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  • What the Graduate Program involves

    Your 12-month Graduate Program involves training, work placements and mentoring and support. The Graduate debate and a range of social events give you the opportunity to make friends and build networks.

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    Your journey with us begins with a welcome from our Executive followed by a dedicated five-day induction guided by your program manager.

    Over the course of this first week you will be introduced to:

    • your training calendar
    • corporate and security requirements
    • what it means to be an employee of the APS
    • what the different business areas of the ATO do.

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    • Hear from recent graduates about their Induction.


    Our regular training exposes you to a range of both stream-specific and whole-of-ATO topics. You will consolidate and apply your learnings via research tasks throughout the year. All your training will be delivered by qualified facilitators who are topic experts.

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    • Hear from recent graduates about their Training.

    Rotations and post-program placement

    During the year you will go through three rotations:

    • two will be in business areas – these will help you to develop your knowledge and capabilities across a range of topics
    • one will be in a client-focused area – this client contact experience demonstrates the diversity of the community the ATO serves and the vast range of topics we provide advice on. You may be assisting clients via the call centre, myGov shopfront or answering real-time, online queries through our online chat function.

    We will tell you the details of your first business area rotation at your induction. We will decide your:

    • second business area rotation in the middle of the year
    • post-program placement at the end of your graduate year. successfully complete the program, you'll be eligible to advance to the next APS work classification level (APS4).

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    Mentoring and support

    During your Graduate Program, you'll have the opportunity to learn from experienced staff that will guide and mentor you through your training and work rotations.

    We provide support to our graduates at both a professional and personal level. You'll be assisted by:

    • your program manager – supports and guides your probation, approves your leave, recommends appropriate work rotations, and provides advice and support on any issues or concerns you may encounter
    • trainers – offer support through facilitating courses, marking assessments and giving feedback. They also provide additional tutoring and support to address any technical training-related questions
    • rotation team leaders – support you in your workplace area and teach you the technical skills and use of IT systems relevant to your role. They will assist you to build your workplace capabilities and knowledge.
    • graduate peers – provide valuable support through the many training and assessment activities you'll undertake together

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    Your program manager will liaise with your trainers and rotation team leaders to evaluate your performance.

    You'll develop a performance tracking document (called Compass) with your program manager and your rotation team leader. You will renew this in each new work rotation as you achieve your goals and set new ones. Regular feedback from managers and trainers help shape your development needs and assist in keeping you 'on track'.

    ATO Graduate debate

    The Graduate debate is an opportunity to debate in front of senior executives, your colleagues and peers. The event aims to highlight a current topic of interest and provide graduates with an opportunity for self-development, networking and public speaking.

    In previous years the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has run the APSC Graduate debate. We have had a strong representation at this event and it was a highlight for many past graduates.

    In 2017 we used our live streaming capability to run our own debate and broadcast it nationally. Due to its success, we opened the debate to other APS agencies. A panel of past graduates who had previously participated in the debate selected the teams. We align each team with a team coach, usually a past graduate, with debate experience.

    The debate represents an investment into our staff culture and demonstrates that we:

    • are open to a range of discussions at all levels
    • promote a questioning attitude on how we can do things better.

    The debate continues to be a huge success and a highlight in our graduate calendar.

    Social events

    Our graduate program will give you an excellent social and networking base. Over the course of the program you will have many opportunities to involve yourself in social events specific to your site. In some sites, there are also social networks of graduates from across the APS.

    Most sites also have active social clubs that run fundraising activities, happy hours, sporting competitions and family fun days.

    The national network of social clubs hosts a sports carnival every two to three years. You can represent your site and state/territory in events, or just come along to enjoy the friendly atmosphere.

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    Last modified: 27 Jan 2021QC 64592