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NSW Government Graduate Program

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Key dates

  • 6 July 2020: Applications open
  • 3 August 2020: Information evening
  • 10 August 2020: Applications close
  • September 2020: Assessment days
  • November 2020: Offers of employment
  • 8 February 2021: Start your career with NSW Government!

What’s in it for you

The NSW Government Graduate Program gives you endless opportunities to shape and change the future of NSW.

From day one, you’ll work on projects that contribute to making NSW a great place to live, work and visit.  

We’re looking for people with a range of skills and backgrounds and accept applications from people with all university degrees. We also have extra information for candidates with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates to assist you in applying for the Program.
As a graduate, you will:

  • Earn a competitive salary from day one
  • Learn and grow with mentoring and networking opportunities 
  • Complete further study while on the job
  • Be offered a permanent (ongoing) role when you successfully complete the Program.

Our Graduate Program is currently #4 in the Top 100 Graduate Employers list for the second year running, and the Most Popular Government and Defence Employer in the country.

Awards and accolades

The NSW Government Graduate Program has received the following rankings, awards and media coverage.

About the Program

Our Program goes for 18 months, starting in February each year. During that time, you’ll complete three six-month placements in different roles across NSW Government.

  • Our Graduate Program offers two streams: the Primary Stream and a Legal Stream.

    Graduates in the Primary Stream can work in a range of areas, from analytics and digital, to policy and projects, and more. You’ll also study a Diploma of Government, which will help to ease your transition from university to work life and provide foundational government knowledge. We accept applications from people with all university degrees.

    If you want to work as a lawyer in NSW Government, the Legal Stream offers you experience such as litigation, providing legal advice and developing policy while studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. You must have a law degree to apply for this stream.

    You can apply to be considered for both streams.

  • In the Primary Stream, you can put your degree into action or try something new - our Graduate Program allows you to build your own experience. When you apply, select up to three functional areas of interest:

    • Analytics 
    • Audit and Risk 
    • Communications and Marketing 
    • Digital Design 
    • Digital Development – Solutions Architecture 
    • Engineering 
    • Finance/Business/Economics  
    • HR (People)  
    • Policy 
    • Procurement 
    • Project Management 
    • Service Delivery 

    Checkout other functional areas of interest

    View video transcripts

    Virtual Internship Program

    Want a taste of life as an NSW Government graduate? Try our InsideSherpa virtual internship to discover the work our graduates do.

    Register for our Virtual Internship Program

  • During the Program, you’ll work in three different roles over the 18 months.

    For the Legal Stream, roles are only available in the Sydney Metropolitan area.

    For the Primary Stream, there are roles available in five different regions of NSW. Your placements will all be based within the same region. When applying, you can select one or more of your preferred regions to work in. You can choose from:

    • Greater Sydney Metropolitan, including Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Kingswood and Liverpool, Parramatta and Sydney CBD
    • Hunter region, including Newcastle, Gosford and Maitland
    • Central Tablelands, including Bathurst, Dubbo, Lithgow and Orange
    • New England, including Tamworth and Armidale
    • North Coast, including Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Grafton.

    You’ll work across different NSW Government agencies. Your first placement will be your ‘home’ agency, and you will return here for your ongoing (permanent) role at the end of the Program.

    Some of the NSW Government Clusters you could be working in are:

    • Department of Communities and Justice
    • Department of Customer Service
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
    • Department of Premier & Cabinet
    • NSW Health
    • Treasury
    • Transport for NSW
    • Regional NSW
  • To apply for the 2021 NSW Government Graduate Program, you must:

    • Have completed your undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the last two years (i.e. any time from 1 June 2018) or be completing your degree by 31 December 2020
    • Be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident of Australia, New Zealand citizen with a current New Zealand passport, or hold a visa that allows you to work full-time in Australia until at least 31 August 2022
    • Be available to start work on Monday 8 February 2021.

    In addition, if you are applying for the Legal Stream, you must:

    • have completed a law degree in the last two years
    • have not yet started studying for a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, but be willing to start studying this during the Program. If you have already started, you will not be eligible for the Legal Stream, but you may be eligible to apply to our Primary Stream.
    • agree to pay part of the fees up to $4,000 (with FEE-HELP options available) and your ‘home’ agency will subsidise the remainder of the cost.

    Completion dates: The eligible dates are based on your date of completion or degree completion date as confirmed by your University or in your University transcript, not your degree conferral date or graduation ceremony date.

    Overseas Qualifications: To meet the eligibility requirements of the Program, your overseas qualification must be assessed and recognised by an Australian authorising body. Your results will need to be available in November of this year, when offers of employment will start to be made to successful candidates.

    Please visit the Australian Government Department of Education and Training website for more information. Please note, the outcome of a qualification assessment may take up to three months.

    Eligible degrees: Qualifying degrees as rated by the Australian Qualifications Framework are at level 7 and above.  Visit for more information.

  • We’re doing virtual presentations with universities across Australia to tell you more about our program. Details on how to join the session will be advertised on your university’s CareerHub channels, so please contact your career advisors for more information. Download a copy of the presentation (PPTX 5.1MB) 

    Event Title Date Time University Location
    Graduate Recruitment Bootcamp Tuesday, 23 June 2020 10am – 11am Deakin University Virtual Recruitment Bootcamp
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 2 July 2020 11am – 11.45am University of New England Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 2 July 2020 1pm – 2pm University of New South Wales Virtual Presentation
    Virtual Coffee Chats Thursday 9 July 2020 10.30am – 11am University of Southern Queensland Virtual Coffee
    Employer Presentation Tuesday, 21 July 2020 12pm – 12.45pm Charles Sturt University Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Wednesday, 22 July 2020 10am – 10.45am Griffith University Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 23 July 2020 12pm – 12.45pm Australian National University  Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation  Tuesday, 28 July 2020 11am - 12pm  Southern Cross University  Virtual Presentation 
    Employer Presentation  Tuesday, 28 July 2020 12pm - 1pm  University of Technology Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Wednesday, 29 July 2020 2pm – 3pm Curtin University Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Wednesday, 29 July 2020 12pm – 1pm University of Tasmania Virtual Presentation
    Careers Fair  Thursday, 30 July 2020 2pm - 4pm  Indigenous Careers Fair, Prosple 
    Virtual Fair 
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 30 July 2020 12pm – 1pm Queensland University of Technology Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Friday, 31 July 2020 12.30pm – 1.30pm University of South Adelaide Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation  Monday, 3 August 2020 11am - 12am  Murdoch University & The University of Western Australia  Virtual Presentation
     Employer Presentation Monday, 3 August 2020 12.30pm - 1.15pm Ngunnawal Centre, University of Canberra  Virtual Presentation 
    Employer Presentation Tuesday, 4 August 2020 12pm – 12.45pm University of Melbourne Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Tuesday, 4 August 2020 2pm – 3pm University of Canberra Virtual Presentation
    Ask an Employer Session Wednesday, 5 August 2020 10.15am – 11am Swinburne University Virtual Session
    Employer Presentation Wednesday, 5 August 2020 12pm – 1pm Macquarie University Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Wednesday, 5 August 2020 12.30pm - 1.30pm University of Wollongong Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 6 August 2020 12pm – 1pm University of Newcastle Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Thursday, 6 August 2020 12.30pm – 1.30pm University of Adelaide Virtual Presentation
    Employer Presentation Friday, 7 August 2020 12pm – 1pm Monash University Virtual Presentation

The application process

The application process involves an online application, pre-assessment centre activities and assessment centres.

  • In this stage you will be asked to provide information about your experience, interests, and education. You do not need to attach a resume or cover letter. Allow 2-3 hours to complete the entire application. The application will also include:

    • Targeted Questions: these questions allow you to express your motivation to work as a NSW Government graduate and to draw on your experience to demonstrate your capabilities.
    • Situational Questions: you will be asked to respond to a series of situations that NSW Government graduates may encounter in the workplace. These questions will allow you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. You will be asked to select the most effective and appropriate response.
    • Cognitive Ability Assessment: when you have submitted your application, you will instantly receive an email inviting you to complete an assessment called Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices. This is entirely non-verbal and has a 45-minute time limit. In this assessment, you will be presented with visual matrices consisting of different geometric patterns. For each item, you will be asked to figure out the underlying logic and rule behind the patterns and select the option that completes the pattern. You will need to complete this assessment within 72 hours of submitting your application, so please check your emails regularly and check your junk/spam folders.
  • If you are successful in progressing to this stage of the process, you will be notified via email.

    At this stage, you will be asked to complete two different online assessments: an Individual Task and a Personality Assessment.

    You will also be invited to book into a Virtual Assessment Centre. This will include a list of dates and times. Book in early to secure your preferred date.

  • This is your chance to show us who you are and put your best foot forward!

    In the Assessment Centre you’ll be asked to complete two activities – a structured individual interview, and a group activity with other candidates. On the day, you will receive a briefing and be given the opportunity to ask questions to ensure you understand the requirements for each activity.

    Assessment centres will be held in September. All assessment centres will be conducted virtually via Zoom video conferencing software.

  • If you successfully pass the assessments, we will contact you to confirm your position in the Graduate Pool. This means your application is being considered for a role in the 2021 Graduate Program and you may be contacted by one or more of the government agencies looking for graduates. In this stage you will also be asked to complete an online video interview question.

  • Agencies may contact you to complete a reference check. If the referee reports are satisfactory, we may make you an offer. This offer will be subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks (citizen, visa, qualification and criminal history). We’ll also provide your assessment results to your employing agency to support your development.

    Then, it’s the exciting part - the start of your new career in NSW Government!

Information for Aboriginal candidates and candidates with disability

  • If you have a disability you can request a reasonable adjustment in each step of the recruitment process. If you require an adjustment, contact Akanksha Joshi from Peter Berry Consultancy on 02 8918 0888 or

    Some examples of reasonable adjustments include:

    • completing ability tests using paper and pen/pencil instead of online
    • longer break times between activities
    • additional time to complete certain activities.

    Find out more information

  • We partner with Yarn’n Aboriginal Employment Services to support Aboriginal graduates through this application process. For more information or assistance, contact Tommy from Yarn’n on (02) 9319 4000 or

    Find out more information

Meet our graduates

Fabian Friedrich

Fabian Friedrich My official title is ‘Graduate Policy Officer’ and I work for the Custodial Operations team that is part of Youth Justice NSW. I’m currently focusing on how to develop effective policies that increase the wellbeing of young people under supervision of Youth Justice NSW. I base my policy work on neuroscientific evidence and strong collaboration with other teams within Youth Justice NSW.

Find out more about Fabian

Christopher Duncan

Christopher Duncan Chris is currently a Policy Graduate in the Commercial Law Team at the NSW Department of Industry, based in Orange, in regional NSW.

Find out more about Chris

Lakshmi Logathassan

Lakshmi Logathassan Lakshmi has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations and Asian Studies) from the Western Sydney University, and is currently working as a Graduate Policy Officer for the Ministry of Health in St Leonards, Sydney.

Find out more about Lakshmi

Shehara Desilva

Shehara Desilva I’m a Graduate Officer at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Regional NSW. I’m currently assisting with key aspects of the Regional NSW Investment Strategy and mapping mental health and drug and alcohol services for domestic violence perpetrators.

Find out more about Shehara


The NSW Public Service Commission manage the NSW Government Graduate Program. If you can’t find the answer to your question on this site, email the Graduate Recruitment Team.