Graduate Program

Australian Government Graduate Recruitment

Department of Finance is coordinating graduate recruitment for the Australian Public Service Generalist Graduate stream. This stream will recruit for five departments and agencies looking for graduates from a range of degree disciplines. These include public policy, arts, sciences, humanities, law, international relations, media, communications, design, accounting, finance, etc.

If you are looking to work on contemporary policy and services that make a real different to the lives of Australians, this is the opportunity for you.

With a single application, you will be considered for graduate roles at these five Australian Government departments and agencies. Click on the links below to find out more about what each department or agency has to offer:

To find out more go to the Australian Government Graduate Recruitment – Generalist Stream

Please note that if you are interested in a government department or type of work that is not included in the above, you can search all current graduate opportunities across all Australian Government departments and agencies on the APS Jobs website.

Application Process

Step 1: Apply online

The online application is your first opportunity to show us your motivation for wanting to work in the Australian Public Service. You will also be asked to upload your resume, academic transcripts and proof of your Australian citizenship at this stage.

Step 2: Video interview

If you make it through the online application stage, you will be asked to complete a video interview. This assessment will give you an opportunity to show us your motivation for wanting to work in the Australian Public Service and demonstrate your capabilities that align with the program.

Step 3: Online exercise

After the video interview, if you are found suitable to progress you will be asked to complete an online assessment. This assessment will help predict how quickly you will learn new information during the graduate program and how effectively you use this information to solve problems in the workplace.

Step 4: Assessment centre

Congratulations, we want to meet you! If you successfully progress from the video interview and online exercise, you will be invited to participate in an assessment centre. The assessment centre will be done virtually or face-to-face, depending on the situation. Details will be provided closer to the date.

Assessments on the day may include but are not limited to:

  • a work sample
  • a group activity
  • a panel interview
  • a speed dating session with participating departments and agencies

Step 5: Offer of employment

Well done, you’ve made it! If you are successful in the assessment process, we will contact you to discuss an offer of employment.

Employment eligibility

To be eligible for the graduate program you must submit a completed application form prior to the closing date and time and provide evidence or confirmation of the following:

  • Be an Australian citizen or going to be granted Australian citizenship before the end of August 2020. You may be asked to provide evidence of this.
  • Have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the previous five years or by the end of 2020.
  • Credit average across degree.
  • Willing to relocate to Canberra.
  • Meet the Affirmative Measures criteria (if applicable)
  • Provide the required documents and authorisation for the Document Verification Service (DVS) in order to verify your identity.
  • Be able to obtain and maintain the required security clearance level for the role. All staff are required to have a Baseline security clearance prior to commencement. Depending on the type of work, some roles will require a higher security clearance. If you are offered a role, and don’t have a current security clearance, we will work with you to arrange for this to be undertaken.


The Australian Government Graduate Recruitment – Generalist stream is advertised as affirmative measures. The affirmative measure is designed to address the under-representation of people with disability and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff in the Australian Public Service (APS).

For more information please refer to the Candidate Information Guide.

Apply now!

Applications for the 2021 Australian Government Graduate Recruitment – Generalist Stream open on Monday 30 March 2020 and close 11.30pm on Monday 11 May 2020.
Download the Candidate Information Guide and begin your application today!

For more information, contact the graduate recruitment team.

Call us on 02 6215 1717
Email us at
Like us on Facebook

Department of Finance Graduate Program

Department of Finance (Finance) is a central agency in the Australian Public Service (APS) which plays a key role in supporting the government's agenda.

If you are looking for a challenging position with real responsibility and supportive colleagues, then consider a place on our team. You’ll gain exposure to a wide variety of work and access to key decision makers, with the government’s agenda at the heart of everything you do.

Finance drives delivery of the Australian Government’s Budget, advising on new policies and programs across government and supports all agencies through the Budget process.

At Finance we also do so much more, you could also be providing input and offering advice on a range of things including:

  • the financial impacts, risks and merits of new policy proposals from across all government portfolios
  • the government's financial framework
  • managing the government’s shareholding in its assets
  • delivering a range of tools and services to assist the work of parliamentarians and their staff
  • the government’s engagement with Government Business Enterprises such as the Australian Postal Corporation and Defence Housing Australia
  • modernising the public sector through better services to citizens and businesses
  • whole-of-government procurement
  • risk management
  • general insurance services to other government agencies.

When you work with us, be prepared to make an impact - with the way you work, the solutions you offer and the unique skillset you bring. 


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.

About the program

If you’re looking to start an exciting career, our graduate program will challenge and reward you beyond your imagination.

As a graduate in Finance, you will be supported through two six month work placements. Placements are informed by our high priority work and where the skills and capabilities of our graduates will be best utilised and developed. To ensure you’ll get exposed to different work and undertake different roles, each placement will be in a different area of the business.

You will join the department as an ongoing employee at the APS3 level and will be paid $64,549 plus 15.4 per cent superannuation. During the program your knowledge will grow, your skills will develop and your capabilities will increase to equip you to advance through the classifications. You will have the opportunity to apply for advancement to the APS4 and APS5 levels during your graduate year.

What the program will encompass

As a graduate in Finance, you’ll undertake a Graduate Development Program, an integrated learning experience delivered by the Australian Public Service Commission’s Centre of Leadership and Learning. Training provided as part of this program includes face to face workshops, simulations and a major project contributing to enhancing the work of Finance. The program provides opportunity to apply this learning on-the-job, with the support of workplace coaching.

The training will focus on enhancing your existing skills and developing new skills and capabilities to assist you in your transition into Finance and the broader Australian Public Service (APS).

In addition to training, regular networking opportunities with your graduate cohort, other programs and graduates from other agencies are a great feature of the Program. There are also opportunities to engage with senior executive staff and Finance Ministers.

Successful completion of the program also provides participants with credit towards a Masters Degree in Public Sector Administration Policy, at The Crawford School of Public Policy (Australian National University) and the University of Canberra.

Relocation to Canberra

As a graduate in Finance, you will be expected to relocate to Canberra, where our central office is located.

We understand this may be a big move for you if you are coming from interstate. To help get you settled, we offer reasonable relocation expenses and temporary accommodation support. But don’t fear, you are not alone: each year we get a wide selection of graduates who move from all over the country for a career with Finance.

What we are looking for

We’re looking for people who are innovative: high-calibre individuals who are ambitious and adaptable. Who are responsive and comfortable with change. People who want to be challenged in a flexible and fast paced environment. And above all, people who have a positive attitude and a desire to learn.

The capabilities we look for in our graduates are:



Organisational alignment

Expresses appropriate motivation for working in the department


Approaches tasks and own development in a logical, organised, professional manner to ensure delivery of consistently high-quality work

Collaboration and delivery / client service

Builds and maintains relationships with colleagues, clients, and a range internal and external stakeholders that facilitate open sharing of information

Results oriented / adaptability

Works consistently and independently, persisting despite setbacks or changing priorities to achieve goals within tight timeframes

Research and analysis

Gathers information from a range of different sources and analyses it to inform thinking on a particular topic

Verbal communication

Communicates clearly and confidently and actively listens to others in a range of settings

Written communication

Writes persuasively and provides clear written advice in a range of styles

Life after the graduate program 

After your graduate year has ended, the opportunities don’t stop! You will have a permanent ongoing APS role in the department and we will continue to support your career development and offer study assistance for further training. 

Our workplace

Here at Finance, we recognise that our people are at the centre of the work we do and it is important that Finance staff feel valued and are happy to come to work each day. To make this a reality, we continue to build a positive, collaborative, innovative and curious culture.

Work forms only one facet of our lives. Finance supports flexibility and takes into account the diversity of employees and their individual circumstances. Our workplace has been designed to foster a mobile and collaborative style of working.

We have an inclusive workforce which attracts, retains and supports employees from all diversity groups. We believe we are stronger and more productive if we fully develop and utilise the capabilities and experiences of people from varied backgrounds.

We have seven diversity and social community related networks which contribute to the positive culture of the department. These networks are the:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Plus Network.
  • Ability Network.
  • Gender Equity Network.
  • Emerging Leader’s Network.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network
  • Social Club

In addition, you can become involved in the APS-wide organisation, Social Network of Graduates. This network coordinates a number of social activities and opportunities to meet graduates from across the APS.

Frequently asked questions

You may have questions about Graduate recruitment and life within Finance. We hope that some of your questions are answered below.

What if I graduated some time ago?

Finance’s Graduate Program recruits people who have completed their undergraduate 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. Our process does not discriminate based on age, gender, race or ethnicity or having disability.

Where will I be working?

Graduates are based in Canberra, with our central office located just minutes from Parliament House in Forrest.

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

All successful candidates commence their employment in January.

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

At the Department of Finance, we work on many aspects of the government's agenda including the Australian Government’s Budget, modernisation of the public service, commercial projects and a diverse range of whole-of-government policies. Our work is delivered increasingly through a project-based model. As a graduate, you will have the opportunity to work across two areas and varied projects critical to the government’s agenda and departmental priorities. 

Will the Department of Finance support me doing my CA or CPA?

Yes, employees, with approval from their manager, can undertake their CA or CPA accreditation. Unless there is a business requirement for the CA or CPA accreditation, it is not expected to be approved during the graduate year due to the amount of training and development already provided through the program.

Finance is accredited as a CPA Australia Recognised Employer to the Knowledge Level, the highest level. Finance was the first public sector employer in the ACT to gain this accreditation. This provides our finance and accounting staff that have a business requirement for a CPA qualification with resources and guidance to assist them.

CPA participants also benefit by having a simple alternative method to demonstrate adherence to the CPA program’s practical experience requirement and to demonstrate adherence to minimum continuing professional development standards. These are both mandatory components of the award.

What security requirements must I meet?

All Finance employees must be able to obtain and maintain a minimum Baseline security clearance prior to commencement.

Successful applicants will be required to complete a security pack. Depending on the level of clearance required, you may need to have a checkable background going back 10 years and you also must be an Australian citizen.

Access to Finance’s buildings, information technology systems and classified material cannot be provided until a security clearance is granted.

Here is what some of our most recent Graduates have to say

Finance is a fantastic place to learn, with a culture of support and encouragement from graduate to secretary. One Team, One APS!

- James

The outstanding guidance and support offered at Finance has allowed me to build and broaden my skillset, discover in which policy area my passions lie, and truly contribute to the policy and strategic work being done here.

- Miranda

The graduate program has given me an opportunity to work in CBMS Operations where I am working on budget management systems and that has increased my understanding in both technical and also financial management systems. The Finance Graduate Program is where learning and leadership comes together – we learn with guidance!

- John

Working at the Department of Finance has been one of the best experiences of my professional life. The workplace culture 
is warm, inclusive and supportive with a huge focus on professional development. The tight knit graduate family (there are over 30 of us) has become a huge support network that makes settling into a new job more enjoyable. The networking opportunities are abundant and include anything from attending a seminar on cyber security to food tasting at the Multicultural Festival. The amazing opportunities and the support system in place throughout the whole process make all the difference.

- Ivona

I am a Law and Commerce graduate from Perth. My experience so far in the Graduate Program at the Department of Finance is better than I could have ever imagined! It was definitely worth moving from WA to join this graduate program. I have learnt so much from a range of people from diverse backgrounds and I can’t wait to experience the rest of the program and to develop my career.

- Katie

Coming from the private sector and interstate, the graduate program has exposed me to terrific opportunities to learn, grow and advance my public sector skills and networks whilst developing professionally across a range of accounting, finance and economic policy areas. I have been fortunate enough to have had exposure to working on the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook through to working with an senior manager on Australian Government updates to the OECD on financial management. And very importantly to me, this is a workplace where I am supported to help create an inclusive culture in my role as a Mental Health Advisor.

- Arlen

I was so impressed by the diversity of skills and experience among the graduate cohort. It’s such a pleasure sharing ideas and collaborating with them and it has really come in handy for our trivia team! 

- Liam

Did you find this content useful?