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United Nations

UN Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Program: Frequently asked questions

General Information

Will there be multiple placements rounds per year?

DFAT is looking to sponsor up to 16 JPOs per year. These positions will be advertised individually.

Do I need to move overseas?

In general, JPOs will be required to relocate to the relevant duty station for the duration of their assignment. The duty station for each assignment will be specified in the job description. 

Can I bring my family?

Yes. Successful applicants can be accompanied by their spouse and any accompanying dependents for the duration of their assignment. The UN may provide allowances to for accompanying family members in accordance with standard UN rates. Further details are available at https://www.un.org/development/desa/jpo/current-jpos/.

Do I travel on my personal passport?

Yes.

Are the placement dates flexible? Can I postpone my start date?

The successful officer will be required to negotiate their start date with the relevant UN organisation. Officers should be aware that their start date may be dependent on operational requirements for the role.

How long is the placement? Are there any short duration positions?

The length of placement varies across positions, but will either be one year or up to three years. There are no short-term positions.

How often do these positions come available? Will there be a second opportunity to apply for the same position?

We are looking to sponsor up to sixteen JPOs per year as the positions become available. We are not able to advise if we will be seeking to fill the same position once it becomes available again at the end of the placement.

Eligibility Requirements

Who is eligible to apply for the JPO Program?

The JPO Program is only open to permanent Australian Public Service (APS) employees. Non-ongoing APS, contractors, and overseas locally-engaged staff are not eligible to apply. APS Graduate Program officers will not be eligible to apply until they have completed their probation period. 

I am 35 years of age or over – can I still apply?

No, applicants must be no more than 34 years of age at the time of their application.

I am an Australian Permanent Resident – can I apply?

No, the JPO Program is only open to Australian citizens, in accordance with UN requirements.

Do I need a security clearance?

Applicants do not require an Australian Government security clearance to apply for the JPO Program.

I am an employee of a state or territory government, can I apply? What if I am on secondment to the Federal government?

Unfortunately, employees of state and territory governments are not eligible under the criteria for this program.

I work for a corporate Commonwealth entity. Does my employer need to ‘opt in’?

No, all APS are eligible regardless of entity.

I am in an APS Graduate Program – am I eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, Graduates are not eligible to apply until after they have completed their probation period.

I am a soldier or reservist in the Australian Defence Force – am I eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, ADF personnel are ineligible to apply for the program at this stage.

I work in the Australian Federal Police– am I eligible to apply?

Yes.

I have a disability/medical condition - can I apply?

The UN believes that an inclusive culture attracts the best talent and encourages all qualified applicants, regardless of gender, disability, sexual orientation, cultural or religious backgrounds, to apply. Candidates should consider their ability to serve overseas in the current operating environment, including any vulnerabilities to COVID-19 which may impact on their ability to deploy overseas. Candidates are encouraged to research the current medical situation (including access to healthcare) in the location of the assignment before applying.

Experience and Education

Do I need a second language to be able to apply for the JPO Program?

JPOs are required to be proficient in one of the working languages of the UN (English or French). Additional language skills will be looked upon favourably if relevant to the specific placement.  Please refer to the JPO Placement Position Description for more information on the specific placement.

Is the qualification requirement flexible – what if I have an Honours degree or a Graduate Certificate?

Please refer to the JPO Placement Position Description for more information on the specific placement.  Each placement has different requirements.
For example: Advanced degree level (Masters) in this situation an Honours degree would not be applicable, however, a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma will.

What kind of qualification/work experience are you looking for?

Please refer to the JPO Placement Position Description for more information on the specific placement.  Every position is different, and the requirements vary across positions.

Application Process

What is the shortlisting process?

The initial shortlisting process will be completed by an external service provider.  A panel of representatives from the Australian Government, DFAT will review shortlisted candidates and recommend suitable candidates for interview.  Candidates who are invited to interview may request feedback on performance at the conclusion of the process.  Specific feedback will not be offered for candidates who do not progress beyond the online application stage. Please refer to the JPO Program Selection Process.

Are DFAT applicants preferred?

No, this is a whole-of-government program. Your agency or department is irrelevant.

Can I apply for more than one JPO placement?

Yes, applicants can apply for multiple JPO assignments if they have relevant skills and qualifications. Separate applications are required for each placement.  JPO vacancies will be advertised periodically over the duration of the program.

What kind of work will I be doing?

All advertised JPO assignments will include a position description, which will provide an overview of duties, responsibilities, specific skills/experience and qualifications and general information on each opportunity. Candidates are encouraged to undertake additional research on the specific multilateral organisation.

How long is a JPO placement? Is there a possibility for extension?

JPO placement terms will be included in the JPO position description. Assignments will normally be for one to two years but may be extended to three years in some circumstances, depending on funding availability.

Will I receive training on the job?

Successful applicants will receive employment inductions from their host agencies.

Do I need to complete two applications – one for DFAT and one for the United Nations?

No, the recruitment process headed by DFAT will identify a shortlist of candidates whose applications will be passed onto the UN, there is no second application.

Will I get feedback on my application?

Applicants who make it to the interview stage will be given feedback if requested.

What pre-deployment arrangements should I be aware of?

Successful candidates will receive pre-deployment training and applicable briefings (approximately 1 week).  Successful candidates will need to apply for leave during the pre-posting period. Successful candidates are responsible for securing LWOP from their department prior to deployment.

Can I include work experience from a long time ago in my application?

You can include anything in your application that you believe is relevant to the position. Use your judgment and read the position description.

DFAT Employee Specific Information

Is a JPO considered ‘time at Post’ or ‘time served in Canberra’?

All JPO placements will be considered ‘time served in Canberra’.

Can I apply while at Post?

Yes, candidates may apply while at Post.

When I return from my JPO placement will I return to my substantive level?

Yes. 

Conditions of Service

Who will be my employer?

For the duration of the placement the successful applicant will be an employee of the relevant UN agency or multilateral organisation, and subject to the organisation’s terms and conditions.

Will my performance be assessed?

All JPOs will establish a work plan in the first month of their placement, jointly with their direct supervisor.   JPOs performance will be evaluated against this work plan.

What is the salary?

The successful candidates will become employees of the multilateral organisation for the duration of their placement. Successful candidates will receive a salary and allowances from the multilateral organisation. Candidates should undertake research on the UN Agencies conditions of service i.e. JPO-Conditions-of-Service.pdf (un.org), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) link steps out the allowances, benefits and requirements for JPOs at organisations managed by DESA.

What travel/accommodation arrangements for placements? Is there relocation assistance?

DFAT will not be involved in organising travel, this will be the responsibility of the multilateral organisation (for flights) and individual (passport and visas).
Applicants will become an employee of the UN agency for the duration of their placement. Different UN agencies will have varying levels of relocation support.

What superannuation considerations should I be aware of?

Only eligible APS employers can contribute to the CSS. 
JPOs superannuation with be funded in accordance with the UN Pension Fund.  Candidates should undertake some research on the UN Agencies conditions of service JPO-Conditions-of-Service.pdf (un.org)

Is there a correlation between APS levels and JPO levels? Is this pitched at a particular level?

The program is not pitched at a particular level.
JPOs are junior positions in the UN hierarchy but there is no strict correlation in levels.

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