2023 Ability Apprenticeship Program - Frequently asked questions

Q: When does the Ability Apprenticeship Program start
Employment in the program is expected to commence in July 2023

Q: How long is the program for?
The programs duration is 12 months.

Q: Will I be a permanent employee?
Yes. New employees joining the Department, become a permanent (on-going) employee at the APS3.1 level subject to passing probation.

Q: Do I have to complete a probation period?
Yes. New employees will have to successfully complete a probation period that lasts the duration of the program.

Q: What happens when I successfully complete the probation and the Ability Apprenticeship Program?
After successfully completing the 12 month Ability Apprenticeship Program, and all program requirements and probation, you may advance to the APS4.1.

Q: What will my duties be while on the Ability Apprenticeship Program?
Duties and tasks will be varied based on job role requirements. Working at the APS 3.1 you can expect perform a variety of tasks that may include but not be limited to, computer/screen based work using varied software applications and programs, reading and or research / extracting information from online and/or printed material, you will work as a member of a team and under general supervision.

Q: Is this employment full-time?
The positions available through the program are full-time with part-time opportunities subject to availability. The working hours for full-time employees are 37.5 hours per week.

Q: Do you provide any relocation support?
Relocation assistance / support is available and is provided on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Does the Department provide reasonable adjustments for interviews and duties at work?
Yes. The Department provides a range of supports and will accommodate suitable reasonable adjustments to enable candidates to participate in the interview and selection process. Please indicate your specific adjustment needs in your application. If you are selected for an interview, the Entry Level Programs team will contact you to discuss your reasonable adjustment requirements to support your participation.

For those who are offered positions, individual reasonable workplace adjustments will be provided to enable participants to undertake their duties effectively and to perform at their full capability in the workplace.

Q: Will I have a central point of contact for help while on the Ability Apprenticeship Program?
Yes. A dedicated Program Coordinator and the DSS Entry Programs team will be the central point of contact for both you and your work area for the duration of the program.

Q: What career development will I receive during the Ability Apprenticeship Program?
As a participant of the program you will receive a thorough introduction to the Department and to the Australian Public Service, including:

  • a dedicated program orientation
  • on-the-job training and support provided by your manager and work area
  • access to the Department’s wide range of eLearning and facilitated training sessions
  • individualised learning and development to meet the needs of you and your work area.

Q: Do you promote a healthy work environment?
Yes. The Department is a COVID-safe working environment. The Department provides workplace structures, systems and procedures to help employees balance their work, family and other caring responsibilities effectively. As part of your employment conditions, you will also have access to a range of leave options including flex time, annual and personal leave. The Department offers a free Employee Assistance Program to support the wellbeing of employees.

Q: Can I undertake further study while on the Ability Apprenticeship Program?
As part of your employment, you will be required to attend the workplace unless attending/undertaking program relating training activities. Until the program is complete, we encourage participants to focus on their training and on the job learning to build their work skills. The Department may support you to undertake further relevant study after completion of the program.

Q: Can I resign from my current job if I receive a verbal employment offer?
We strongly advise waiting until you have passed all of the pre-employment checks and receive in writing a formal offer of engagement.

Q: When does employment start?
Employment of successful applicants will commence from July 2023.

Q: What are the recruitment stages?

Stage 1 – Application

Applications for the 2023 Ability Apprenticeship Program will open online from the 2 December 2022 and will close on the 20 January 2023. After applications close, they will be reviewed and we will select the people to be offered to attend an interview.

Stage 2 - Interview

Applicants selected to attend an interview will be contacted and advised how and when the interviews will take place, and also asked about reasonable adjustments to support and enable their participation.

Stage 3 – Referee check

Candidates who are rated as suitable from the interview may proceed to the referee check. Candidates who pass the referee check will be placed into the merit pool for this program.

Stage 4 – Candidate matching and placement

We will work with the host business areas to match applicants in the merit pool with the available roles. Employment offers will then be made to the selected individuals. Please note placement in the merit pool is not a guarantee of employment.

Q: What should I include in my application?

You will complete your application form online. When completing your selection question response, tell us about yourself, why you want the opportunity to take part in the Ability Apprenticeship Program - what you would bring to the department and why you are the best person for the job. You should include information about your experience, skills, interests and the abilities that you have. You can include examples from work, school, University or TAFE, participating in community organisations, sporting groups or volunteer work. You will also need to provide your current Resume or Curriculum Vitae, and evidence of disability to complete your application online. For more information about preparing your application visit Tips for writing your application

The definition of disability used for employment purposes in the Australian Public Service is “a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months and restricts everyday activities.

If you meet all eligibility criteria, we encourage to you to apply for the 2023 Ability Apprenticeship Program. Click here to apply online.

Disability Employment (Affirmative measure vacancy)

The Ability Apprenticeship Program is open only to people with disability, the filling of positions through this program is intended to constitute an affirmative measure under Section 33 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2022.

This recruitment process is being used to fill current and future ongoing and non-ongoing vacancies. A merit pool of suitable applicants will be created which may be used to fill future vacancies should they become available over the next 18 months. Non-ongoing vacancies will be offered for a period of up to 18 months with the possibility of extension (up to a total period of 3 years). Some of these non-ongoing vacancies may become ongoing in the next 18 months.

As well as employment with the Department of Social Services, successful applicants may be offered a similar employment opportunity in another APS agency including the Australian Public Service Commission and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

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