy groups like Local Government NSW or Community Councils Australia. Doing so allows you to make connections and learn more about what it means to work in local government.
The Australian local government sector is diverse, dynamic, and offers several opportunities for people at all stages of their careers. Working in this sector can be as rewarding and challenging, and you’ll never know what you might learn. So, if you’re looking to start a career in local government or take the next step up from your current position, there are plenty of options for you. The key is connecting with those who can help make this dream come true.