Frequently Asked Questions


For the Graduate Program, can I apply for multiple career streams?

Yes, you can apply for any speciality career streams you think you are suited for. Just remember to select the Department of Education as your preferred agency to be considered for a role with us.

How many applications do you get?

On average the Australian Public Service receives over 5,500 applications, with over 1,000 graduate positions to fill across multiple agencies.

Can I apply in my final year of studies?

Yes, as long as you have successfully completed your degree by the commencement of the Program in February. If successful, you will be required to provide the official transcript of your academic results as evidence you have completed your degree.

What if I graduated some time ago?

Our Graduate Program recruit people who have completed their Bachelor's degree within the past five years. Our past cohorts have been made up of a broad demographic of graduates; some who join us have just finished their degree while others join us after having spent some time in the workforce.

I missed out last year, should I apply again?

Yes! As long as you meet the eligibility criteria you can reapply, and we encourage those with an interest in the work of the department to do so.

How are applications assessed?

Applications are assessed using the APS Work Level Standards – APS Level 3. Make sure to review these to gain an understanding of the work requirements and qualities we are looking for.

What APS classification will I start at?

Graduates will start at the APS level 3 and advance to the APS level 5 upon successful completion of the program. It is a condition of graduates’ employment that they meet all of the requirements of the Graduate Program to advance to the higher classification. These will be outlined in your letter of offer.

Will I be a permanent employee?

Graduates are engaged as ongoing (permanent) employees within the APS, subject to a probationary period of six months which applies to all new starters at the department.

Can I do the graduate program from a State Office?

Most of our graduate positions are based in Canberra. There may be a small number of positions that are located in our state offices. State placements would be allocated on a case-by-case basis including business and operational requirements, appropriate skillset and office support infrastructure.

If successful, when would I be expected to commence?

Our Graduate Program is expected to commence in February each year.

Will I receive help with relocation?

Yes. If successful and you reside interstate, the department will provide relocation assistance to support your move to Canberra. Relocation assistance is intended to assist with relocation costs, but it is important to note it may not cover all the costs of your relocation.

What security requirements must I meet?

All graduates must obtain a baseline security clearance, and the department will guide you through the process of obtaining your clearance as part of your onboarding.

How are placements determined?

As a graduate, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department. Placements are determined by business and operational requirements. Regardless of where you are placed, you will gain broad exposure to the range of the department's work.

Can I undertake further study while undertaking the graduate program?

The focus in the graduate year is learning on the job, getting used to working in the APS and successfully completing all the requirements of the graduate program, including the formal learning and development requirements. Any applications for assistance to undertake further study under the department’s Studies Assistance Guidelines should generally be deferred until after completion of the Program.

What type of work will I be doing as a graduate?

We work on many aspects of the government's agenda. Our work is delivered increasingly through a project-based model. 

Graduates have exposure to, and work on a wide range of initiatives including a wide variety of programs and policies developed and implemented by the department. Some of the things you may be doing include:

  • Contributing to policy and evaluation documents,
  • Liaising with internal and external stakeholders,
  • Participating in research and analysis,
  • Preparing Ministerial documents and Executive briefings,
  • Undertaking program and contract management,
  • Undertaking tasks relevant to your specialist graduate stream.
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