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Migrate, Work, Live

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Arabella Ward | Research and Policy Officer

Arabella Ward walking in front of NT Parliarment House

My move to Darwin has been all about growth, not only in my career but also in my personal life.

After I graduated with a Bachelor of Law from the University of South Australia, I found it really difficult to secure a graduate position. I began volunteering in a law firm in Adelaide, and also worked part-time in retail. It was then that a mentor suggested that I look into the career opportunities that were available with the Northern Territory Government.

I had never lived out of home before, so relocating to Darwin, alone, terrified me. But it also gave me the freedom to be my own person. With my family and partner back in Adelaide, my life in the Territory has made me more independent and much more focused.

When I first arrived in Darwin I attended every networking session I could find and secured a 3-month contract with the Northern Territory Government. It was like being in a different world as I learned about the workings of government, but I really appreciated the high level of responsibility and trust that has been placed in me.

Arabella Ward working on some documents

"In the NTG I know that the quality of my work is recognised."

Working within small teams in each department means that no-one is overlooked, and we are all on a first name basis.

I value the guidance and feedback I receive from senior staff, and as someone who is just starting in their career, it’s inspiring to work alongside strong women at high-level positions. I have learnt so much from them and it’s really encouraging to work with such great role models.

"As a policymaker, I am involved in coming up with solutions for the big issues that affect The Territory."

My role in creating policy in the NTG is a strategic one, which means I work with my team to advocate for issues within the community and develop pathways to tackle them successfully. It’s a fast-moving job, but one that has a real impact on the community.

In writing policies, our team needs to develop plans that are both practical and informed. I make sure that I thoroughly research the relevant issue or topic, so that we have all the necessary information to assist in our planning.

My research often involves building relationships with stakeholders who may be affected by the policy.

My role within my particular project team involves presenting information and planning projects. I am given ownership of the work I do, but there is always the support and guidance of my colleagues.

"Territory rituals like visiting the markets and watching the sun set on the Nightcliff foreshore really unite Territorians."

It’s an exciting time to be in the Territory and watch it grow. It’s a really creative and innovative place, so there’s always a different event on or something new to discover. With so many people here who have moved to the Territory for work, it’s easy to make friends.

Before moving to Darwin I envisioned it being a place that was more remote, without any real cosmopolitan lifestyle, but I was completely wrong.

I love trying out the different Darwin cafes for breakfast with my friends; another Territory ritual.

I recently went to the Greek Glenti festival that is held on the Darwin Esplanade, which is just one of the many festivals held in Darwin each year.

"I am proud of the work that I do in the NTG and seeing the positive effect it has on the community."