Career Starter Program

Career Starter Program

Recently completed Year 12? Looking to get a competitive edge over your peers?

The Career Starter Program is a whole-of-government entry level program coordinated by the Department of Finance that allows participants to build skills on the job, learn through structured training and work as part of a team.

The Career Starter Program was established by the Department of Finance in 2002 and has since expanded to become a whole-of-government program, with fourteen agencies participating in 2022.

As a Career Starter, you will have a full-time permanent job with a competitive starting salary in the APS.

Applications for the 2022 Career Starter Program have now closed.

To be eligible for the 2023 Career Starter Program, you must:

  • have completed a Year 12 certificate in 2021 or be completing one in 2022
  • be an Australian citizen or be granted Australian citizenship prior to November 2022 and be able to provide evidence of this.

Successful applicants will need to obtain a Baseline security clearance prior to commencement.

The program includes:

  • a Certificate IV in Government
  • quarterly networking events
  • a ‘buddy’ from the previous years’ program or similar.

You will receive lots of support throughout the program from supervisors, colleagues, the HR team and your buddy.

Your role may include:

  • project assistance and contribution
  • administrative support
  • providing advice to stakeholders
  • drafting basic reports
  • undertaking research
  • general and routine processing.

What's in it for you?

There are plenty of benefits for participants in the career starter program including:

  • a permanent job with the Department of Finance or participating department or agency.
  • starting salary of $48,979 (APS Level 1) for Department of Finance career starters. Salaries at other departments will vary
  • advancement opportunity to APS Level 2 with a salary increase to $56,241 for Department of Finance career starters. Salaries at other departments will vary.
  • four weeks paid annual leave per year
  • superannuation of 15.4 per cent (above the superannuation guarantee of 9.5 per cent).

Application process

The application process is a multi-stage assessment process that may include elements such as:

  • online application
  • online video interview
  • virtual assessment centre.

Applications for the 2023 Career Starter Program will open in approximately July or August 2022.

One application, multiple opportunities

By completing one application, you will open the door to numerous Commonwealth agencies. If successful, you will be considered for all participating agencies. While there is no guarantee of placement in a specific agency, you will be asked for your agency and location preferences when you apply, and these will be taken into consideration.

To find out more about what it is like to work at Finance, check out what to expect as a Finance Career Starter.

Participating agencies

There are 14 agencies participating in the 2022 Career Starter Program. These include:

  • Australian Public Service Commission
  • Australian Research Council
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • National Indigenous Australians Agency
  • Digital Transformation Agency
  • Services Australia
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Treasury
  • Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Contact us

Phone: 02 6215 1717

Click the portraits to read previous Career Starter's thoughts on the program

About the Australian Public Service

The Australian Public Service (APS) is not just a job. It’s a great career choice for people from all walks of life with a diverse range of interests and passions.

The APS has a strong connection with all Australians. Being in the APS is your opportunity to help shape Australia and actively contribute to the Australian community.



Undertake work with real impact on the lives of Australians. You will be involved in significant projects and see the results of your work every day.


Experience a diverse range of project based work that will develop your talents and push your career to places you never imagined.


Work with engaged people who succeed as a team. You will have the drive to work hard, deliver to the highest standards and achieve greatness as a team.


Enjoy a wide view and gain exposure to extensive networks and influencers who can help expand your career in countless directions.

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