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Policy analyst

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Summary of occupation

Policy advisers guide the development and management of both government policies and the commercial projects and organisations that are concerned with these policies. They work with existing policies to update them and make them relevant for those sectors of the community that they effect. They also compile and present information regarding policy issues to governments and policy makers in the form of briefs, maps, charts and reports. They advise governments and related organisations on particular social, cultural or political trends that may affect policy development, formulate options for policy development, and assess the financial and social impacts of particular government policies.

ANZSCO description: Develops and analyses policies guiding the  design, implementation and modification of government or commercial  operations and programs.
Alternative names: Intelligence Officer, Policy Adviser
Specialisations: Research and Evaluation Analyst (NZ)
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A policy adviser needs:

  • strong communication skills
  • an understanding of political history and systems
  • to be able to work under pressure, often to tight deadlines
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • strong analytical skills and a grasp of political theory
  • to be fair, balanced and unbiassed in their professional recommendations
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Working conditions

Political advisers work in government offices, as well as in other businesses and organisations that are concerned with government projects and policies. They usually work regular office hours, but may be required to work longer hours on certain occasions.
Policy advisers work in the offices of either state or federal government departments, and may work in Perth or in regional centres where they can report on the way in which specific policies affect particular regional areas.

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Salary details

On average, intelligence and policy analysts, can expect to earn approximately $1 500 to $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a policy analyst develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Policy advisers work mostly with computers and other office equipment such as telephones, photocopiers and fax machines. They often use the internet for research pursposes. They may be required to work with word-processing and data management software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a policy analyst you usually need to complete a degree in politics and international relations with a major in an area relevant to the policy field in which you wish to work, for example, environmental conservation, sport and recreation, or culture and the arts.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.   

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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