Dorian, 21, has been involved in the NSW Commission for Children and Young People since 2002. In his final year of high school, he was selected to be on the Young People’s Reference Group which advised the commission about young people’s issues in New South Wales. In 2003, he began a one-year policy traineeship at the commission before becoming an assistant policy officer, which he does part time while studying a combined degree in Arts and Law.
What does your job involve?
The NSW Commission for Children and Young People works to make the state a better place for children and young people. One of the ways we do this is to involve them in the decision-making that affects their lives. One of my main tasks is to coordinate the commission’s Young People’s Reference Group, which brings together a group of young people who discuss their issues and concerns. For example, if the government is coming up with a new law or policy that will affect kids, I will talk with them about it and then tell the government what they think. Some issues I have worked on include health, education, driving, and drugs and alcohol.
I also represent the commission on different committees, and train children and young people in advocacy and lobbying, delivering presentations, attending conferences and events, and drafting briefings and correspondence.
I’ve been able to develop policy and consultation skills, and the commission is recognised as an organisation that does both of these well. I could work in policy or consultation in the public or private sectors, or in a consulting firm. Once I graduate from my law degree I could also work in a law firm or in the government sector as a legal officer.
It’s satisfying to know that my work contributes to improving the safety, welfare, and wellbeing of children and young people in New South Wales. I like the fact that the work I do is very diverse. I can be meeting with kids one day and talking with politicians the next. I also appreciate that I’m working with current, cross-cutting issues.
In 2003 I assisted in organising children and young people’s participation in the NSW Summit on Alcohol Abuse. I went out and spoke to hundreds of children and young people beforehand and helped organise a very successful forum with 59 young people from across New South Wales. At the summit I was part of a delegation who took young people’s suggestions and supported them. I had voting rights in a three-day formal sitting of parliament. I delivered speeches and debated ideas. I was on working groups with MPs, doctors, liquor industry representatives, and other experts.
I like working in policy, particularly relating to children and young people. They are in a unique position. Investing in children and young people through positive policies improves society as a whole and, considering I am studying law at the moment, I see myself remaining in this area but taking on a more law-related role.