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Natalie launches her justice career

Crime and justice professional Natalie Milligan has a strong sense of fairness and a passion for social justice that she’s turned into her career

Originally from Ukraine, and later living in Israel and London, Natalie settled into life in Australia in 2012.

She worked in hospitality while she figured out what her career would be, volunteered in police simulations, and discovered a career she was passionate about in the process.

"I've always been inquisitive and enjoy digging beneath the surface of something to piece together a complete picture,” said Natalie.

Natalie enrolled to study the Certificate IV and Diploma of Justice Studies (10283NAT) at TAFE Queensland in 2016, beginning her journey towards her dream career.

Developed in consultation with the Queensland Police Service, the course enhanced Natalie’s knowledge of crime and justice.

“Studying this certificate was a great way to confirm that a crime and justice career was right for me because it was just six months,” she said.

“Because English isn’t my first language studying was daunting, and I wasn’t confident. But TAFE Queensland prepared me so well that I knew what to expect in my first year of university.”

During her certificate studies, Natalie learnt practical skills that she has since used when furthering her studies and in the workplace.

After graduating with her certificate she went to university to study a Bachelor of Justice and credits her TAFE Queensland studies for preparing her for this step.

“At the beginning, I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in at university as I was facing a language barrier, an age gap and cultural differences. Also, growing up I didn’t think I’d be smart enough to study at university, so I felt like an imposter.”

However, she was able to draw on her TAFE Queensland education and apply it to university, helping her excel in her academic development.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but my diploma prepared me so well with research skills and knowledge of the criminal justice system,” continued Natalie.

“Knowing how to fill in police documents, investigate and analyse crime scenes and researching and referencing legislation gave me a solid criminal justice foundation to study further. It also enabled me to understand justice concepts faster than my peers,” she explained.

Her skills and confidence are thanks to her teacher who was a military police investigator and would deliver his knowledge to students in such inspiring ways.

“I could feel his enthusiasm and passion for the subject, so much so that eventually I want to become an investigator too,” she said.

During a placement with the Queensland Police Service State Intelligence Group, Natalie could apply the culmination of her knowledge and skills in real-world situations.

In assisting with research, writing reports, and producing literature reviews tasks, Natalie helped produce a high-quality Justice Services audit included in a paper published by the Queensland Police Service.

The combination of her TAFE Queensland training, university studies, and her placement has seen Natalie continue working in Queensland’s justice system for Queensland Corrections Services (QCS). Working as a Custodial Correctional Officer, her role aligns with her personal values as she believes in rehabilitation, offers ongoing training and development and is a stable and secure job.

“After graduating from justice qualifications with TAFE Queensland and QUT, I joined QCS because it offers a clear career pathway within department and eventually into community corrections or probation and parole board,” said Natalie.

“Every shift is interesting and sometimes we do have challenging situations. But my colleagues and I use our training, support each other and follow the internal processes to maintain good order and safety while managing the day to day operations of the center.”

“Studying has changed my life so much. I’m able to think critically, write better and have better time management skills. I’m confident, driven and willing to learn to feed my curiosity.”

“Crime and justice is a wonderful career option because society will always need people to drive a fair justice system. And that system needs people qualified to understand the impact it has on people, families, community and victims of crime,” concluded Natalie.