Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Graduate program - how to apply

Key Dates*

Applications Open:

Thursday 3 April 2014

Applications Close:

11:30pm Sunday 4 May 2014

Telephone Interview:

12 - 14 May 2014

Online Ability Testing:

26 - 27 May 2014

Assessment Centre:

23 - 25 June 2014 (to be held In Canberra)

Preliminary Offers:

Mid July 2014


Monday 9 February 2015 (TBC)

*Please note key dates are subject to change at short notice, this page will be updated as appropriate.

To ensure that you are notified when ACBPS commences recruitment for these positions you can subscribe to our Job Alert Service. This service enables you to set up your favourite job search criteria for jobs with the ACBPS.

Mandatory Requirements to Apply

To be considered for the Graduate Program at ACBPS, applicants must:

  • be an Australian citizen;
  • have recently completed a minimum of an undergraduate degree that is recognised in Australia; 
  • be a minimum age of 18 years;
  • agree to model the ACBPS values and behaviours;
  • obtain and maintain an Organisational Suitability Assessment (OSA);
  • obtain and maintain a security clearance to Negative Vetting Level 1 before the commencement of the Graduate Program; and
  • pass a pre-employment medical examination.

The Selection Process:

On-line Applications

Applications for the 2015 Graduate program will open on 3 April 2015 via the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service e-Recruitment Candidate Portal.

Please note, If you are unable to apply through e-recruitment, you will need to contact DFP Recruitment on 1300 558 870 during business hours prior to the closing date to organise an alternative arrangement.

If you need special consideration to enable you to participate in this process, please advise us in your application, or if you prefer you can discuss your requirements by contacting DFP Recruitment on 1300 558 870 during business hours

Applicants are assessed on a range of selection criteria that describe the skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience needed to determine an applicant’s relative merit for the position. It is recommended that applicants read Cracking the Code to assist with preparing an application and addressing the selection criteria.

Short Listing

Initial short listing will be determined through an assessment of your on-line application, in particular your responses to the selection criteria, your resume and your academic record.

Telephone Interview

DFP Recruitment will work in partnership with ACBPS to recommend a short list of applicants for a telephone interview during which time a range of motivational based questions will be asked.  The telephone interview will also be an opportunity for successful applicants to ask brief questions about the application process.  The telephone interview should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.

Ability Assessment

Ability assessments will be used to measure specific elements in line with the requirements of the Graduate Trainee role.

There are many different types of assessment; all with the aim of helping Australian Customs and Border Protection Service build an overall profile of you and, importantly, how you would fit within our organisation.

Assessments will include a combination of abilities testing and an emotional intelligence inventory. These assessments will be administered at different stages of the process, both online and under supervision as part of the shortlisting and assessment centre components. 

A random selection of successful candidates will be re-tested in a controlled environment to ensure applicants results are a true reflection of the actual applicant.   

Results of successful applicants only will be supplied to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, other results will be kept confidential and destroyed by DFP recruitment once offers have been made and accepted.

Assessment Centre

Short listed applicants that have satisfied the on-line application, telephone screen and the Ability assessment requirements will then be invited to attend an Assessment Centre held in Canberra. The Assessment Centre generally runs for half a day and consists of a variety of activities and exercises that assess the applicant’s competency levels against the selection criteria.

Individual applicants are responsible for the costs involved with attending the assessment centre including but not limited to travel, accommodation and meals.

ACBPS advise keeping all receipts and travel documentation associated with this part of the short listing, as successful applicants may be reimbursed for reasonable costs involved with attending the assessment centre, upon commencement of the program. For further information on ‘reasonable costs’ please refer to the FAQs page.

Organisational Suitability Assessments (OSA) / Security clearance

ACBPS officers hold a position of trust and high level of integrity.  They must deal with highly sensitive information appropriately. As a result, all positions in ACBPS are security assessed positions and applicants must firstly undergo employment suitability screening through an Organisational Suitability Assessment (OSA) before being assessed as eligible and suitable.

OSA checks are processed within ACBPS. These checks determine whether or not there is anything in your background that might pose an unacceptable risk to the operational and security interests of ACBPS. If it is determined not to grant you a favourable OSA your application for employment with ACBPS will not progress further. OSA checks that are determined to be unfavourable are not subject to review or appeal.

The Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) processes security assessments. The security assessment includes background checks and you will be required to provide detailed personal information. This may include details of your employment and residence history, financial circumstances, any criminal charges and/or convictions (including traffic offences and spent convictions), any drug use and any overseas travel. You may also be required to provide this kind of information about your spouse, partner or de facto where applicable. You will also be asked to provide contact details for at least five referees. Your referees will be asked to answer probing questions about factors that will assist in the determination of your suitability to hold a security clearance.

This information is intended only as a guide. It is not a complete list of all the information required to obtain an appropriate security clearance.

For further information on the security assessment process please visit the AGVSA Website.

Offer of Employment

It is anticipated that successful applicants will receive a preliminary letter of offer in July 2014, once an OSA and Baseline security clearance has been granted and an application for a Negative Vet 1 security clearance upgrade has been received. Successful applicants will be notified by phone and or writing once all assessment has been evaluated against the APS merit values and reference checks have been conducted.

Formal offers will be advised once all pre-employment checks, have been satisfied including the successful applicants obtaining a Negative Vet 1 security clearance and a clear medical result.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified throughout various short listing stages of the recruitment process. Due to the high number of applications received for the Graduate Program, individual feedback will not be available for unsuccessful applicants prior to the assessment centre. Feedback following attendance at the Assessment Centre will be provided upon request at a mutually convenient time.

Program commences

Successful applications will be required to relocate to Canberra if they do not already live in the Nation’s Capital.  It is anticipated that the 2015 Graduate program will commence on Monday 9 February 2015.