Hear from our former graduates about our program

photo of RachelRachel (2021 Graduate, Generalist pathway)

As a person with disability, I was anxious about taking the next step after finishing my studies, but DSS stood out as an organisation that values diversity. Since starting with the department, I have been amazed at the level of support and understanding that my supervisors have shown in accommodating my disability and helping me to achieve my potential in the workplace.

The Graduate Development Program provided a unique opportunity to start my public service career through a pathway that offered the additional support and development I needed to become a confident and capable professional. I was fortunate to undertake both my rotations in the Disability and Carers stream, which allowed me to develop my expertise and passion for disability policy.

Upon my graduation from the program in 2021, I was successful in gaining a further promotion and have since gone on to work in a variety of roles across the department, which have allowed me to continue to develop new skills. I am incredibly thankful that I took the chance to apply for the Graduate Development Program, because I love that the work I do makes a real impact in the lives of people with disability.


photo of JessicaJessica (2022 Graduate, Generalist pathway)

I commenced the Graduate Development Program in 2022 in the Department of Social Services and was proud to begin a career in the Australian Public Service in a department that aligned with my values.

During my graduate year, I worked in the Corporate Group and Families and Communities stream, facing a variety of complex challenges that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. In addition to this, the department focused on developing our skills and learning with numerous training sessions throughout the program. I was seconded to Services Australia to work on a taskforce that delivered key Government objectives in providing emergency relief to Australian’s impacted by floods and COVID-19. I then had the very exciting opportunity to work for a Minister at Parliament House! Being in the heart of Government was a truly rewarding experience. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to make a tangible difference in society and improve the wellbeing of individuals and families in Australian communities.

The Graduate Development Program supported and equipped me with the skills and knowledge to work confidently across the department. I am excited to continue making a positive impact.


photo of ElliotElliot (2023 Graduate, Communications pathway)

To be part of the Department of Social Services Graduate Development Program is to be part of something rare and unique. Like some graduates, I was so lost after graduation. The program gave me direction, the opportunity to try different things and lots of benefits that extended beyond just my career.

For me, the program combined the best of both worlds. I studied a Bachelor of Psychological Science with a Major in Marketing at University. I was always really interested in the humanities and sociological side of my degree, but also the creative or strategic communication aspect to connect and represent people too. The department afforded me the opportunity to combine both passions, advance my skills through professional development and mentorship and ultimately find a role I love.

It’s also been great to explore more of Australia as part of the program. It’s a unique thing to join other graduates and all move to somewhere completely new with you. We’ve celebrated so many milestones, explored our capital, attended many social events and networked with people APS-wide. Canberra is a great place to start your career. This program has definitely elevated my life – both personally and professionally!


photo of FranFran (2023 Graduate, Legal pathway)

I joined the department as a Legal Graduate and got the opportunity to work in a range of teams in both Public and Corporate Law.

I applied to the department because its work aligned most with my values of giving back to community and social justice. I wanted to contribute to making and implementing good policy in areas of women’s safety, child protection and disability rights. In the 10 months, I worked in each of these subject matter areas, providing legal advice, learning to draft legislative instruments and developing my broader legal skillset. I also got the opportunity to work and collaborate with other APS agencies, including the Attorney-General Department, Australian Government Solicitor and Office of Parliamentary Council. I also worked on high profile matters, including Administrative Appeals Tribunal and National Disability Insurance Scheme reform projects.

Although I relocated from Western Australia, I have had the opportunity to work in Canberra, Perth and Sydney offices after the Graduate Development Program. I truly feel I got the most out of my graduate year and am still supported to grow in my legal career.

My advice to new and ambitious graduates is to say yes to all opportunities and actively try new things.

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