Frequently Asked Questions


Can I apply for multiple career streams?

Yes, you can apply for speciality career stream(s) and also the DESE Graduate Program. Applications have now closed for the 2022 Graduate Program.

How many applications do you get?

On average the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) receives over 1500 applications per graduate intake.

Can I apply in my final year of studies?

Yes, as long as you have successfully completed your degree or higher by the commencement of the Program in February. If successful, you will be required to provide the official transcript of your academic results as evidence you have completed your degree.

What if I graduated some time ago?

DESE’s Graduate Program recruits people who have completed their Bachelor degree within the past five years. Our past cohorts have been made up of a broad demographic of graduates; some who join us have just finished their degree while others join us after having spent some time in the workforce. Our recruitment is merit based and does not discriminate based on age, gender, race or ethnicity or having a disability.

I missed out last year, should I apply again?

Yes! As long as you meet the eligibility criteria you can reapply.  Candidates who remain interested in working with DESE, particularly those who are completing their studies or undertaking relevant work experience, should consider applying again in the future.

Applications are assessed using the APS Work Level Standards - APS Level 3. Make sure to review these to gain an understanding of the work requirements and qualities we are looking for.

What APS classification will I start at?

You will start at the APS3 level and will advance to the APS4 position upon successful completion of the Program. It is a condition of graduates’ employment that they meet all of the requirements of the Program to advance to the higher classification. Refer to Department of Education and Training Enterprise Agreement 2016-19 and Department of Education and Training Section 24(1) Determination for more information.

Will I be a permanent employee?

Graduates are engaged as ongoing (permanent) employees within the APS, subject to a probationary period of six months (which applies to all new starters).

Can I do the graduate program from a State Office?

You will need to relocate to Canberra to participate in the graduate program.

If successful, when would I be expected to commence at DESE?

DESE's Graduate Program commences in February each year.

Will I receive help with relocation?

Yes. If successful and you reside interstate, DESE will provide relocation assistance to support your move to Canberra. Relocation assistance is intended to assist with relocation costs, but it is important to note it may not cover all of the costs of your relocation. We do not provide assistance for international relocations, but if you return to Australia from overseas, we will provide assistance from your nominated state or territory to Canberra.

Where will I be working?

Graduate positions are based in Canberra and staff work from a number of offices located in the CBD.

What security requirements must I meet?

All DESE graduates must undertake a full security clearance at the Baseline level prior to commencement.

How are placements determined?

As a DESE graduate, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department. Placements are determined by operational requirements of the department and your skills and academic qualifications. Each of your placements is designed to provide broad exposure to the range of the department's work.

Can I undertake further study while undertaking the graduate program?

The graduate program provides both personal and professional development activities throughout the year and as such graduates are not able to take on further study. However, after successful completion of the graduate program you may be eligible to apply for DESE Study Assistance if you wish to continue your studies.

What type of work will I be doing as a graduate?

At DESE, we work on many aspects of the government's agenda. Our work is delivered increasingly through a project-based model. As a DESE graduate, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department. These placements are across all areas of the department including higher education, international education, early learning and childcare, schooling, skills and apprenticeships and employment programs. This will support you to understand how the work of each business area fits together, and how each placement contributes to the business outcomes of the department.

Does the demand for STEM disciplines disadvantage humanities or more generalist disciplines?

Our work is broad and requires people with all types of qualifications.

Education and jobs are central to Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and our department has a big program of work to deliver. That’s why, we are encouraging applications from people with a broad range of skills. The DESE graduate program looks for candidates with a range of qualifications from a range of universities. We value diversity and different ways of thinking. If you’re not sure about the relevance of your qualifications to the work of the department, simply apply.

The department has consistently featured in the Top 100 Graduate Employer rankings over the past few years. This achievement highlights our active commitment to supporting talented graduates, helping them to expand their skills and experience, and reach their full potential.