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Directions Program for First Nations people

Step into a fulfilling career, and experience the variety of roles we have to offer


Start your career at the AFP.

Our Directions Program is a structured 12-month program where First Nations people can experience the range of support and specialist roles available with us. It starts in February each year, and is primarily based in Canberra.

During the program, you'll have permanent, full-time employment in specialist and support positions, as well as access to professional development opportunities.

You'll get to experience a wide range of dynamic roles with us, exposing you to opportunities, and providing the tools and resources you need to begin a fulfilling career.

You might find yourself in any number of non-policing (unsworn) specialist and support roles, including:

  • health and wellbeing
  • investigations
  • canines
  • cybersecurity
  • intelligence
  • corporate support
  • protection
  • workforce planning
  • media and communications.

Our Directions Program gives you great insight into our specialist and support areas, but it's not a direct pathway to becoming a sworn officer. If this interests you, apply to become a:

Who should apply

We're a diverse and dynamic agency, seeking a range of people to help us stay ahead of crime.

Our Directions Program seeks out First Nations candidates who are:

  • great at communication
  • good problem solvers
  • out-of-the-box thinkers
  • able to work well in a team
  • ready to learn new skills.

No formal qualifications are required.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply.

To learn more about life in the AFP, read our people's stories.

Timing and location

Our Directions Program runs from February to February each year. The selection process starts several months before the February start date.

Directions positions are primarily based in Canberra. There are some state-based positions, but these depend on our organisational requirements.

When you apply, consider that you may have to move to Canberra. We'll help with the cost of your move from interstate.

Structure and support

We want you to finish the program with all the tools you need to make your career a success. From the very first week, you'll complete induction activities and network with other Directions Program participants.

Over 12 months, you'll work in a number of roles across different teams. You'll get a chance to experience the variety of roles we offer, and gain valuable skills and experience at the same time. 

As a participant, you'll:

  • be part of a structured program offering a variety of work experiences
  • complete a Certificate IV qualification
  • receive personal and professional development
  • be supported by buddies, mentors and our Mulunggang Indigenous Officer Network
  • receive financial help for relocation (if required)
  • have the opportunity for progression when you complete the program.

Application process

Step 1- Check your eligibility


You can apply for our Directions Program, if you're:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • an Australian citizen
  • able to provide confirmation of your First Nations heritage
  • able to obtain a Negative Vetting 1 Security Clearance
  • able to meet our character standards
  • willing to undergo any police, character, health or other checks required
  • willing to move to Canberra.

No formal qualifications are required.

If you've graduated from university in the past 5 years, you might prefer to apply for our Graduate Program.

The programs have a similar structure. Although participants in the Graduate Program start work at a higher band level and pay rate, they don't complete a Certificate IV qualification.

First Nations heritage

We understand that your heritage is something that is personal to you. We use the 'working criteria' provided by AIATSIS as confirmation of your heritage. This means we ask for documentation to confirm that you:

  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • are accepted as such by the community in which you live, or have formerly lived.

Receiving documentation confirming your First Nations heritage can be a long process, so we suggest beginning this well before you intend to apply. If you're not able to provide this documentation with your application, you can speak with our Emerging Talent Team.

Phone: +61 2 5127 2555 (select option 3)


Step 2 - Apply online


Apply online through our Jobs portal.

As part of your application, you'll need to:

  • answer some questions to ensure you meet our eligibility criteria
  • upload your resume
  • supply documentation confirming your First Nations heritage
  • provide contact details for 2 referees that we can contact to discuss your general character.

If you're shortlisted, we will update you via email and you'll be asked to complete the Employment Suitability Questionnaire. Make sure you use a current email address and check that our emails don't go to your junk mail.

Step 3 - Complete the Employment Suitability Questionnaire

Employment Suitability Questionnaire

The Employment Suitability Questionnaire helps us understand your character.

Along with your traffic history, we use it to assess whether you meet our character standards.

You'll be asked a series of questions, including whether you have:

  • any criminal history or prior convictions (at any age)
  • any associations with people or groups who are well-known to law enforcement
  • spent any significant periods of time overseas
  • travelled regularly to places of interest to the AFP.

You'll also have to provide us with a traffic history from any place you have held a valid driver's licence. This includes any licence you've held overseas. Your traffic history must cover your entire driving history. You must have obtained a copy of your traffic history no more than 3 months before the date you submit it to us.

Some of these processes take time, which is why we start recruiting for our Directions Program months before the February start date.

Step 4 - Interviews and other assessments

Interviews and other assessments

You'll be asked to complete some additional assessments and an interview.

This process includes:

  • online psychometric and personality assessments
  • a behavioural interview.
Step 5 - Offer of employment

Offer of employment

If you're successful, you'll receive an offer of employment through our Jobs portal.

Our Directions Program cohort starts work in February each year.

The Directions Program is competitive, and sometime candidates aren't offered a position. But this isn't the end of your journey with us.

We place candidates who aren't offered a Directions position into a 'merit pool' for 12 months. This means we may offer you another Band 2 position if one is available.

You can browse other roles in current vacancies.

Step 6 - Security assessment

Undergo a security assessment

Before you start working with us, you'll need a security clearance. The AFP Personnel Security Vetting Team will look at your past, going back at least 10 years. They'll assess:

  • your employment, residential, financial and personal history
  • any history of disregarding the law
  • any significant periods you've spent living in foreign countries
  • regular travel abroad to regions of interest.

If you have a partner, the security assessment will include them and their background.

As part of this process, you'll also be asked to:

  • provide evidence you've had 2 primary doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson vaccine). An immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate is required.
  • undergo mandatory drug testing and provide your fingerprints.

Benefits and conditions

If you're accepted to the Directions Program, your salary starts out at AFP Band 2.1 ($59,582 annual base plus 15.4% superannuation).

We offer many competitive benefits and conditions for our people. These include:

  • clear salary progression under the AFP Enterprise Agreements
  • 6 weeks of paid annual leave per year (plus additional Christmas stand-down), with options to purchase more leave, take leave at half pay, or cash out leave
  • 4 mandatory rest days per year
  • 18 days of paid personal leave per year
  • 16 weeks of paid maternity leave after 12 months of service for each pregnancy, and an extra 36 weeks of maternity leave without pay
  • 15.4 per cent superannuation, including during all periods of maternity leave
  • 40-hour working week with the option of flexible working arrangements.

Other benefits include paid domestic and family violence leave, paid long-service leave, and provisions for adoption leave and compassionate leave.

Learn more about our benefits and conditions.

First Nations Unit

Our First Nations Unit supports the full and unhindered participation of First Nations employees. It also helps us provide culturally competent policing services to the community.

The unit's initiatives are based on 3 pillars:

  • Embed cultural awareness
  • Strengthen cultural competence
  • Support First Nations members

Members of the First Nations Unit work with business areas across the AFP to achieve these goals. The unit also supports First Nations employees through programs such as executive coaching for professional and career development.

The Directions Program exposed me to the thousands of career paths at the AFP, and showed me what it looks like to have your culture recognised and celebrated at work.


First Nations Liaison Officer, ACT Policing

Get in touch

AFP Recruitment

You can contact us by phone from Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm Canberra time.