Frequently Asked Questions


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

Yes, you can apply for any speciality career stream(s) 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 or higher 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 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. Our recruitment is merit based and does not discriminate based on age, gender, race or ethnicity or having a disability.

I missed out last year, should I apply again?

Yes! As long as you meet the eligibility criteria you can reapply. Candidates who remain interested in working with in the department, particularly those who are completing their studies or undertaking relevant work experience, should consider applying again in the future.

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 in the Graduate Program you will start at the APS level 3 and may 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.

Refer to Department of Education and Training Enterprise Agreement 2016–19 and Department of Education and Training Section 24(1) Determination for more information.

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).

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 state-based. State placements would be allocated on a case-by-case basis including business and operational requirements, appropriate skillset and office support infrastructure.

If the position is based in Canberra, you will need to relocate to Canberra to participate in the graduate program.

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. We do not assist with international relocations, but if you return to Australia from overseas, we assist with relocation from your nominated state or territory to Canberra.

Where will I be working?

Most graduate positions are based in Canberra and staff work from a number of offices located in the CBD.

State offices are typically located in the CBD of the corresponding location.

What security requirements must I meet?

All graduates must undertake a full security clearance at the Baseline level. This process must commence prior to commencement.

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.

The intent of the graduate program is to utilise the ten months to learn about working in the APS, undertake on the job learning, through two different placements, complete the formal learning and development and once you successfully complete the program, launch your career as you settle into a career direction.

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.

After successful completion of the graduate program, you may be eligible to apply for Study Assistance if you wish to undertake further study.

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. As a graduate in the Graduate Program, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department.

Our graduates have exposure and work on a wide range of work including working on a 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, developing and maintaining stakeholder relationships, and liaising with stakeholders, research and analysis, program and contract management. Stream graduates will undertake work specifically related to their stream.

Placements are based on the business and operational requirements of the department. Placements are across all areas of the department.

The Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms symbol with the words: Australian Government – Department of Education. 2024 Graduate Program – supporting Australians to achieve their potential through education. Join us! #empowerED #2024grads
Australian Network on Disability
Diversity Council Australia
Pride in Diversity logo

The department has consistently featured in the Top 100 Graduate Employer rankings over the past several years. This achievement highlights our active commitment to supporting talented graduates, helping them to expand their skills and experience, and reach their full potential.