AEC Graduate Program

Updated: 26 August 2015

Applications for the Graduate Program 2016 have closed.

Program overview

The AEC is at the heart of Australian democracy. The AEC Graduate Program is an approximate 12 month program that will provide you with access to many professional development opportunities and the chance to help design, develop and deliver policies, programs and services that impact upon all Australians.

Throughout the year you will gain valuable skills and experience through a comprehensive induction program and a series of placements across the AEC. On-the-job training, seminar events, mentoring and specific public sector training all form part of the program to expose you to life in the public service through a variety of learning approaches. Next year is an election year, so you will also have the opportunity to be deployed on an election placement to one of our interstate or regional offices and contribute towards the running of a federal election.

Past graduates have told us that one difference between the AEC's graduate program compared to other agencies is the high level of personalised attention our graduates receive from Senior Executives, and the extent to which we can tailor our program to suit the skills and aspirations of our people.


The AEC is a small to medium Commonwealth Government agency responsible for the conduct of federal elections and referendums and maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll. The AEC also delivers education and public awareness programs to ensure that all Australians have sufficient knowledge and understanding of their electoral responsibilities. AEC staff take great pride in the importance of the responsibilities entrusted to them and work to achieve electoral integrity through the values of agility, professionalism and quality.

Our National Office is located in Canberra city, and our network spans across every state and territory.

What roles do we have available and where?

The AEC has 2 Graduate Streams:

  • General
  • IT


Generalist graduates will have the chance to work across a spectrum of available placements. Business areas in the AEC perform a range of tasks including project management, parliamentary submissions, election planning, policy and procedures development, communication strategies, education programs, advertising campaigns, market research, research and strategy around electoral policy and reform, data analysis, design and maintenance of electoral enrolment systems, creating election planning aids and training programs and human resources.


Working at the AEC as an IT graduate will provide you with a wide spectrum of opportunities, from assisting business areas in analysing and developing requirements, to using a range of current and emerging technologies to support AEC outcomes.

Currently the AEC employs a range of technology platforms including mainframe, UNIX and Wintel servers. The AEC implements new systems using Microsoft technologies and IT graduates will have the opportunity to work with these platforms. Awareness or experience in IT security, cloud computing and mobile applications are desired as the AEC is constantly seeking to build emerging technologies into our business processes.


While the majority of our graduate positions are located in Canberra, it is not required that all our graduates relocate to Canberra. There are specific opportunities in the 2016 graduate program to work in one our New South Wales or Queensland State Offices and the AEC will provide financial assistance for relocation. Further opportunities may exist to be deployed on a short term placement to one of our interstate or regional offices.

Throughout the graduate year, graduates will have countless opportunities, including participation in:

  • three 15 week rotations, in various branches in the agency,
  • a dedicated election placement,
  • the Australian Public Service Commission's (APSC) Graduate Development Program,
  • performance coaching training, and
  • a comprehensive induction program.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Graduate candidates must be an Australian citizen or have submitted an application for Australian citizenship.

The AEC welcomes applicants who are completing their final year of study or have completed their degree within the last three years (no earlier than 2012).

The AEC is committed to diversity in the workplace. The advertised vacancy is subject to the AEC's guaranteed interview initiative: if you are a person with a disability you may elect to automatically proceed to interview should your skills and experience meet the minimum requirements. Please record your preference in this regard when addressing the selection criteria.

The AEC recognise the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the unique knowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees bring to our workplace. We actively seek to increase indigenous representation in the Australian Public Service (APS), and encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

As the AEC is responsible for providing the Australian people with an independent electoral service, it is essential that all our employees are – and are seen to be – politically neutral.

Who should apply?

Successful applicants will have:

  • leadership potential
  • strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • experience in working effectively in teams
  • flexibility and initiative
  • strong strategic analytical and research skills
  • proven academic and broad life skills
Applicants may have studied one of the following disciplines, however applicants who have studied other disciples will also be considered.
Stream Examples of related disciplines
General Accounting, Arts, Commerce, Communications, Economics, Finance, Human Resources, International Development, International Relations, Legal, Political Science, Project Management, Public & Government Management, Social Science, Statistics or other disciplines
IT Information Technology, IT infrastructure, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Network Engineering, IT Security, IT Project Management or a related field.

What is in it for graduates that are successful?

The AEC has competitive employment conditions and pay.

  • Graduates will begin as an APS 3 and receive a starting salary of $54 964.
  • Graduates will be employed within the graduate broadband, and will move to either an APS 4 or APS 5 upon successful completion of the graduate year as part of the broadband arrangements.
  • AEC's working week is 37.5 hours.

Staff are entitled to four weeks recreation leave, plus personal leave and time off between Christmas and New Year during the office shutdown period.

What happens after the Graduate Program?

The AEC Graduate Program will provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to underpin a future career within the AEC and the wider Australian Public Service.

When you have successfully completed the program, you will be promoted to a role where you can apply the skills and knowledge developed over your graduate year. A graduate broadband is in place covering the APS 3–APS 5 levels, which supports you in merit-based promotion opportunities within the AEC.

Selection process

Applications will be processed as quickly as practicable.

We aim to notify everyone who applies regarding the outcome of their application. For those who have been successful in gaining an interview, you will be notified in September, with interviews and assessment centres due to be conducted in late September.

How to apply

Applications for the Graduate Program 2016 have closed.

How do applicants find out more information?

You can read more about the APS recruitment process and get tips on the application process in Cracking the Code – How to apply for jobs in the Australian Public Service.