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Applying for the Graduate Program

Applications for the 2020 Graduate Program have now closed

The 2021 Graduate intake opens in March 2020.

The process

Phase one — The application

To apply for the DVA Graduate Development Program, use the DVA Candidate Portal.

The online application will require you to:

  • provide your university results for all units completed (you will upload your university results to date, or your university transcript)
  • provide a list of any scholarships, academic prizes, professional achievements and other information that you believe is relevant to your application
  • provide details of your employment history
  • provide names and contact details of two referees
  • write a one-page pitch relating to DVA’s selection criteria.

It is recommended that you read DVA's hints and tips before you start your application.

Phase two — Video Assessment

Successful candidates will be invited to complete an online, recorded interview. This will be conducted via Montage so you will need access to a laptop / computer / tablet that has a camera and internet connection.

Phase three — Online Assessment

Candidates will also be asked to complete two short online assessments. The first is a values assessment and the second is a work strengths assessment.

Phase four — The Assessment Centre

Applicants who successfully meet the selection criteria based on phases one, two and three will be invited to attend one of the assessment centres (held in most capital cities). Shortlisted candidates will receive instructions on how to book into an Assessment Centre.

The dates for the Assessment Centres will be confirmed closer to the date (Note locations may change depending on the geographical distribution of candidates):

  • Sydney
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Perth
  • Canberra

At the assessment centre, you will be asked to undertake a number of activities to further assess your capability against the selection criteria. Precise details of the assessment centre will be provided to you if your application progresses to Phase four.

Conditional Offer

Upon completion of the Assessment Centres, candidates will be advised whether they have been successful, unsuccessful or found suitable for the Merit Pool.

If successful, DVA will contact you within three to four weeks from the assessment day to make a conditional offer of employment (subject to medical and security checks). DVA will communicate as closely as possible with you throughout the whole process.

Successful applicants will commence working with DVA in Canberra on Thursday, 30 January 2020.


To be eligible for the 2021 Graduate Program:

  • You must be an Australian citizen or have gained citizenship by 31 December 2020.
  • You must have completed (or be completing this year) a minimum three-year undergraduate degree from an Australian tertiary institution awarded no earlier than 1 January 2016. If you have a degree from an overseas tertiary institution, it must be recognised as being equivalent to a three-year Australian degree by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) by 31 December 2020.

Selection criteria

There are five selection criteria:

  • supports strategic direction
  • achieves results
  • supports productive working relationships
  • displays personal drive and integrity
  • communicates with influence

These criteria are capabilities taken from the Integrated Leadership System (ILS) for Australian Public Servants working at the APS1-6 classifications. You can find out more about the ILS, and what these capabilities look like at different classifications, at Australian Public Service Commission.

Our graduates are recruited to the APS3 / Graduate APS classification, but over the course of the program you will be expected to acquire and demonstrate capabilities suited to the APS4 classification. Successful completion of the program will result in graduates progressing to APS4 classification.

We do not require you to address these selection criteria directly when you apply. Rather, your application and other selection process activities are based on these criteria. We use them to form an overall rating of your skills, experience and personal attributes, and it is from this rating that the preferred candidates are selected.

Hints and tips

Some tips to remember when filling out your form

  • Answer all mandatory questions, which are marked with an asterisk (*).
  • Use plain text, not bold or underlined text.
  • Do not use dot / bullet points. Indicate these using an asterisk (*) or dash (-) instead.
    Note: if you use asterisks (*) and dashes (-) to indicate a dot / bullet point, these are counted as one word once uploaded into your online application and could put you over the word limit.
  • Limit your responses to the word limit indicated on the application form
  • Make sure your answers are clear, concise and highlight your experience and capabilities
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