What is a Graduate Program?

Posted by Clareese Packer

A graduate program is a structured program that usually lasts between one to two years where you receive training, mentoring, and support as you enter the workforce. It’s a great opportunity to begin working in your chosen field, where you’ll receive guidance and opportunities to build on your skills in a real work environment. So, here’s a quick explainer on what graduate programs are, the benefits, and how to apply!

What Are the Benefits of a Graduate Program?


Most graduate programs will offer rotations, which involves working across different roles or departments within the company in a short period of time. This is a great way to gain new skills, meet people from other teams and help you narrow down what area you’d like to specialise in. Who knows, it might even open your eyes to career paths you’d never thought about before!
The Pay

While salaries vary from program to program, the average salary for graduate programs in Australia is $68,000 per year (2022 AAGE Graduate Survey)! Some programs, such as the Victorian Government graduate program, also offer promotions and pay rises when the program is completed.

If you’re looking for a more specific estimation, you can always check out our Graduate Salary Calculator, too!

Training and Development
Graduate programs are designed to fast-track your career, which typically means great opportunities for quality training and development. Over 70 percent of graduates reported this was either excellent or very good in their graduate programs according to the 2022 AAGE Graduate Survey. 

Meeting New People
Being part of a graduate program means you’ll be able to network and make connections with industry professionals - both within and outside your company! It also gives you the opportunity to form friendships with other like-minded graduates, which graduates have said is one of the best parts of graduate programs

How Do I Find a Graduate Program?

When it comes to finding a graduate program, GradConnection has you covered! Check out the graduate programs (and graduate jobs) open for applications on our site now. Looking at your University Careers Centre is another great place to find opportunities, too.

How to Apply to a Graduate Program

Do Your Research

Just like with any job, research is key: you want to make sure you’re applying for programs that are a good fit for you. Consider things such as the pay, opportunity for rotations, benefits, company culture and most importantly, apply for the programs that you think you’ll enjoy! 

Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

When applying for any position, it’s a good idea to look over both your resume and cover letter. Where you can, try and implement the key skills the employer is looking for into your resume and cover letter. For example, if they’re looking for someone who can work to a deadline, put “ability to work to a strict deadline” in your resume and mention it in your cover letter.  Still stuck? Check out our guides on putting together the perfect graduate resume and cover letter.
Use Your Connections!
Having references on your resume is important when applying for any position, graduate programs included. You can put down managers from Christmas Casual jobs, retail jobs, or even someone from any volunteer experience you might have. Another good idea is to ask your university tutors or lecturers - you could even ask them to write a letter of recommendation, which can go a long way when applying for competitive programs! If you’re unsure of how to ask someone to be your reference, we’ve already put together a guide for you! 

About The Author

Clareese is a Media and Communications (journalism) graduate from La Trobe University. She worked at GradConnection as a Student Journalist where she covered a range of topics on the student blog and reported on the 2023 Top100 Awards. She’s now working in an exciting new role as a Cadet Journalist at News Corp based in NSW. 


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