More cadets lose out as public service tightens belt

Another group of young would-be public service recruits have had their career dreams dashed by the wave of cuts hitting government departments.

Up to eight youngsters from this year's planned intake of 40 IT apprentices have been dumped before they could begin their jobs, with departments blaming budget cuts for ending the careers before they began.

The Defence Department dumped six youngsters this month, some of them destined for spy agency The Australian Signals Directorate, and the Australian federal Police also pulled out of this year's program.

The latest round of cancelled recruitments comes after the controversy over the sacking of 38 successful applicants to AusAID's prestigious graduate program last year.

Foreign Affairs, which took over AusAID as part of the “machinery of government” changes, endured a storm of criticism for firing the aid agency's 2014 intake - while pushing ahead with its own graduate program.

But a deal hammered out between DFAT and the public sector union the CPSU has led to more than half of the would-be foreign aid workers being offered work elsewhere in the public service.


But it is understood that the apprentices might not be so lucky, as they had not been made or accepted offers of employment.

About 60 young people began the selection process in June, vying for 40 entry-level traineeships across a number of agencies and departments.

In the case of the intelligence agency, psychiatric assessments were carried out on the applicants before the full invasive security clearance process could begin.

All 40 trainees were due to start trade school together at Canberra Institute of Technology in February, but then the unlucky ones received calls last week telling them their jobs had fallen victim to public service funding cuts.

One of the rejected would-be apprentices, who asked not to be named, spoke of his disappointment at spending months on selection process that had come to nothing.

“I was very disappointed,” he said.

“It was big process and all that time and energy was put into nothing.”

The young man said he was given no guidance by the agency on what to do next, except that he could apply for the next round of apprenticeships.

“There was no suggestion that I might maybe apply for something else, it just said that if I was still keen to apply for an IT apprenticeship then I should apply again in June,” he said.

“That was it, bye-bye.

“It was pretty disappointing really, the whole way they handled it.”

A spokeswoman for the Finance Department, which runs the Australian Government Information Management Office said the Defence Department had provided the following statement.

“As a result of the current Government's policy of reducing the Australian Public Service, recruitment is currently limited to critical vacancies only,” the statement said.

Defence said it had hired three apprentices as well as three IT graduates.

The Finance spokeswoman said the AFP had provided the following statement.

“The AFP withdrew from participation in the 2014 program,” the statement said.

“The AFP conducts its own separate Graduate intake program and has ICT Graduates commencing in 2014.”


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