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Graduate program

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Austrade 2024 graduate program

Register your interest for the 2025 Graduate Program

Applications for the 2024 Graduate Program have now closed.

If you have a question relating to your application, please contact

If you would like to receive an email notification when applications open for the 2025 Graduate Program, you can register your interest.

Graduate Program Summaries

Position Details DFAT AUSTRADE
Classification and salary on commencement APS 3 $73,298 + 15.4% Super APS 3.2 $73,298 + 15.4% Super
Classification and salary on completion APS 4.2 $80,336 + 15.4% Super APS 4.2 $80,336 + 15.4% Super
Location(s) Canberra – ACT
*Relocation assistance is available


Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
*Flexible working arrangements
Duration of the program 12 months 12 months
Employment Type Ongoing APS Full-time Ongoing APS Full-time
Streams Corporate
Trade and Investment
Security Clearance Negative Vetting Level 2 Baseline

Working at DFAT

A career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) offers meaningful work that makes a difference. You will learn new skills, be part of experienced and motivated teams, and undertake work that promotes and protects Australia's international interests.

We work with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges, increase Australia's trade and investment opportunities, protect international rules, keep our region stable and help Australians overseas.

DFAT manages Australia's international presence – a network of over 120 embassies, high commissions, consulates-general and representative offices across five continents – and we have over 6,000 staff located in Australia and overseas. These staff are diplomats, negotiators, consular officers and advisers developing and delivering Australia's foreign, trade and development policy on behalf of Australia and Australians.

Each year DFAT selects a mix of graduates with varying experience levels, academic qualifications and backgrounds. We aim to build a workforce that represents the Australia we serve and encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds who share our values.

Working at Austrade

Austrade is looking for the next generation of leaders. You will join a collaborative, outcomes focused team interested in making a difference to Australia’s economic prosperity by generating market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.

Our National Graduate Program is a tailored 12-month rotational program including our Trade Promotion, Investment Facilitation, Visitor Economy, Client Programs, Government and Policy and Communications and Marketing teams along with many more opportunities.

Our purpose is to unlock opportunities that help Australian businesses go further, faster. With around 70 offices across the globe, we have a proud history of helping Australian businesses pursue their global ambition.

About the program

No matter your interest, whether it is in corporate management, foreign affairs, international development policy or trade promotion and investment attraction, our graduate program will prepare you for a rich and rewarding career in either DFAT or Austrade.

DFAT's graduate program has 2 streams: Corporate and Policy.

Austrade's graduate program will have an additional stream for Trade Promotion and Investment Attraction.

In both programs, you will complete 3 placements and get first-hand experience across a range of the government’s priorities during your program.

Corporate graduates will be placed in specialised roles, including:

  • accounting and financial management
  • communications
  • data
  • digital
  • human resources (HR)
  • legal
  • STEM.

Policy graduates may be placed in various roles, including:

  • bilateral economic and political relations
  • international trade negotiations, investment, and economic analysis
  • humanitarian assistance
  • development and aid program management
  • international security
  • consular and crisis management
  • public diplomacy
  • multilateral and global issues.

Trade Promotion and Investment Attraction roles – Austrade graduates only.

What we offer

During the 12-month program, you will be provided with:

  • an ongoing, entry level position, commencing at an APS 3 classification and advancing to an APS 4 classification at completion of the program
  • 15.4% superannuation
  • targeted training and development
  • an inclusive and flexible working environment
  • pastoral care from a dedicated graduate advisor
  • a Senior Executive Service (SES) mentor (DFAT) and Executive Level mentor (Austrade)
  • access to employee and professional networks
  • generous leave conditions
  • a relocation package if you need to move to Canberra (DFAT graduates only).

All DFAT roles are based in Canberra.

Austrade roles can be based in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for an overseas posting opportunity once they have completed the program.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for graduates who have a genuine interest in working in international affairs and trade. We want people from a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds.

We look for collaborative, outcomes-focused and high-performing graduates with an interest in making a difference to Australia’s economic prosperity. We need people who are analytical, strong communicators and interested in diverse business cultures.

We are looking for both generalist and specialist graduates. We welcome applications from all academic backgrounds, including international studies, arts, economics, social sciences, policy, education, business and commerce, law, information technology, and languages.

We also encourage graduates with backgrounds or degrees in human resources, communications, data and digital fields to apply.

In your application you can select from the policy, corporate and/or trade and investment pathways.

If you select the corporate pathway, you will be asked to indicate a preference for one or more of the specialisations listed above. Please note, to apply for a specialisation, you need to have studied at least a minor or have work experience in this field.

DFAT and Austrade eligibility requirements

You must meet DFAT and Austrade general eligibility requirements to apply for the Graduate Programs.

You also need to:

  • be an Australian Citizen at the time of application
  • have finished at least a bachelor's degreein the last 5 years.

Prior to starting the DFAT graduate program, successful candidates need to obtain an Australian national security clearance at Negative Vetting Level 2.

Prior to starting the Austrade graduate program, successful candidates need to obtain an Australian national security clearance at Baseline level.

If your only qualification is from an overseas institution, you will need to provide Australian documentation recognising your qualification(s). Refer to the Department of Education for more information about recognition of overseas qualifications.

Applying from overseas

Several successful candidates apply from overseas each year.

The application and assessment process can be conducted online, with the option to attend the assessment centre stage in-person, depending on advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and relevant state and territory governments.

If you are overseas and want to attend the assessment centre stage in-person, you will need to travel to Australia at your own expense. Virtual attendance is an option for those unable to travel.

If you are a successful candidate for DFAT, you will need to complete a Negative Vetting Level 2 security clearance process. This will include a security interview, held either in-person or virtually (to be assessed case-by-case).

If you are a successful candidate for Austrade, you will need to complete a Baseline clearance and pre-employment screening.


All queries relating to the application and selection process should be directed DFP Recruitment via email at , or by telephone on 1300 184 817.

To engage with DFAT you can also:

To engage with Austrade you can also:

  • Connect with us on LinkedIn
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Subscribe to our Youtube channel
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