Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Victorian Public Service GRADS Program

Field of Law

Victorian Government

Stage of Career


Contact Details

Address: 3 Treasury Place Melbourne
Phone: 1300 662 930 and ask for GRADS recruitment
Contact person: Dianne Knowles
Visit the Graduates page on the Victorian Government website

Description of Organisation

The Victorian Public Service is responsible for public schools, health, policing, roads and traffic, public housing and business regulation.

Does your organisation have a human rights officer?

Yes, but this is not a dedicated position - a staff member fulfils this role along with their other duties

Information for university students/graduates

Do you have a graduate clerkship program?

The Victorian Public Service offers GRADS, the Graduate Recruitment and Development Scheme.

GRADS is a 12-month development program, offering a unique opportunity to learn about government and contribute to a range of strategic policy and project initiatives.

GRADS does not provide accredited PLT and admission to practise; however, it provides an excellent career pathway into Government work.

Graduates are employed by one department or agency but experience placements in two more departments or agencies throughout the year and an extensive learning and development program.

Participants are guaranteed a position with their home department and a promotion on successful completion of the program.

Graduates commence on an attractive entry level salary and on satisfactory completion of the program return to an ongoing role in their original department at a higher grade. The GRADS is highly regarded in all areas of the Victorian Government.

110 applicants are selected annually across the following streams:

Legal Stream

If you have a law degree, this stream will feature work that is mainly law-focused. You will undertake two legal placements and one generalist placement during your GRADS year. You will complete the generalist learning and development and you may have access to specialist legal training

Generalist Stream

The generalist GRADS has opportunity for graduates from any academic discipline.

As a generalist, graduates experience variety across departments and agencies, roles and types of work, from policy to data analysis to community engagement to research and reporting. Generalists have three placements throughout the year, and return to an ongoing role at the end of the program. They also take part in the learning and development program.

Education Stream

The education stream is open to law graduates with a strong interest in education.

Accounting & Finance and Economics streams are open to Law graduates holding double degrees in these disciplines.

What are you looking for in a graduate?

Apart from your academic record, GRADS considers the whole person when assessing applicants: your values, skills, work experience, involvement in extra-curricular activities (for example, in sport or as a volunteer), and other community interests.

GRADS is looking for graduates who want to contribute to Victoria's community with the following values:

  • Responsiveness
  • Integrity
  • Impartiality
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Leadership
  • Human Rights
  • Commitment to the Victorian Public Service and its values

In particular, applicants must have the following attributes:

  • Excellent Verbal Communication skills
  • Excellent Written Communication skills
  • Conceptual and analytical ability
  • Teamwork
  • Initiative and accountability
  • Flexibility

Qualifications/skills required

  • Australian Working Rights
  • Has not received a Voluntary Departure Package from the VPS in the last three years
  • Will have a minimum of a three-year undergraduate degree by the end of year of application
  • Agreement to undertake a Police Criminal Records Check

What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?

Generalist law degree. Double degree with accounting finance and economics an advantage

What prior work/volunteer work is viewed favourably?

Volunteering that shows a community focus and breadth of life experience. Overseas Internships/volunteering experience.

How does one apply

Online at the Apply for GRADS page on the Victorian Government website

Dates for application

March - closing early April each year - see website for exact dates

Do you require your applicants to be recent law graduates? If so, how recent?

  • Applications are open to final year students and graduates.
  • The Law, Accounting & Finance, Economics and Generalist streams have no time limit on when a graduate can apply after completing their degree.
  • The Education stream requires applicants to have graduated within the last two years.

Interview process

Applications are open in March-early April. Unsuccessful candidates advised by mid-April.

Applicants who progress to the next stage are invited to complete two online aptitude assessments in the subsequent weeks. Applicants who progress from online assessment will be invited to attend a half-day session at an assessment centre. Round one interviews conducted June, with offers made late June. Round two interviews conducted July-August with offers made mid-August. Induction for successful applicants is in February

Information for Indigenous Students

Graduates who identify as of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent are encouraged to apply. Throughout the application stage and beyond, GRADS provides culturally sensitive support. GRADS will put you in touch with Aboriginal Employment Officers and other Aboriginal VPS staff and Koori networks.

For more information, contact Lynne Witynski, the Pathway Manager on 03 9651 2618 or send an email to:

How many law graduates do you employ outside your graduate program, and what sort of roles do they fill?

A wide variety of roles are available across government that are open Law graduates, for example:

  • Agriculture, land and environment
  • Business
  • Consulting, Policy and Strategy
  • Education and Training
  • Healthcare, Medical and Community
  • Hospitality and Tourism, Arts and Sport
  • Justice, Prisons, Police and Emergency Services

The following resources will help you start looking:


Pick Vic is a comprehensive career resource designed to assist students and graduates find their place in the Victorian Government. It details the wide variety of work areas and roles, along with the skills and qualifications you'll need to get there.

The Victorian Government Careers Website

The best way to gain employment with the Victorian Government is by registering and applying online through the Victorian Government Careers Website

The Careers website is a central hub for finding employment with Victorian Government. As well as advertising current vacancies with all major departments and agencies, the site provides useful information to help you prepare your career plan and employment profile.

The Careers site includes:

  • Career planning information
  • A Career Toolkit
  • Career tips and ideas

Do you have a minimum Grade Point Average standard for an applicant's academic record?

No. Applicants are assessed on a whole-of-person basis in which life experience and written and verbal communication skills are valued highly and their academic record is only one factor.

If there are any fails on a candidate's academic record how will they affect the recruitment process?

As long as they have completed their degree, there is no disadvantage.

Where do you advertise your positions?

The Victorian Government Careers Website

Do you use a recruitment agency?

Advice for applicants

Download the GRADS candidate guide on the Graduates page of the Victorian Government website

Additional comments

One advantage of going through the GRADS application process, even if you are unsuccessful, is that you may apply for detailed feedback about your application.

Short-listed candidates will be well-placed to considered for other entry-level positions

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