What it does: Guides infrastructure, transport and regional development policies and programs.
Staff stats: Around 1100
The good bits: Having a real-world impact
The not so good bits: Needing to be based permanently in Canberra
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development story
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) was established under an Administrative Arrangements Order in 2013. It assumed the majority of the functions of the former Department of Infrastructure and Transport and some of the purposes of the former Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport (excepting the Arts and Sport portfolios).
DIRD has responsibility for the design and roll-out of the Federal Government’s infrastructure, transport and regional development policies and programs. Its goals are to develop economic growth through transport, improve travel safety, make transport more accessible, ensure transport is secure, advance regional development and local communities and deliver good governance in the territories.
The department is headed by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The Secretary reports to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Minister for Regional Development and the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects.
DIRD’s three key priorities concerning workplace diversity are to attract and recruit a diverse workforce, develop and retain it and embed workforce diversity into the fabric of everyday business.
The department has a diversity team. It is part of the RecruitAbility scheme (which encourages disabled people to apply for federal public service jobs). It also offers an Indigenous grad program. DIRD has employee network groups for both its disabled and Indigenous staff. It has a Reconciliation Plan and offers eligible employees the opportunity to undertake secondments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations.
Adequate infrastructure is central to Australians ability to move around and their economic prosperity. Regional development is obviously important to Australians living in regional areas, as well as playing a part in the strength of Australia’s economy and society as a whole.
As a DIRD staffer, you’ll be contributing to developing infrastructure, transportation systems and regional initiatives that will have a huge impact on many people’s lives and livelihoods.
DIRD also involves its graduates in initiatives to raise funds for a range of charities.
The recruitment process
The department’s Graduate Development Program is open to graduates across all disciplines. However, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree in the last five years, be willing to move to Canberra, have a minimum credit average and be able to get a security clearance. DIRD seeks quality graduates who can articulate their vision for Australia’s future and demonstrate that they have a genuine interest in the work the department does.
Applicants submit an online application. This includes a CV, referees and a written document addressing selection criteria.
Those shortlisted after the online application period has ended are invited to attend an assessment centre. Here they do a panel interview, group exercise and written exercise. Successful applicants commence the graduate program the following January and finish early December.
There are two graduate recruitment streams. The Graduate Development Program is for all eligible Australian citizens. The Graduate Development Program - Special Measures is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The graduate program is a generalist program. It’s structured around three rotations (such as planning, policy development and research and analysis), internal training and an interstate industry tour. You’ll also be allocated a buddy and also have access to a Graduate Development program manager. By the time you finish, you’ll have completed a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration.
Your starting annual salary is pegged to a APS3 grade, which is around $57,000 (plus 15.4 per cent superannuation). At the end of the program, you’ll get bumped up to the APS5 band, which means your salary will increase to about $71,000.
You will also have access to a range of benefits including 20 days leave per year, flexible work hours and employee health and wellbeing support. The department will pay for you to move to Canberra, arrange three weeks’ temporary accommodation in the city and assist you with storing your belongings.
Around the end of the grad program, you’ll take part in a ‘Graduate Career Planning and Coaching’ training session to clarify your thoughts about where to focus your career within the department. Quick promotions are available to early career employees who are prepared to put in the work.
The vibe of the place
While undertaking the grad program you’ll be working and playing with a cohort of like-minded people.
If you’re the sociable type, the Social Network of Graduates organises plenty of social, sporting and professional networking activities with others working in the Australian Public Service.
DIRD’s offices are centrally located and pleasant to work in. Managers are approachable and will provide plenty of feedback about your performance. The hours are reasonable and there’s a friendly workplace culture with staff often getting together for team lunches and after-work drinks.
Star rating: 4.2
From the Employer:
The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities is responsible for the design and implementation of the Australian Government's infrastructure, transport and regional development policies and programs.
We work to:
- Promote, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure and regional development, including Australia’s largest infrastructure projects in decades, with the development of Inland Rail and Western Sydney Airport!
- Position our cities, regional and metropolitan, to reach their full potential
- Foster an efficient, sustainable and competitive transport system
- Facilitate local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities, and
- Provide good governance in the Australian territories
What to Expect
Our Graduate Development Program is an eleven-month generalist program that sources talent across all academic disciplines.
As an Infrastructure graduate, we will add to the skills you have acquired at university by developing your professional public sector skills through a combination of work rotations, internal training, post-graduate study and an interstate industry tour. From roads to large-scale shipping, city planning to the development of regional Australia, the department shapes the future direction of Australia. As part of our Graduate Development Program, you will be right in the thick of it as you build your career.
On commencement of our Program:
- You'll be invited to a familiarisation day before you start so you can get to know Canberra, the department and your fellow graduates. This is a great opportunity to network and find out more about our department, and perhaps find a housemate already!
- You will have the opportunity to connect with a ‘buddy’ who is a former graduate who can show you the ropes and help you settle into Canberra – just one way we'll help you transition from university to full time work, and navigate relocating to Canberra.
- You will attend an induction week as a fun way to connect with your cohort, gain cultural awareness skills, learn about diversity and inclusion and get a quick introduction to working in the department.
- You will undertake a diverse range of learning and development opportunities, which are individualised to align to your area of study and your future career path. This includes undertaking a post-graduate qualification funded by the department; career planning and coaching training sessions; and other training to provide you with job ready skills.
- We will help you figure out where you might want to work, with rotations through three different areas of the department. These rotations may be in areas such as major infrastructure investment; program management; rail planning and policy; communications; vehicle safety; corporate services; aviation and airports policy or cities strategy and engagement, just to name a few. Throughout the year, you will get a say in which areas of the department you work in.
- You will participate in an interstate industry tour with your fellow grads, which is a great way to see how the work of the department impacts the Australian community. Our graduates consistently tell us this is one of the best parts of the program! The Industry Tour is a great opportunity for you to gain an understanding of the diverse functions of the department while undertaking academic research. You will work in small groups to manage all aspects of the project including organising an interstate tour to meet with various stakeholders of the department. Training in project management is also provided to help you to plan for and undertake the Industry Tour out in the field.
Above all, the department will ensure you are able to create your own career path beyond the Graduate Development Program.
What Are The Other Benefits?
You'll receive a starting salary of $58,019 during your graduate year, plus 15.4% superannuation. Upon successful completion of the program your salary will advance to $71,768.
You'll also have access to the following workplace support and conditions, including:
- 20 days recreation leave a year
- 20 days a year of personal circumstances leave, which includes sick, family, emergency and cultural leave
- 18 weeks paid maternity leave or 6 weeks paid supporting partner leave after 12 months of continuous service
- Flexible work hours
- Employee health and wellbeing initiatives.
Following the program, as a member of the department, you'll also have access to:
- Career coaching and professional development opportunities
- Financial support to undertake further study in an area relevant to the business of the department and broader APS
- Mobility and career progression within the organisation.
Living in Canberra
So, you have finished your degree and are looking for the next step in your career, what's next?
- You'll relocate to Canberra — at our expense
- You'll receive up to three weeks temporary accommodation in the heart of Canberra City
- Your belongings will be moved and temporarily stored for up to three weeks while you find your new home
Its reputation may precede it, but with a population in the vicinity of 390,000 Canberra really is much more than just Australia's public service hub and the seat of Australia's Parliament.
Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city and is brimming with lifestyle, city services and world-class events and attractions. The shopping is great, nightclubs are stylish and trendy, the café culture is buzzing and its people are friendly.
Canberrans love their sport and have the highest participation rate in Australia — from lawn bowls to water polo and everything in between. Whether you are cheering on Canberra's top rugby league and rugby union teams, watching AFL, cricket or playing golf, bushwalking or cycling around our many bike trails, Canberra has the sports and recreational facilities to suit your needs.
We're also just a few hours' drive from the NSW snowfields, Sydney and the south coast's legendary beaches. The Canberra region boasts some of the best food and wine experiences Australia has to offer, with more than 10 wineries within a 30km drive.
By capital city standards Canberra is an affordable place to live, with an outstanding education system, excellent health services, shorter commuting times, plenty of fresh air and community living.
More useful information on Canberra can be found here:
- The ACT Government's Live in Canberra website is a great source of information and their team can help you with advice on settlement, employment, housing and lifestyle
- Australian Capital Tourism's Visit Canberra website has all the info on where to go and what to see and do in the capital
- The Brumbies Rugby and Raiders website has all the info on memberships
- The National Capital Authority's website is also a great source of information
- To find out what other graduates are up to in Canberra, check out the Social Network of Graduates