Graduate and Entry Level Programs

'The Graduate Program provided me with the support, connections and career opportunities to be able to achieve as much as I have and deliver real and innovative change to support the department and the Australian public’ – Jason Younes, 2017 graduate

Entry Level Programs

Our Entry Level Programs offer pathways and opportunities for participants to launch a successful career in the Australian Public Service

Why join us?

If you are interested in making a difference by working on issues that matter while launching your career in the Australian Public Service, join us!

We offer a range of Entry Level Programs.

Use your degree in ways you never imagined.

We are looking for graduates from all degree disciplines to join us. 

Our graduate program is a great way for you to transition from education to employment. We know firsthand the significance of this milestone and you’ll find our graduate program connects you to friendly, experienced professionals who will help you apply your skills and knowledge as you start your career pathway in life. Learn more about our Graduate Program.

Specialist Graduate Programs – Australian Government Career Pathways (AGCP)

The department also works collaboratively with other APS agencies to recruit talented individuals through specialist graduate and entry level programs. These programs are coordinated centrally by AGGP.

We participate in the following AGCP specialist streams:

Applications for the 2024 AGCP specialist streams open from March 2023.

Other entry level pathways include: 

IAGDP is a 12-month entry-level employment and development program open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in working in the Australian Public Service. Participants have the opportunity to complete a Diploma of Government qualification while working full time.

Run by the Department of Finance, the Career Starters Program is for students who have recently completed Year 12. This program offers mentoring and on-the-job experience to make the transition from school into the workforce a great experience.

This program supports participants to build their capability by providing training qualifications to help develop both personally and professionally at any life stage. If you are interested in starting a career in the Australian Public Service, re-joining the workforce or taking your career in a new direction, the Australian Government Apprenticeship Program may be a great option for you.

Our HR School Leavers Program provides opportunities for Year 12 graduates to enter a Human Resource (HR) career in the Australian Public Service (APS).

Competitive Remuneration

The department offers excellent employment conditions with competitive remuneration, superannuation and employee leave and allowance entitlements. This available in our Enterprise Agreement and Determination

A strong foundation to kick-start your APS career

You will complete our entry level programs with a strong foundation and the necessary skills to kick start your career in the APS.

You will have the opportunity to develop transferable technical skills (writing, presentation and systems) and inter and intrapersonal skills including communication skills, strategic and innovative thinking, problem solving, stakeholder engagement, and research capabilities. You will have experienced the processes of government and working within legislative frameworks.

You will also have the opportunity to grow your professional and personal network.

Relocation assistance when you move to Canberra

The department will provide reasonable relocation assistance for successful incoming graduates and entry Level participants who are required to relocate to Canberra to take up employment with the department. 

Relocation assistance is intended to assist with relocation costs, but it is important to note it may not cover all of the costs of your relocation.

Additionally, the department provides temporary accommodation (time limited) for incoming graduates designed to assist you with accommodation if your permanent property is not available, or you have not secured permanent accommodation upon arrival to Canberra. Relocation Guidelines outlining the conditions will be provided on formal acceptance into the program.

‘The relocation assistance offered by the department made the move down from the NSW Central Coast surprisingly easy and stress free. While I was still looking for a place, the department provided temporary accommodation in a serviced apartment right in the heart of the city. I felt completely at ease with the move and totally looked after. There was no need unmet.’ - Carissa, 2020 Graduate

A diverse and inclusive culture

We are committed to diversity and inclusion. Our commitment is demonstrated by the size and presence of our employee-led networks. These networks, which focus on disability, LGBTIQ, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, gender equality, and cultural heritage, ­are very active and work towards strengthening our workplace inclusiveness. We are also a member of Pride in Diversity, Diversity Council Australia and Australian Network on Disability.

The department welcomes applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, mature-age people and people with disability, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity. Additionally, we also work with other APS agencies to recruit through the programs they offer including the Indigenous Graduate Program facilitated by the Australian Public Service Commission.

We strive to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian community and recognises the important knowledge and skills Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples bring to the work we do.

By embracing these strengths, we help create culturally responsive environments where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are empowered to achieve their full potential in the workplace.

The department promotes a culture where Indigenous business is everyone’s business ― across its work practices, values and business. Employees are also supported through the provision of a number of learning opportunities to build their cultural capability. 

The department is committed to supporting the employment and career development of people with disability. Our participation in the APS RecruitAbility Scheme means we will progress an applicant with disability to a further stage in the recruitment process, where they opt into the scheme and meet the minimum requirements for the position.   

Live in Canberra

Our department’s national office is located in Canberra and we are proud to live and work in one of the most liveable cities in Australia!  Learn more about living and working in Canberra.

Contact us  

Phone: 02 6121 5000
Email:  entrylevel@dese.gov.au

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Use your degree in ways you never imagine #desegradprogram
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Career Pathways 2023 Graduate Program
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Career Pathways - Australian Government Apprenticeship Program
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Australia Top 100 Graduate Employers
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Top 100 Finalist 2021 Financial Review
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2021 AGRIAS Winner
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Australian Network on Disability
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Diversity Council Australia
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Pride in diversity

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