The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is responsible for maximising opportunity and prosperity through national leadership on education, training and employment policy to contribute to an inclusive and productive Australia.
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If you’re interested in working at Department of Education, Skills and Employment, understanding when they have opened up applications for their graduate programs, graduate jobs and internships is helpful knowledge to have so you know when you might need to apply. Use the below information to see when Department of Education, Skills and Employment hires graduates, but more importantly what graduate degree’s and other student attributes they target for their jobs.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment was established in February 2020 when the Department of Education was consolidated with several functions from the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
As the name suggests, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, known as DESE, is responsible for the policies and programs that ensure Australians can access quality education, skills and employment and the wellbeing and economic benefits they provide. Our primary focus is to equip Australians – at all life and career stages – with knowledge, skills and attributes to live well, thrive at work and contribute to community life.
Departmental staff can find themselves doing many different things; from evaluating educational services; preparing and reskilling the future workforce; and helping people find, keep, create or change jobs to enjoy fulfilling careers. The department has committed to using a strong evidence base as the underlying basis for the development and implementation of effective education, skills and employment policies.
The department is led by a Secretary, who reports to the Minister for Education and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. The department is structured into six main groups, each headed up by a deputy secretary. These are: Corporate and Enabling Services; Early Childhood and Childcare; Schools; Higher Education, Research and International; Skills and Training; and Employment.
Our culture is important to us and underpins how we work. DESE strives for a culture that positions us with the right capability, passion and pride to make a difference in delivering education and employment outcomes, which enable all Australians to thrive.
Like many employers, DESE is committed to diversity and inclusion. Our commitment is demonstrated by the size and presence of our employee-led networks. These networks, which focus on disability, LGBTIQ, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, gender equality, and cultural heritage, ¬are very active and work towards strengthening our workplace inclusiveness. DESE is a member of Pride in Diversity, Diversity Council Australia and Australian Network on Disability.
DESE also has a strong commitment to reconciliation and improving employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, such as through the use of the Affirmative Measures – Indigenous recruitment processes, and investment in professional development opportunities. To support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff we have the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network, and an Indigenous Liaison Officer.
DESE encourages people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, mature-age people, people with disability, and other job seekers regardless of their sex, sexuality or gender identity to apply.
The department seeks to attract enthusiastic and motivated people, who are passionate and want to make a difference to the lives of all Australians.
To accept a position in our program you will need to have been awarded any degree in the last 5 years
The ten-month program runs from February to December and is based at our national office location, in Canberra. The Program offers several career pathways including Legal, Finance, Economist and Generalist. Please refer to the department’s website for further information about the career pathways at https://www.dese.gov.au/graduate-program
Our graduates receive on-the-job experience and participate in an extensive learning and development program. Graduates receive support from their supervisor, buddy and the Entry-Level Programs team.
As a graduate in our department, we will offer you:
- An opportunity to grow your career through two diverse work placements over a ten-month period
- Dedicated career pathways in different disciplines (Generalist, Legal, Finance and Economist)
- Exposure to our business and our people through the opportunity to get involved in employee networks (including the department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network), peer support and mentoring relationships
- Graduate Alumni activities and Senior Executive Sponsor
- Access to professional development and on-the-job learning activities
- Excellent employment conditions with competitive remuneration, superannuation and employee entitlements (including relocation assistance and access to cultural leave, such as to participate in NAIDOC week)
- A workplace culture that embraces inclusion
- A strong foundation for a career in the APS.
You will emerge from the program as a strategic and innovative thinker with a comprehensive understanding of how government policies are developed, and programs implemented. You will also develop excellent communication skills, problem solving, stakeholder engagement, and research capabilities. These skills will be invaluable whether you wish to remain in the public service or move into a different employment.
The department offers excellent employment conditions with competitive remuneration, superannuation and employee entitlements. Graduates commence at APS3 level and will be advanced to APS4 level following successful completion of the program. Information relating to salaries is set out in our Enterprise Agreement and Determination. Departmental staff have access to a wide range of allowances and many different forms of leave, also available in our Enterprise Agreement and Determination. A copy is available on our website.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is offering a number of graduate specialist career
pathways for 2021 – these include legal, finance and economics. Additionally, the department is offering a generalist pathway.
A specialist career pathway is intended to provide graduates with a structured learning pathway through their placements to support an integrated development opportunity. Graduates in specific career pathways get unique opportunities to gain experience and additional learning and development opportunities relevant to their chosen career. This differs to the generalist pathway which is intended to provide graduates with strategic and diverse policy and program placements across the department which provide a good opportunity to build on understanding of the different areas across the department.
The graduate program provides diverse work placements that help graduates understand the core business of the department
The 2021 Graduate Program recruitment process will commence in July 2020.
The assessment process for the program is similar for all pathways, however the content for assessment activities may vary slightly depending on the pathway you apply for.
The department is conducting affirmative selection processes for people who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The department participates in the RecruitAbility scheme which means we will progress an applicant with disability to a further stage in the recruitment process where they opt into the scheme and meet the minimum requirements for the position.
I attended: University of Canberra
And graduated with a: Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Financial Services
My DESE job title is: Data Officer in the Schools Data Production Team
My job is about: My team helps the department facilitate the collection of Australian schools data to better empower decision making from both a policy and funding perspective. Another major role we play is in assisting external stakeholders by providing data to them on request. The team has a very diverse skill set to ensure that everything from the number crunching, to the presentation and reporting of our findings is the best it can be which makes it an excellent opportunity for graduates of all backgrounds.
The coolest thing about my job is: Seeing the range of challenges faced by schools all around the country and knowing my work has the potential to help them.
A challenge I have experienced in my work is: Aside from dealing with the occasional global pandemic or regional school burning down, going from my degree where the answers were generally black and white to a role where you have to constantly critique your own solutions to problems to ensure every possibility has been considered is a daily challenge I embrace.
2 pieces of advice for yourself when you were job hunting...
- Applying for graduate positions is a long and arduous task. Don’t let a couple of rejections get you down because everyone is in the same boat and your positivity and resilience can be what sets you apart.
- Don’t be afraid to look down non-traditional pathways. I was far from a straight A student so I made it my goal to pursue as many internship opportunities as I could to beef up my resume.
Favourite place to go in Canberra: Buvette does incredible traditional French food and has won many awards locally and nationally.
I attended: Australian National University
And graduated with a: A Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Culture
My DESE job title is: Graduate – STEM and Digital Technologies Team, Student Learning Branch, Improving Student Outcomes Division
My job is about:I coordinate the department and external stakeholders with project development. I regularly communicate with the Australian Academy of Science to help monitor their projects to ensure deliverables are received on time and the projects continue to progress. The role requires an understanding of public policy and project managing. However, this role is open to many different backgrounds and qualifications, anyone with a keen interest in learning, good people skills and an understanding of how government projects are adapted into the schooling curriculum, would be well situated to a position like this.
The coolest thing about my job is: The coolest thing about my job is that I get to work so closely with people who have a wealth of knowledge. Everyone in the department brings their own skill sets and knowledge to the different teams. My supervisor is no exception and constantly allows me to be exposed to a range of different work ensuring that no two days at work are the same.
A challenge I have experienced in my work is: A challenge I have experience is learning to talk the APS talk. The APS has a very specific language and structure when writing to and addressing the public. It is a hard task of addressing specific needs of individuals and maintain a neutral stance when addressing individuals concerns.
2 pieces of advice for yourself when you were job hunting...
- 1. Have specific examples from past work or experiences that you can draw on to show how you have managed and overcome challenging experiences or situations.
- 2. Eat breakfast before you go to assessment centres, no matter how nervous you are! It will help you to stay focused during the interview process.
Favourite place to go in Canberra: Civic Pub - love a good pub feed!
I attended: The Australian National University
And graduated with a: Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Arts: Majoring in International Relations, Minor in Latin American Studies
My DESE job title is: 2020 Data Graduate: Investment Approach Team
My job is about: Analysing data from a variety in the frame of the ‘Investment Approach’ (google it). I look at the public and private returns to the economy on different occupations and fields of education to work out which should be funded more or less by the government. Someone with a different background could definitely do my job, I really have no experience in data analytics but think it’s really important for everyone to understand, no matter what you want to do – so far I’ve learnt everything on-the-job!
The coolest thing about my job is: I get to analyse outcomes from higher education and tertiary study and contribute work that will inform future policy in this area. It’s really rewarding knowing the things you are working on will be used to shape the future education systems of Australia.
A challenge I have experienced in my work is: DESE is BIG, my previous jobs in offices and hospitality were much smaller teams so it was easy to naturally socialise. You get used to it though and your fellow grads offer easy socialisation as well as the team you are placed in.
2 pieces of advice for yourself when you were job hunting...
- You’ll get there! – Job hunting can be pretty demoralising at times, hang in there and you’ll eventually pull through.
- Try and receive as much feedback as you can on your CV/ cover letters/application documents. This means talking to friends, current colleagues, lecturers. I also found recruitment agencies (despite not getting me a job) really good for this too.
Favourite place to go in Canberra: Namadgi National Park/Murrumbidgee River
I attended: University of Wollongong
And graduated with a: Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics/ Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) Economics
My DESE job title is: 2020 Data Graduate: Data analyst
My job is about: Understanding and tracking the experiences of employers across the country and using a variety of data sources to produce reports and presentation that help policymakers, employers and job seekers to understand the labour market. I also help with the design and upkeep of one of the Department’s biggest nationally representative data sources, the Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences. My branch, while populated by lots of economists, has people with qualifications across the social sciences and mathematics. With a bit of reading, people from many academic backgrounds could pick up the skills to do my work.
The coolest thing about my job is: Learning about the unique challenges in faced in every pocket of the country. Moving quickly to gain detailed insights in response to major events in the economy this year.
A challenge I have experienced in my work is: Attention to detail – I thought I was good at it, but this skill is needed on a whole new level.
2 pieces of advice for yourself when you were job hunting...
- Be perseverant. Don’t get demoralised by all the rejections – this is actually the second time I went for the (formerly) Employment Grad Program, and the advice to upskill in Economics from a panellist (who now works in my Branch) pushed me do Honours and be successful the second time around.
- Find alternative avenues. I couldn’t get a relevant internship through major online intakes, so I approached agencies directly to find opportunities that aren’t available otherwise.
Favourite place to go in Canberra: Transit Bar – great local live music up close.
DESE is committed to diversity and inclusion. We recognise that people are our greatest strength and value the contributions of people of all abilities and walks of life. The department is committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace for everyone – we welcome applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with disability, people who identify as LGBTI+, and people with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
The department’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy frames our commitment to embedding diversity and inclusion principles and actions in all that we do. Action plans commit to action and support the strategy to build on our inclusive workplace culture, retain our diverse workforce and support our people to build a rewarding career and achieve their full potential.
We strive to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian community and welcome applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disability, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.
The department’s employee networks form an essential part of our inclusive and diverse workplace. The networks help drive and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives, improve employment outcomes and the day-to-day lived experience of our people.
The employee networks are supported by a cohort of dedicated members of the SES Executive Service (SES). These Diversity Co-Champions raise awareness and promote initiatives that progress diversity and inclusion within the department.
Days of Significance
The department takes time to promote diversity and inclusion by celebrating days of significance. These days are supported corporately and by our employee networks and Diversity Co-Champions.
The department has established a number of external partnerships as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
DESE is a member of the following organisations:
- Diversity Council Australia
- Pride in Diversity
- Australian Network on Disability
The department is committed to supporting and promoting workplace gender equality. We recognise achieving gender equality will allow us to realise the benefits of diversity in leadership and decision making, enhance our ability to attract and retain talent, and establish our credentials as a thought leader on gender and diversity in the workplace.
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Gender Equality Action Plan
DESE’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Gender Equality Action Plan underscores our approach to diversity and inclusion, and workplace gender equality. The Strategy is complimented by the Australian Public Service (APS) Gender Equality Strategy and ensures the department provides a supportive and enabling organisational culture.
Our Gender/Women’s Co-Champions take the lead as senior advocates for gender equality by promoting inclusion and diversity. The Co-Champions work with the Gender/Women’s Network to advocate for and support gender equality and workplace flexibility. There is also a network supporting women working in data, digital and technology, Women in Data and Digital.
DESE acknowledges the valuable and unique contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples bring to our organisation, and is committed to improving opportunities for all Indigenous Australians. We develop and deliver education and training policies and programs by working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, respecting cultures and building our cultural capability.
Indigenous Affirmative Measure
We seek to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian community and recognise the important knowledge and skills Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples bring to the work we do. Attracting, developing and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees is a priority for the department.
The department offers an Indigenous Affirmative Measure recruitment process, which provides a valuable opportunity to engage the cultural strengths that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to the workplace. The Department welcomes applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all degree disciplines to our graduate program.
Through the department’s Indigenous Affirmative Measure recruitment process, we are able to engage the cultural strengths that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to the workplace. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan enables the department to build a culturally responsive environment where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are empowered to achieve their full potential in the workplace.
Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
Along with the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which underscores DESE’s approach to diversity and inclusion, we are guided by our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our RAP provides the framework to commit to practical actions that build respectful relationships and create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in and outside of the department.
To ensure that opportunity and prosperity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is at the heart of our work, DESE operates on the principle that Indigenous business is everyone’s business. This principle is designed to build the department’s cultural capability and supports the Australian Government’s priority of improving the wellbeing of and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout the country.
Culture and Support
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network - all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are welcome to be involved in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network. The Network provides an important mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to support each other, share information and experiences. It is also an opportunity to provide guidance and support to other members, encouraging peer support and mentoring that promotes career development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
The department hosts NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week events each year to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and achievements. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff may access Ceremonial and NAIDOC Leave.
DESE’s Indigenous Co-Champions help encourage cultural change and build a diverse and inclusive workplace by taking the lead as senior advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. They work with the department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network to drive and promote initiatives which help to build a culturally supportive workplace culture that values the contributions and perspectives of the department’s Indigenous employees.
The department is committed to providing a respectful workplace that values the contributions of all employees. We seek to build an inclusive and safe culture where our LGBTI+ employees are supported and can bring their whole selves to work.
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan
DESE’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan outlines the department’s approach to the diversity and inclusion initiatives supporting our people who identify as LGBTI+. The department has participated in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) and is a member of Pride in Diversity, who we have previously worked with to deliver Ally training as part of our approach to building a culture that is inclusive of LGBTI+ employees.
The Pride Co-Champions are DESE’s senior advocates for an inclusive, diverse and safe workplace for all of our people regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity. Working with the Pride Network, they raise awareness and promote initiatives that progress diversity and LGBTI+ inclusion within the department.
Developing a culture of support and respect for people with disability and for carers is an integral component of DESE’s approach to diversity and inclusion. We are committed to fostering a workplace culture that values the contributions and abilities of carers and employees with disability and leverages the depth of perspectives, experiences, knowledge and skills they bring to the department.
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan
The department’s commitment to being a disability confident employer and eliminating barriers for people with disability and carers is underpinned by our Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan, which align with the Australian Public Service’s (APS) Disability Employment Strategy. The Strategy and Action Plan is supported by a range of programs and partnerships, including membership with the Australian Network on Disability (AND), which enables a workplace culture that supports all of our people to maximise their contribution and achieve their full potential.
DESE applies the RecruitAbility scheme as part of the department’s recruitment process. This APS-wide measure supports the employment of people with disability.
Our Disability Co-Champions work alongside DESE’s Ability and Carers Network to take the lead in advocating for employees with disability – helping to improve employment practices and processes, and addressing issues that impact their day-to-day lived experience.