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Graduate Development Program

Our Graduate Development Program is for university undergraduates interested in a career in the Australian Public Service (APS).

Why join our department?

We offer graduates the opportunity to work in a department that supports economic growth and job creation for all Australians. We:

  • boost Australia’s competitiveness and economic transformation by backing business, science, innovation and investment
  • deliver policies and programs to reduce emissions, increase renewable energy uptake and help Australia adapt to climate change
  • rely on building strong relationships between businesses, entrepreneurs, employees, the science community, government, regulators and international partners

See what our graduates say


Q: Why were you inspired to join the department?

Seb: I was inspired to join the department because of the breadth of the portfolio. I think in no other department do you get to work across so many different interesting things that are important to Australia's future.

Jamie: The reason I was inspired to join the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources was the diverse work that the department does to help support economic growth. After studying economics at uni I knew how important businesses were, how important the resources sector was to the economy and I knew I wanted to work in a place where I could follow policy. From writing the policy documents all the way through to program implementation.

CY: The department's work just seems like a really good fit for me and you know, before I signed up for the grad program I had read lots of reviews online and I could see that the department was a really good place to work. So it was a sort of alignment between my own personal interests in terms of what I wanted to do at work but also knowing that I would be coming to work for an organisation that was a really good work environment.

Q: What motivates you to come to work each day?

Seb: You get access to heaps of challenging opportunities, lots of... a strong culture of learning and development and you get to be around a lot of interesting, smart, dedicated people.

Jamie: What motivates me is that we all are working towards the same goal, we all want economic growth and prosperity for Australians and we all work in our own way on our own programs to do that.

CY: I really enjoy working with my colleagues. Many of the people I've have had the chance to work with over the course of the past two years are credibly enthusiastic, kind, passionate about the public service. So it's definitely a very inspiring environment to work for.

Q: What opportunities were you exposed to during your rotations?

Seb: I was exposed to heaps of opportunities in my rotations, ones that I'd never expect. So I started off in defence industry policy, which was fascinating. And then I got to move into being an economic analyst, which was tremendously difficult. And now I get to work in strategic policies.

Jamie: As a graduate with the department I have been exposed to a plethora of opportunities. From sitting in an Innovation and Science Australia board meeting with billionaires who are angel investors in companies all over Australia, to emceeing the launch of the APS innovation month with their Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

CY: So I started in the industry growth division looking at health technologies, which was really aligned with my academic background. And then I went into the Office of Innovation and Science Australia. So getting to dabble a lot more on the technology policy side and innovation policy side. That is a big pillar for economic growth here in Australia.

Q: How was your transition into the department?

Seb: So it's a smooth transition into the department, and you get well supported by the employment programs team. You get lots of access to training modules, you get great supervision, people who are experienced in it and who are there to support you, so very easy and very smooth from my end.

CY: As you can imagine, it's quite a big organisation, so it can be a little bit daunting to get used to initially but we're all given a grad buddy, so someone who could mentor us and take us through the organisation and tell us about all the sort of tricks and insights about how to be successful in an organisation like this department. And certainly, you know, the graduate team and HR has been really supportive as well making sure that we have access to training that allowed us to develop the really core competencies and skills that really set us up well for a role in the organisation.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your time in the Graduate Program?

Seb: You get to lead your own grad major project, which has great exposure to the executive.

Jamie: The thing I've enjoyed most in my time in the graduate program is the diverse inclusion that was involved. It's not just about where you're from or your academic background, but it's also about diversity of thought, diversity of your culture, your language. And the department has a range of activities you can get involved in to support you in that.

CY: Having the opportunity to see sort of across the department what people were doing, what sort of issues we help with and lead on and also at the same time being able to bring my experiences and knowledge from one area to the next and hopefully helping to bring some new perspectives and solve some problems across the organisation as well.

Q: What would your advice be to someone joining the Graduate Program?

Jamie: By leaving university and moving to a new place I'm not giving up all the things that I used to love. At the department, there's a range of clubs, sporting groups. There's even a choir now where you can get involved in the community.

CY: If I have one piece of advice to offer it's to keep in mind that this is an organisation that really wants you to succeed. And that definitely changed the perspective for me.

Seb: The piece of advice that I'd give is that people aren't that scary. Approach people, ask for help, show initiative. It really pays dividends to be an entrepreneur with these things. The best opportunities you'll get are the ones you find yourself, not the ones that are thrown to you, so take charge.

Program benefits

The program gives you an opportunity to build on and use the skills you have gained during university through work that benefits Australians.

It offers:

  • a structured 12-month training and development program
  • 2 work placements to experience diverse roles and responsibilities across the department
  • starting salary of $67,094 plus 15.4% superannuation
  • advancement to APS 5 (current salary of $77,913 plus 15.4% superannuation) once you successfully complete the program
  • an optional 6-month career transition support after the program with tailored professional development activities

Program format

Our 12-month program provides on-the-job learning, formal training and networking opportunities.

During our program you will experience:

  • the opportunity to collaborate with other graduates on a major project tackling real-life policy issues
  • soft and technical skills training and on-the-job learning throughout the program

In addition, we’ll provide you with:

  • relocation assistance if you’re moving to Canberra
  • a buddy to help you transition to Canberra and the workplace
  • an extensive induction program so you can hit the ground running
  • a dedicated team who is here for you throughout the recruitment process and program

Program streams

We understand and appreciate that diverse experiences, backgrounds and insights help us deliver to the public and government.

You can contribute your unique skills by applying for all or any of our program streams.

Our generalist stream

We accept all disciplines of study. Our graduates come from a range of backgrounds, including economics, arts, commerce, public policy and administration, law and international relations.

Australian Government Graduate Program STEM stream

We are a participating agency in the Australian Government Graduate Program science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) stream.

Applying to the STEM stream means you only have to go through the application and selection process once to be considered for a range of Australian Government agencies.

Graduates in our agency will have the opportunity to work across multiple STEM fields such as:

  • women in STEM
  • international and national space negotiations and agreements
  • earth observations
  • robotics
  • neuromorphic engineering
  • chemical and biological analysis
  • electro technology

See what our Secretary says about our STEM stream.

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is proud to lead the Australian Government Graduate Program STEM.

We are looking for graduates with qualifications in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to join the Australian Public Service. Graduates in STEM fields have an important contribution to make. And STEM skills are increasingly in demand by employers.

Over the last year the impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 in particular, have shown the value of a highly skilled STEM workforce in developing solutions for response, recovery and long-term resilience.

With globalisation and technological advances changing the way we work, the number and scope of occupations requiring STEM skills is also increasing.

I am really pleased that this department is leading the STEM Stream for a second year.

There are fantastic STEM opportunities across the APS; from data and digital to engineering and science. From the Australian Space Agency to the Digital Transformation Agency. From CSIRO and Questacon to Defence Science and Technology, and from cyber security to trade and international econometrics.

There are just so many opportunities to work at the cutting edge of government policies and programs. If you are a candidate with STEM qualifications, we encourage you to consider a career in the APS, and lodge an application. We are particularly keen to hear from Women in STEM graduates. As graduates, you are the future of the public service and we want to embrace your expertise, fresh ideas, collaboration and leadership.

The great thing is, when your graduate year has ended, the opportunities don’t stop. You will have a permanent role in one of many Australian Government departments or agencies. We will continue to support your career development and offer study assistance for further training. You will have the opportunity to do work that has real impact on the livelihoods of Australians. You will be involved in significant projects and see the results of your work every day. And of course, it’s a great way to expand your career in any direction, with graduates enjoying exposure to extensive networks and influencers.

If all of this sounds like something you’d like to be part of, please apply now, and see where a career in the Australian Government can take you.

I’m Cathy Foley, I’m Australia’s Chief Scientist, and my role is to make sure that the government gets the best possible advice and evidence-based information on science and technology that really helps them make the best possible decisions. Taking into account all the other things that make the world go round.

These days, science and technology is absolutely critical to making everything work. We know that it touches every part of every aspect of government and so we need to have more and more science, technologists, and engineers even, coming into the public service so that they can provide their expertise and be able to help the APS make the best possible advice and recommendations to government.

One of the things that’s really amazing about working in the Australian Public Service is that there’s a whole breadth of areas that you can work in. Doesn’t matter whether it’s in Finance, in Agriculture, Health, Manufacturing, Mining, Energy, and it goes on. So therefore, that means you get a chance to work in a whole range of different areas and get that opportunity to see where you can make a difference, and where your passion is as well.

I really urge people who are interested in making a difference, being involved with policy, and wanting to see their STEM skills be used in ways which you just couldn’t dream of. Put your name forward, think about this as a real possible career for you because I know that you’ll find it really satisfying, and also provide a whole range of opportunities for you which you just can’t get anywhere else.

Our professional services streams

In 2022 we are offering 3 professional services streams for graduates with qualifications in these corporate services:

  • Finance
  • Law
  • Communications and marketing

Graduates in these streams will undertake work placements in their area of expertise for the duration of our program.

The APS has also established a professions-based model to build career paths for core professions. Different agencies lead the recruitment process for Australian Government Graduate Program professional services streams in:

  • Human resources (Australian Tax Office)
  • ICT (Digital Transformation Agency)


To apply, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen
  • have completed a minimum 3 year undergraduate degree within the last 5 years
  • be able to obtain and maintain a baseline security clearance
  • be prepared to relocate to Canberra

If your degree is from an overseas university, the National Office of Overseas Skill Recognition must recognise the qualification.

If you are applying for one of the professional service streams, you should hold a formal qualification in the relevant area.

Application process

Online applications are now open and will close 12 April 2021.

Apply for our graduate opportunities:

From there, the process may include:

  • a written pitch that shows your interest in working with us
  • an assessment centre with a group based activity, written task, and presentation
  • referee checks
  • an additional short phone or video interview for those applying through specialist streams

Read more

Connect with us

Contact us

  • Email employmentprograms [at]
  • Phone +61 2 6213 6501

See also

Last updated: 12 April 2021

Content ID: 811