Recruitment pathways

Last updated: 30 Sep 2015

This page is: current

Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

Entry level programs

Many people start their career with the Australian Government through an 'entry-level' program such as a graduate, cadetship, or traineeship position. These programs can provide people with limited or no prior experience with a range of development activities to equip them for a longer-term career in the APS.

A number of agencies conduct annual entry-level bulk recruitment programs that other agencies can tap into. There are three main types of employment program:

  • Graduate programs are for people who have recently completed a university bachelor's qualification (or higher). Participants will usually undertake a Diploma-level qualification and work rotations in their first year to learn about the business of the employing agency.
  • Cadetships are for people currently at university studying their first undergraduate degree. They combine a study wage and paid work experience for the duration of the degree and, in most cases, ongoing employment on completion of qualifications.
  • Traineeships provide a structured introduction to the necessary skills and knowledge for commencing a career in the APS. Participants will usually complete a Certificate-level qualification during their first year.

More information about the programs currently on offer can be found at http://indigenouscareers.gov.au/.

Special Measures

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 enables employers to create employment or promotion opportunities that are only open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Special Measures can be used to recruit to any position.

The Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016 provide an affirmative measure for Indigenous employment (section 26) within the Australian Public Service.

Current initiatives

Australian Public Service Commission

The Australian Public Service Commission works in partnership with a number of APS agencies to offer graduate and trainee employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians through the APS Indigenous Pathways Program (Pathways). By lodging a single application, candidates have the opportunity to be considered for positions in a wide range of Australian Government agencies.

Graduate Program

The APS Indigenous Graduate Program supports participants in their transition from university into the workforce and encourages them to explore their potential through work placements and ongoing professional development.

Specific workplace duties and development activities are defined by the employing agency, however they will generally involve:

  • work rotations designed to increase the participant's understanding of the overall business of the employing agency
  • on the job and structured training designed to help the participant establish and build a fulfilling career
  • exposure to leaders within the APS
  • networking opportunities to build personal and professional networks

The marketing, application, assessment and offers process is managed by the APSC on behalf of employing agencies. If applicants are successful in securing ongoing employment in a participating agency the APSC provides further support and development activities, including:

  • access to support from the APSC's Indigenous Liaison Officer
  • additional learning and development sessions
  • access to alumni and opportunities to network.

On conclusion of the programme participants will have increased their profile with senior APS leaders, grown personally, developed professionally, and established sustainable professional networks that will contribute to their public service career.

Trainee Program

The APS Indigenous Traineeship Program is an entry level employment program that provides a structured introduction to the skills and knowledge necessary to commence a rewarding career in the APS.

Participants are supported in their transition into the APS and encouraged to explore their potential through work placements and structured learning.

The twelve to fifteen month program combines:

  • paid work experience incorporating on-the-job-training in an APS agency
  • a nationally recognised qualification at the Certificate III or IV level
  • professional career development opportunities.

In order to successfully complete the program, participants are required to complete each of these components, as well as the workplace duties and activities defined by the employing agency.

The marketing, application, assessment and offers process is managed by the APSC on behalf of employing agencies. If applicants are successful in securing ongoing employment in a participating agency the Commission will provide further support and development activities, including:

  • access to support from the APSC's Indigenous Liaison Officer
  • access to Pathways alumni and networking opportunities.

Indigenous Liaison Officer

The Indigenous Liaison Officer has a multi-faceted role to support and engage with APS agencies, support Indigenous employees and promote the APS as an employer to the Indigenous community more broadly.

How the APSC can assist other agencies

  • A non-APS Commonwealth entity that has not participated in a graduate or trainee recruitment round may be able to source unplaced candidates from the order of merit after the offers process is completed.
  • The APSC will continue to develop, and share, strategies and processes to increase representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in government agencies through the APS Indigenous Employment HR Forum.

For more information, please email indigenousliaisonofficer@apsc.gov.au.

Department of Education and Training

The Department of Education and Training supports the Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme (IAGDP). The IAGDP is a 15 month entry-level programme combining employment with structured learning leading to a Diploma of Government. The IAGDP aims to increase the representation of Indigenous Australians working in the Australian government.

How Education can assist other agencies

For more information about the IAGDP please email: iagdp@ssc.gov.au or phone: (02) 6240 3737.

For more information about the entry level programmes (other than the IAGDP) please email: graduates@education.gov.au

Department of Defence

The Department of Defence has established the Specialist Recruiting Team—Indigenous within Defence Force Recruiting to assist Indigenous candidates applying for careers in the Australian Defence Force. The eight members of the specialist team work within recruiting centres across Australia with the aim of attracting more Indigenous Australians to Defence and to improve the conversion rate of enquiries to enlistments.

Defence will assist other agencies by:

  • hosting an information session each year for other government agencies to help them in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
  • continuing to develop, and share, strategies and processes to reduce barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples applying for work in government agencies.

Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services set an aspirational target of 4 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation by June 2016. As at 31 July 2015 this target has been exceeded.

Recruitment processes have been established to attract and recruit suitable employees, including by:

  • incorporating protocols into recruitment processes and guidelines—including protocols for selection panels when assessing 'identified' criteria;
  • promoting the use of Identified Position criteria to attract suitable internal and external candidates to roles that have strong involvement in issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • promoting the use of Special Measures provisions to allow for strong career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

DSS has also found it useful to circulate vacancies through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff networks.

DSS's 2015-18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy sets out initiatives to position the Department as an APS workplace of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

How DSS can assist other agencies:

  • DSS has increased recruitment through the use of Special Measures provisions for all large recruitment exercises. For more information about how these provisions have been applied, please email recruitment@dss.gov.au.
  • DSS will share its recruitment protocols with other agencies on request. For more information please email recruitment@dss.gov.au.

Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) aims to increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ATO by:

  • applying special measure recruitment provisions to large scale recruitment campaigns; and
  • offering the Evergreen employment pathway to strengthen its workforce by providing entry-level programs designed to build the core work skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples while giving them a career plan.

To assist other agencies, the ATO will:

  • Provide orders of merit from large scale campaigns for entry level employment to other government agencies to help them in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
  • Share best practice with other agencies about using Special Measures (Indigenous) recruitment provisions when recruiting.
  • Continue to develop, and share, strategies and processes to reduce barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples applying for work in government agencies.

For more information, please email indigenousliaisonofficer@ato.gov.au.

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (the Department) aims to fill a percentage of all large job vacancies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, using the 'Special Measures' provisions of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013. This has contributed to an increase DHS of 0.7% of staff since 2012 who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to a total of 4.2% as at 31 July 2015.

DHS trains all staff in workforce planning and recruitment roles in using Special Measures (Indigenous) provisions when developing recruitment methodologies.

DHS has developed a pilot whole-of-government Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme that provides a tailored approach to learning, based on academic and cultural requirements.

How DHS assist other agencies:

  • DHS will continue to provide recruitment advice to other government agencies on strategies to recruit and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
  • DHS will:
    • Share documents to reduce barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples applying for work in government agencies.
    • Host an information session for other government agencies to inform them of better practises in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
    • Share with other agencies the lessons learned about using Special Measures (Indigenous) provisions when recruiting staff.
    • Invite staff from smaller government agencies to take part in training sessions on using Special Measures (Indigenous) provisions when recruiting.
  • DHS can facilitate agencies' participation in the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program from 2016 on a fee-for-service basis.

For more information, please email GMPEOPLECAPABILITY@humanservices.gov.au.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

CSIRO has designed career paths for research and support roles and offers a number of career options particularly designed for Indigenous Australians, from traineeships and cadetships through to specifically identified positions such as Liaison and Education Professionals. CSIRO partners with employment agencies that specialise in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

CSIRO's cadetship placements are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are enrolled full-time in their first undergraduate degree course, with a focus on:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Computer science
  • Human Resources
  • Communications.

Cadetships offer a combination of full time study and work placements within CSIRO.

CSIRO offers an Indigenous Traineeship Program. Over the course of a one to two year traineeship, Trainees undertake on-the-job training and complete a Nationally Accredited Qualification relative to their position. Upon successful completion of the training package the Trainee is considered for ongoing employment with CSIRO. As part of the selection process CSIRO will bring applicants together for a two day workshop to help applicants understand CSIRO and the roles on offer.

How CSIRO can assist other agencies:

  • CSIRO can advise and assist other specialist agencies seeking to implement entry-level programs, and share lessons learned from these programs. For more information, please email jenny.rhodes@csiro.au.
  • CSIRO will expand its cadetship and traineeship programs to other agencies from 2015. For more information, please email jenny.rhodes@csiro.au.

Department of the Environment

The Department of the Environment has broadened advertising of roles under Special Measures, as part of its annual Graduate intake, within bulk recruitment at APS4-6 levels and for specific Executive level roles.

Environment's Graduate Program includes:

  • Three work rotations in different divisions throughout the Department.
  • One on one mentoring from Executive and Senior Executive Staff.

Graduates are given the opportunity to undertake work placements in locations such as:

  • Booderee National Park in Jervis Bay (ACT)
  • Kakadu National Park (NT)
  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (NT).

How Environment can assist other agencies:

  • Environment will consider facilitating regional work placements for Graduates in other agencies where this is mutually beneficial to the agency and the Department. For more information, please contact graduates@environment.gov.au.
  • Environment can share with other agencies lessons learned from its graduate mentoring programme. For more information, please email graduates@environment.gov.au.
  • Environment can share lessons learned from its use of special measures and identified positions in recruitment. For more information, please email recruitment@environment.gov.au.

Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) administers the Directions Program Traineeship.

The Traineeship is an integrated employment and career development pathway delivered in Canberra over 12 months. It includes:

  • Certificate IV Government (Project Management) accredited training
  • Exposure to the diverse range of business areas within the AFP
  • Ongoing employment in Canberra upon successful completion of the program.

Recruitment for the program involves assessment centres (written task, group discussion, individual interview and cognitive test) and clearances through gateways (fingerprint, drug, security and medical).

Once selected for the Traineeship Program, the following support is made available to participants:

  • An existing AFP staff member as a mentor. Mentors may or may not be from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australian background
  • Access to the AFP Malunggang Indigenous Officers Network (MION) internal employee network. An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australian member of the Network is allocated as a buddy to each Trainee
  • Direct individualised support, practical living away from home assistance, family and community support and fitness programs

Intensive support throughout the Program ensures retention rates are high.

How the AFP can assist other agencies

  • The AFP will share with other agencies lessons learned from its Directions Program Traineeship, including successful trainee attraction and retention initiatives.

For more information, please email: AFP-Entry-Level-Programs@afp.gov.au

Commonwealth agencies can subscribe to the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy GovDex site for more information about these initiatives. Email diversity@apsc.gov.au to subscribe.