Career Starter Program

Career Starter Program

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

The Australian Public Service (APS) Career Starter Program is an award winning 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.

This program recruits for a variety of Australian Government departments and agencies.

The Career Starter Program was established by the Department of Finance in 2006 and has since expanded to become a whole-of-government program, with 12 agencies participating in 2023.

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

Applications for the 2023 Career Starter Program have now closed. Please check back regularly for information regarding the 2024 Career Starter Program and details of when applications will open.

To be eligible, you must:

  • have completed a Year 12 certificate or equivalent in 2022 or be completing in 2023
  • be an Australian citizen or be granted Australian citizenship prior to November 2023 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 nationally recognised qualification - 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 in the Australian Public Service (APS) commencing at the APS1 classification. Generally, most positions are Canberra-based
  • opportunity to advance to the APS2 classification upon successful completion of the program
  • competitive salaries (note salaries will vary between agencies)
  • four weeks paid annual leave per year
  • superannuation of 15.4 per cent.

Application process

The application process is a multi-stage assessment process that may include elements such as a written application, video interview and assessment centre.

As well as a general stream, the 2024 Career Starter Program will also be advertised as Affirmative Measures – Indigenous and Affirmative Measures – Disability.

For more information about eligibility criteria and how to apply, please check our website and/or the job application pack.

Information session

We will host information sessions for participants to learn more about the Career Starter Program and recruitment process, as well as hear from current Career Starters and ask questions. More information about the session times will be posted when available.

One application, multiple opportunities

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 12 agencies participating in the 2023 Career Starter Program. These are:

  • Australian Communications and Media Authority
  • Australian Research Council
  • Australian Electoral Commission
  • Defence
  • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • National Indigenous Australians Agency
  • National Health Funding Body
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts
  • Department of Health and Aged Care
  • Department of Industry, Science and Resources

Check back soon to see the list of agencies who are participating in the 2024 Career Starter Program.

Contact us

If you would like to register your interest to participate in the 2024 Career Starter Program, please 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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