Calling Indigenous Graduates

Fact sheet

February 2013

Are you an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander university student who will complete your degree by the end of 2013?

Do you want a unique career in the international arena?

Applications for our 2014 graduate programs will be open 21 February – 18 March 2013

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) runs two graduate programs each year, a foreign and trade policy graduate program and a corporate graduate program.

The Policy Graduate Program is for applicants from all academic backgrounds and prepares successful candidates for a career as a policy officer. Policy graduates work to advance Australia’s interests across a broad range of areas — from international legal and security issues to international trade negotiations and public affairs.

The Corporate Graduate Program is for applicants with commerce, accounting, human resources, ICT or similar qualifications. The program prepares graduates for a career managing the department’s human and financial resources, assets and programs.

Both policy and corporate graduates undertake a two-year professional development program in Canberra, combining work placements with formal training modules, academic courses and regional travel. At the end of the program graduates commence a longer-term placement and are able to apply for overseas postings.

Who we want

As a dynamic agency working in a complex environment, the department is looking for graduates from varied backgrounds.

We are looking for graduates with high-level analytical and communication skills. People who are adept at working in teams. Practical, results-oriented people who are able to work under pressure, occasionally in difficult environments, meet tight deadlines, and who are pro-active in getting out and about and making contacts.

Successful applicants will have a strong record of academic achievement and often have honours, combined or higher degrees. However, academic qualifications are not the sole criterion for selection. Applicants will also be assessed on the quality of work experience, extra-curricular achievements and community activities.

In recent years DFAT graduates have had degrees in accounting, Antarctic studies, architecture, arts, Asian studies, business, commerce, communications, computer science, economics, human resource management, international relations, language studies, law, medicine and science.

Indigenous applicants

In support of the Government’s Closing the Gap Strategy: Indigenous Economic Participation Agreement, we are aiming to increase our recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Each year a number of positions on our graduate programs will be offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants as a special measure under subsection 8(1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are approaching completion of their university studies are strongly encouraged to apply.

Many of our former Indigenous graduates are now representing Australia in our embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world, including in senior roles.

What we offer

We seek to ensure that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees maximise their potential for a successful, rewarding and enjoyable career.

We offer:

  • interesting and exciting work opportunities
  • a diverse, respectful and inclusive workplace
  • highly competitive salaries and conditions
  • relocation expenses for graduates to relocate to Canberra, and
  • an active and committed Indigenous Employees’ Network (IEN), which provides mentoring and support for new and existing Indigenous employees.


Applicants for our 2014 graduate programs:

  • must be Australian citizens at the time of application
  • hold a bachelor or higher degree in any discipline by 31 December 2013, and
  • be available to commence their programs in Canberra in February 2014.

The Special Measure vacancies are only available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people as per subsection 8(1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.  You must provide evidence of your Indigenous descent. Acceptable evidence includes:

  • a letter signed by the Chairperson of an incorporated Indigenous organisation confirming that you are recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, or
  • a confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent form executed by an Indigenous organisation.

Offers of employment for all DFAT positions are subject to medical and security clearances.

Not graduating this year?

Our Indigenous Cadetship Program provides Indigenous undergraduate students with financial assistance during their studies and practical work experience during their summer breaks.

Not a graduate or student?

Our Indigenous Traineeship Program is a 15 month entry-level training and development program which combines practical, on-the-job training with completion of a Certificate III or IV course in government administration.

Want more information?

Visit our website for further information about our graduate programs, Indigenous cadetships and traineeships, how to apply and much more.

Last Updated: 22 February 2013