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Melissa Oldreive 

CAREER Policy analyst for Nova Scotia Department of Energy EDUCATION Public Administration at Dalhousie University

click to enlarge SCOTT BLACKBURN

I love my job because it's full of opportunities for real change, and little by little, what I do helps ensure a sustainable future for Nova Scotia. I'm really excited by the possibilities for reshaping the public service as more young people join in, and I love knowing my education was totally worth it.

I work as a policy analyst for the government of Nova Scotia. I graduated from Dal's Master of Public Administration program this past May, and I've been working for the Nova Scotia Department of Energy ever since.

I got my start with the provincial government during a summer work placement after my first year of the MPA program. When I graduated from the program this past May, a competition for a policy analyst position opened up in the same department. Now I help implement two energy projects for the Department of Energy: the Community Feed-In Tariff Program, and the Marine Renewable Energy Strategy.

My job involves a lot of research and a lot of networking. A typical day would include plenty of emails, lots of meetings with different stakeholders and preparing project proposals. I like working with different community groups, and I really enjoy knowing that I'm accountable to the people of Nova Scotia to make good decisions.

The way I like to describe the MPA is like an MBA program, but for the public sector. You're essentially learning how to manage in a government setting. It's a generalist degree, which means the skills you learn can serve you almost anywhere in government, regardless of policy field. The best part of my job is working with different groups to get things done; unfortunately, often things can take awhile to change because there are so many checks and balances before proposals can be approved.

There is such a diverse cross-section of students in the MPA program, which is something that really draws people to it. There's not one type of person who is best suited for a job in the public service, but if you care about our community and feel a responsibility to providing good services, this could be the job for you. The part of the job I love most is the public stewardship mentality that everyone shares---we're working because we care about Nova Scotia and the HRM, and we want to see it succeed.


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