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 offer you opportunities to use the skills and knowledge you gained during university and work to contribute to the design, development, delivery, coordination and monitoring of a range of government services. These include social security, child support, students, families, aged care, health programs and superannuation release to the community on behalf of the Australian Government.

You will have access to a range of personal and professional development opportunities, a mentor and special events.


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

You can apply for the Generalist pathway, Professional pathway or both. However, you can only participate in 1 pathway when you join the program and you can't change pathways once you’ve started.

Generalist pathway

The Generalist pathway is for you if:

  • you don’t have a particular professional area where you’d like to work
  • your degree doesn’t fit into a particular discipline identified in the Professional pathway disciplines

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 don’t need to have a specific degree. 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 with team members and stakeholders
  • support for a workplace culture that values diversity, respect and inclusion

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 one area. 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 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
  • law

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


Graduates are placed across our organisation. Your placement will depend on whether you enter through the Generalist or Professional pathway.

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

  • liaising with other government departments
  • developing policy that supports the government's agenda
  • assisting with and contributing to service delivery reviews and improvements
  • drafting and coordinating Question Time, Senate Estimates and Ministerial briefs, speeches and presentations
  • contributing to annual reports
  • developing risk management and business continuity plans
  • supporting our Minister, Secretary and the Executive

The work you will do while in the Professional pathway will depend on which of the 6 disciplines you choose:

  • Allied Health projects and tasks:
    • assess individuals for medical, psychological and social barriers that may impact on employment options
    • refer customers to programs relating to social welfare support
    • inform individuals of their eligibility for social welfare payments
  • Communication projects and tasks:
    • prepare multi-media content for internal and external audiences
    • liaise with journalists
    • undertake research
    • media monitoring
    • support our departmental spokespeople
  • Data Analytics projects and tasks:
    • strategic forecasting including data analysis, research and trend reporting
    • information and data management
    • fraud investigations and compliance
    • data analysis relevant to service delivery and policy
  • Finance projects and tasks:
    • costing
    • statutory reporting
    • asset reporting
    • budgeting
    • financial governance
    • corporate services
    • taxation
    • treasury
  • Human Resources projects and tasks:
    • strategic and functional HR work
    • provide advice, support and guidance
    • assist with the delivery of a range of HR functions and strategic projects
  • Legal projects and tasks:
    • interpret and apply the law in a range of contexts
    • provide advice on legal issues
    • advise on privacy and freedom of information claims for customer compensation, Freedom of Information requests, information release, Ombudsman liaison and privacy
    • deliver legal services to our department

Compulsory elements

There are compulsory elements you'll need to take part in to successfully graduate from the program.

These include:

  • a 2 week orientation
  • an 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
  • a short term outbound journey
  • meeting current employment standards, such as probation and regular performance reviews.

Indigenous and Multicultural Placement

The Indigenous and Multicultural Placement is a unique part of the program and a life changing experience. This specialty placement helps graduates 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 our department, you can apply for this 3 month placement through a competitive, merit-based process.

If successful you will temporarily relocate to locations such as Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns or Darwin.

The Multicultural Placement temporarily relocates graduates to Sydney.

Outbound Journey

As a compulsory part of the 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. We have more than 600 offices across the country, and the outbound journey is an experience unique to the program.

Development opportunities

The program offers formal and informal training and development opportunities to help you grow and create a career with unlimited opportunities. During our 10 month program you will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of learning including:

  • Australian Public Service Commission events
  • attending Senate Estimates and Question Time during parliamentary sittings
  • organising and participating in department wide and graduate specific development activities
  • on the job experiences
  • the support of a Senior Executive Service mentor

These opportunities will:

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

Accredited learning

You have to complete 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 or start additional study whilst on the program, other than the training provided. 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 your supervisor to ensure you have everything you need to complete the program successfully.

We will match you with a graduate buddy to help you settle into your workplace and the APS.

We team you with a SES mentor to help you learn about our department and culture. They can also provide support and guidance with your career and personal objectives.


Orientation is compulsory and held in Canberra in the first 2 weeks of the program. This opportunity for you to get to know the rest of the graduate 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.


The department offers 2 pay points for graduates. The pay point you are eligible for will depend on your qualification level.

If you have completed an undergraduate degree your salary will be $56,069.

If you have completed a double degree or have a higher qualification your salary will be $62,493.

If you successfully complete the program, you will advance to an APS 5 classification level with a salary of $69,699.

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

Please note our Enterprise Agreement is currently being negotiated and salaries may change once the new agreement is finalised.

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: 11 October 2017