Indigenous apprentices share their career stories

Indigenous Apprenticeship Program participant Jake.

Two Services Australia staff members say the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program (IAP) has put them on the path to fulfilling careers in the Australian Public Service.

Applications are now open for the 2022 intake of the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program. This 12-month experience offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a pathway to start their career in the Australian Public Service (APS).

For Tarni, a proud Wiradjuri woman, being part of the IAP is a story of family – love and encouragement from her own family as she took on a new job, and the support of her work ‘family’ too.

Tarni said she first got interested in the program when her cousin graduated from the IAP and her uncle, who has worked for Centrelink, also encouraged her to consider a career in the public service.

‘My family is one of my biggest supporters,’ Tarni said.

‘On my second day in the program, I was overwhelmed with moving to Dubbo and leaving home. I’ve always lived with my parents. I’ve raised my nephews and niece from the age of 15 and helped my Mum. But my family encouraged me to keep going.

‘My Mum values me and said to me, ‘You are good enough for the job’.

‘This support, plus the support from the workplace has been fantastic. It’s clear that they will help you to succeed.’

Another current apprentice, Jake, works in Services Australia’s recruitment area.

For Jake, applying for the IAP has allowed him to start his own story of finding career opportunities in the public service to grow and develop.

‘So far, I’ve been nominated to help with the COVID-19 Disaster Payment processing. It’s work outside of my usual role but it was a great way to expand my knowledge of what the agency does and help Australians through this tough time,’ Jake said.

Apprentices get lots of support to complete a qualification in Government studies while they’re in the program.

‘The study component of the apprenticeship has also been an awesome way to connect with other apprentices and develop my skills,’ he said.

Jake offered this advice to potential applicants interested in joining the APS.

‘For anyone thinking about applying, the application process is simple and the positions come with plenty of support,’ Jake said.

‘If you’re curious about what the IAP is, like I was, apply and see what could be offered. There’s no harm in testing the waters.’

Successful applicants are placed in a full-time permanent entry-level position with Services Australia or one of the other participating government agencies, in city and regional locations across Australia.

Participants receive a competitive salary, on-the-job training and a nationally recognised certificate or diploma qualification. The program provides participants with an opportunity to start their own story in government.

Since 2015, the IAP has given 1,587 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people opportunities to join the APS. These are people with diverse backgrounds, including people leaving school, finishing study or looking for a new career.

More information

To read more about the IAP and to apply now, visit