skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

Why Choose Defence

Defence Graduate Program

What We Offer You

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 and champions of workplace diversity and inclusion. Experience a unique integrated civilian and uniformed workforce

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

Make a difference, Have an Impact.

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

In 2020 the Civilian Defence workforce took part in several operations to directly assist the Australian public through unprecedented times. To find out how Defence Graduates Sebastian & Holly volunteered to help vulnerable Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic you can read the article on the Canberra Times.

Defence APS office scene

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.

As a Defence Australian Public Service (APS) graduate, you will make a difference through supporting regional security and humanitarian efforts, conducting intelligence analysis, purchasing and sustaining Australian Defence Force equipment, conducting research and development, or providing strategic advice for policy and business decision making. Watch this video to find out why our graduates picked the Defence Graduate program.

Learn and Develop with Defence

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.

Defence is committed to lifelong learning. Hear from Defence’s graduates about their most memorable rotation, and find out how the Defence Graduate Program offers a tailored learning and development program that will propel you into your future career with confidence. If you want unrivalled learning and development opportunities, you will find it at Defence.

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 Departmental and team goals. You will receive training and development specific to your graduate development pathway. Further study is encouraged once you have completed the graduate 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.

The Career Progression Opportunities

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.

Find out more about APS Career Opportunities

Working in 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.

Defence graduates work on average 7.5 hours per day. 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 between 7am–7pm, but individual arrangements may be negotiated to fit in with your team, work and personal circumstance requirements.

Find out more about Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Salary, Position Type and Leave Entitlements

Defence APS staff are employed under the Defence Enterprise Collective Agreement. Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) graduates are employed under the ASD Conditions of Employment (Non SES) Determination 2018. 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.

Graduates for all development pathways will commence on a salary of that is equivalent to the bottom of the Defence APS 4: $67,100 pa plus 15.4% superannuation. Upon successful completion of the Defence Graduate Program, graduates will advance to a minimum of $76,215 plus 15.4% superannuation.

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.

We Cover Your 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.