About the National Graduate Program

Tailored to recent university graduates, our National Graduate Program is structured to give you the opportunity to grow.

Applications for our 2017 intake are now closed. Thank you and best of luck to all who applied. Keep up to date with what's happening on Facebook or as described in the recruitment process.

About the program

Our National Graduate Program is not your ordinary graduate program. When you apply to work for us, you are applying to be part of something amazing.

We offer you opportunities to use the skills and knowledge you gained through university and work experience to make a real difference to Australians.

You will have access to many professional development opportunities, a mentoring arrangement and special events.

Our program is designed to help you begin a career in the Australian Public Service (APS). It will assist you:

  • to strengthen your networking skills
  • to develop your career
  • expose you to the government and department operations
  • broaden your understanding of the APS and the Australian Parliamentary process

Watch our video to find out more about the unique development opportunities our program can offer you.


We offer 2 pathways into our graduate program. Each pathway allows you to apply your academic education and build on your skills and past experience.

You can apply for either the Generalist pathway, Professional pathway or both. However, we use different assessment methodologies when we consider your application. You can only participate in 1 pathway if you join our program. You can't change pathways once you have started the program.

Generalist pathway

The Generalist pathway is for you if:

  • you do not have a particular professional area you wish to work in
  • your degree does not fit into a particular discipline identified as part of the Professional pathway

Our Generalist pathway provides 2 placements, each lasting for 5 months. This allows you to participate in diverse projects and learn how different areas operate.

To apply for this pathway you do not need to have any specific degrees. However you must have:

  • strong problem solving skills and the ability to think laterally to make sound judgments
  • specialist or technical research and analysis skills and the ability to present information and findings
  • strong written and verbal communication skills
  • proven drive and integrity in relation to achieving work objectives
  • ability to establish positive working relationships with team members and stakeholders

Professional pathway

The Professional pathway offers you the opportunity to focus your career in a particular area. Throughout the 10 month program you will have a single placement allowing you to specialise and develop your skills in a supportive work environment. You may have the opportunity to customise your 10 month placement if you have the support of your supervisor and there is a business requirement.

To apply for this pathway you should have a comprehensive understanding of contemporary issues and practices related to your professional area of expertise or technical discipline.

You must also have a degree in:

  • allied health, such as social work
  • communication
  • data analytics
  • finance
  • human resources
  • information and communication technology
  • law

Read more about our program requirements including skill and degree requirements.


Our program places graduates throughout our organisation. Depending on whether you enter through the Generalist or Professional pathway, your placement experience will be different.

In the Generalist pathway you could experience a range of projects and tasks, such as:

  • liaison with other government departments
  • policy development supporting the government's agenda
  • service delivery reviews and improvements
  • draft and coordinate Question Time Briefs, Senate Estimates and Ministerial briefs, speeches and presentations
  • contribute to Annual Reports
  • develop Risk Management and Business Continuity Plans
  • support the Minister, Secretary and the Executive

In the Professional pathway you could experience a range of projects and tasks such as:

  • an Allied Health Professional may help inform the eligibility for payments and are responsible for assessing individuals with medical, psychological and social barriers to employment, and where appropriate refer customers to programs of assistance
  • as a Communication Professional, your work in the Communication area may see you prepare multi-media content, liaising with journalists, research, media monitoring and supporting our spokespeople
  • as a Data Analytics Professional, you may work on strategic forecasting, trend analysis and reporting to support service delivery and customer outcomes. We are one of Australia’s largest data and information stores in an area of rapidly developing attention and interest using new and emerging technologies. You may work in areas that include:
    • data analysis, research and trend reporting to support strategic forecasting
    • information and data management
    • fraud investigations and compliance
    • data analysis relevant to service delivery and policy
  • a Finance Professional may work in the CFO Division and gain skills in one or more key functions of the Division, including:
    • costing
    • statutory reporting
    • asset reporting
    • budgeting
    • financial governance
    • corporate services
    • taxation
    • treasury
  • as a Human Resource Professional you may work as a human resource consultant or rehabilitation case manager
  • as an Information and Communication Technology graduate, your work in ICT could include working on mobile apps, providing better management systems for customer records and interfaces for staff
  • as a Legal Professional your work could involve interpreting and applying the law in a range of contexts, providing advice on legal issues which affect our customers and which relate to privacy and freedom of information.

Indigenous and Multicultural Placement

Our Indigenous and Multicultural Placement is a unique part of our program and a life changing experience. This specialty placement helps develop an understanding of the issues experienced by our customers in remote Indigenous and multicultural communities and the complexities of service delivery in these areas.

Once you join us, you can apply for this 3 month placement.

The Indigenous placement moves graduates to places like Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns or Darwin for 3 months.

The Multicultural Placement moves graduates to Sydney for 3 months.

Watch the following video to learn about Michelle's experience on this placement.

Outbound Journey

As a compulsory element of our program, the Outbound Journey gives you the opportunity to see how the work you do makes a difference to the services we deliver to Australians.

On the 3 day placement, you will work in a service centre or smart centre to experience the service delivery environment first hand. With more than 600 offices across the country, the outbound journey is an experience unique to our program.

Development opportunities

We have a range of formal and informal training and development opportunities to help you grow and create a career you're proud of. During our 10 month program you will have the chance to take part in a variety of learning and training including:

  • Australian Public Service Commission events
  • attending Senate Estimates and Question Time during parliamentary sittings
  • organising and participating in department wide and graduate program events
  • opportunities delivered in online and face to face methods
  • on the job experiences
  • the chance to grow with the support of a Senior Executive Service mentor

These activities and training opportunities will:

  • strengthen your networking skills
  • develop your career
  • expose you to our operations
  • broaden your understanding of the APS and the Australian Parliamentary process

Accredited learning

You will be required to undertake an accredited training course. Previous intakes have participated in the Diploma of Government. This addresses the function and operation of the Australian Government, as well as rules and guidelines to help you transition into the public service.

We don't encourage you to continue studying whilst on the program, other than the training we provide. We may support you in further study once you complete the program.

Support, SES mentors and buddies

We provide you with a Graduate Coordinator to work closely with you and a Senior Executive Service mentor, supervisor and graduate buddy to ensure you have everything you need to complete the program.

We team you with an SES mentor to help you learn about our department, our culture, and for support and guidance with your career and personal objectives.

We make your time on the program a successful and rewarding experience.

Watch the video to learn more about what an SES mentor offers you.


Orientation is a compulsory part of the program. Held in Canberra in the first 2 weeks of the program, orientation is an opportunity for you to get to know the rest of the intake and meet the program team.

During these 2 weeks you will also begin your accredited training, attend workshops and learn about us and how you fit within the department.

Watch our video about the experiences our graduates have at orientation to know what to expect.

Compulsory elements

There are a number of compulsory elements you'll need to take part in to successfully graduate from our program.

These include:

  • a 2 week orientation
  • accredited training course
  • a Graduate presentation to our senior executive. You will work with others in the program to develop innovative solutions to policy issues and present your ideas to our executive
  • the Outbound Journey, and
  • meeting current employment standards, such as probation and regular performance reviews

Once you complete the program you move to the APS5 classification level.


On successful completion of the program, you will progress to APS 5 classification level with a salary of $69,699.

If you successfully complete the program and are engaged in ICT, legal or professional streams, as identified in our Enterprise Agreement, you will be eligible for advancement within the APS 5 broadbands.

Meet our graduates

Learn more about the experiences you could have on our program and meet our previous graduates.

Contact us

You can contact us through our dedicated graduate email address humanservicesNGP@chandlermacleod.com, phone 1800 242 560 or connect with us on Facebook.

Page last updated: 2 May 2016

This information was printed Friday 28 October 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/corporate/careers/national-graduate-program/about-national-graduate-program It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.