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Indigenous Professionals Pathway - Agency Guidelines

Program Overview

The Indigenous Professionals Pathway is delivered on behalf of participating APS and Commonwealth agencies. It is one of the suite of initiatives offered by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) under the APS Indigenous Employment Programs Memorandum of Understanding 2016-2020 (the MOU).

The Professionals Pathway involves a targeted, centrally coordinated and culturally safe, end-to-end recruitment process consistent with the Public Service Act 1999 and Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016-2019 (Commissioner’s Directions). Participating agencies access the candidate pool to fill positions at APS5 to EL2 levels.

The program supports rebalancing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to better reflect the structure of the overall APS workforce. It seeks to attract experienced Indigenous professionals to the APS, and also provides the opportunity for career advancement for suitably skilled existing Commonwealth employees.

Program Benefits

The program offers:

  • targeted marketing to experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals
  • a robust, inclusive and culturally safe assessment methodology
  • cost-effective centralised assessment model
  • access to assessment reports for suitable candidates
  • an increased profile of the Commonwealth as an employer of choice within the Indigenous community

Key recruitment milestones

To be confirmed.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Commission

The role of the Commission is to deliver a targeted, centrally coordinated and culturally safe end-to-end recruitment process inclusive of marketing, assessment and candidate support.

Key responsibilities of the Commission include:

  1. Determine recruitment streams for inclusion in the pilot as informed by agency input
  2. Delivering a targeted marketing campaign attracting eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants to apply
  3. Undertaking a robust and culturally safe assessment, using contemporary assessment methods
  4. Providing culturally appropriate candidate care throughout the recruitment process
  5. Maintaining the merit pool.

The Commission will seek to confirm eligibility of applicants for the program, requesting confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage in accordance with the tiered approach outlined within the Indigenous Recruitment Guide.

Participating Agencies

The role of participating agencies is to identify potential future workforce needs that may be addressed through the program. Agencies also participate in the delivery of the program through various activities.

Key responsibilities of participating agencies include:

  1. Identifying potential workforce needs for the next 12 months
  2. Providing information and participating in recruitment events and activities
  3. Reviewing assessment reports and making offers of employment to suitable candidates
  4. Undertaking the onboarding and recruitment of the candidates into the agency.

Police checks and other security clearance processes remain the responsibility of the participating agency.

Further information on how agencies contribute to the process is available under Program Delivery.

Costs to Agencies

The delivery of the program is funded under the MOU. There are no further costs to agencies for participation in the recruitment process; however there may be incidental costs associated with agency staff participating in assessment activities.

Program Delivery

Agency Expression of Interest

Agencies will be invited to participate in the pilot by submitting an Expression of Interest Form. The form collects key information, including preferred job families, locations, and the details of key contact people within your agency.

Recruitment Stream Identification

The Commission will consolidate the input of agencies through their Expression of Interest forms and determine the job families, classifications and locations to be included in the program. Three recruitment streams have been initially proposed including two streams for which a large labour pool is predicted, and one hard to attract stream proposed in a more experimental capacity. However, agencies are encouraged to propose alternatives based on their anticipated workforce requirements. The three proposed streams are:

  • Human Resources
  • Corporate & Executive Support
  • Numerical Analysis

For further detailed information on the job roles included within these streams refer to Attachments A.

It is intended that the program will include both Canberra and regional locations. Noting the lessons from the Australian Government Indigenous Lateral Entry Pilot, agencies are strongly advised to only propose regional locations where it is realistically expected that vacancies will be available.


The Commission’s marketing strategy targets potential candidates and includes flexibility to target particular regions where positions are available. A wide variety of marketing and promotional strategies will be used to advertise the pilot, including but not limited to online marketing, social media, engagement with industry bodies and Indigenous specific media.


The Commission delivers a robust and culturally safe merit selection process, utilising contemporary research based methodology. The assessment criteria and details of the assessment methodology will be developed in consultation with participating agencies once the recruitment streams have been identified.

Eligible candidates must also be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person: as per the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 these positions are restricted to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Agencies will be invited to nominate representatives from their agency to participate in shortlisting or as an interview panel member. Panel members will be required to undergo assessor training.

Merit Pools

In mid-November 2019 the Commission will coordinate a briefing for MOU partner agencies to outline the outcomes of the recruitment process and to provide an overview of the talent database. MOU partner agencies will then be able to search the database to identify suitable candidates for their specific positions. Agencies are encouraged to make direct contact with potential candidates to provide details of the employee value proposition of their agency and to make offers of employment. Direct engagement should be focused on determining candidate interest in a particular role and should not involve another ‘interview’.

In accordance with the Commissioner’s Directions, the merit list will be made available to all APS agencies from January 2020. Agencies will be able to engage candidates remaining on the merit list for other vacant positions with similar capabilities assessed through the program. The Commission will manage the merit list for the 12 months from date of gazettal.

The Commission will maintain the merit pools over the 12 months from the date of gazettal.

Agency Briefing

Agencies will be invited to participate in a briefing in mid-November to release the outcomes of the assessment activities and provide access to the Talent Database.

Agency Offers

Agencies will be able to make offers directly to candidates immediately following the agency briefing.

Merit Pools

Agencies are asked to encourage use of the Indigenous Professionals Pathway merit pools for any other vacant positions requiring similar capabilities over the 12 months from the date of gazettal.


All subsequent recruitment and onboarding actions, including terms and conditions of employment such as salary, probation, security clearance and leave provisions are the responsibility of the employing agency. All costs associated with onboarding, including relocation will also be the responsibility of the employing agency.

Agencies will be required to provide Confirmation of Commencement for any employees who are engaged, transferred or promoted as a result of being found suitable through the Indigenous Professionals Pathway. This will support evaluation of the program and maintenance of the Merit Pools.

Confirmation of Commencements

Agencies are required to confirm the details of candidates who commence at their agency.


A comprehensive evaluation of the program will adopt a systems perspective including evaluation against broad program aims, in addition to the proposed benefits to agencies. This will include survey of participating agencies and candidates, quantitative analysis of the candidate pool, and ongoing monitoring of merit list use.

Agency feedback

Agencies are invited to provide feedback to inform the evaluation. An agency feedback survey will be circulated for completion, along with opportunity for feedback discussions.

Proposed Recruitment Streams

This attachment outlines the specific job roles within each proposed recruitment stream. It draws on the APSC’s Job Family Model which classifies roles in 3 levels; by Family, Function and Role.

Human Resources Job Family

Human Resource Operational

Human Resource Adviser
Human resource advisers provide advice, guidance and support in support of an organisation's human resource policies and programs. This may include management and monitoring of establishment records, and facilitating restructures or other human resource related activities.

Payroll professionals provide payroll advice and support to an organisation and ensure the accurate provision of payroll services.

Recruitment and redeployment professionals assist individuals to find employment by assessing their skills and abilities and identifying suitable employers and job opportunities.

Rostering and Workload Management
Rostering and workload management professionals marshal, schedule and manage workloads and staffing to ensure the completion of work.

Workforce Management
Workforce management professionals manage and coordinate workforce postings, transfers, scheduling and capability within an organisation.

Human Resource Strategic

Business Partners
Business partners establish, facilitate and maintain linkages between business areas and corporate services.

Career Coach
Career coaches provide information, advice and guidance to staff on developing a career path within or across organisations.

Diversity professionals develop and implement strategies to promote and increase diversity awareness across an organisation.

Human Resource Metrics/Reporting
Human resource metrics and reporting professionals produce and analyse data related to an organisation’s workforce.

Industrial Relations
Industrial relations professionals facilitate, negotiate and provide advice on workplace pay and conditions.

Learning and Development
Learning and development professionals plan, develop, implement and evaluate training and development programs to ensure management and staff acquire the skills and develop the competencies required by an organisation to meet organisational objectives.

Workforce Planning
Workforce planners develop policies, guidelines and strategies related to management of an organisation’s workforce. They identify, analyse and monitor the current and future workforce needs of an organisation and develop strategies to close the gap between the two states.

Workplace Relations
Workplace relations professionals provides solutions to complex, individual human resources issues, including related stakeholder engagement and support, policy development and review.

Organisational Design

Organisation and Methods Analyst
Organisation and methods analysts study organisational structures, methods, systems and procedures.

Organisational Design
Organisational design professionals define and organise the structure of organisations, create job titles, and allocate personnel in the right places to improve efficiency and increase productivity.

Organisational Psychology
Organisational psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to study occupational behaviour, working conditions and organisational structure, and solve problems of work performance and organisational design.

Workforce Strategy
Workforce strategists support the development and implementation of human resources (HR) strategies, outcomes, policies and programs in line with legislative and organisational objectives.

Work Health and Safety

Fitness for Duty/Return to Work Case Management
Fitness for duty/return to work case managers identify and provide early intervention services, arrange rehabilitation assessments and manage the Return To Work (RTW) process.

Work Health and Safety Advice
Work health and safety advisers provide guidance and support in workplace health and safety matters, train employees in occupational health and safety procedures, monitor and audit the workplace, and record and investigate incidents to ensure the health and wellbeing of workers.

Work Health and Safety Inspection
Work health and safety inspectors inspect machines, equipment, working conditions and public places to ensure compliance with government and industry standards and regulations, in relation to occupational health and safety.

Corporate & Executive Support Job Functions

Corporate & Executive Support Job Functions sit within the Administration Job Family

Corporate Support

Business Manager
Business managers organise and control the functions and resources of an office such as administrative systems and office personnel. They provide co-ordination, support and advice in relation to business and operational issues.

Corporate and Business Planner
Corporate and business planners deliver or support the delivery of robust and strategic planning which underpins the day-to-day operations of the organisation. They assess the environment and identify risks and challenges and actions the business will take to achieve its goals.

Corporate Services Advice and Support
Corporate services advice and support professionals advise on the administration and use of organisational corporate services and functions.

Corporate Services Manager
Corporate Services Managers coordinate cross-functional corporate service delivery, ensuring consistency with policies and processes. They identify and deliver efficiencies and facilitate collaboration across functional lines.

Executive Support

Personal/Executive Assistance and Support
Personal assistants perform liaison, administration, coordination and organisational tasks in support of Executives, Managers and professionals.

Receptionists receive and welcome visitors, patients, guests and clients, and respond to inquiries and requests.

Secretariat and Committee Coordination
Secretariat and committee coordinators support the governance processes of a committee, specific governance body or regulatory function.

Numerical Analysis Job Function

The Numerical Analysis Job Function sits within the Research Job Family

Numerical Analysis

Actuaries analyse mathematical, statistical, demographic, financial or economic data to predict and assess the long-term risk involved in financial decisions and planning.

Data Analyst
Data analysts analyse datasets with a variety of tools to research and solve organisational issues and identify trends and insights in support of organisational outcomes.

Economists perform economic research and analysis, develop and apply theories about production and distribution of goods and services and people's spending and financial behaviour, and provide advice to governments and organisations on economic policy issues.

Mathematicians develop and apply mathematical principles and techniques to solve problems in all areas of the sciences, engineering, technology, social sciences, business, industry and commerce.

Statisticians design and apply statistical principles and techniques for collecting, organising and interpreting quantifiable data, and use statistical methodologies to produce statistical reports and analyses for government, commercial and other purposes.


Last reviewed: 
3 October 2019