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Why Choose Defence

Defence Graduate Program

Defence Graduate Benefits

Learning and Development


Targeted, rotation specific training. Tailored learning and development

Meaningful work


Support the Australian Defence Force and contribute to Defence's mission of defending Australia and its National interests

Inclusive culture


Work-life balance, generous leave entitlements. Integrated civilian and uniformed worforce

Career Progression


Dedicated Graduate Management team to help you achieve your career goals. Permanent position in Defence upon completion.

Ongoing Development


Further sponsored study encouraged upon completion



Generous financial package to meet the costs involved with relocation

Want to make a difference?

Defence is seeking graduates from across all academic disciplines to take up the challenge of working for one of Australia's most dynamic organisations, with a mission of national and international significance.

As a graduate in the Department of Defence, you will enjoy experiences that, as a civilian, you simply wouldn’t find with any other organisation. You will work with a diverse group of men and women who are dedicated to protecting Australian interests. You will carry out work that has true purpose. The Department offers Australian Public Service (APS) graduate opportunities across a range of career streams. Each development pathway is tailored to provide excellent learning and career progression opportunities to propel you into your future career with confidence. We are one of Australia's largest government departments and as such, we are able to offer rewarding careers across the widest possible spectrum of employment categories. You name it, we do it.

If you are seeking a career with purpose, you will find it at Defence. Definitely.

Our Development Pathways

As a Defence Graduate, you will work as part of the Australian Public Service (APS) and will be selected to undertake a development program targeted to suit your knowledge and skills to best prepare you for an exciting and challenging career. Each pathway offers differing career development that is either specialist or generalist in nature, comprise rotation placements, internal and external training, and is tailored to suit the needs of both the graduate and the organisation.

Defence offers a range of development pathways from which to choose, these include:

Other Benefits

Learning and development

You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in targeted, rotation specific training that will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to undertake rewarding, exciting, challenging and meaningful work. Your tailored learning and development program will propel you into your future career with confidence.

Meaningful work

As a Defence Australian Public Service graduate, you will support the Australian Defence Force and contribute to Defence’s mission of defending Australia and its National interests. You will make a difference through supporting regional security efforts, humanitarian relief, purchasing and maintaining Australian Defence Force equipment, conducting research and development, or providing strategic advice for policy and business decision making.

An inclusive culture

Defence employees uphold and demonstrate respectful, professional and inclusive behaviours, and as Defence Public Service graduate, you will work in an integrated team alongside your Australian Defence Force colleagues to achieve Defence’s goals and mission. Defence encourages work-life balance, and you will be provided generous leave entitlements and flexible work options to achieve this.

Opportunities for career progression

You will be in charge of your own career pathway and your dedicated Graduate Management Team will support you to achieve your career aspirations. Upon successful completion of your graduate program, you will be placed into a permanent position in Defence.

Position type

All of our graduates are employed as permanent full­-time employees upon commencement of the program. So once employed, you don't have to worry about competing for a position at the end of the development program.

Ongoing development

A career in the Defence APS will support you from entry and onward as you professionally develop and progress. Our logic is simple - as you grow and develop your skills and experience, so does the contribution you make to corporate and team goals. You will receive training and development specific to your graduate development pathway. Further study is encouraged once you have completed the development program, with a wide range of post graduate university study supported by Defence. We value our employees and place importance on encouraging further career and knowledge development, training through such programs as Studybank and access to degree programs through the University of NSW ADFA campus.


Defence APS staff are employed under the Defence Enterprise Collective Agreement. Graduates for all development pathways will commence on a salary of that is equivalent to the bottom of the Defence APS 4: $68,442 pa plus 15.4% superannuation. Upon successful completion of the Defence Graduate Program, graduates will advance to a minimum of $74,721 plus 15.4% superannuation.

Leave Entitlements

As full-time Defence employees, graduates are offered generous leave entitlements, including 20 days annual leave per year, public holidays, paid sick leave, paid Christmas stand-down, plus one "unspecified purposes leave day", which we call the DeCA day. It's always nice to have one day up your sleeve when you don't need a reason to have a day off.

Flexible Work Options

Flexible work hours are offered as an alternative to the traditional 9–5 work day and allow staff to vary their daily arrival or departure time to fit within their work area requirements and their lifestyle. Generally, the span of time within which staff can work their required hours on a flexible basis is 7am–7pm, but individual arrangements should be negotiated to fit in with your team and work requirements. Flexible work hours can take a variety of different forms including a ‘compressed working week’, where employees work their standard weekly hours in fewer days than normal. Other flexible work options can be negotiated, such as part-time work or job sharing are also available to assist employees whose lifestyle or personal commitments are incompatible with full-time or standard hours of employment.

Relocation Expenses

Transition from study to career can be a challenging one. For many, it is the also first time they have lived away from home, and most graduates are moving interstate. We work hard to make the whole process as easy as possible for you, and offer a generous financial package to meet the costs involved with relocation.