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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

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Graduate Program 2021

NIAA - One Team


About NIAA

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) is committed to implementing the Government’s policies and programs to improve the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our team includes people across Australia who work closely with communities to make sure policies, programs and services address the unique needs of each community.

We liaise closely with State and Territory governments, Indigenous peak bodies, stakeholders and service providers to ensure that Indigenous programs and services are delivering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as intended.

The NIAA is responsible for a number of functions, including:

  • to lead and coordinate Commonwealth policy development, program design and implementation and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

  • to provide advice to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians on whole-of-government priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

  • to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of Australia’s Closing the Gap targets in partnership with Indigenous Australians; and

  • to lead Commonwealth activities to promote reconciliation.

What work will you do?

The NIAA leads and coordinates Commonwealth policy development, program design, implementation and service delivery, and important initiatives such as Australia’s Closing the Gap targets.  As an NIAA graduate, you will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of complex, important and fulfilling work at the forefront of Indigenous Affairs.

Working at the NIAA will give you the opportunity to develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the Government’s key priorities and initiatives relating to Indigenous Affairs. Our responsibilities span policy, programs and service delivery. As such you will work across a wide range of functions and areas, gaining valuable experience in both development and implementation.

You will contribute to advice to be provided to the Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP on priority issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

As part of the NIAA team you will have the opportunity to build partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in  communities across Australia.

Watch Georgina Kelly's video

'My biggest take away was an understanding of how Government engages with different stakeholders to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.'

- Georgina Kelly

Professional development

The NIAA is in an exciting time of change and growth. Using our shared values & behaviours as the foundation, we strive to be one team looking to the future. As an important part of this team, you will be exposed to a range of professional and personal development opportunities to launch your APS career, develop your capabilities and work to improve the wellbeing of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

All NIAA graduates will have the opportunity to undertake professional development including  writing for APS, resilience, Indigenous Affairs policy, stakeholder management, economics for non-economists and problem-solving.

To provide you the tools to navigate your rotations across the Agency, you will also have the opportunity to attend business fairs, panel discussions and networking events. In addition, you will be able to access development offerings focused on building your personal brand and how to pitch for projects or jobs you would like to undertake.

Throughout the program we want you to develop key capabilities that will contribute to the rest of your career.

Watch Sai Lyons video

'It has been a really rewarding experience to be part of the standing up of a brand new agency, and to be part of one team that embeds our shared values and behaviours.'

- Sai Lyons

What we offer

NIAA is a flexible, diverse and inclusive workplace with attractive remuneration packages including generous employer superannuation contributions. We are responsible for a wide range of important and fulfilling work both in Canberra and across the country in the communities we serve.

Our graduates start as full-time, permanent employees at the APS 3 level. After 6 months you may be eligible to advance to the APS 4 level, and on successful completion of the Program, you will be assessed for advancement to the APS 5/6 level.



Starting APS level

APS Level 3

Starting pay


Annual leave

20 days

Personal leave (such as sick leave)

18 days



Working hours

38 hours per week


*Correct as at December 2019 under the National Indigenous Australians Agency Determination 2019/001 (Non-SES Employees) pursuant to Section 24(1)

 The NIAA also offers relocation assistance to successful candidates.

More information about the program

For more information on the NIAA Graduate Program you can email us at or call us on 02 6271 6000.

More Information about NIAA


Who we are looking for

Our shared values and behaviours underpin how we work. To make a significant contribution to an Australia that respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples with fairness in economic and social participation, we are one team with a culture that positions us with the right capability, people, passion and pride to make a difference

NIAA employees need to embody our shared values and behaviours:

  • We respect multiple perspectives
  • We are authentic
  • We are professional and act with integrity
  • We invest in each other’s success
  • We deliver with purpose

If you wonder what it is like to be a NIAA graduate, check out a day in the life of a graduate to discover some of the interesting work you could be doing.

Willingness to be a ‘self-starter’

  • You are a motivated, and want to make a difference to the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • You have an understanding of the work of the Agency.
  • You take initiative, are self-motivated and driven.

Demonstrated ability to embody our shared values and behaviours

  • You respect multiple perspectives
  • You are authentic
  • You are professional and act with integrity
  • You invest in other’s success
  • You deliver with purpose

Demonstrated strong communication and interpersonal skills

  • You write simply, clearly and concisely in a well-structured and logical way.
  • You adapt your communication style to suit different people or situations.
  • You can communicate opinions, information and evidence with influence to gain the agreement of others.
  • You are able to work and achieve outcomes both independently and as part of a team.
  • You contribute ideas and are willing to listen and to expand on the ideas of others.
  • You have strong relationship management skills and can establish positive rapport with people at all levels, and are able to build, maintain and use networks of contacts.

Demonstrated analytical ability

  • You understand the relationship between issues and how they might be part of a larger complex problem.
  • You can gather and analyse data from multiple sources of information, and probe for further information where required, allowing you to make rational and considered judgements and decisions.
  • You critically analyse information from multiple sources and can analyse what information is important, how it should be used and can make a decision based on your findings.
  • You approach problems creatively to find workable solutions.

Commitment and openness to professional learning and continuous development

  • You are able to quickly learn new technology, processes and information.
  • You actively seek out opportunities for personal, professional and organisational improvement.
  • You have a willingness and commitment to continue to develop cultural competency.
  • You are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, and identify opportunities to develop and broaden your skills and knowledge.

Ability to be agile and resilient

  • You demonstrate resilience in the workplace.
  • You accept constructive criticism and feedback without becoming defensive or emotional.
  • In the face of obstacles, you persevere to achieve personal and professional goals and objectives.
  • You work productively in a high pressure environment and adapt and respond well to change and ambiguity, and make the most of the opportunities they present.
  • You know how to utilise your strengths to get through busy and difficult times in the workplace.
  • You are able to quickly process and understand new information.

Foster an inclusive and diverse workforce

  • You show respect and sensitivity towards cultural and religious differences.
  • You can communicate sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • You demonstrate an understanding of the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • You embrace and respect diversity, and diversity of thought.

Program details

Working across the NIAA our Graduate Program will develop your knowledge and understanding of the Agency’s key priorities. Key facts about the program:

  • 12 months duration
  • Based in Canberra with a potential rotation in one of our various metropolitan, regional and remote locations
  • Choose from our Policy & Programs, Operations & Delivery or Corporate Stream
  • Professional and personal development opportunities
  • Contribute to meaningful policies, programs and services
  • Formal pastoral care and support program

“Its been really good to feel like you are doing work that has actual impact and significance in Australia and will really help people” – Sai Lyons, 2019 Graduate


Policy & Programs / Operations & Delivery Streams

At the NIAA we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and across the public service to implement policies and programs.

The Policy & Programs and Operations & Delivery streams will allow you to work in various areas of the Agency. These are for Graduates who are inquisitive, flexible and comfortable with change and ambiguity.

Our expertise spans across Community and Economic Development Housing, Land and Culture Policy, Education and Youth Policy, Community Safety and Health and Wellbeing, Recognition, Policy and Empowered Communities, Closing the Gap Policy and Evaluation, Legal Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Grants and Funding. You will embrace all opportunities as you navigate through the Agency to better understand your strengths, capabilities and interests.

You want to work at the NIAA because you are passionate about improving the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Watch Ben O'Shea's video

'Joining as a Graduate in the commercial law team exposed me to a broad range of areas in the Agency, offering a unique experience compared with traditional legal career paths'

- Ben O'shea

Corporate Stream

For the NIAA to implement policy, programs and services to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples our staff need the best capabilities and support to succeed. Our staff are supported by the Agency’s enabling functions which are integral to the achievement of the NIAA’s key priorities. Our Corporate stream has opportunities in human resource management, communications and media, IT and financial management.

The Corporate stream is for individuals who are excited by the opportunity to provide high quality services to support the work of the Agency.

Watch Lachlan McDevitt's video

'If you are thinking about applying for the NIAA grad program, just do it! The experiences I have had throughout my time here have really set me up for a great career'

- Lachlan McDevitt

Application process

To apply for a role in the NIAA Graduate program is simple. All we need from you is to fill in a simple application form and attach an updated resume.

Applications for the 2021 Graduate Program have now closed.

If you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander graduate or a graduate with a disability, we invite you to apply through our affirmative measure process.


To be considered for the NIAA Graduate program the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Completed at least a three-year undergraduate bachelor degree obtaining a credit average within the last eight years. All degrees must be complete by 31 December 2020 and be recognised in Australia.
  • Be able to obtain and maintain an Australian Government security clearance to a minimum of Baseline level.
  • Be an Australian citizen by 30 June 2020. You will need to provide evidence to verify impending citizenship.

As all positions are located in Canberra, relocation to Canberra is integral to your participation in the program.

Assessment process

The assessment process for applying for a Graduate position at the NIAA will comprise of the following:

  • Online application, including your resume with referees and academic transcript
  • Online behavioural and cognitive ability testing
  • Online video interview
  • Assessment Centre

​Offers are made shortly after the Assessment Centre, with commencement in February 2021. If you are rated suitable but unfortunately do not receive an offer for the Graduate Program, you may be considered by specific areas of the NIAA to join their team directly as an APS 3 employee.

You can also join us through the following whole-of-government graduate programs:

If you are a person with disability, you can opt in to the APSC’s RecuitAbility scheme. If you choose to opt in and meet the minimum assessment requirements, you will go straight to the next stage in the recruitment process.


At the NIAA we respect multiple perspectives and actively build a workplace that promotes the sharing of skills, opinions and experiences from people of all backgrounds.

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people; those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, mature age people and those with disability.