AFP protective service officer

Directions Program

Delivering employment opportunities in the AFP for First Nations people

About the Directions Program

The AFP Directions Program is an integrated 12 month employment and development program and runs annually from February. The program provides permanent, full-time employment in specialist and support positions in the AFP and gives participants professional development opportunities to have a challenging and rewarding career.

Throughout the structured 12 month program, you may work in a number of roles across multiple teams, exposing you to opportunities that will provide the tools and resources you need to begin a fulfilling career at the AFP.

Your work will contribute to, and influence, programs and policies impacting on all Australians, including First Nations families and communities. It also helps ensure the AFP’s workforce is representative of the communities we serve.

Who is the program for?

The AFP Directions Program is for motivated First Nations individuals aged 18 years or older at time of applying, seeking to commence a professional career within the AFP.

The AFP Directions Program provides employment pathways in a variety of roles such as health and wellbeing, investigations, canines, cyber security, intelligence, corporate support, protection, workforce planning, media and communications.

These are all non-policing support roles and will provide successful candidates the opportunity to learn about the dynamic work and career pathways the AFP has to offer.

Whilst on the program you will:

  • gain a nationally recognised qualification - Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership
  • complete a number of work area rotations, exposing you to different areas of the AFP
  • access Directions Program specific support including buddies, mentors and other organisational networks.

While the Directions Program provides an introduction to the various roles available at the AFP, this is not a direct gateway to becoming a police officer. If you are interested in sworn policing in the future, the Directions Program is an excellent starting point to prepare you for this career path, however you will still be required to pass through the relevant processes applicable for sworn roles.

I think the AFP provides a range of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

– Allira, Acting Senior Protective Service Officer, Specialist Protective Command

Directions Program details

The AFP Directions Program typically includes: 

  • A series of rotations working in different AFP teams 
  • Studying for a nationally recognised qualification 
  • Access to mentors, buddies, First Nations Unit and the Malunggang Indigenous Officers Network 
  • Access to senior AFP executives 
  • Financial support for relocation (if required).
    • Effective communicators
    • Out of the box thinkers
    • Team players
    • A demonstrated willingness to learn new skills
    • Experience using basic IT

    The AFP Directions Program provides a number of benefits including:

    • a starting annual salary of $57,846 plus 15.4% superannuation
    • relocation assistance if you are moving interstate to participate in the Program
    • six weeks’ annual leave, plus four mandatory rest days per year
    • a variety of work and developmental experiences
    • opportunity for advancement at the completion of the program
    • professional networking through access to mentors and senior executives of the AFP
    • ongoing support from the Directions Team, Directions Buddies, mentors, previous cohorts and the Mulunggang Indigenous Officer Network.

    Full details of the generous employment condition can be found here

    You will need to answer some questions and upload two documents: 

    • An up-to-date résumé/CV covering:
      - where you’ve worked and when you worked there (include casual, unpaid and volunteer positions)
      - positions held and achievements
      - qualifications or courses of study
      - school, community, sporting or other achievements
      - contact details for two people the AFP can contact to discuss your work performance and/or general character.
      • Documentation to confirm First Nations heritage, learn more here
        Please upload the documentation confirming your First Nations heritage into the Applicant Response field (if you are unable to provide this with your application please contact the Emerging Talent Team to discuss further via the phone (02 5127 2555) or email

      The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated for all AFP employees. Satisfactory proof of vaccination status will be required at the time an offer of employment is made. You will be notified if you need to provide your COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate. Please contact the Recruitment Team if you wish to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine requirements further. 

        The recruitment process includes the following stages:

        Competency assessment

        Shortlisted candidates will receive an email invitation to complete an online assessment to see if you have enough experience and capability to join the AFP at this time. The assessment takes about an hour. 

        Professional Attitudes Continuum Questionnaire

        Once again shortlisted candidates will receive an email invitation to complete an online personality questionnaire where there are no right or wrong answers.

        The personality questionnaire is untimed, designed to understand how you, the applicant, will behave within a work environment.

        Employment Suitability Questionnaire and traffic history

        If you are selected to move to the next stage of the recruitment process, you will need to: 

        • Complete an Employment Suitability Questionnaire to assess your character against the standards required by the AFP. For more information, visit our Employment Suitability Questionnaire page 
        • Provide an up-to-date traffic history from any State/Territory/international traffic authority where you have held a driver’s licence. This must cover your entire driving history up to 10 years. 

        Interview and referee checks

        Candidates who make it through to this stage are invited for a panel interview. The interviews will be held either in person or via video chat (Skype, Teams or similar) based on the applicants preference. You will be given tips on how to prepare for this beforehand so you can perform at your best. 

        As part of the interview process, you will also be invited to complete the online referee details. You will be notified when this is required.

        Successful candidates will be given an offer of employment via email through MyCareer. Before starting, you will need to obtain the required security clearance (provided by the AFP).

        On starting, you will complete mandatory drug testing arranged by the AFP and provide your fingerprints. 

        Deserving candidates who are not offered a position in the program are placed into a merit pool for 12 months. This means you may be offered another position in the AFP. Every year, a number of people from the merit pool are offered other positions in the AFP. 

        Meet some Directions Program participants

        Tiarne and Dean share their experiences of the AFP Directions Program.
        An individual points at green computer code on a black screen

        If you are thinking of a career with the AFP and you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, I really encourage you to apply and be the change you wish to see in the world. It's an opportunity you don't want to turn down. Each day you learn something new and are exposed to many different areas in the AFP. It is the best decision I have made.

        AFP Testimonial

        Directions Program participant

        AFP College

        Ever since I was very young I've aspired to make a career in law enforcement as I've always been drawn to the idea of helping others. The Directions Program not only helped me make this aspiration a reality but also, very importantly, helped bring more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diversity to the organisation.

        Directions Program participant

        A man looks to a monitor displaying a green map of the world

        Directions Program FAQs

        All applicants must be at least 18 years of age on commencement and must meet the AFP’s minimum eligibility requirements.

        If you have a history of breaking the law (even as a juvenile) or associating with people who are well-known to law enforcement, you may not be able to work for the AFP.

        However, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. Your individual circumstances will be assessed in accordance with the AFP Character Guidelines, and you will be advised of the outcome.

        You will be provided with an update on your application and information about employment gateways. The AFP will generally communicate with you via email. It is important that you ensure the AFP has your current email details. You may need to check that any emails from the AFP are not assigned to 'junk' mail.

        Organisational requirements change and this determines which specific skillsets we recruit. It is not a comment on your personal suitability for a role in the AFP, simply that other candidates have skills that are a closer match for our current needs. Having been previously invited to an online assessment demonstrates the high calibre of your application, and your skills may be ones that we seek in the future. Consequently, we encourage you to apply again next year.

        I had trouble sourcing the required documentation for my application within the timeframe to apply. Can I be given more time to apply?

        The requirement to complete the application including the Employee Suitability Questionnaire is clearly expressed on our website and in the application form. All candidates have the same opportunity to submit their information.

        We encourage you to try again when applications next open.

        I did not meet the requirements of the online assessment, but I have the perfect qualifications and experience. Can you reconsider?

        The requirement to meet the benchmark score for the online assessment is applied across all candidates.

        We recognise that one score does not define you and that there is far more to you than your result on one test. However, this is an objective recruitment tool used in the shortlisting process and this test has high predictive validity for employee success. As such, the outcome of the online assessment is final.

        I was sick/distracted/busy when I undertook my testing. Can I have a second chance?

        All candidates are given the same opportunity to complete their online testing. Consequently, we are unable to offer unsuccessful candidates a further opportunity. We do, however, encourage you to try again when applications open next year.

        We are only able to provide very limited feedback to candidates, irrespective of which stage you reach in our process.

        We recommend that you consider the following points and self-assess your application:

        • Do you meet the minimum education requirement?
        • Did you attach all the correct documents?
        • Did you prepare a strong application that indicated a genuine interest in, and relevant skills for, employment with the AFP?
        Two individuals wear yellow protective suits, black face masks and blue gloves to enter a crime scene

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