FAQ: APS Indigenous graduate program
What are the eligibility requirements?
To be eligible for consideration through this Program, there are two main eligibility requirements:
- You must be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
- You must be graduating or have graduated* from a recognised Australian university institution with, at minimum, an undergraduate degree by February 2014
*If you have previously graduated, your degree must have been completed within the last five years (2009).
Please note that it is mandatory to provide evidence to satisfy the eligibility requirements.
We strongly recommend that you arrange the following documentation in preparation of completing your online application:
- Your confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage document;
- Your most recent academic transcript or your graduation certificate;
- Resume; and
- A scanned copy of your photographic identification.
What is a ‘confirmation’ document and how do I apply for one?
As per subsection 8(1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 these positions are restricted to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. When completing your application, you must attach evidence of your Indigenous heritage otherwise your application will not be accepted.
Acceptable evidence includes:
- A letter signed by the Chairperson of an incorporated Indigenous organisation confirming that you are recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, or
- A confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent form executed by an Indigenous organisation
The following organisations may be able to assist you with obtaining this evidence:
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: www.aiatsis.gov.au/fhu/aboriginality.html
- Link-Up: aiatsis.gov.au/fhu/documents/6LinkupServices.pdf
- Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations: orac.gov.au/
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation: www.naccho.org.au/
Can I apply for the APS Indigenous Graduate Program if I have applied before?
We understand that various circumstances may have prevented you from performing your best on previous occasions, so we welcome repeat applications. As long as your degree has been completed in the last five years, you are still eligible for the Program.
When do applications close?
Applications for the 2014 Indigenous Pathways Graduate program have now closed.
What does the APS Indigenous Graduate Program look for in its graduates?
To be successful in gaining a graduate position in the APS, we need you to demonstrate a number of key competencies during the assessment process. These are based on the APS’ Integrated Leadership System (ILS). The ILS is a document that describes the qualities and behaviours expected across the different classifications of the APS. For the purpose of the Graduate Program, selection criteria answers will be assessed against the APS 3 classification.
We strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the ILS (link below) to assist you in addressing the selection criteria. Keeping in mind, that your answers are the first opportunity you have to provide evidence of your current skills and experiences against the expected capabilities.
How many positions are available?
The APSC (the Commission) coordinates this recruitment campaign on behalf of a number of APS departments and agencies; therefore the number of participating agencies and positions available can vary from year to year according to individual agency workforce requirements.
For the most up to date list, keep an eye on the ‘participating agencies’ section of the APSC website throughout the recruitment process.
Where are positions located?
The number of placements in locations across Australia varies from year to year. It is important to note that most graduate positions are located in Canberra; however there are a number of participating agencies that have regional offices around Australia, so opportunities to gain a graduate placement outside of Canberra is definitely a possibility.
Does the APS assist successful graduates with relocation?
Most APS agencies will offer relocation assistance to their graduates; however the amount of assistance will vary amongst agencies. A good place to find information about individual relocation policies is to research entitlements under the agency’s Enterprise Agreement, which can be found on the respective agency website. A full list of Australian Government departments and agencies can be found at Australia.gov.au.
Is the APS graduate salary competitive?
Salaries vary between individual APS departments and agencies. Graduate salaries are expected to start from $50,000 in 2013. You will find information about salaries in agency Enterprise Agreements.
What sort of training will I receive?
Most graduate development programs run for one year and offer opportunities for:
- On the job training: You may undertake work rotations in different areas of the agency, designed to develop your understanding of its overall business
- Graduate development programs: Each department has its own graduate development program with training specific to their portfolio and business activities. These can include government policy processes, APS Values and Code and Conduct, project management, professional writing, and interpersonal skills.
As a participant of the Pathways program, you will also be able to access networking activities with current and previous Indigenous graduates during your graduate year.
What are my career prospects after the Program?
On successful completion of your agency’s graduate development program, you will be offered a permanent position in the APS. APS classification and salary progression from graduate classifications vary between agencies. If you would like to know more about employment conditions in APS agencies, research their Enterprise Agreements.
After your application has been submitted
I have applied for the APS Indigenous Graduate Program—what happens next?
If your application is submitted correctly using the APSC's online application system, you should receive an automatically-generated email to let you know that it has been received. The Commission will then conduct the shortlisting process, after the specified closing date, whereby written applications are assessed. We will send an email notification within two weeks as to whether you have been selected to progress onto further assessment.
If your application has been shortlisted, you will be required to complete a written assessment online before being invited to attend a one day assessment centre in Canberra. The assessment centre is scheduled to be held in May 2013. Particularly for applicants who reside outside of Canberra, the Commission will endeavour to provide you at least two weeks’ notice to confirm your attendance.
What does the written assessment involve?
If your application is shortlisted, you will be contacted (through the email you provided on your application), and requested to select the most appropriate date and time to complete a written exercise online.
The written task will involve you analysing some information to produce a short written report. All the necessary information will be provided to you on the day. Please be aware that the Commission will not progress your application any further until you have completed the written task.
What happens at an assessment centre?
When you have confirmed your attendance to the assessment centre, you will be sent information on how to best prepare for the day. For those applicants located outside of Canberra, you will also be your flight itinerary and travel details. The Commission will arrange the flights to Canberra and also transport to get you from the Canberra airport to the assessment centre and back. Flights will booked according to your individual assessment schedule and unless there exceptional circumstances, these will not be amended.
When you arrive at the assessment centre, a member of the Indigenous Employment Team will complete a quick registration process which will involve citing originals of documents you have uploaded with your online application as well as your individual assessment times. Assessments will consist of a panel interview and a group activity with fellow applicants. All assessments will be marked against the ILS capabilities at the APS 3 level.
During the day, you will also have the opportunity to attend an expo hosted by the participating Agencies. In an informal setting, you will be able to discuss the business of their agency, the kind of work you might be doing, advice about salary and conditions, employment locations and anything else you might want to know. It is also a great way to establish contact and network with potential employers.
When will I know if I am successful in gaining a graduate position with the APS?
This current recruitment process is for an intake of graduates commencing employment in 2014.
As mentioned earlier, the APSC conducts the assessment on behalf of participating Australian Government agencies. Once assessment activities are completed, a report will be prepared detailing your feedback from the assessment activities. This report will be provided to employing agencies, who will then contact you directly if they are considering offering you a graduate position. This provides employers with a chance to see if you are a good fit for their organisation and establish whether your interests match the position/s they are seeking to fill. Once we have received written confirmation of an Agency’s intention of make you a formal offer, we will email you immediately. For this reason, it is imperative that you keep the Commission informed of any changes to your contact details, especially email and phone number. Please keep in mind that during this offers stage, you may receive a number of calls during peak activities either at study, work and/or home. It is in your best interest to take calls and return phone messages if you want the best possible employment outcome.
Further, in order to commence a graduate position within some agencies, you may be required to obtain a security clearance. However this information will be specified by the employing agency in their discussions with you during the offers process. Security clearances can greatly delay your start date so it is essential that, if requested to, you complete the necessary paperwork correctly and in a timely manner to expedite the process.
More information on Security Clearances: http://www.defence.gov.au/agsva/
Who do I contact if I need to withdraw my application?
Please notify a member of the APSC's Indigenous Employment Team immediately if you would like to withdraw your application.
What if I have a question that isn't answered here?
If you have any questions or concerns during the process, please phone or email the APSC's Indigenous Employment Team:
Phone: 1300 656 009