Create your own story with the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program

Three exceptional young people say their lives have been changed thanks to the career-starting opportunities and experiences they’ve gained through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Apprenticeships Program.

Applications are now open for the 2021 intake of the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program (IAP). This 12-month experience offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians an opportunity to start their full time careers in the public service and gain a nationally recognised qualification. 

Successful applicants are placed in a full-time permanent entry-level position with Services Australia or one of 19 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.

Hayden is a successful graduate who applied for the IAP to create change. Coming from a difficult upbringing, he never imagined he’d end up working for the government.

‘I experienced trauma growing up in foster and government care, but I knew I wanted to make a difference for my communities from within. So I gathered my courage and applied,’ Hayden said.

‘I learned so much on the job about the public service, work life balance and leadership. I’ve come a long way and I’m really proud of myself.’

Hayden says he has big dreams for his future in the public service at Services Australia.  

‘In the future, I’d like to specialise in Indigenous payments policies and services.

‘For now I know that I’m making a difference because I have customers who come back to see me. I do my best to be kind to everyone I meet and I think that makes a difference.

‘We definitely need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in government creating change from the inside with us. If you’re thinking of applying for the IAP, do it. You may not think you have the strength, but if I can do it, so can you.’

Sarah applied for the IAP at the age of 19 and at that point she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.

‘It was fantastic to be able to do the program with a group of my peers,’ Sarah said.

‘We were all on the same journey together and a great support for each other.’

Sarah now works in Melbourne in the communications team and her advice for people who are considering applying for the IAP is to just go for it.

‘I love helping people and our customers are at the core of what we do, so it’s wonderful to be able to connect people with useful information, and save them a phone call,’ Sarah said.

‘If you’re planning on applying for the program, you absolutely won’t regret it. It can be a career for life and there are no limits to what you can achieve or where you might go.’

Shaneiva, a proud Gamilaroi women who lives on Biripi land, successfully completed the IAP in 2019.

‘I was over the moon when I found out I got into the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program,’ Shaneiva said.

‘University wasn’t for me and I was really seeking full time work. It’s so good to see there are programs like these which open the door for First Nations peoples.’

Shaneiva now works as an artist and was commissioned by Services Australia to create a new design for the IAP. Her design pieces together symbols from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures to represent stories, journeys and beginnings. Each symbol connects to the story of an apprentice in the program.

‘I think there’s a vastness of wisdom from First Nations peoples that we should protect,’ Shaneiva said.

‘There is so much beauty and wisdom behind our culture that doesn’t get embraced the way it should. We have so much knowledge that can be highly valuable for creating change. Change not only for our agency, but for our country as a whole.’

What will your story be?

Applications for the 2021 Indigenous Apprenticeships Program are now open and close 20 November 2020, with successful candidates commencing in 2021.

For more information about the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program and to apply now, visit

Read more about other past IAP apprentices’ experiences here