Foundation Geospatial Trainee Program

The Foundation Geospatial Trainee Program is a competency based civilian training program. Participants undergo workplace training while completing a Certificate lV in Spatial Information Services.

Trainees complement their study with relevant and practical employment in a unique environment. They do fulltime paid work while completing their qualification. Employment is guaranteed on successful completion of the program.

Benefits of doing the Trainee Program are:

  • paid employment while undertaking academic study
  • practical, high-quality, full-time work to support academic study
  • employment as a Trainee Australian Public Service (APS) (Technical) level 3 while participating in the program
  • opportunities for career progression within Defence.

Trainees are given the opportunity to work on exciting, real world projects using leading edge technology. They work in a range of job disciplines, including cartography, photogrammetry, data acquisition, data management and web mapping services.

A training plan, including study and work requirements, is negotiated with the supervisor so that the work undertaken complements the study program.


The Trainee Program is located in Bendigo, approximately 150km from Melbourne. Bendigo has a relatively dry temperate climate with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the program, candidates must be:

  • an Australian citizen
  • willing to undergo health, character and security checks.

Candidates who accept a position in the program must undergo a security clearance process via the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency. Initial clearance will be to Baseline level. Positive Vetting clearance will be required on commencement of the program.

Applicants with an existing geographic information system (GIS) qualification do not need to complete the training program and can apply directly for Defence APS jobs.

Application process

Applications are submitted online between July-August each year.

Applicants will need to answer a few questions about their experience, submit a résumé and provide contact details for 2 current referees. The application will be used to assess:

  • writing skills
  • thinking skills
  • technical skills
  • ability to achieve results
  • interest in Defence.

If considered suitable, applicants will be invited to attend an assessment centre where activities may include group exercises, a written exercise and interviews. Assessment Centres will assess:

  • relationship management ability
  • communication skills
  • thinking skills
  • technical skills
  • ability to achieve results
  • interest in the Department of Defence
  • suitability to work within an intelligence organisation.

Selection criteria

The following table shows how applicants are evaluated during each stage of the recruitment process.

Criteria Demonstrate characteristics

Achieves results:

  • goal focused
  • resilient
  • realistic
  • overcomes obstacles
  • Ability to be proactive and take the initiative
  • Self-motivation and commitment to achieving results
  • Ability to develop solutions that target problems effectively
  • Ability to keep difficulties in perspective and respond positively to setbacks and challenges
  • Willingness to take responsibility for own actions

Thinking skills:

  • intelligent
  • shows wise judgement
  • Ability to identify interrelationships between issues, to draw links and to synthesise information across different sources
  • Ability to place information in a broader context and to identify likely implications
  • Ability to generate new ideas and innovative approaches to problems
  • Ability to generate effective practical applications

Communication skills:

  • listen
  • understand
  • explore
  • convey ideas
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and logically both orally and in writing
  • Ability to tailor communication to accommodate a wide range of other people
  • Negotiation and influencing skills
  • Listening skills

Relationship management:

  • gets on with others
  • contributes effectively
  • Ability to assist, support and work cooperatively with other team members
  • Commitment to team objectives and ability to generate this in others
  • Ability to give and receive feedback effectively
  • Understanding of own role within a team and impact on others
  • Ability to motivate, mentor and provide direction to others
Genuine interest in working with Defence
  • Genuine interest in and commitment to the work of Defence
  • An awareness of one’s ability to make a contribution to Defence and of the personal benefits to be gained through a traineeship and civilian career in Defence