3 graduates stand together looking at a computer tablet

Program objectives

The NSW Government Graduate Program is a structured employment and development program, designed to attract and retain talented graduates, build public sector capability and develop a cohort of future leaders.

The program provides graduates with accelerated exposure to the sector, its governing framework and principles and its operations. Graduates will be equipped with transferable skills and a sound understanding of the workings of the NSW public sector.

We collaborate with subject matter experts across the sector to support the expansion of the program. This includes responding to emerging business needs by establishing; new functional areas within the program’s primary stream; or new occupation-specific streams.

Our program principles

  • The program targets entry level graduates for each stream.
  • The program provides graduates with a structured and challenging experience intended to develop generic capabilities relevant to working in the public sector, as well as any skills relevant to their professional discipline and organisational needs. 
  • The program is intended to build long term organisation capabilities and not to be used as a means of addressing short term vacancy pressures. 
  • The commitment from sector agencies determines the number of graduate roles in the program each year.

Benefits for agencies

Rigorous capability-based assessment approach to select talent.

Access to high calibre talent from diverse backgrounds and disciplines.

Attraction and retention of talent in both Sydney metropolitan and regional NSW.

Targeted university visits including regional locations.

Targeted exposure through a comprehensive advertising and marketing campaign, raising the profile of NSW Government as an employer of choice.

Workshop delivery in both Sydney metropolitan and regional NSW locations, minimising costs and travel for graduates.

How to participate

We contact cluster secretaries and the heads of separate agencies and executive agencies in April each year seeking commitment for the following year’s graduate program.

The process of confirming the number of graduates needed by the sector, as well as identifying any specific talent needs, is finalised by the end of May. Maintaining this timeline is critical to developing a targeted advertising and marketing campaign.

Measuring success

A longitudinal study has found that retention of graduates is high with close to 80% of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 cohorts still employed in the sector, up to 2 years after their program intake. Nearly three-quarters of former graduates are currently employed in an agency where they completed a rotation during the program.

Awards and recognition

In 2021 the NSW Government Graduate Program was ranked #1 in the Top 100 Graduate Employers list. We have also been voted Australia's most popular government and defence graduate employer for the last four years.

Graduate Program Awards 2021

Contact us

If your department or agency is interested in participating in the Program, please contact nswgraduateprogram@psc.nsw.gov.au