Applications for the 2022 intake have closed.
About the program
The Science and Planning Graduate program is a joint initiative of DELWP and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR). Work with us to create a liveable, inclusive, and sustainable Victoria with thriving natural environments.
As a graduate, you will be part of an award-winning program designed to provide you with varied and meaningful development experiences to kick-start your career. You’ll gain a mix of field and policy work, exposure to research, and be involved in community engagement activities.
During the 2-year program you’ll get:
- varied rotations across Victoria to develop your skills and explore different areas of the business
- a starting salary of more than $60,000
- learning and development opportunities tailored to your career goals
- flexible working arrangements
- a promotion and pay rise to more than $72,000 at the program’s end
- an excellent social and networking base with other graduates.
Sign up for bulletins
Register your interest to stay up-to-date with the program. We’ll tell you when applications open and let you know when we’ll be at your university.
Watch our program summary video
Read about the varied graduate roles
Applications for the 2022 intake have closed. See the examples below of roles that were available.
Every year, we recruit graduates of science, natural resource management, agriculture, ecology, conservation, planning, or related fields.
Graduate roles are available all over Victoria. Read about the role descriptions and rotation locations.
When applying for the program, you can tell us your role preference.
Location – Neg. Within Grampians Region / Knoxfield / Neg. within Grampians Region
The Grampians region is a supportive, inclusive and progressive team environment that allows flexibility to work across the region to deliver for government and the community.
Your introduction to DELWP will immerse you in forest planning and the development of the Grampians Forest Management Plan in Forest Fire Operations Division (FFOD). You will experience planning, communication and engagement approaches through this context.
Your second rotation will involve you in Victoria’s ‘Big Build,’ statutory planning, biodiversity conservation and threatened species management. You will build on communication and planning skills developed in your first placement with your base in the Natural Environmental Program branch, Regional Directorate (RD), Port Phillip Region.
Your final rotation in Grampians Region will enable you to leverage the foundational work and networks developed earlier to support Aboriginal self-determination priorities and reform. You will build your cultural competency and choose a project to deliver that supports your interest and the broader needs of Traditional Owner groups and the region. Based in the Community and Partnerships branch of the Regional Directorate you will work with and support FFOD and the RD staff.
Location – Epsom / Ballarat / Epsom
Loddon Mallee Region is seeking a graduate with a technical bent and a degree in science, land management, ecology or related fields. The position will work on a range of projects focusing on developing strategies to improve bushfire management across tenures (i.e. both public and private land), how to implement these and follow-up evaluation
While in Rotation 1 you will develop skills with ArcGIS, fire behaviour modelling, risk assessment (using ISO 31000 standards), working with and managing big datasets, stakeholder engagement and monitoring of fuels and environmental indicators responsive to fire. Monitoring is likely to involve field work in remote parts of Victoria undertaking both fuel, and flora and fauna surveys.
The Rotation 2 focus in on the role of DELWP as a public land manager and administrator in the Land and Built Environment (LBE) team based in Ballarat, Grampians Region. The graduate will gain experience in and understanding of using best practice customer service and engagement regarding property information as it relates to a range of Crown land, interpreting and applying legislation, policies and procedures, field inspections to assess public land condition and values, and preparing reports and recommendations relating to Crown land use and occupancy.
The final rotation in Epsom (Bendigo) requires a suitably skilled applicant to work closely with regional, district and strategic planning teams in Forest and Fire Operations to review the completed planned burning program across the region. The applicant will assess planned burns through a range of methods including satellite and aerial imagery and ground truthing. A report will then be compiled on the completed assessments and recommendations written to help improve the planned burning program. This placement will allow the applicant to develop strong skills in fire management and a holistic understanding of how fire interacts within different landscapes.
Location – Ovens / CBD / Benalla or Wodonga
Over 3 placements (2 in Hume Region and one at DELWP Head Office in East Melbourne) the graduate will receive practical field experience in a busy forest and fire district; a solid grounding in forest and fire management policy, and experience working in a regionally based biodiversity team.
The first rotation is in the Forest and Fire Operations team at our Ovens office in the Ovens District of Hume region. You will be trained, accredited and deployed as an operational firefighter, participate in the planning and delivery of the 21/22 planned burning program and be involved various aspects of forest management including visitor management, bushfire recovery programs, road construction and maintenance, cultural heritage management, biodiversity protection, and community engagement.
The second rotation will be with the Forest and Fire Knowledge, Planning and Risk branch at DELWP Head Office in Melbourne. The branch implements forest and fire policy through research and development of for land management planning, risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation and community engagement. In this role you will support DELWP’s six regional planning teams to develop new strategic land management plans for state forests. You will support senior planning staff to implement approaches to state forest management including the management of tourism, climate change adaptation and cultural landscapes management.
In the final rotation the you will return to Hume Region to work in the Natural Environment Programs team based at either Benalla or Wodonga. During this placement the graduate will help implement Biodiversity 2037 by designing and delivering programs and on-ground activities to help stakeholders and key partners connect with and appreciate our diverse natural environments in Hume Region.
Location – Bairnsdale / CBD / Bairnsdale
This position will focus on a broad range of fire management programs including fire ecology field work; through supporting the development and application of state-wide bushfire risk assessment tools to support and improve approaches to forest and fire management fire ecology outcomes. The position will also consider opportunities to strengthen fire science linkages and understanding between fire management practitioners and community groups.
- Validating tolerable fire interval for EVC/EFGs and assessing ecosystem health
- Building staff capacity to identify KFRS and understand how plants can help guide the frequency of planned burning across the landscape
- Integrate fuel management planning with ecological outcomes
- Undertake fuel management planning and delivery
- Working with internal and external stakeholders, to apply contemporary research findings that assist with consideration of the importance of mitigation, suppression, prevention and other activities for reducing risk and improving outcomes to human life, ecosystem resilience, environmental values, state-wide infrastructure and water quality.
Key skill sets desired include field survey experience, GIS or mapping system experience, natural resource management, ecology or geography studies, and experience with fire management.
Location – Knoxfield / Geelong / Knoxfield
Are you keen to use your science credentials, analytical and communication skills to contribute to a more sustainable Victoria and improved management of some of our precious public land?
In this role you will benefit from a wide variety of experiences in public policy, administration and land management planning, providing a sound platform from which to launch a career in sustainability and natural resource management.
Rotation 1 – (Knoxfield – Community & Partnerships) will focus on informing and working with community to support Victoria’s transition to a more sustainable energy future.
Rotation 2 – (Geelong – Major Projects, Barwon South West) will focus on progressing the Great Ocean Road Management Reform and the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan.
Rotation 3 – (Knoxfield – Land and Built Environment) will focus on Engagement and support of volunteer Committees of Management, who are delegated to manage Public Land on behalf of the community.
Throughout, you will have the support of targeted professional development, mentoring from experienced senior managers, a constructive work culture and flexible employment practices.
After the program, the graduate will secure an ongoing position in the Port Phillip region. The position will be developed in partnership with the graduate over the two years based on the skillsets learned, the interests of the graduate and business area needs.
Location – Geelong / Knoxfield / Geelong and/or Anglesea
Have an interest in coasts?
The Barwon South West Region has an exciting opportunity for a graduate recruit to gain experience across a variety of business areas and offices of DELWP relevant to coastal management and planning.
Over the two-year program, the graduate will build an important suite of skills to kick start their career at DELWP including:
- Project and program management
- Community and stakeholder engagement
- Policy and planning
- Regulatory frameworks and approval processes
Rotation 1: Geelong - State-wide Coastal Programs team
Support complex projects to repair, and upgrade coastal protection assets and ensure compliance with standards. Get involved with community engagement with Coast Care Victoria including the Summer by the Sea program.
Rotation 2: Knoxfield – Land and Built Environment Team
Support planning, delivery and community engagement for coastal protection and beach renourishment projects around Port Phillip and Western Port.
Rotation 3: Geelong / Anglesea – Forest Fire Planning Unit and Otways District Team
Help plan and deliver the Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail among other exciting recreation projects in the Otways district. Gain insight into what it means to be a land manager, with a focus on provision of recreation experiences that are mindful of other forest and park values including biodiversity and cultural heritage.
After the two-year program, the ongoing position in the Barwon South West region will be developed in partnership with the graduate over the two years based on the skillsets learned, the interests of the graduate and business area needs
Location – CBD / Bairnsdale / Irymple
Ground your scientific knowledge by working with land managers and policy makers to grapple with some of Victoria’s most complex and challenging environmental concerns. Work with high performing teams in a number of locations across Victoria an apply your environmental management skills to manage Victoria’s unique ecosystems (Gippsland’s tall forests and the Mallee) in the context of threats such as Bushfire and grazing while promoting biodiversity, nature based tourism and enabling Traditional Owners to manage Country in a more self-determining way.
The role begins in the Knowledge, Planning and Risk branch who supports the implementation of forest and fire policy through research and development of processes for land management planning, risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation and community engagement. You will support senior planning staff to implement approaches to state forest management including the management of tourism, climate change adaptation and cultural landscapes management and gain experience in the application of policy and environmental sciences to develop land management planning systems, policy reform and its application and understanding the role of government in enabling self-determination in cultural landscapes management.
Rotation two in the Risk and Evaluation team in Bairnsdale will include modelling fuel management leverage over bushfire spread and behaviour characteristics in Gippsland and supporting the Risk and Evaluation team in day to day activities in risk analysis and provision of information to internal and external stakeholders regarding the Gippsland Fire Management Strategy. Skills gained include problem solving and analysis, use of Phoenix Rapidfire, python R and balancing competing interests and demands.
The third rotation in Irymple joins the Mallee District of the Forest and Fire Operations supporting the increase of sustainable management of public land by documenting a Mallee District State Forest Grazing Management Plan. The role will require meeting partners and stakeholders, conducting site visits and developing an annual monitoring program.
Location – CBD / CBD / Benalla (TBC)
The Environmental Planner -Assessor (Science Graduate) will work across both regional service delivery and head office roles. They will develop a well-rounded knowledge of environmental planning and environmental impact assessment, as well as working in government policy development and land use decision-making.
During the first rotation, the graduate will have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in environmental impact assessment (EIA) for large projects across Victoria. The role will support the Minister for Planning and government to assess and make timely, informed decisions on projects with potentially significant environmental effects. This will involve assisting the team with administering EIA processes including liaising with agencies providing advice on environmental effects and coordinating environmental assessment and statutory processes. It will also engage with proponents to evaluate and refine their proposals including advising on community engagement and environmental policy.
During the second rotation the graduate will spend time in head office in Planning Systems Reform where they will focus on statutory policy and policy implementation, policy and project support to environmental and natural resource priority initiatives, advice to a variety of stakeholders on policy, statutory and land use issues, state-wide planning scheme amendments and strategic plans. The graduate will gain experience in working in government and the role of the land use planning system and Victoria Planning Provisions to deliver government policy objectives, including community resilience to natural hazards such as bushfire and flooding, and understanding government priorities and policy development processes.
During the final rotation the graduate will work in the Hume regional office (Benalla) where they will focus on providing advice to the Minister for Planning on planning scheme amendments and development projects for the Hume region. The graduate will gain experience in assessing a variety of projects and issues against State and Local Planning Policy.
Location – CBD all rotations
The Graduate Planner –Graduate Policy Officer will work collaboratively across the Planning Group to assist with planning policy and statutory responsibilities of the portfolio, together with delivery of priority projects.
During the first rotation, the Graduate Policy Officer will be provided with the opportunity to develop a statutory planning skill base and gain exposure to the statutory planning systems reform functions that support Victoria’s Planning, Building and Heritage System. The Planning and Building system plays a key role in supporting the growth of cities and regions, in particular through ongoing improvement to the Victoria Planning Provisions and Planning Schemes. There will also be the opportunity for input into the state-wide planning scheme amendment process and gain exposure to local government councils and key stakeholders across Victoria.
During the second rotation, the Graduate Policy Officer will support the Bushfire Planning Recovery Coordination branch following the 2019/20 Eastern Victorian bushfires. As part of the team, the Graduate Policy Officer will assist the team with cross-government bushfire recovery efforts. The graduate officer will support and assist the Bushfire Recovery Coordination branch with the strategic planning, policy development, and the delivery of bushfire recovery activities in partnership with key agencies and impacted local government councils and communities.
During the third rotation the Graduate Planner –Graduate Policy Officer will be provided with the opportunity to provide statutory services to deliver the Minister for Planning's responsibilities in relation to the authorisation and assessment of planning scheme amendments, planning permits and other requirements of planning legislation and instruments. The role may also involve providing support to officers in the preparation of Ministerial briefs, delegated and Ministerial correspondence, Parliamentary information, as well as assisting senior staff, and managing relationships with stakeholders including councils, government agencies and proponents
Location – CBD / Heidelberg / TBD within Gippsland Region
The Environment and Climate Change Group is looking for a science graduate to join the department, beginning with completing a two-year placement in the grad program as a Policy Officer in the Biodiversity Division.
The first rotation will be in the Biodiversity Strategy & Knowledge branch working on a refresh of the Protecting Victoria’s Environment –Biodiversity 2037 policy (Bio2037). Bio2037 is Victoria’s innovative and contemporary approach to managing biodiversity. It brings together the latest conservation science and social science to help halt the overall decline of our biodiversity. The Policy Officer will contribute to the Bio2037 refresh project by undertaking policy analysis and preparing briefings.
The second rotation will be at DELWP’s biodiversity research Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI). The graduate would work alongside an experience researcher and would support whole of institute activities across topics such as behaviour change science program, communications program and/or engagement program with a deep dive into one or two specific research projects (to be negotiated based on the candidate).
The third rotation will be based at a DELWP office in Gippsland. The graduate will work on regional implementation of biodiversity management activities. Subject to funding decisions for 2023/24, the graduate might work on regional implementation of the Biodiversity Bushfire Response and Recovery Program.
Location: CBD / CBD / Regional (TBC)
The Resources Branch is looking for a graduate to work across the Earth Resources Regulation Unit for 24 months with placements across three areas. The successful applicant will support the earth resources regulator in ensuring that environmental impacts from mining, quarrying and petroleum industry sectors are minimised and effectively managed.
The first rotation will support the Technical Services team within the Earth Resources Regulation in providing advice on a range of documents for example work plans, environmental management plans and rehabilitation plans, at various stages including impact assessment, compliance and rehabilitation.
The second rotation will support the Assessments team, Earth Resources Regulation, in assessing, evaluating and making recommendations on applications (and variations to applications) to undertake works in the Earth Resources Sector.
The third rotation will assist the Compliance team, Earth Resources Regulation, in identifying, planning and reporting on compliance activities based on identified risks within the various industry sectors. Building on the experience gained in the previous rotations, the graduate will develop an understanding of the application of legislation in monitoring compliance in the resources sector.
To qualify for this role, applicants must have completed a Bachelor of Science or Engineering degree in a field related to this role, such as environmental or natural resources management.
Location: CBD all rotations
An exciting opportunity exists for a graduate to work in the Forestry and Climate Change group within DJPR. Forestry and Climate Change works with commercial forest industries to maximise economic value from Victorian timber production and processing (plantations and native forests on public and private land) and assists industry to adapt to environmental, social, and economic change. The group also leads the implementation of the Victorian Forestry Plan and the coordination and policy role to sustainably manage forest and game resources, including working collaboratively to support the aspirations of Traditional Owner communities in Victoria.
Additionally, the group leads delivery of DJPR’s obligations under the Climate Change Act 2017 and contributes to whole-of-government work on climate change and energy reform.
The first rotation will be based in the Avalon Precincts Team, where the graduate will undertake policy and research support on the development of advice for senior policy staff within the Avalon Precinct Unit, DJPR executive, the Secretary and the Minister for Business Precincts.
The second rotation in the Climate Change and Industry Transition Team will see the graduate assisting in developing policy advice in support of the government’s climate change and energy transition agendas. In addition, the role will involve preparing written briefs for DJPRs executive and Ministers, portfolio briefing on the Cabinet’s agenda, research and analysis, liaising across DJPR and other departments to influence outcomes, and contributing to project planning and delivery.
The final rotation will be in the Forestry and Game team and will involve providing support to Senior Policy Officers in the development of policy advice for the DJPR executive, Secretary and Minister for Agriculture.
Who can apply?
To be eligible for the 2022 Science and Planning graduate program, you must:
- have completed your undergraduate degree between January 2017 and January 2022
- be an Australian / New Zealand citizen or an Australian permanent resident
- not have taken voluntary redundancy from the Victorian public sector in the 3 years up to the program start date of January 2022
Information for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander candidates
We recognise the significant responsibility the Department has as a land and natural resource manager to support self-determination and create opportunities for Traditional Owners to care for Country and provide opportunities to Enhance First Peoples’ connection to Country. We are committed to creating a culturally safe environment, where individuals feel safe, valued and able to enable their culture, spiritual and belief systems.
We are growing DELWP’s Aboriginal employment to 3% of our workforce. Our Aboriginal Employment Plan sets out how we will do this while achieving lasting change and sustainable jobs for Aboriginal people.
In response to our ongoing commitments and employment strategies, we highly recommend that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander graduates apply.
For general information about Aboriginal Employment at DELWP please contact the Aboriginal Employment and Cultural Strategy Unit
Information for candidates with disability
We want applicants with disability to have an equitable experience.
You can request a reasonable adjustment at any stage of the recruitment process. Each request will be considered on an individual basis. Some examples of adjustments include:
- materials in a larger font
- time to consider the questions in advance of the interview
- more time to complete the individual written activity
- longer break times between activities at the assessment centre
When you apply, tell us your preferred method of communication so that we can get in contact with you throughout the recruitment process.
If you get into the program, we will check in with you to see what support you need so you can perform at your best. This may include access to workplace adjustments, flexible work and connecting you to a colleague or peer with disability.
At this stage, you will be asked to complete an online form and tell us about yourself. You’ll be asked to respond to motivational question and behavioural based questions.
You will also need to upload your resume. You do not need to upload a cover letter.
Capabilities Assessed at Application Stage: Motivation to work as a graduate in the Science and Planning Graduate Program, Flexibility and adaptability, Integrity and Communicate with Impact
If you are successful in progressing to this stage of the process, you will be asked to complete an online verbal numeric and abstract reasoning test (these tests are often called psychometric tests). It is a 20-minute timed assessment.
Capabilities Assessed at the Application Stage: Critical thinking and Problem Solving
You'll need stable internet access.
If you would like some help with preparation for online testing, we recommend asking your university career advisors who will be able to provide assistance.
If you get a satisfactory result in the online tests, you will be invited to the assessment centre. The assessment centre will include:
- An interview
- Group activity
- Written activity and individual presentation
All assessment centres will be conducted virtually
We make the environment as comfortable as possible so you can adequately demonstrate your skills.
- Capabilities Assessed at Interview: Motivation to work in the Science Graduate Program, Integrity, Interpersonal skills and working collaboratively, Flexibility and adaptability, Communicate with impact
- Capabilities Assessed at Group Activity: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Innovation and Continuous Improvement, Interpersonal skills and working collaboratively
- Capabilities Assessed at Written Activity: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Innovation and Continuous Improvement Communicate with impact
The final part of the selection process is the interview. By this stage, there are usually 3 to 4 candidates for each graduate role.
At the interview, you'll be able to elaborate on your skills, experience and achievements.
You will be interviewed by people from the Department. We recommend taking the opportunity to find out who is on the interview panel and what their roles are in the organisation.
You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the role, so come prepared with questions.
We’ll let you know if you’re successful and you’ll receive a formal offer to join the program.
Frequently asked questions
What types of roles do you offer graduates?
We recruit in different areas each year depending on the organisational need of the department and government policy at that time. Past graduates have held the following roles:
- Fire Management Project Officer
- Native Vegetation Management Officer
- Natural and Built Resources Officer
- Natural Resource Management Research and Development Project Officer
- Public Land Officer
- Sustainable Landscapes Project Officer
- Water Policy Officer
What types of projects do graduates work on?
Past graduates have worked on the following projects:
- community capacity building
- salinity, biodiversity and land use planning
- business, innovations and communications
- fire management
- landcare and community engagement
- pest plants and animals policy
- regional compliance work.
- pest management and research
- natural resource planning
- native vegetation
How am I supported during the program?
At your formal induction in February, you will meet and get to know other graduates and start working with supervisors to plan your work plan and program outcomes.
You will also have a coordinating supervisor and a location supervisor, who support and oversee your ongoing development throughout the program. You will also receive a 'Buddy' to help them – usually a second-year graduate who is working in a similar field. You will also be matched with a mentor – usually an alumni who completed the program a few years ago.
What types of training are available?
In addition to project and fieldwork, graduates are encouraged to take courses in public speaking, policy development, project evaluation, group leadership and facilitation, and community engagement.
As a graduate, you’ll also receive access to a substantial learning and development budget to tailor your development to your career goals.
Where are graduates based during the program?
As a graduate, you may have some moves to different departmental locations over your two-year program. These locations will generally be regionally based within Victoria and may include one metropolitan role, although this depends on your position.
We choose locations that will provide the best opportunities for you to learn, but wherever you go you'll be learning from experts in your field.
Flexible working is now the Victorian Government’s default position for the Victorian Public Service. This means every role can have some form of flexibility. Managers and employees will work together to come to an arrangement that meets the needs of the employee, the organisation and requirements of the role. To learn more see Working flexibly for Victorians - VPSC
Are TAFE certificates acceptable?
No, positions offered by the Graduate Program require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the field specified in the position description.
Can I complete my degree and work for the Graduate Program?
You must have completed your undergraduate degree before the commencement date of the Graduate Program.
Do I need an Australian qualification?
No. If your degree is from an international university, it should be certified to meet the Australian equivalent before submitting your application.
Overseas qualifications from countries other than Australia or New Zealand need to be assessed for equivalence by DET (Australian Government's Department of Education and Training). The certificate of equivalence (or evidence of undertaking the process) must be provided with your application. For more information visit International Education - Qualifications Recognition.
Do I need to be an Australian citizen?
You must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a citizen of New Zealand. The graduate program will not sponsor applicants for immigration to Australia.
I'm a mature age uni graduate, what are the prerequisites of applying?
We encourage applications from graduates of all ages. Applications will be considered provided you have a completed undergraduate degree within the last 5 years, and your Tertiary qualification must be related to a Science or Planning field.
What happens after the 2 years?
Science Graduates will have an ongoing role with the department upon signing their letter of offer.
Graduates are highly sought for their skills, networks and ability to meet challenges. Toward the end of your two-year program your coordinator and the graduate program management team will meet with you to discuss opportunities after the program.
What happens to information in my application?
The department affirms that the collection and handling of applications and personal information will be consistent with the requirements of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.
Page last updated: 01/09/21