Employment programs for students and graduates

We recruit a diverse workforce that reflects our changing community.

What we offer

We offer employment pathways for people such as university graduates and Indigenous students, to school leavers and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our employment programs include:

  • Graduate recruitment
  • Student placement opportunities


Graduate recruitment

Graduate Recruitment and Development Scheme

The Graduate Recruitment and Development Scheme (GRADS) is a 12-month Victorian Public Service (VPS) wide program managed by the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC).

The aim of GRADS is to attract, recruit, develop and retain high performing graduates within the VPS.


To be eligible for selection to GRADS, graduates need to:

  • Meet Australian working rights. e.g. be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident at time of application
  • Have not received a voluntary redundancy from the VPS in the past 3 years
  • Have completed, at a minimum, a 3-year undergraduate degree
  • Agree to undertake a Police criminal records check.

Note: Completion of a candidate degree may need to be followed up, or verified by the recruiting department/agency.

How the scheme works

Graduates are recruited into 1 of 3 graduate streams depending on their area of study. The streams are:

  1. Generalist (includes graduates from any discipline including degrees in Arts, Business and Technology, Public Policy and Law)
  2. Economics
  3. Accounting and Finance.

At the beginning of the scheme

At the start of the GRADS year, graduates are appointed at VPSG2.1.6 level and are attached to 1 main VPS department (the home department).

Across the 12 months of the scheme, graduates then take part in:

  • 3x4-month work rotations in different departments, agencies or workgroups
  • The GRADS learning and development program
  • Information seminars
  • Executive mentoring
  • Networking through the Graduate Recruit Alumni Society (GRAS).

When GRADS have completed the scheme

On successful completion of the scheme, graduates are awarded a VPS Graduate Certificate of Completion, subject to:

  • Having successfully met progression requirement in each rotation placement
  • Attending the required training and seminars
  • Successful completion of their learning team project
  • Having successfully completed 3 rotations within 3 different departments, as prescribed by the VPSC.

Graduates then return to ongoing employment in their home department at VPSG3 level.

How to apply

If you, or someone you know is interested in applying, go to the 'Apply' page on the Victorian Government's Graduates site.


Graduates will be selected for the scheme against the following criteria:

  • Academic results
  • Previous work experience and extra-curricular activities
  • Values and community interest
  • Oral and written skills
  • Initiative and capacity to innovate
  • Leadership ability
  • Team skills
  • Analytical and conceptual skills.

For more information, see 'GRADS selection criteria' on the Graduates site.

Student placement opportunities

Student placements

You can put your theory into practice and do meaningful work to support the policies and services dedicated to community wellbeing.

If you have any queries about the student placement program, please email studentplacements@dffh.vic.gov.au.

Tertiary student placements

We offer tertiary student placements in the following areas:

  • Child Protection
  • Secure Services
  • Housing
  • Corporate Services

How to apply

Students seeking a placement are invited to complete the student placement online application form.

Note: Students must also attach a current resume and a covering letter, which specifies why you are interested in the areas you have nominated and what you know about the areas you have chosen.

Education providers

Education providers wanting to place students must download the Bulk student placement application spread sheet (xlxs) and email the completed document, along with your student resume and covering letter to studentplacements@dffh.vic.gov.au.

Note: when submitting the documents listed above to studentplacements@dffh.vic.gov.au, you are confirming on behalf of your institution that you:

  • Authorise the practice and suitability of the student for the placement they have requested
  • Will notify the department immediately if the student withdraws from your course or unit, or of any changes in their circumstances or suitability for placement.

If you require further information about placement details, please email studentplacements@dffh.vic.gov.au.

  • Where students apply directly through the student portal and nominate you as the tertiary provider contact, you will receive a system generated email requesting that you are confirming the points above. Please email Student Placements within 2 working days of receiving the email. Applications will not be progressed without this authorisation. 

Safety screening requirements

As part of the application process, the student must provide the following documents:

Program  A valid police check certificate Driver's licence (P-plate minimum) Working with children check Photo ID
Child Protection Required Required Required Not required 
Corporate Services (Central - Policy and Programs) Required Not required Not required  Required
DFATS (Secure Services) Required Not required     Required Required
Housing Required Required Not required Not required

National Police checks remain valid for 6 months from the date of issue for student placements. Students would need to start their placement within 6 months of the police check being issued, otherwise they will need to obtain a new police check.

Students who have lived overseas for 12 months or longer during the past ten years must complete the Statutory declaration for an international police check – Students only (Word).

Examples of photo ID include a driver's licence, learner's permit, working with children check card and tertiary ID card. 

All documents provided to the department must be:

  • Colour
  • Scanned into a pdf file (do not take a photo of the document)
  • Clear and legible.

Please note that students who are offered a placement must sign and complete the following forms prior to starting your placement:

Please complete these forms and email to studentplacements@dffh.vic.gov.au.

Child Protection student placements

Child Protection placements

A student placement in the Child Protection branch will give you the opportunity to:

  • See how our dedicated practitioners work with children and young people at risk of harm to make sure they're safe
  • Observe how practitioners assess risk of vulnerable children and make decisions based on information gathered
  • Participate in the investigation and assessment of children at risk of harm and work with other government programs and community service professionals.

You will also likely have the opportunity to attend court and observe the role of the practitioner in this setting.

Entry requirements

To complete a student placement in the Child Protection branch you must have a:

  • National Police Check - police checks remain valid for 6 months from the date of issue for student placements. Students would need to start their placement within 6 months of the police check certificate being issued, otherwise they will need to obtain a new police check
  • Working with Children Check card or receipt
  • Current and valid driver's licence (minimum probationary licence).

You must also be completing your second last or final year of a recognised social work degree (or similar welfare or behavioural-related degree or your final year of a recognised Diploma of Community Services work course or similar qualifications, which is at minimum, a 2-year full-time course or part-time equivalent).

Housing placements

Housing placements

We offer tertiary student placements in Housing (housing advice and assistance team).

A student placement in Housing may involve:

  • Providing information, advice and referrals to clients seeking housing assistance
  • Conducting interviews with clients to assess housing needs
  • Conducting assessments of clients to access housing support needs
  • Receiving and processing new housing applications and transfers
  • Engaging in initiatives aimed at sustaining tenancies including providing support to at risk tenants.

Entry requirements

  • National Police Check - police checks remain valid for 6 months from the date of issue for student placements. Students would need to start their placement within 6 months of the police check certificate being issued, otherwise they will need to obtain a new police check
  • Working with Children Check card or receipt
  • A current and valid driver's licence (minimum probationary licence).

Student placements will take place in either the Housing advice and assistance team or the Tenancy and property team.