Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors

Graduate programs are a way that organisations recruit new graduates into their organisation in entry-level positions with a view to teach them about their organisation and operations and prepare them for an ongoing career within the company. Programs are often structured, lasting 12-24 months and involve opportunities like orientation, training, work area rotations and mentoring systems. Graduate programs differ between organisations, but they are typically a source for developing graduates into higher level roles.

Employers recruit students in their final year of study (often between March and May) and employment commences after completion of their degree, usually early in the following year. The recruitment process in often reasonably lengthy, involving four to five stages which might include online application, interviews, assessment centres and other activities. Entry into graduate programs is competitive and employers look for things like work experience, academic record and extracurricular activities. Typically, graduate programs are either generalist or specialist in nature.

Generalist Programs

Many government departments at every level (federal, state and local) employ graduates of any degree. These types of graduates are valued highly for their transferable skills such a written and verbal communication, analytical thinking and problem solving. Structured graduate programs are offered by departments including Australian Customs, The Attorney Generals Department, The Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Graduates accepted into these departments can expect to complete rotations between different areas helping them to develop a thorough understanding of the departments' functions. This is completed with a view to fulfil roles in areas such as management and project development.

Private companies also recruit graduates from any discipline for positions which rely on the transferable skills gained in a tertiary degree. These may include critical and analytical thinking, effective communication, advanced literacy ability and research and report writing experience. These types of positions are available in industries such as energy & resources, banking & finance and manufacturing.

Specialist Programs

Organisations in both government and private industry conduct specialist graduate programs in which they recruit graduates of specific disciplines for employment within their field. Specialist training is often provided and prepares recruits for progression within the company. A large variety of different specialist areas are recruited from, including but not limited to:

  • Human Resources - Major companies like Rio Tinto, ANZ and Mars
  • Accounting - The big four accounting firms; PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young as well as ACT Department of Treasury & Commonwealth Bank
  • Engineering - Abigroup, Connell Wagner, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government