About the National Graduate Program

Our National Graduate Program gives recent university graduates the opportunities to develop their career.

About the program

Our National Graduate Program offers unlimited opportunities.

We provide support to almost every Australian at some time in their life, and invite you to join us.

You’ll use the skills and knowledge gained during university and work to design, develop, deliver, coordinate and monitor a range of government services on behalf of the Australian Government.

These include:

  • social security
  • child support
  • students
  • families
  • aged care
  • health programs
  • superannuation release

You’ll have access to a range of personal and professional development opportunities, a mentor and get to participate in special events.


We offer 2 pathways into our graduate program. Both pathways allow you to apply your academic education and build your skills and experience.

You can apply for the Generalist pathway, Professional pathway or both. However, you can only participate in 1 pathway and can't change pathways after you start.

Generalist pathway

This pathway is for you if:

  • you don’t have a particular professional area where you’d like to work
  • your degree doesn’t match a Professional pathway discipline

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

You don’t need to have a specific degree to apply for this pathway. However you must have:

  • commitment to your ongoing development
  • proven initiative
  • ethical, adaptive and evidence based judgement
  • strong problem solving skills
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • the ability to establish positive working relationships
  • support for a workplace culture that values diversity, respect and inclusion

Professional pathway

The Professional pathway lets you focus your career in a particular area. Over the 10 month program you’ll have a single placement. This allows you to develop specialty skills. If you have a special interest, you may be able to customise your placement. You’ll need to make sure there’s a business need and have your supervisor’s support.

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

You must also have a degree in either:

  • communication
  • data analytics
  • finance
  • human resources
  • law
  • social work

Read more about who we are looking for.


We place graduates across our organisation. Your placement depends on which pathway you enter through.

Generalist pathway

In the Generalist pathway you may work on a range of projects and tasks, and could:

  • develop policy that supports the government's agenda and everyday Australians
  • support major ICT, compliance, communication and service delivery projects
  • contribute to service delivery reviews and improvements
  • develop and establish working relationships with stakeholders across government
  • liaise with providers, industry, research and consulting groups and the Australian community
  • draft and coordinate Question Time, Senate Estimates and Ministerial briefs, speeches and presentations
  • contribute to the annual report
  • develop risk management and business continuity plans
  • support our Minister, Secretary and the Executive

Professional pathway

The projects and tasks you do in the Professional pathway depend on which discipline you choose.


  • prepare multimedia content for internal and external audiences
  • liaise with journalists
  • undertake social research
  • monitor media
  • support our departmental spokespeople

Data analytics:

  • conduct strategic forecasting including data analysis, research and trend reporting
  • manage information and data
  • investigate fraud and compliance
  • analyse data relevant to service delivery and policy


  • track budget measures
  • prepare costing estimates
  • contribute to statutory reporting
  • undertake asset reporting
  • support financial governance arrangements
  • provide advice to business areas
  • report on taxation management
  • assist with administrated treasury functions

Human resources:

  • contribute to strategic HR work such as organisational culture
  • develop and implement new programs that build the capability of our staff
  • assist with the research, design and development of people policies
  • provide operational advice, support and guidance to business areas

Legal services:

  • interpret and apply the law in a range of contexts
  • provide advice on legal issues
  • advise on privacy and Freedom of Information (FOI) claims for customer compensation, FOI requests, information release, Ombudsman liaison and privacy
  • deliver legal services within the department

Social work:

  • assess individuals for medical, psychological and social barriers that impact employment options
  • crisis intervention
  • social casework
  • community engagement

Development opportunities

You’ll receive formal and informal training and development opportunities. This helps you grow and create a career with unlimited opportunities. During our 10 month program you’ll be able to take part in various activities including:

  • an orientation in Canberra when you first start
  • Australian Public Service Commission events
  • attending Senate Estimates
  • organising and participating in department wide events
  • a graduate presentation to some of our Senior Executive Service (SES) staff
  • exposure to diverse communities and the work of our frontline staff
  • formal training specific to your work area

These opportunities will help:

  • strengthen your networking skills
  • develop your career
  • expose you to our business
  • broaden your understanding of the Australian Public Service (APS) and Australian Parliamentary processes

Indigenous and Multicultural Placement

This specialty placement is a unique opportunity to take part in a life changing experience. It will develop your understanding of the issues experienced by our customers in remote Indigenous and multicultural communities. It will also show you the complexities of service delivery in these areas.

You can apply for this 3 month placement through a competitive, merit-based process as part of your graduate program.

If successful, you’ll temporarily move to a location such as:

  • Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns or Darwin for the Indigenous placement
  • Sydney for the multicultural placement

Outbound experience

You’ll see how the work you do makes a difference to the services we deliver.

Over 3 days, you’ll work in a local Service Centre or Smart Centre and be part of the service delivery environment first hand. This experience is unique to the graduate program.

Support, buddies and a SES mentor

A graduate coordinator will work with you and your supervisor to make sure you have what you need to complete the program.

We’ll match you with a buddy before you start. This will help you settle into your workplace and the Australian Public Service. Your buddy will be a graduate from a previous intake.

We’ll team you with a Senior Executive Service (SES) mentor to help you learn about our department and culture. They can also support and guide you with career and personal objectives.

Compulsory elements

Some of the development activities are compulsory parts of the program. This includes the orientation in Canberra where you will learn about us and how you fit into the department. Depending on your placement, you may have to do specific training to help you with your job.

As a graduate you’ll have to meet employment standards, such as probation and regular performance reviews. Your supervisor and Graduate Coordinator will make sure you’re supported through these processes.


We offer 2 pay points for graduates. The pay point you’re eligible for depends on your qualification level.

If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree (recognised as Level 7 through the Australian Qualifications Framework) your salary will be $57,752.

If you’ve completed a double degree or have a higher qualification (recognised as Level 8 or above through the Australian Qualifications Framework) your salary will be $64,368.

If you successfully complete the program, you’ll advance to an APS5 classification level within your relevant job stream with a salary of $73,226. More details can be found in our Enterprise Agreement.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the program, we have a team of people who can help you.

Contact us by:

Page last updated: 5 July 2018