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APS Recruitment

The Department of Defence is one of the three largest APS employer organisations. Defence has more than 100,000 employees including approximately 19,000 public servants.

A career in Defence has a range of benefits including:

  • Unique career pathways
  • Opportunities nation wide
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Support programs and networks
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities

So if you are

  • Independent
  • Flexible
  • Strong communicators
  • Team player
  • Proactive
  • Good at achieving results

Then you are encouraged to apply for a job in the Defence APS.

Entry Pathways

Defence offers a number of different pathways including:


Are you interested in joining the Australian Public Service but not sure where to start?

Defence offers a range of APS traineeships to Indigenous Australians who wish to become a public servant and are looking for a unique career. Our traineeships combine full-time work with a structured study component.

Trainees receive individual support from their supervisors, mentors and training providers to complete their course of study and to become part of the large Defence community. Training is delivered online and through face-to-face sessions during the 12 month program.

What's on offer

  • Full-time employment and salary
  • Certificate IV in Government
  • Various areas of study
  • On the job training relevant to study
  • Advancement to higher level upon completion
  • Access to mentors
  • Opportunity to join Defence's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (DATSIN)
  • Professional development opportunities

How to apply

Traineeship recruitment is managed through the Australian Public Service Commission's Pathways Program and includes written assessment and interviews.

Visit the APSC Pathways Progam website for more detail . When you apply online through the Pathways Program, select Defence as your preferred agency.

Never applied for an APS position before? Check out this helpful guide: Cracking the Code.

Keep an eye on this website for updated details on Defence Traineeships that might suit you.

Jordan - Indigenous Cadetship

Testimony - Jordan

Name: Jordan
From: Wauchope, NSW
Current location: Canberra, ACT
Job: Administration Assistant Ministerial and Co-ordination - Corporate Management Branch, Joint Logistics Command
Studying: Certificate IV in Government

What made you choose Defence as an employer?

I chose Defence because there are so many different career opportunities that you are exposed to in the Department.

What do you like best about the traineeship?

What I liked best about the traineeship was that you got the first-hand experience of what happens within Defence. The people that surround you while studying are very helpful and knowledgeable, which helps with the development and understanding of Defence.

Another reason why I liked the traineeship was the flexibility while I was studying. This made the experience much more enjoyable.

Graduate Program

Have you recently completed an undergraduate degree?

Defence will consider:

  • Accounting
  • Environment and Heritage
  • Management
  • Arts/Humanities
  • Food Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Asian Studies
  • Health and Allied Services
  • Physics
  • Business
  • Information Technology
  • Project Management
  • Commerce
  • International Relations
  • Research
  • Computer Science
  • Land Management
  • Science
  • Contract Management
  • Law
  • Social Work
  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Strategic Studies
  • Engineering

What's on offer

  • Several highly sought after graduate programs available
  • Wide exposure to Defence 
  • Exposure to Defence's senior leadership
  • Support through mentoring
  • Unique career pathways upon completion
  • Opportunity to join Defence's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (DATSIN)

How to apply

Graduate recruitment in Defence is managed through several methods. Each includes written assessment, interviews and assessment centres.

You can apply directly through the Defence Graduate Program (GDP) web site, or via the APSC Pathways Progam. When you apply online through the Pathways Program, select Defence as your preferred agency.

Never applied for an APS position before? Check out this helpful guide: Cracking the Code.

Joshua - Indigenous Graduate Program

Testimony - Joshua

Name: Joshua
From: I am a Birri Gubba man – Bowne, Ayr, Proserpine and Whitsunday region, QLD
Current location: Canberra, ACT
Job: Project Officer
Degree: Bachelor of Arts: Japanese and Political Science undertaken at James Cook University

What do you value the most as a graduate?

The Defence Graduate Program is the perfect transition to the Public Service. Defence caters for various careers, manages comparably higher budgets and challenging global and domestic issues. Through three unique rotations, I gained a comprehensive understanding of what Defence has to offer. Additionally, graduates are equipped with further training and skills before finishing the program with the flexibility to successfully transition through the levels. Importantly, most employers value the quality of our program allowing further opportunities on completing the program.

What has been the most enjoyable aspect of your Defence career so far?

I enjoyed having the capacity to work closely with senior level staff, which strengthened my confidence and made me feel like a key player in the organisation. Additionally, the Pathways and Defence Graduate Program provide a great network that can help graduates adjust to a new location, and the APS. This transition has been a very rewarding experience and I look forward to the next chapter in my career.

Direct Entry

Our Commitment to Increasing Indigenous Representation in the APS

We are currently offering a number of positions, through several programs, as part of a strong commitment to increasing indigenous representation in our Australian Public Service (APS) workforce.

The Affirmative Measures program is an employment initiative built to ensure that Indigenous Australians who have the work experience and the right skills that Defence needs, have the opportunity to compete for APS 2 to EL2 level positions across the organisation.

Based at various locations throughout Australia, the positions reflect the diversity of public service career options in Defence, ranging from security and information technology to human resources, administration and environmental sciences.

In 2015, Defence will employ an additional 135 Indigenous Australians positions under the Affirmative Measures Program.

So what is the Australian Public Service's role in Defence ?

Our APS workforce supports the men and women of the Navy, Army and Air Force - the three services that make up the Australian Defence Force (ADF). APS members work alongside members of the ADF and are involved in almost all Defence activities.

The APS don't have the requirement of military life such as uniforms, and physical fitness.

Defence has significantly increased the intakes for existing departmental Traineeship Programs, alongside the Pathways Indigenous Graduate Program, which is open to those who have completed an undergraduate degree within the last five years.

How to apply

Defence recruits all of its personnel based on merit to ensure we select the best person for the job. To do this, applicants' skills, experience and abilities are assessed. This may be achieved through various methods, including written applications, interviews and/or work-sample tests.

You can check out what jobs are available and apply online through our Defence APS Careers web site.

Never applied for an APS position before? Check out this helpful guide: Cracking the Code.

Peggy - Indigenous Cadetship

Testimony - Peggy

Name: Peggy
From: I am a Torres Strait Islander woman from Saibai Koedal Awgadhalgal, Torres Strait, QLD
Current location: Cairns, QLD
Job: Finance and administrative officer

What do you enjoy the most about being a member of the Defence community?

I thoroughly enjoy being a Defence APS employee. We have a fair Collective Agreement which allows for flexibility, stability, career progression, work supported study and generous superannuation benefits. It is important for me to have flexible work conditions, allowing me to travel home to the Torres Strait when required. .Such a large organisation presents opportunities for work transfers to other locations and there are also opportunities to perform in temporary positions, obtaining worthwhile experience for career development.

How is the Department of Defence different from other jobs you have had?

Being a part of the total Defence workforce, we play a role in the defence of Australia and its national interests. Even though the majority of my job is administrative, I don't always work from the office chair! I go on board ships, watch parades, participate in team sport and go to military events such as air shows. Working on board a Naval Base has many perks as well; we have access to the gym, heated pool and sporting facilities and it's a beautiful place to work!

I plan to remain a long-time employee of the Department of Defence and am currently utilising the study assistance program to further my career within Defence APS.


The Defence Indigenous University Support Program provides Indigenous students with sustained support and exposure to Defence throughout their study.

Sponsorship Information

Are you:

  • A hard-working, team player?
  • An effective communicator?
  • Achieving good academic results?
  • Wanting to be a positive role model?
  • Seeking financial help to study?
  • Seeking a dynamic career?

Up to 20 sponsorships will be offered each year to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students undertaking university enabling or undergraduate studies.

What is included?

A Defence Indigenous University Support Program includes:

  • a $6000 Sponsorship consisting of two payments of $3000 (these payments are to cover costs associated with one full-time year of on-campus or distance study) or
  • a $1500 Sponsorship consisting of one payment of $1500 for university enabling programs (these payments are to cover costs associated with one full-time year of on-campus or distance study)
  • the potential for student work experience in Defence workplaces near your university or home location (typically mid-year and/or end of year)
  • access to mentoring from Defence role models

Am I eligible?

Sponsorships are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are enrolled full time in an Australian university or an eligible university entry program.

Further Information

More information on eligibility criteria and how to apply are available by visiting the The Aspiration Initiative website.

Phone: 1800 447 827  |  Email: