The Department of Finance has said that all graduates who were offered a position in the Australian government IT graduate program have been able to take up those positions, despite a government-wide freeze on almost all new external hiring, and reports that the number of IT apprenticeships has been slashed.
In November, the Commonwealth government implemented a hiring freeze for public sector jobs, with external advertisements put out for only "critical vacancies" and specialist roles. The aim is to reduce the size of the public sector by approximately 12,000 through natural attrition.
The Canberra Times reported earlier this week that eight of 40 year 12 graduates who had applied for the Australian Government Information Management Office were told that they were they were no longer able to participate in the program due to the public sector hiring freeze.
According to the report, the Australian Federal Police has withdrawn from the program completely.
Under the IT apprenticeships program, year 12 graduates who are picked for the apprenticeship are employed at APS level in a government department and work four days per week, with the remaining one day devoted to completing a TAFE course in IT, networking, programming, software development, or systems analysis and design.
The Department of Finance had not confirmed the impact of the hiring freeze on the apprenticeship at the time of writing, but the Australian Government Information Management Office's other program for university graduates was not affected by the freeze, the department confirmed.
"All participants in the Australian Government ICT entry-level programs offered a position in the 2014 round have taken up that position," a spokesperson for the department said.
"Six prospective participants have not yet been offered a position. Each agency will consider placements subject to their own recruitment processes."
A total of 24 graduates have been placed with agencies in the 2014 graduate program in Geoscience Australia, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Finance, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Defence, the Department of Health, CrimTrac, ComSuper, and IP Australia.
The Australian Government Information Management Office this week also lost its chief information officer Glenn Archer, who retired from the public service on Monday.