Blue banner with Aboriginal artwork and text reading "Aboriginal Employment Pathways"

Aboriginal Workforce Strategy

The Department of Justice and Community Safety (the department) prides itself on its achievements in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) employment across all divisions and business units and is committed to growing and developing our Aboriginal workforce.

The department has commenced work on a new Aboriginal Workforce Strategy 2023-2028. Consultation with the department's Aboriginal workforce will ensure the strategy supports the future careers of our Aboriginal employees. The strategy, to be released in 2023, will be guided by the next phase of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (External link). The Koori Employment and Career Strategy 2017 remains in place until the new and expanded Aboriginal Workforce Strategy is released.

In 2017 the department released its Koori Employment and Career Strategy 2017-2020 This strategy aims to achieve a 2.5 per cent Aboriginal workforce, and is part of our larger commitment to:

  • establish clear and accessible employment pathways for new and existing Aboriginal employees, across all areas and all levels of the Justice and Community Safety portfolio
  • deliver stronger career development initiatives for Aboriginal employees to build leadership and management capability
  • create a culturally respectful and inclusive workplace, that recognises and embraces the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Some of the initiatives within the Aboriginal Workforce Unit (AWU) include:

Aboriginal Graduate Scheme

The Aboriginal Graduate Scheme is an employment program offered by the department to Aboriginal graduates who have completed their degree or are in the final year of their studies.

The objective of this program is to make the transition to a career within the department more accessible to Aboriginal candidates. Emphasis is placed on investing in the graduates’ professional development and retaining them in fulfilling, successful careers.

This program mirrors the Victorian Public Service Graduate Program, in that graduates participate in three rotations and a structured graduate learning and development program; however, the recruitment process is tailored to ensure cultural sensitivities are catered for and graduates will have access to additional networking opportunities and peer support through the department’s Aboriginal Workforce Network (AWN).

Please contact the Aboriginal Workforce Unit via email (External link) if you are interested in applying for the Aboriginal Graduate Scheme.

Aboriginal Tertiary Scholarship Program

The Aboriginal Tertiary Scholarship Program (the program) is a key component of the department's Aboriginal Career Development Program, aligned with Action Area 3: Building stronger careers, of the Koori Employment and Career Strategy 2017-2020 (the strategy).

The program aims to support Victorian Aboriginal tertiary students in completing their studies. Recipients of the scholarship receive a fortnightly study allowance to undertake full-time study in a broad range of fields related to the business of the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

The program aims to achieve a long-term increase in the number of qualified Aboriginal people employed across all areas and all levels of department and related agencies.

The department will offer a limited number of scholarships each year in the amount of either $10,000 or $30,000 annually under the program.

Further information and application forms are now available for the Aboriginal Tertiary Scholarship Program, please contact the Aboriginal Workforce Unit via email (External link)

Youth Employment Scheme - Traineeships

The Youth Employment Scheme (YES) is an initiative that provides employment and training for young people. Traineeships are a full-time 12–24 month commitment comprising four days of work and one day of training per week. Upon successful completion, trainees receive an accredited qualification and genuine work experience. The program provides a pathway for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander youth into the department through ongoing employment on successful completion of their traineeship.

To express your interest in becoming a Aboriginal YES trainee, please contact the Aboriginal Workforce Unit via email (External link)

Aboriginal Undergraduate Cadetship Program

The Aboriginal Undergraduate Cadetship Program provides work experience to 2nd and 3rd year Aboriginal students who are undertaking their first undergraduate degree. The program is designed to develop specialist skills and provides cadets with 12 weeks of paid work experience, access to mentors, senior Aboriginal VPS employees and the Aboriginal Graduate Alumni. Cadetships run for 12 months from the start of Semester One with work placements taking place between November and February.

Aboriginal Employment in Corrections

Aboriginal Employment in Corrections Victoria aims to attract, recruit and retain Aboriginal in a number of roles including prison officers, community corrections officers and field officers. This support includes a culturally appropriate attraction and recruitment process, with all candidates given the opportunity to utilise support from the Aboriginal Employment Team.

To apply visit (External link)  or contact the Aboriginal Workforce Unit via email (External link) 

Pathways to Justice Calendar

The annual calendar profiles and promotes the stories and positive experiences of Aboriginal employees working in the department. The annual Pathways to Justice Calendar strives to encourage, motivate and inspire Aboriginal people to seek career opportunities in the department by raising awareness of the variety of career opportunities.

Aboriginal Workforce Networks

The department has various employee support networks in place including a state-wide Aboriginal Workforce Network and Aboriginal Youth Network. These networks assist in developing and retaining Aboriginal employees by promoting peer support, professional and personal development and establishing connections with other Aboriginal employees across the department. The Aboriginal Workforce Network also provides valuable cultural peer support from other Aboriginal Employees.

Aboriginal Mentoring Program

The Aboriginal Mentoring Program is available to all Aboriginal employees working within the department. Each program runs for 12 months, matching mentees with internal or external mentors. The program is a unique opportunity for Aboriginal employees to establish a formal structured mentoring partnership and focus on their career development.

Apply now

The department strongly encourages applications from Aboriginal people. There are a broad range of opportunities across the department for work in Aboriginal designated/identified roles and non-identified roles.

Employment opportunities within the department are advertised on:



Marcus Horwood
Senior Manager, Aboriginal Workforce Unit
Department of Justice and Community Safety (External link)

Banner art: Ngali Yanhagirri (We Will Go Together) by Michael Bogie

Michael is a proud Wiradjuri man and is an emerging Aboriginal artist. Michael grew up in the rural town of Corowa and now currently resides in Wodonga with his wife and four children.

By exploring his own Aboriginal heritage, Michael has developed a community around him through stories, music, dance and art. Through his learnings he has been able to pass on his knowledge and skills to his children. Michael enjoys painting as he finds it very therapeutic.

Michael joined the department in 2012 and was an original participant in the department’s Koori Mentoring Program. Michael currently works as a Prison Officer at the Beechworth Correctional Centre.