University Vacation Employment Program

Quick overview

Level: APS1, around $44,900

Duration: November 2018 – February 2019

Location: Canberra, ACT

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The department

The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities is looking for interns with a strong vision for Australia's future and a willingness to identify problems and implement innovative solutions.

The department is at the forefront of the Australian Government's efforts to secure the nation's economic future and improve living standards. We do this by building stronger communities through major infrastructure planning, investment advice and delivery, transport system reform and strategic development of policies and programs.

We manage some of Australia's most significant infrastructure projects which impact the wider community, including regulating airports, implementing the Smart Cities Plan and the development of the Western Sydney Airport and the Inland Rail.

Program overview

Our University Vacation Employment Program is an internship designed to provide an opportunity for university students to experience a taste of Government with placements across areas including maritime and aviation, program management, policy development, national transport systems, finance, communications, human resources, and regional development.

We encourage applications from all disciplines and you can be sure that your work will be contributing to the future productivity, livability and sustainability of Australia.

The benefits

You will gain valuable, on the job experience, the opportunity to develop networking skills, contacts and social skills required in a professional environment, and the chance to showcase your skills and knowledge in the workplace.

You will work alongside a leadership team with a vast array of subject matter expertise across a range of fields.

This is a paid internship and, if successful, you will be employed on a non-ongoing (temporary) basis and receive a minimum annual base salary of $44,904 per annum (pro rata).


To be eligible for the University Vacation Employment Program, you must:

  • be an Australian Citizen at the time an offer is made.
  • be completing an undergraduate degree as a minimum. Applications accepted from students at any point in their study.
  • be available for your placement between November 2018 and February 2019.
  • be available for a minimum of 8 weeks and up to 12 weeks.
  • have maintained at least a credit average.
  • be able to obtain and/or maintain a Baseline security clearance.

Our positions are located in Canberra and any successful interstate candidates will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation and associated costs.

How to apply

Applications for the Indigenous Affirmative Measures 2018-19 University Vacation Employment Program are now open and will close at 11:59pm (AEST) on Friday 28 September 2018.

Please note: this vacancy is only available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, intended to constitute an affirmative measure under section 8(1) of the 'Racial Discrimination Act 1975'.

Your application must be received through the department's online recruitment system via the links below.

If you have any questions, please contact the Talent Management Team on 02 6274 6161 or via email at


“The best experience so far working for the department has been seeing how your work makes a meaningful impact on the department and the people that it serves. I sought a graduate role in the Australian Public Service as I wanted a career where I could make a contribution to society. I had expected to see this only from a big picture perspective—particularly as a graduate. However, I have been surprised by the opportunities I have to make a positive contribution on a day-to-day basis. In my first rotation, it was rewarding to see my research influence decisions made by the department in relation to the Indian Ocean Territories. In my current rotation with the department’s Evaluation, Audit and Risk team, I am able to assist in ensuring that the department carries out its activities in an effective and accountable fashion. These experiences with the department, so early in my career, has demonstrated to me the fulfilling career offered by the department.”
- Katherine Lee

“The culture of the department is supportive and dynamic. There’s such a diversity of professional and educational backgrounds, and many people who are happy to take the time to answer my questions and assist with new and challenging work. I’m part of the 2018 Graduate Development Program cohort, currently in my second rotation placed in Northern Australia Infrastructure Investment, which is a Program Management role. I respond to proposals from the northern jurisdictions (QLD, WA and NT) for road investment projects, and draft input for ministerial correspondence, speeches and a variety of briefing materials, such as for senate estimates and question time. The varied nature of the audiences I need to write for, and the tasks I need to do, means that I’m constantly learning and adapting what I do to communicate more effectively, and it really helps that my section and branch are supportive and patient in helping me to complete tasks to the highest possible standard, and to always be striving to improve my writing and program management skillsets.”
- Joseph Clifford

“Hello, my name is Kevin. I am a current Graduate at the department. Whilst studying at university I completed 3 internships at the department. These internships were in the department’s (former) Office of Transport Security and Corporate—Ministerial and Parliamentary Services. Following my last internship I was offered employment in the department. My graduate program rotations have been in the Aviation & Airports and Norfolk Island Branch. I highly recommend applying for the University Vacation Employment Program. Internship programs are an excellent opportunity to prove your ability and build your networks within the department. The intern cohort will also provide a valuable support network for those who are travelling from interstate. The department is an excellent place to work and has a very good culture.”
- Kevin Martin

“I’m Casey, I am currently completing my second rotation in my Graduate program with the department. During my time I have had the privilege of working in the Regional Development and Local Government space in the Local Government NT/ACT team, and in Infrastructure Investment in the National Partnerships Agreement Taskforce. The biggest surprise to me is absolutely the sheer breadth of the work that the public service engages in. To say we do a lot of things is an understatement. There is a real opportunity to experience a lot of different areas you will never get bored. There is also real genuine support for employees to continue learning more while working. Finally, I am surprised at just how much engagement we do for ministers. You can’t get any closer to the decision makers than this.”
- Casey Scott