Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 7 2010 Contents 23
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“By undertaking three rotations and participating in the
study tour to Darwin, senior officer briefings and tailored
training, I gained a much more rounded understanding of the
Department and ADF.”
- 2008 graduate, Mr Luke Easey
What is the gDP?
› The Graduate Development Program
resides within the People Strategies
and Policy Group and recruits high-
calibre university graduates from all
disciplines for employment as Defence
› The GDP seek graduates with excellent
communication, teamwork, problem-
solving skills and leadership skills, as
well as high levels of personal drive
› There are five specific development
streams within the GDP: generalist,
finance, information, infrastructure and
› The GDP runs for ten months with
graduates undertaking three varied
work rotations in which they will build
the skills, knowledge and networks
vital for a successful career within
Defence and the wider Public Service.
› Graduates undertake a specifically
designed suite of training during the
Program including courses to enhance
finance, writing, strategic and personal
skills. They are also taken on a week-
long tour of Defence establishments
as a means of linking their operational
understanding of Defence to a support
and policy context.
› At the end of the program, graduates
are placed in permanent positions
across the Department at the APS
4 level. This would not be possible
without the support from the other
Groups in Defence who provide full-
time equivalent funding for the final
› The GDP has just completed the
recruitment process for 2011, where
more than 1400 applications were
received for 80 positions across the
five development streams.
“It is also handy to have 70-odd contacts around
the Department who completed the grad program
2010 graduates, Bronwen and Anthony, represent
the current crop of high achievers, having both
completed double Bachelor degrees, and having
typically taken every opportunity the GDP offers.
With a Bachelor of Psychology and a Bachelor of
Social Work behind her, Bronwen entered the GDP
through its people stream and is very passionate
about her current rotation in the Directorate of
“I have been afforded the opportunity to attend
Indigenous careers fairs and speak with young
people about their futures.
“I also support the development of marketing
materials for the Directorate and will be meeting
with our cadets and trainees to gain further insight
into their experiences in Defence,” Bronwen said.
It is also no surprise that Bronwen was elected as
president of the Graduate Social Committee, which
organises a guide for next year’s crop of graduates,
a yearbook capturing the 2010 experience, along
with fundraising tasks for their graduation ball in
Likewise, Anthony’s background in political science
and law has proven ideal during his development
with Defence, having completed rotations with
Defence Legal in the Directorate of Military
Justice, and also as a media liaison officer in the
Media Operations Centre. His current rotation is as
an analyst with the Global Security Section of DIO,
and he said it will be very hard to decide what his
final full-time placement will be.
“The GDP has opened my eyes to Defence and
the public service more broadly, and it’s given
me a greater understanding of the role of the
Department in furthering the government’s
priorities,” Anthony said.
“I’ve developed knowledge of key areas that will
be invaluable no matter where my career takes me,
such as public affairs and intelligence.
“The law has been my main interest in the past,
but I now see myself staying in Defence into
the near future so as to further my professional
development as a public servant.
“We’ve had a lot of senior officer briefings from
two and three-star leaders and a key theme
addressed by all of them has been the unique
nature of Defence and the opportunities it provides
to people like myself.”
Their combined experience in the GDP has opened
opportunities previously unavailable to them, while
having also provided experiences that will enhance
From Vivien sharing a cuppa with the captain of
an Argentinean tall ship at HMAS Kuttabul in
Sydney, to Luke receiving a commendation from
allied partners for his intelligence assessments,
their exposure to more than just Defence’s many
acronyms has been invaluable.
Anthony in particular recalls the day he supported
a press conference where the Acting Chief of the
Defence Force made public the news of the deaths
of two soldiers in Afghanistan during his stint in
the Media Operations Centre.
“The local paper of one of the soldiers wanted us
to confirm the soldier’s name because they were
about to go to print and didn’t want to wait, but
I was able to walk them through the process and
reasons behind why we couldn’t release the name,
and they were able to respect that,” Anthony said.
“It really focuses you on the reality that this isn’t
just another workplace. You realise very quickly
the sacrifices that are being made by the men and
women in uniform and also the effect this has on
Each of the four graduates agreed that the support
received from the people in their respective
rotations has been invaluable and has allowed
them to integrate better into each workplace. And
after hours, the camaraderie between the grads
has been part and parcel of the Program.
“The best thing about the program is the other
graduates you meet and the friendships you make
throughout the year,” Bronwen said.
“I am confident our cohort will maintain these
links and continue to act as support to each other
throughout our careers despite where we might go.
“The year is really what you make of it, and if
you are willing to try new roles and undertake
challenges that you might not usually, you might be
surprised at the result.”
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