How the National Graduate Program works

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

Applications to our 2022 National Graduate Program are closed.

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.


We offer 8 streams in our 10-month program.

You can apply for multiple streams, if you’re eligible.

If successful, we’ll offer you your preferred stream. Once you start, you can't change streams.

Our streams are:

Generalist stream

This stream is for you if you:

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

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

We’ll place you in a role that matches your skills and experience.

Other streams

Our communication, data analytics, finance, human resources, STEM, legal and social work streams let you focus your career in a particular area.

To apply to these streams, you must have a degree in 1 of these areas.

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

To apply for the legal stream, you’ll need a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 60 or above. If your WAM is below 60 you can apply for either:

  • the generalist stream
  • another stream, if you have the appropriate degree.

To apply for the social work stream you’ll need to have completed, or be due to complete, an Australian Association of Social Work approved qualification.

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 10-month 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 SES staff.

You’ll also get:

  • first-hand experience in our service delivery environments to see how Australians access government services
  • formal training specific to your work area
  • an accredited learning qualification, the Diploma of Government.

These activities will help you:

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

Service delivery experience

You’ll see how the work you do makes a positive difference to the lives of Australians.

Over 4 weeks, 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.

Indigenous and multicultural placement

Depending on COVID-19 travel restrictions, you may have the opportunity to apply for a 3 month Indigenous and multicultural placement. It’s a unique opportunity to take part in a life changing experience. You’ll:

  • visit multicultural or remote Indigenous communities
  • gain a greater understanding of the issues these customers experience
  • learn about the complexities of service delivery in these areas.

If successful, you’ll spend 3 months in a location such as:

  • Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns or Darwin for the Indigenous placement
  • Sydney for the multicultural placement.

Support, buddies and an SES 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 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 on the 2022 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 $61,902. Undergraduate degrees are Level 7 qualifications according to the Australian Qualifications Framework.

If you’ve completed a double degree or have a higher qualification, your salary will be $68,993. These qualifications are Level 8 or above according to Australian Qualifications Framework.

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.

Page last updated: 4 March 2021