Go to top of page

Attracting applicants

Many Indigenous Australians find out about employment opportunities through word of mouth, reputation or referral, in addition to APSJobs or national newspapers. An agency's online presence can also influence a potential applicant's opinion about that agency and whether they want to apply for a job. Agencies use a range of other activities to promote employment opportunities, for example career and job fairs, social media, engagement with universities and other educational institutions, scholarships and targeted programs designed to upskill candidates for specialised roles.

Current initiatives

Australian Public Service Commission

The Australian Public Service Commission provides online resources for attracting applicants:

  • The APSC has developed a new Indigenous recruitment portal to bring together all Commonwealth employment opportunities and simplify access to public sector jobs for Indigenous job seekers. The portal is automatically populated with Special Measures opportunities advertised on APSJobs—no further action is required by APS agencies to use this resource, which also aims to reduce agency advertising costs. It is mobile and tablet accessible, and individual jobs can be featured on the home page on request. Job seekers can subscribe to the service to be notified of new opportunities as they arise. The portal provides advice for job seekers, career profiles, and a link to the Indigenous Australian Public Service Careers Facebook page.
  • The APSC maintains a Facebook page to keep people informed about opportunities and events happening in the APS to support Indigenous employment. People who 'like' and 'follow' this Facebook page receive short updates from the APSC's Indigenous Employment Team with the latest news, information and services that are relevant to careers and opportunities for Indigenous Australians within the Commonwealth public sector. Users can post questions on the page. The Indigenous Employment Team aims to respond quickly with useful information.
  • The APSC operates a freecall Indigenous careers hotline on 1300 656 009.

How the APSC can assist other agencies:

For more information, please email indigenous [at] apsc.gov.au.

Attorney Generals Department

Within the Attorney-General's  Department, the Australian  Government Solicitor (AGS) offers an Indigenous law scholarship in  partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The scholarship is made up of $7,000 to be provided to  the student as well as an offer of casual employment for the term of the  scholarship. That employment is governed by and subject to an employment  contract entered into between the student and AGS. It is intended that the  financial support of the scholarship and the opportunity of employment with AGS  will enable the scholarship recipient to focus on his or her studies, gain the  maximum benefit of the experiences offered at UNSW and gain valuable administrative  work experience in a legal environment.

The scholarship is provided to an Aboriginal or Torres  Strait Islander student enrolled (full-time) in third year or above of an undergraduate  Law program or in second year or third year of a Juris Doctor Program.

The scholarship recipient may be offered a graduate  position with AGS upon graduation from UNSW, but such an offer is not  guaranteed. The scholarship recipient is not obliged to accept an offer of a  graduate position with AGS, should AGS make that offer.

Department of Defence

The Department of Defence is committed to having three per cent of its military and APS workforce identifying as Indigenous. A number of programs are offered to achieve this goal. More information about these programs is available on the Defence website.

Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Program

The IPRP is a six week residential course for young Indigenous adults focusing on three key areas: Physical Fitness; Character development; and Cultural appreciation within the ADF. By the end of the course individuals will have the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue on to a successful full-time career in the ADF. For further information or how to apply to enlist within the ADF you should contact Defence Force Recruiting on 131901 or make an enquiry through Defence Force Recruiting.

Indigenous development program.

The development program is for young Indigenous adults who want to join the ADF but who may be challenged by reading and writing, fitness or are just not sure if the ADF is for them. The development program is a five-month residential course that focuses on the same six key areas as the pre-recruitment course.

Defence Indigenous university sponsorship program.

The purpose of the sponsorship program is to provide support to Indigenous Australians who are undertaking study in a discipline that contributes to Defence capability. The program includes:

  1. Up to ten $6,000 sponsorships consisting of two payments of $3,000 to cover costs associated with one full-time year of on-campus or distance study; or
  2. Up to ten $1,500 sponsorships consisting of one payment to cover costs associated with a university enabling program.

After successfully completing a sponsorship year of academic study, recipients are encouraged to apply for a place on Defence's APS cadetship program for ongoing employment and support in completing study and work placements.

The scholarships are administered by the Aurora Education Foundation, which offers a range of education initiatives focusing on increasing opportunities and support for Indigenous students to assist them to realise their potential at school, university and beyond. Partnership with the Aurora Education Foundation has delivered a dramatic increase in the number of applications for Defence sponsorship.

Community Engagement Program.

Defence is committed to establishing and maintaining relationships with Indigenous community organisations.

Defence aims to nurture relationships with Indigenous communities and organisations to:

  1. Showcase Defence as a values-driven and culturally respectful employer that appreciates the past and present contributions of Indigenous Australians to the defence of Australia;
  2. Communicate an integrated message to the broader Indigenous community about Defence employment, training and community contribution offers, and how to access those offers; and
  3. Provide opportunities for Indigenous communities, groups, organisations and individuals to provide feedback to Defence.

Community engagement is best achieved through the establishment and maintenance of meaningful relationships at the local base level. Defence Commanders and Managers are provided with comprehensive training and support to enable them to establish respectful relationships with local Indigenous communities at the base level

The Clontarf Foundation.

The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, self- esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men and by doing so, equip them to participate more meaningfully in society.

Defence is currently in partnership with the Clontarf Foundation. Defence provides Clontarf participants and staff with accommodation and board at six sites throughout the country for Clontarf camps. In return Defence is able to showcase itself as an interesting and rewarding career path.

How Defence can assist other agencies:

  • Participants in pre-recruitment programs who decide that a career in Defence is not for them may be interested in other opportunities in the Commonwealth public sector. For more information about promoting opportunities to these participants, please email: indigenous.affairs [at] defence.gov.au.
  • Defence will advise other agencies that are considering establishing a scholarship program
  • Defence will share with other agencies lessons learned when engaging with Indigenous communities.

For more information please email indigenous.affairs [at] defence.gov.au.

Department of Social Service

The Department of Social Services (DSS) partners with universities and other tertiary institutions to provide links between study, employment and career progression.

Case Study

The DSS Deputy Secretary/Indigenous Champion initiates direct contact with Indigenous Student Support Units at a handful of universities each year for the recruitment of students to undertake an internship through the DSS Indigenous Internship Program (IIP). The IIP provides the Department with the opportunity to establish partnerships with universities, and market opportunities to students from various disciplines which are of particular value to DSS.

The IIP is designed to attract high quality students with an opportunity to experience the Department and the Australian Public Service by providing paid work placements in a range of roles and offices. The IIP also supports students with the financial resources to remain in study.

The IIP is also designed as a conduit for talent to progress through to the DSS Graduate Program.

The IIP enables the Department to invest in preparing students for a successful transition to professional employment, and distinguishes DSS as an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Students studying appropriate undergraduate degrees are nominated to participate in the program by their university.

Each year, the Department offers a minimum of 15 places in the IIP, which offers paid employment to undergraduate students to undertake placements for no more than 10 weeks per year over three years. Interns are engaged through a 12 month non-ongoing casual contract, which is renewed annually.

Interns are placed in the DSS National Office (Canberra), or the State or Territory Office nearest to them. In instances where this is not possible, the student may be placed at another State or Territory Office outside their home state.

How DSS can assist other agencies:

  • DSS can provide advice to agencies and share lessons learned from its internship programme. For more information please email entrylevelteam [at] dss.gov.au.
  • Copies of DSS's promotional materials are available on Govdex. To apply to join the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy Govdex community please email diversity [at] apsc.gov.au.

Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) builds and maintains respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to better understand and meet their needs, and encourage and assist their participation in the tax system. ATO provides assistance to Indigenous taxpayers via it's Indigenous Helpline 13 10 30.

Case study

As part of a developing PR engagement approach, in 2013 the Australian Taxation Office launched new videos featuring the stories of two Aboriginal small business women on the ATO YouTube channel, AusTaxOffice.

These Aboriginal entrepreneurs were sourced through Supply Nation and our Indigenous Liaison Officers' networks. The music was procured from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander band also sourced through Supply Nation. The filming and editing process was completed in-house by the ATOI's Video Production Unit in consultation with the ATO's Indigenous Working Group and Indigenous Consultative Body. The videos continue to be promoted through key intermediaries, as well as on ATO social media and through PR by other government agencies.

The ATO engages its Indigenous employees in promoting the benefits of a career in the Commonwealth public sector.

How the ATO can assist other agencies:

  • The ATO provides advice to other agencies wishing to develop on line and face to face cultural awareness training.
  • The ATO provides advice to other agencies wishing to promote employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For more information, please email indigenousliaisonofficer [at] ato.gov.au
  • The ATO will place our recruitment promotional material on indigenouscareers.gov.au. For more information please email indigenousliaisonofficer [at] ato.gov.au.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) manages the Indigenous STEM education program in partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation. The program aims to increase participation and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). There are six elements to the program, which caters to the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students as they progress through primary, secondary and tertiary education, and into employment. The six program elements together target: primary and middle school students in remote Indigenous communities; mainstream Indigenous students in upper primary and junior secondary schools across Australia; a select cohort of Year 10, 11 and 12 students from across Australia who have demonstrated aptitude in the sciences and mathematics; and tertiary students who otherwise might not have access to a university STEM education.

  • Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities targets primary and middle school students in remote Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and uses on-country projects as the context for learning science linked to Indigenous ecological knowledge.
  • Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students (I2S2) uses hands-on inquiry-based projects in an Indigenous context to increase student engagement and achievement in science. The I2S2 program targets upper-primary and junior-secondary school students in mainstream metropolitan and regional schools. I2S2 draws on best practice in inquiry-based science education and Indigenous science education and supports teachers to implement the Australian Curriculum.
  • CSIRO's PRIME Futures targets Foundation to Year 9 students in mainstream metropolitan and regional schools and uses the YuMi Deadly Maths (YDM) approach to improve student outcomes in mathematics. It is being delivered by the YuMi Deadly Centre at Queensland University of Technology.
  • Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS). The summer schools are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from all over Australia who are in Year 10. An ongoing leadership program then nurtures these students through Years 11 and 12.
  • Excellence Awards recognise, reward and promote the achievements of Indigenous school students across Australia in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. By selecting students from across primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools, the Awards will also help to highlight the educational pathway necessary to continue on to tertiary education and entry into a STEM-related career.
  • Bachelor of Science (Extended) provides a supported pathway to complete a mainstream Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who show potential, but who might otherwise not have access to such an opportunity. The program includes an additional year of study comprising study units spread across the first and second years of the degree. The units encompass a broad range of academic skill development focussing on science and mathematics, and include explicit support for student engagement and resilience.

CSIRO offers work-based placements to Indigenous students in a range of tertiary courses, where such placements are a course requirement. These may be arranged informally at any time and are generally not advertised.

CSIRO offers postgraduate scholarships to Indigenous PhD students, principally in areas of science and engineering. A limited number of opportunities exist in support functions (Business Administration, Human Resources, etc.). These are advertised around September/October each year and information can be found on CSIRO's careers website.

How CSIRO can assist other agencies:

  • CCSIRO can provide advice to other agencies on partnering with educational institutions—including schools—and can facilitate partnerships between agencies and institutions. For more information, please email marian.heard [at] csiro.au.

Department of the Environment

The Department of the Environment administers Junior Ranger Programs in its jointly managed National Parks at Booderee, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta. The programs provide an opportunity for upper primary school students to learn about key topics fundamental to understanding of each park's cultural and natural values, as well as its management context. The Junior Ranger Program includes a range of field-based learning activities plus indoor lessons as part of the school curriculum.

How Environment can assist other agencies:

  • Environment can share with other agencies lessons learned from its Junior Ranger Programme. For more information, please email indigenous.development [at] environment.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 [at] apsc.gov.au to subscribe.

Last reviewed: 
17 May 2018