APS markets itself as a modern, mobile workplace to uni grads

By Anna Macdonald

August 4, 2022

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Want to work here? (frdric/Adobe)

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has identified the public service as a modern, mobile workplace as it looks to market itself to the next generation of public servants. 

During a virtual session hosted by GradAustralia, targeted at university graduates interested in the Australian Government Graduate Program, APSC assistant director Craig Smith said the program offers a career path that is “second to none”.

“The learning and development that is on hand and on offer and invested in — through our entry-level candidates in particular — is second to none. The access that you would have to experiential learning whilst you’re on a graduate program: again, second to none,” Smith said. 

“I’ve personally managed graduate programs in other agencies where the behind-the-scenes access, the familiarisation to, the access to senior executives — all part of your learning experience, really sets you up for success. It can’t compare to what an average APS employee does day-to-day.”

The assistant director mentioned the recently soft-launched APS Academy Campus initiative at the University of Newcastle, Charles Darwin University, and James Cook University as a method to recruit graduates in regional areas. 

Smith reiterated the desire for the public service to be a fully modernised workplace, offering graduates the opportunity to work across different sectors. 

In addition to the seven current streams graduates can apply for — generalist, data, digital, economist, HR, Indigenous graduate pathway, and STEM — three additional specialised streams are likely to be added: legal, finance, and intelligence.

When asked about what the APS is looking for in a graduate, Smith was clear to emphasise the graduate program would be able to teach graduates the “nuts and bolts” of being a public servant.

“What we are looking for, on top of the minimum qualifications, degree and decent grades et cetera, is people who can demonstrate values and behaviours that meet what we’re aspiring to for an APS of the future. 

“We are modernising the APS. We are embracing a culture of mobility. We are embracing a culture of one APS. Agencies collaborating — not working in silos — all achieving holistically for government,” the assistant director said.

Smith encouraged new graduates to read the Thodey Review to understand which direction the public service is going, saying even reading only the executive summary gives an overview of what values the APS is looking to embed in its culture. 

APSC project officer Tarania Kunchiraman — who recently participated in the graduate program — called the graduate program a “tasting menu” of what’s available working for the public service. 

“You’ve effectively unlocked the door to a lifetime of opportunity within the APS. It’s a great strong first step to launching your career. And it’s a great way to explore what’s out there and make moves as you progress your career in the APS and beyond,” Kunchiraman said. 

Smith also praised his colleague, calling Kunchiraman an ideal graduate candidate.

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