As part of our small cohort of up to 16 graduates you will be an important part of a community that works on two of the most dynamic and innovate sectors in our economy – communications and arts.  Whatever pathway (Policy Development and Program Delivery, Economics or Corporate) you choose, you will benefit from both practical, hands-on experience and support, and structured professional development.

In a small department you will be highly visible with the opportunity to make a big difference. You will work closely with our senior staff, and be matched with a mentor to develop your skills and build your professional networks.

You will commence the program in late January 2020, with the opportunity to move to the next classification level after only 11 months.

You'll know which branch you have been recruited to permanently on successful completion of the program. You won't be competing with other graduates at the completion of the program or wondering where you'll end up. We want you to be able to make the right decision for you when we make you your offer.

We embrace diversity, and value the contributions of our graduates and staff who come from different backgrounds and bring diverse experiences and perspectives. If eligible, you're invited to apply for the program under:

Living in Canberra

Our program is run out of our Canberra office in New Acton—an innovative cultural precinct that has put Canberra on the map for design, creativity and originality. Our building, Nishi, won International Project of the Year at the 2015 Building Awards in London for contemporary and environmental design, and is surrounded by a great range of cafes, restaurants, bars, accommodation and public transport options.

As the nation's capital, Canberra is home to Australia's national cultural institutions. Canberra is a great place to live and offers a wonderful lifestyle, four distinct seasons and a beautiful, clean environment.

Find out about Canberra at the following websites:

Go back to the 2020 Graduate homepage

Your Pathway

Our 2020 program has the following pathways:

  • Policy Development
  • Program Delivery
  • Economics
  • Corporate
    • Human Resources
    • Information Technology
    • Accounting
    • Law


You will undertake three placements, you will be placed in your home branch for the first placement, with your second and third placements in work areas to complement your ongoing development. Placements are determined as the year progresses and are based on your chosen pathway, individual aspirations and where our organisation needs you most. This approach will offer you a challenging experience and meaningful work opportunities and projects.

Go back to the 2020 Graduate homepage

Why join us

We are a community. Our graduates will tell you a year with us is highly rewarding and can be one of the best years of your working life!

Personalised program
We recognise the essential role our staff play in helping us to deliver positive outcomes across our diverse portfolio. As one of our graduates, you will become an important part of our team, and enjoy the benefits of a personalised program with practical, hands-on experience and support.

Make an impact
You will enhance your skill set, work on real projects that touch the lives of all Australians and help drive meaningful change across communications and the arts sectors. You will benefit from high visibility, and the opportunity to have a large impact in a small agency, rather than being lost in the crowd.

Be challenged
You will have responsibility and the opportunity to make your mark in an environment that is modern, innovative and digitally-connected. You will work on challenging projects across a diverse portfolio, contribute to our broad strategic priorities, and support our cultural and social initiatives.

Learn from leaders
You will work closely with our senior staff to develop your skills and build your professional networks. Our leadership team supports a culture of innovation and diversity and are actively involved in the selection of our grads, with an ongoing interest and high level of involvement in our grad program.

Develop your career

Our program is designed to provide you with the right skills and knowledge to succeed and position you as a future leader. You will receive practical, on-the-job training, support and mentoring from our senior staff, as well as a fully funded Graduate Certificate of Public Administration, further enhancing your future career prospects.

Support and benefits

You will start as a full-time, permanent employee at the APS 3 level. We offer a competitive starting salary of $61,061 per annum plus 15.4 per cent superannuation with the opportunity to move to the next classification level subject to successful completion of the program after only 11 months.

We will also assist you with relocation costs if you are moving to Canberra for the program. We'll help with costs like travel, temporary accommodation and storage.

As a graduate, you will also enjoy all other benefits of working with us, such as flex-time, generous leave entitlements, an excellent wellbeing program and social clubs. You will also have access to our staff-led network groups including the Pride and Allies Network; Disability and Allies Network; Indigenous Staff Network and Carers' Network.

Our Enterprise Agreement 2018-2021 offers more information about employment conditions.

It's important to us that as a graduate, you feel supported and welcomed into our department and, if you've just moved to Canberra, that you settle in to your new city with ease. Being part of our graduate cohort gives you an immediate social network. You'll also have:

A buddy — Before you even start work with us, we'll pair you up with a graduate from the previous year's program. Your buddy can offer you tips on finding housing, good restaurants and fun activities in Canberra. Your buddy will help you to start building your network early.

Mentor — We'll match you with a Senior Executive Staff (SES) mentor to meet you on a monthly basis to help you settle in and provide you with advice during the year.

The HR Recruitment Team — Our team will help make your relocation to Canberra as smooth as possible.

Your HR Graduate Coordinator — Your graduate coordinator will organise monthly meetings, training and development, and be your primary contact and support person throughout the year.

Your work team — You'll have three placements throughout the year and that means three different teams to get to know and work with. Your team supervisor will also support you in your day-to-day work.

Your development

As one of our future leaders, we invest significantly in your professional development. Our structured development program is based on the feedback of previous graduates and is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills and professional networks you'll need to start your career.

Your development will be both formal and informal. You will be supported to complete a fully-funded Graduate Certificate in Public Administration at the University of Canberra. This will help you to build your knowledge in public administration and develop the capabilities needed for the Australian Public Service. You will also have access to foundational professional development including programs such as Writing for the APS, About Parliament and About Legislation/About Budget to increase your APS knowledge and skills.

Our wide range of informal and self-paced development opportunities include mentoring with senior staff and extensive online learning courses, that will build your capability to engage effectively and innovatively with stakeholders and the public.

Our Social Club, Gender Equality Network, Indigenous Staff Network, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Network and the Pride and Allies Network are just a few of the groups we will encourage you to get involved with to continue your learning and build your professional networks.

Go back to the 2020 Graduate homepage

Application information

Applications have now closed.

We are looking for graduates that are innovative, curious, future-focused, with a desire to learn and to help shape Australia's communications and creative industries.

We are looking for graduates from a range of backgrounds and education specialities, including economics and graduates from regional and remote areas. We encourage applications from people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people; those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and mature age.

Review our role and program descriptions:


To apply for the program, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • you have or will have completed an Australian-recognised undergraduate or postgraduate degree by January 2020
  • you are an Australian citizen
  • you have a WAM score of 65 or higher
  • you are prepared to relocate to Canberra (with assistance provided by the department)
  • your degree is recognised in Australia
  • your most recent degree must have been obtained within the past 10 years.

If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or a person with disability you can choose to apply through the Affirmative Measure process. If you are applying for a role in the Indigenous affirmative measures stream, you will need to provide confirmation of heritage prior to being offered a role.

Recruitment process

We have a four step recruitment process. If you have a disability or special need that requires a reasonable adjustment to fully participate in the application/interview process, please let us know.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment to provide you with a positive, barrier-free recruitment process and supportive working environment. If you identify as having a disability, we encourage you to review the information provided above and let us know of any ways we can better support you in the application and assessment process.

Contact us

Go back to the 2020 Graduate homepage

Our diversity

We embrace diversity, and value the contributions of our graduates and staff, who come from different backgrounds and bring diverse experiences and perspectives.

Each year we actively encourage applications for our program from people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people; those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and mature age.

If you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander graduate or an graduate with a disability, we invite you to apply through our affirmative measures process.

We offer a range of programs, groups and networks that contribute to our collaborative and supportive culture.

The networks include:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Gender Equality Network
  • Disability Access and Inclusion
  • Indigenous Staff Network
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Network
  • Carer's Network
  • Pride and Allies Network
  • Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-19

We celebrate NAIDOC week, National Carers' Week, International Women's Day, International Day of People with Disability, Harmony Day, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT, National Reconciliation Week and International Day of the Worlds Indigenous peoples along with many others.

Our responsibility for the following Indigenous programs Indigenous Languages and Arts, Indigenous Visual Arts, Festival of Pacific Art and Indigenous Repatriation further drive our commitment.

Logos for some of our diversity networks: Disability & Allies Network, pride in diversity, Australian Network on disability, pride and allies network, recruit ability, gen, cultural and linguistic diversity, Indigenous staff network.

Our graduates

Our graduates are innovative, curious, future-focused, with a desire to learn and help shape Australia's communications and creative industries.

Our program offers significant opportunities to make a big impact and kick start your career in a department that works with two of the most dynamic and innovate sectors in our economy. But don't just take our word for it, hear from some of our previous grads.


Before the graduate program, I was a high school English and Humanities teacher. As much as I enjoyed teaching, I was ready to try something different and the Department of Communications and the Arts graduate program seemed like the perfect opportunity to retrain in a different field.

Throughout the year, I completed rotations in a number of diverse areas – from postal policy to literature and lending rights. The work you get to do as a graduate is interesting and meaningful, and to my pleasant surprise, the skills I had learned in my previous profession were easily transferable.

In addition to the varied and rewarding work, the department is full of inspirational and supportive colleagues, many of whom also started as graduates, who are ready to share their advice and empower junior staff.

Since the graduate program, I have worked in a few different policy and program areas, and recently started a role as a Department Liaison Officer in the Minister's Office. This is a challenging role that requires a broad knowledge of both the portfolio and its staff, and I cannot think of a better foundation for this position than the graduate program.


I applied for the department's graduate program because of the diverse and interesting work of the portfolio. I felt like it was a unique opportunity to contribute to some big projects that directly affect the lives of Australians and support the development of our national identity and culture.

During my three rotations, I really sampled the depth and breadth of the department's work, completing placements in Indigenous languages and arts, spectrum reform and the Office of the General Counsel, where I was able to draw on my law degree and develop my practical legal skills.

As a graduate, there are ample opportunities for training. Each Wednesday, we spent the day at the University of Canberra where we completed a graduate diploma in Public Administration. This was a wonderful chance to learn about the theory behind effective policy making and it's a fantastic feeling when you can apply that theory in practice back at the department.

Ultimately, the main highlight of the graduate program was the people – in particular, my fellow graduates. My colleagues and supervisors were terrific, positive, welcoming and encouraging. The opportunity to work with such a great group of engaged, committed and friendly people was the best part of coming to the department.


With a degree in languages, the international work of the department was particularly appealing to me. Given my interest, I was fortunate enough to do my final rotation in the international engagement and strategy team where I assisted with research and preparations for the International Telecommunication Union 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai.

Another highlight of my graduate year was working with the Indigenous repatriation team to facilitate the return of 8 Australian Indigenous ancestors to Australia from institutions in Sweden. Witnessing a smoking ceremony in Canberra for the Australian Indigenous ancestors whose community had come to return them to Country was a really special moment and something I will never forget.

I am particularly grateful for the emphasis on tailoring the experience to our interests during the graduate program and developing our knowledge and skills in other areas through training. The continued high quality learning opportunities are a clear demonstration of the department's investment in and dedication to its graduates. The program far exceeded my expectations and set me up really well for my permanent role.


At university I was introduced to the historical and contemporary landscape of communications and media in Australia. In one subject, a cultural studies lecturer told my class to pay close attention to policy, because it is the writing of culture. This idea stuck with me and inspired me to pursue a career where I can contribute to policy rather than just be an observer of it.

With a duel degree in Creative Arts and Media and Communications, this Department was the perfect intersection of my interests, so I applied for the graduate program. Throughout the program I had the opportunity to work on a number of programs and policies, and the opportunities have kept coming ever since.

Highlights of my time at the Department so far was helping to implement on the Government's media reforms, including developing policy ideas and arguments, drafting legislation and supporting the Minister in the Senate for the passage of legislation. As part of the Regional Telecommunications Review, I travelled to a number of locations across regional and remote Australia to hear people's experiences and challenges with communications technologies. I also helped to establish the Gender Equality Network in the Department and Co-Chaired that network for two years.

Being a grad, I was exposed to the diverse work of the Department, which has helped me see where my work has fit into with the broader picture. This has given me great contacts across the Department to explain and contribute to my work. It has shown me there are lots of different people, content and ways of working, which has helped give me perspective across my roles.


I applied for the Department's graduate program because the public service has always interested me and I was ready for a change of career. I studied a Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment, so this portfolio was the perfect fit for me as it allowed me to leverage both my technical and creative backgrounds.

During my graduate year I worked on everything from the National Broadband Network to spectrum management and digital media and copyright where I have been placed permanently. The diversity of work through the graduate program was challenging, yet very rewarding, and I had the opportunity to learn so much in a short period of time.

Moving to Canberra was a massive shift, but an enjoyable and memorable experience. Despite coming from the cultural metropolis of Sydney, I love living in Canberra where it takes less than 20 minutes to get anywhere.

The best part of the program was the Department itself and the collegiate approach of all the staff. My graduate peers and colleagues in the Department's senior executive were so supportive and I felt comfortable in really putting myself out there and to grab every opportunity with both hands.

Go back to the 2020 Graduate homepage

Frequently asked questions