Ballarat, Victoria’s largest and fast-growing inland city, has come a long way since its gold mining heydays of the 1800s. While you’ll still find nods to its gold rush heritage through the picturesque architecture and wide, tree-lined streets, today Ballarat is a vibrant city with a bustling food and drinks scene, entertainment, events, arts and more. Combine all this with world-class universities and growing career opportunities and it is no wonder Ballarat is dubbed Australia’s most livable regional city.
In this guide, we chat with Australian Catholic University international student alumni, Thien An, who has since created a successful career for himself as a psychiatric nurse at Grampians Health in Ballarat.
Take a look at why Ballarat is the ultimate city to launch your career and discover important things to consider, including visa options, preparing for the market and landing your dream job.
Why work in Ballarat?
Home to the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung people, Ballarat is just over an hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne and is Victoria’s third-largest city, boasting a population of over 110,000. With major educational institutions, comfortable and convenient student accommodation, two hospitals and a fast-growing job market, Ballarat is an attractive destination for students and job seekers alike.
Hailing from a countryside town in Vietnam, Thien An was drawn to Ballarat’s balance of regional charm and educational and career opportunities.
“I enjoy nature and community life. I also prefer to study at a smaller campus where I can easily connect with my friends and tutors.”
Some of Ballarat’s most vibrant industries include healthcare, education, manufacturing and visitor services. Recognised as a key economic driver by local, state and federal governments, Ballarat has also seen recent investment and growth in its sport, technology, hospitality and tourism industries. This, coupled with its slower-paced, community-oriented lifestyle, makes Ballarat the ideal location for international students to live, study, work and play.
“Ballarat is a growing community where people are coming to stay,” says Thien An.
Victoria provides state-nominated visas for graduates or professionals who are qualified in any occupation on the Department of Home Affairs skilled occupation list.
If you fall into one of the designated occupation categories, you may be eligible to apply for a Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa or a Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa, because Ballarat is considered a regional destination for migration purposes.
Learn more about Victoria’s skilled migration program.
Prepare for the Ballarat job market
If you’re interested in kick-starting your career in Ballarat, here are some of our top tips.
Reach out for help
Many educational institutions provide resources for current and former students. For example, the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Career Development and Employability Services offers online and face-to-face assistance for career planning, apprenticeship and internship advice, job search strategies, resume building and cover letter writing. They also offer professional development workshops and employer connection events.
What’s more, ACU regularly hosts ‘Talk with Industry’ online seminars where students can hear from former graduates about how they got started in their careers and what it’s like to work in their chosen industry.
Build your network
Building your professional circle isn’t just about attending formal networking events. The best part about regional city living is getting to meet people from all walks of life, who may, in one way or another, help further your career. Joining local student societies and sports clubs and attending free social events is a great way to connect with like-minded people who share similar interests and career goals. Thien An echoes this sentiment.
“Connect with friends and staff, especially when studying at university or college,” he shares. “International students should consider working part-time or engaging in volunteers, as they will develop skills and experience to support their future careers.”
Explore professional placements and volunteering
Getting hands-on experience in your chosen field or industry provides invaluable knowledge and skills you can use to launch your career. Utilise your education institution’s community and industry connections to undertake professional placements, volunteer work or community service. Thien An highlights the well-rounded education he received, which included many work experience opportunities.
“During my course, I gained clinical knowledge and practical skills to work as a nurse in Australia. ACU also offered volunteer opportunities, which helped me develop interpersonal and organisational skills,” he shares.
Take a look at ACU’s guide of workplace and industry placements, organised by study area. Students can also view local paid and unpaid jobs advertised on the ACU CareerHub Jobs Portal to help complement their studies and support themselves while at university.
Find your dream job
When you’re ready to search for jobs in Ballarat there are resources to help you along the way. SEEK and LinkedIn are great starting points but don’t forget to also check out the career hubs and job boards through your education provider.
The Jobs Victoria Work and Learning Centre Ballarat offers free advisory services for job seekers and can help with applications, training options, work experience and career guidance.
The City of Ballarat also offers a fantastic resource that lists employment services within the region. These organisations can provide practical support tailored to your needs.
Discover how Australian Catholic University can empower you with the experience and skills to launch your dream career in Ballarat and beyond.