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FAQ: APS Indigenous graduate program

When do applications close?

Applications closed at 12:30 pm AEST on Monday, 12 May 2014.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for consideration through the Graduate 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 between March 2010 and January 2015.

What documents will I need to upload with my online application?
For your application to be submitted, you will need to provide evidence to satisfy the eligibility requirements. You are required to arrange electronic copies of 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

How do I confirm I am of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent?

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 to confirm that you are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent 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

If you have applied for your Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage and will not receive it before the application closing date, you will need to submit interim evidence. This includes:

  • A letter or email from the Indigenous organisation where you have applied, confirming that you have applied for your Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage document with their organisation and are awaiting approval.

Please note that the documentation you submit must be in your name. For more information on obtaining a Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage, please visit:

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 was completed between March 2010 and January 2015, you are still eligible to apply for the Program.

What does the APS Indigenous Graduate Program look for in its graduates?

In an increasingly challenging environment, the APS needs innovative, flexible graduates with good academic and interpersonal skills. We assess applicants 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.
In addressing the selection criteria of the application, be sure to respond to each sub question listed. This will assist you in structuring your response and ensure that you are providing assessors with detailed information on your skills and experience. Also, select detailed examples that demonstrate your ability to:

  • Supports strategic direction – eg. utilising information that you have researched; following direction and understanding where your task fits in the overall goal.
  • Achieves results – eg. planning and completing a task, wisely using resources such as people, money and tools.
  • Supports productive working relationships – eg. team work; respecting diversity; listening and helping others.
  • Displays personal drive and integrity – eg. professionalism; self-awareness, taking responsibility for a task; acknowledging mistakes and applying lessons learned.
  • Communicates with influence – eg. good spelling and grammar; well-structured responses.

For more detailed information on the ILS, click here.
Keeping in mind, that your application is the first opportunity you have to provide evidence of your current skills and experiences against the expected capabilities.

How many positions are available?

The Australian Public Service Commission (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 according to individual agency workforce requirements.
Please visit the ‘participating agencies’ page of the Commission’s website to obtain a full list of participating agencies that are looking to employ graduates through our recruitment process in 2015.

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 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

Is the APS graduate salary competitive?

Salaries vary between individual APS departments and agencies and may range from $50,471 to $76,428. Please note that the salary outlined is only indicative of Graduate APS/APS 3 remuneration rates across APS agencies. The actual salary payable to participants will be in accordance with the provisions of the employing agency.

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 additional learning and development opportunities and 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 within the agency. The APS classification and salary progression varies between agencies. If you would like to know more about employment conditions in APS agencies, research their Enterprise Agreements. There will also be opportunities to talk about this with employing agencies during the assessment process.

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 Commission’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. The Commission 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 on 3-4 June 2014. Particularly for applicants who reside outside of Canberra, the Commission will endeavour to provide you at least two weeks’ notice to confirm your attendance. When you have confirmed your attendance to the assessment centre, you will be sent information on how to best prepare for the day.

I submitted my application but did not receive a confirmation email. What do I do?

Contact the Commission urgently on 1300 656 959 or email to check if the application has been received.

How do I get to the assessment centre?

Depending on your location, the Commission will provide assistance with transport to the assessment centre. This may include arranging return flights to Canberra and transport to and from Canberra airport to the assessment centre. Flights will booked according to your individual assessment schedule and unless there exceptional circumstances, these will not be amended. Your flight itinerary and travel details will be emailed to you.

For those located in Canberra and the surrounding region, you will be expected to find your own way to the assessment centre.

What happens at an assessment centre?

When you arrive at the assessment centre, a member of the Commission’s Indigenous Employment Team will complete a quick registration process which will involve checking originals of documents you have uploaded with your online application as well as providing you with your individual assessment times.

Assessment activities will consist of a panel interview, written exercise and a group exercise with fellow applicants. All activities will be assessed against the ILS capabilities at the APS 3 and APS 4 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.

What happens after the assessment centre?

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 may 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 notify you via email. 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.

When will I know if I am successful in gaining a graduate position with the APS?

At this stage, it is expected that employing agencies will be making offers of employment between July and October 2014. Exact details will be provided during the assessment process.

Security clearance

Many agencies will require you to obtain a security clearance before you can commence your employment with them. There will be opportunities to discuss this further with employing agencies during the assessment centre but all candidates are strongly encouraged to review the information required at:

The process can be quite time consuming if you do not have all of the required documents ready to go.

Who do I contact if I need to withdraw my application?

Please notify a member of the Commission’s Indigenous Employment Team immediately if you choose 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 Commission’s Indigenous Employment Team:
Phone: 1300 656 009

Page ID: 6739

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