Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

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

Graduate program - frequently asked questions

What can Australian Customs and Border Protection Services offer you

Will I become a permanent employee with the ACBPS?

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Program including probation and successful maintenance of OSA and security clearance, you will advance to Customs Level 2, Senior Customs Officer, APS 5 equivalent, with permanency.

What training does Australian Customs and Border Protection Service provide?

A variety of training courses are provided to Graduate Trainees Including:

  • Project Management;
  • Legislation and APS decision-making;
  • Policy formulation and advice;
  • Advanced writing skills;
  • Presentation skills and other courses; and
  • Specific training relevant to your placement.

Will Australian Customs and Border Protection Service offer regional placements during 2015?

Regional placements are explored based on operational requirements and the budget position of each work area. 

Do I have to move to Canberra permanently?

Yes. The majority of positions available at the end of the Graduate program are located in Central Office which is located in Canberra. Opportunity for permanent placements in other locations outside of Canberra will depend on operational requirements and the skill set of the employee.

Will I get to work at the airport or on the boats?

Positions based within Airport Operations and the Marine Unit are operational focused and very different to the opportunity available to Graduates .  If you are interested in operational positions within ACBPS please view the Marine Unit recruitment campaigns to assist you with your career decision.

Selection Process

Do I need to be an Australian citizen?

Yes. Section 22 (8), Engagement of APS employees, in the Public Service Act 1999 details ‘An Agency Head must not engage, as an APS employee, a person who is not an Australian Citizen, unless the Agency Head considers it appropriate to do so’. 

The Agency head of Customs and Border Protection has advised it is not appropriate to engage non Australian Citizens for Graduate Trainee positions.

Is ACBPS looking for specific degrees?

For the 2015 Graduate Program, ACBPS are running two Graduate Program streams, the generalist stream and the ICT stream.

Generalist Stream - ACBPS is seeking Graduates with the following disciplines for the generalist stream:

  • Business degrees;
  • Commerce with major in accounting;
  • Engineering;
  • Intelligence and counter terrorism;
  • International relations;
  • Law;
  • Psychology; and
  • Security analysis.

ACBPS are seeking recent graduates (including graduates completing a bachelor degree in December of 2014) with qualifications that demonstrate high-level research, analytical, policy, strategic thinking and communication skills.

ICT Stream - ACBPS is seeking ICT Graduates with an interest in the following disciplines for the ICT stream:

  • Project Management
  • Business Analysis
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Testing
  • Development
  • Service Management
  • Desktop
  • Communications

How do I respond to the Selection Criteria?

Your statement of claims should be prepared keeping in mind the particular expectations outlined in the selection criteria and the job description. You should cite examples of situations you have faced and describe in detail your actual involvement. Your examples of past behaviour should reflect your knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications.

The key to preparing your statement of claims is to:

  • demonstrate capability by providing evidence of how you meet the selection criteria;
  • provide specific details; and
  • where possible, include an indicator of success or a result


An easy way to do this is to use the CAR approach wherever possible - that is:

C (Circumstance)

What was the situation?
Who was involved?
What was your role?

A (Action)

What did you do?
What happened next?

R (Result)

What was the end result?

What is Ability Testing?

Ability assessments are used to measure psychological functioning under standardised conditions in line with a particular role.

There are many different types of assessment; all with the aim of helping ACBPS 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.

What will the Assessment Centre involve?

All Assessment Centre’s will be held in Canberra.

Applicants who cannot attend the Assessment Centre are not able to be considered further for the 2015 Graduate Program as this is a critical part of the selection process.

The Assessment Centre will run for approximately half a day and consists of a variety of activities and exercises that assess the applicant's competency levels against the selection criteria.

During the Assessment Centre you will receive information about the Graduate Program, undergo a group exercise, complete a personal interview and meet with a security advisor to discuss your security documentation. You will have ample opportunity to ask questions about ACBPS and ascertain if we are the best organisation for you to progress your career.

What does the security clearance involve?

If you are a successful applicant you will be required to undergo an Organisational Suitability Assessment conducted by ACBPS as well as obtain and maintain a Negative Vet 1 Security Clearance which is granted by the AGSVA (Australian Government Security Vetting Agency).

What does the medical examination involve?

This is a standard government medical. You will undergo an eye examination, a general health and fitness check up, a urine test and asked general questions about your ability to perform your role by the examining Doctor.

Contact with ACBPS

How and when will I know if I have been successful?

Upon completion of each short listed stage unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing. Due to the high number of applications received for the Graduate Trainee Program, individual feedback will not be available for unsuccessful applicants prior to the Assessment Centre.

Successful applicants will be notified by phone and or writing once all assessment has been evaluated and reference checks have been conducted. Offers for the Graduate Trainee program will be based on the successful applicants obtaining an Organisational Suitability Assessment, conducted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, as well as a Negative Vet 1 Security Clearance processed by AGSVA (Australian Government Security Vetting Agency) and a clear medical result.

Will ACBPS help me move to Canberra?

Upon ACBPS receiving the successful applicant’s formal acceptance to join the Graduate program, ACBPS will provide assistance for relocation to Canberra. This will include:

  • Flights from your home port and your motor vehicle relocated to Canberra OR a motor vehicle allowance for you to drive your car from your home port to Canberra
  • Relocation of your personal and household items
  • Short-term, temporary accommodation whilst settling in to Canberra
  • Meals allowance whilst in short-term, temporary accommodation