How the National Graduate Program works

Our National Graduate Program gives university graduates the opportunity to develop their career.

About the program

You’ll help us make government services simple so people can get on with their lives.

As an agency, we offer a range of health, social and welfare payments and services through:

  • Centrelink
  • Medicare
  • Child Support.

We want forward thinking graduates who can help transform the way we work. We aim to deliver a simple, helpful, respectful and transparent experience for our customers.

In return, we’ll develop you as a leader. We’ll give you a range of experiences and opportunities to kick start your career in the Australian Public Service (APS).


We offer 10 streams in our 10-month program.

You can apply for our generalist stream or, if eligible, one of the specialist streams below.

If your application is successful, we’ll match you to the most suitable stream. Once you start, you can't change streams.

Our streams are:

Generalist stream

This stream is for you if you either:

  • don't have a specialist area where you’d like to work
  • have a degree that doesn’t match one of our other streams.

In our generalist stream, you’re likely to have 2 rotations. This gives you the opportunity to work on diverse projects and learn how different areas operate.

We’ll work with you and our business areas to place you in a role that matches your skills and experience.

Specialist streams

Our specialist streams let you focus your career in a particular area.

You can apply to the service delivery stream with any eligible degree. To apply to any of the other specialist streams, you must have an eligible degree specific to the area.

We’ll give you multiple placements in these streams so you get a diverse range of experiences. These could be in your area of expertise or in other parts of the agency that interest you.

Read more about who we’re looking for.

Development opportunities

We’ll give you a range of training and development opportunities to help you grow and shape your career.

During our program you’ll take part in a variety of activities, including:

  • Australian Public Service Commission events
  • graduate and internal events
  • presentations to our CEO and some of our Senior Executive staff.

You’ll also get all of the following:

  • first-hand experience in our service delivery environments to see how Australians access government services
  • training specific to your work area.

These activities will help you with all of the following:

  • get exposure to our business
  • strengthen your networking skills
  • develop your career and enhance your career opportunities
  • broaden your understanding of the APS.

Service delivery experience

During service delivery experience, you’ll see how the work you do makes a positive difference to the lives of Australians.

You’ll experience our service delivery environment first hand. This experience is unique to our graduate program and you’ll get insight into how Australians access government services.

Community OutReach Experience (CORE)

The Community OutReach Experience (previously the Indigenous or multicultural placement) is a unique opportunity to take part in a life-changing experience. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • provide assistance and support to our most vulnerable and remote communities
  • gain a greater understanding of the issues customers in these communities experience
  • learn about the complexities of service delivery in these areas
  • gain a greater understanding of the important work undertaken by our community engagement officers, multicultural service officers, Indigenous service officers, financial service officers, aged care service officers and more.

If successful, you’ll spend up to 3 months in a location such as Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns, Darwin or Sydney.

Support, buddies and a Senior Executive mentor

A graduate coordinator will work with you to make sure you have what you need to complete the program.

We’ll match you with a buddy before you start. This will be a graduate from a previous year. They’ll help you settle into our agency and the APS.

We’ll also team you up with a Senior Executive Service (SES) mentor. They’ll support and guide you with your career and personal objectives.

Compulsory elements

As a graduate you’ll have to meet employment standards. For example, probation and regular performance reviews. We’ll make sure you’re supported through these processes.


We offer 2 pay points for graduates of the 2024 National Graduate Program. The pay point you’re eligible for depends on your qualification level.

If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree, your salary will be $63,760. Undergraduate degrees are level 7 qualifications according to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

If you’ve completed a double degree or have a higher qualification, your salary will be $71,063. These qualifications are level 8 or above according to the AQF.

You can read about the framework on the Australian Qualifications Framework website.

After you complete the program, you’ll advance to the base salary of an APS5 classification within your relevant job stream. Read more in our Enterprise Agreement.

Salary information is correct as of application opening date but due to current bargaining arrangements may change by your starting date in February 2024.

Page last updated: 30 May 2023.
QC 33876