Fellowship Program - Frequently Asked Questions
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About the ABS

1. What does the ABS do?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is Australia’s official national statistical agency. We assist and encourage informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community, by leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service. The ABS also has an important leadership and coordination function with respect to the statistical activities of other official bodies in Australia, and a liaison function with other countries and international organisations on statistical matters.

2. Where is the ABS based?

The ABS has a Central Office in Canberra and Regional Offices in the eight state and territory capitals.

3. What are the main areas of work in the ABS?

The ABS is led by the Australian Statistician – a statutory officer established in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975.

The operations of the ABS are divided into four groups:

    1. Population, Labour and Social Statistics Group;

    2. Economic and Environment Statistics Group;

    3. ABS 2017 Group; and the

    4. Strategies, Services and Technology Group.

The Methodology and Data Management Division reports directly to the Australian Statistician.

The Organisational Chart illustrates the key operations of the ABS.

For further information about the ABS, please refer to the Corporate Information provided on the ABS website.

4. What is the culture like at the ABS?

The ABS is well known for its friendly and supportive working environment. There is an employee-centred focus at the ABS, as evidenced by our commitment to employee development and recognition of achievements.

The ABS provides all employees with the opportunity to take part in a diverse range of social and sporting activities – there is something for everyone!

The ABS has a strong and lively social club in each office which organises many events including the ABS Ball, Christmas parties, quiz nights, shopping trips and much more!

5. What is it like to live and work in Canberra?

Canberra is renowned as a picturesque, cosmopolitan city offering all the benefits of big city living - business opportunities, cultural and sporting activities, excellent education and health care, great restaurants and night-life. It offers a unique lifestyle, combining the bustle of city life with peaceful parks, sparkling lakes, clean fresh air, and some of the best recreation and sporting venues in Australia.

Image: Canberra

Canberra is located about 150 kilometres inland from the beautiful South Coast beaches of NSW, an easy three hour drive to Sydney and a quick 50 minute flight to Melbourne. It is the gateway to the ski fields of the Snowy Mountains, which are within easy reach by car or bus.

There are over 335,000 Canberra residents, representing about 136 different ethnic communities. This cultural diversity ensures we are well catered for in both variety of restaurants and multicultural festivals and events. As Canberra is a planned city made up of 70 per cent national park or native bushland, residents get the best of both worlds - an infrastructure to match any capital city, while being only minutes away from the peace and quiet of the countryside.

The beauty of Canberra lies in its uniqueness, offering residents diversity, quality lifestyle and opportunity.

Living and Working in Canberra

Canberrans are committed to maintaining and enhancing ease of getting around the city. Canberra has been referred to as 'a city in a park', and its public transport system, roads, and bicycle paths ensure congestion free and relaxed travelling. Canberra recognises the benefits to the community of walking and cycling around our city. As such there are many bike and walking paths around the city which is a good way to see the surrounding bush lands.

Canberra also has links to Sydney and Melbourne via key rail and road routes and has an international airport with regular flights to all states.

The Canberra education system is highly regarded and includes a range of primary, secondary and tertiary education options including the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). The Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra and the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) are nationally recognised and committed to providing high quality learning. See http://www.canberraconnect.act.gov.au.

Canberra provides access to inner-city living close to cafes and shopping, while rural properties are within a 15min drive to the city.

Canberrans have access to high quality health care. See http://www.canberraconnect.act.gov.au for further information about the services available.

The diverse range of sporting and social activities provides Canberrans with a healthy lifestyle. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is a central figure in Canberra which fosters a sporting community. It allows residents to enjoy being recognised as having Australia's highest participation in sports. Football, netball, hockey, soccer, swimming and many more activities can be enjoyed by participants and spectators alike.

Some other popular activities enjoyed include:
    • Balloon Fiesta, held in autumn, which attracts balloons from all over the world with launches from old Parliament House;
    • Floriade, the festival of flowers which is held annually and offers splashes of colour and smells to delight. This month-long event incorporates entertainment and workshops with something for everyone;
    • Summernats Car Festival, held in early January, with many burnouts, stunts and entertainment to be enjoyed; and
    • Skyfire, the annual fireworks display over the shores of Lake Burly Griffin.

There are many other attractions that can be experienced in Canberra:
    • National Museum;
    • Canberra Zoo;
    • Australian War Memorial;
    • Parliament House, both old and new;
    • Telstra Tower;
    • National Gallery of Australia;
    • Wineries;
    • Diverse shopping and eating experiences; and
    • Numerous pubs and clubs.
Useful Websites

Canberra Tourism's web site http://www.VisitCanberra.com.au
ACT government website - http://www.act.gov.au
Living in Canberra - http://www.liveincanberra.com.au
General information - http://canberratimes.com.au

About the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program

6. What is the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program?

The Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program is designed to rapidly develop very high calibre recruits at an early stage of their career. It is seeking talented candidates with demonstrated leadership attributes, academic excellence, work experience with excellent performance and statistical literacy skills who are passionate about the work of the ABS.

This unique opportunity will expose participants to a contemporary and practical experiential development program over a three year period. Participants will be stretched and challenged with a range of corporate placements and development opportunities. Participants will be mentored throughout the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program, including with ABS Senior Leaders. They will contribute to and shape the strategic directions of the ABS through project work and placements in a number of key business areas.

The Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program will commence in February 2014 and conclude in December 2016.

Participants will commence as ongoing APS5 employees, and will be able to apply for promotions during the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program.

Participants will be based in Canberra for the duration of the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program and must be willing to relocate for up to six months in Year 2 to undertake an international or interstate placement. The program is structured as follows:

Year 1

    • Induction and Orientation
    • Formal Training Program
      • Leading to a nationally recognised qualification (e.g. Advanced Diploma of Government)
    • Corporate Project
    • Corporate Placements (2 x 6 months)

Year 2

    • International/Interstate Placement
    • Corporate Project Presentations
    • Accreditation Ceremony for Formal Qualification

Year 3

    • Census 2016 Placement
    • Graduation Ceremony
7. What are the program prerequisites and requirements for the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program?

Candidates are required to have:

    • Academic excellence (either an Australian recognised graduate or post-graduate qualification within the last three years, with a minimum credit average; a distinction average is desirable)
    • Work experience with excellent performance (this includes part-time or volunteer work)
    • Demonstrated Statistical Literacy skills, including:
      • Data awareness;
      • Understanding statistical concepts;
      • Analysis, interpretation and evaluation of statistical information; and
      • Communication of statistical information and understanding.
    • Leadership attributes, as demonstrated through work experience and/or extra-curricular activity
Successful candidates will be required to:
    • Relocate to Canberra (if applicable; assistance provided)
    • Undertake corporate placements in a variety of subject matter areas (which may be different to their area of expertise)
    • Have the ability and willingness to travel and/or temporarily relocate (interstate or overseas) for a period of up to six months during Year 2 of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program
    • Agree to remain with the ABS for a minimum of 12 months after the official conclusion of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program
The Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program has scheduled breaks at the following times:
    • Late December 2014 - January 2015
    • June 2015
    • Late December 2015 - January 2016
Participants will be generally encouraged to take leave during these times. However, this will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the work and personal commitments of each participant.

Please note, these times may change prior to the official commencement of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program and/or during the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program. These changes will be communicated to successful participants accordingly.

8. What are the expected outcomes of the Program?

This initiative will foster the leadership qualities and attributes of aspiring leaders. Through the opportunities on the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program, participants will be expected to contribute their qualities and expertise to shape the future of the ABS.

The Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program is designed to:

    • Transition participants into the ABS and the wider Australian Public Service (APS)
    • Enhance the leadership qualities and attributes of participants through on-the-job learning, coaching and mentoring, and formal training
    • Increase the statistical capability of participants, including the role of the ABS in the National Statistical Service
    • Produce strategic and innovative recommendations to further improve the organisational sustainability of the ABS through project work
    • Develop understanding and appreciation of key business areas through corporate placements
9. Will participants be permanent employees of the ABS?

Yes, participants will be ongoing APS5 employees when they officially commence the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program in February 2014.

10. If a participant is promoted during the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program, do they still have to complete it?

Participants who accept a promotion will be expected to complete all aspects of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program. It will be the responsibility of the respective parties to negotiate a suitable outcome, ensuring that the participant can accept the new position and continue on the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program.

11. Are there opportunities available in locations other than Canberra?

Successful applicants of the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program will be based in Central Office. It is possible that interstate placements of up to six months will occur in Year 2.

12. What is the nationally recognised qualification?

Participants will complete a nationally recognised leadership qualification. Specific details surrounding the qualification will be communicated to participants at the official commencement of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program in February, 2014. It will be similar to the Advanced Diploma of Government qualification.

13. What will the International/Interstate Placement involve?

The international/interstate placement will form part of Year 2 of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program in 2015. Although preparation and negotiations for this element have begun, details surrounding this arrangement will be confirmed and communicated to participants in due course.

14. How will the Corporate Placements be arranged?

The Corporate Placements will be arranged via consultation with key business areas prior to the official commencement of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program in February 2014. These negotiations will take into account the business needs, priorities, and the strategic direction of each respective work program.

15. Will Participants who have technical expertise be placed on suitable technical projects?

As outlined in the program prerequisites and requirements, participants will be required to undertake corporate placements in a range of subject matter areas that may be different to their area of expertise. Regardless of their field of expertise, all participants will be given on-the-job training to facilitate their ability to undertake the corporate placements.

16. What will the Formal Training involve?

The Formal Training Program will be informed by the ILS capabilities and tailored to the ABS and APS environment. The mandatory curriculum will involve assessment activities in order to lead to the attainment of the nationally recognised qualification.

17. What will the Corporate Project involve?

The Corporate Projects will be of strategic significance to the ABS, and will be determined through consultation with ABS Senior Leaders.

18. What will the participants be doing in the Census 2016 placement?

Participants will contribute to a range of projects in Census 2016. As this placement will occur in Year 3 of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program (2016), the detail surrounding these placements will be negotiated closer to the time and will take into consideration Census business needs and priorities, and the knowledge, skills and abilities of participants.

19. Given the nature and length of the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program, will participants be required to agree to any special arrangements?

Participants will be required to sign an agreement covering the conditions of the Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program.

This will include acknowledgement of, and agreement to, the program requirements.

20. What will happen if participants are unable to complete the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program or need to take an extended break?

Each situation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

21. How many positions are available on the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program?

The Australian Statistician's Fellowship Program will seek a maximum of 10 participants.

Selection Process

22. When will applicants receive information about each stage of the selection process?

Applicants will be informed of the status of their application after each stage of the selection process. In addition, the ‘Key Dates’ page on the website will be regularly updated to reflect the current status of the selection process.

23. How will the ABS contact applicants throughout the selection process?

Applicants will be contacted by email or phone during the selection process. Please ensure that the email account and contact number that is registered with the system is valid.

24. When will applicants know if they have been successful?

Successful candidates will be notified in late September 2013. This timeframe is subject to change. Any change will be communicated to candidates accordingly.

25. What happens if successful applicants have to relocate to Canberra?

Successful applicants will be offered relocation assistance to relocate to Canberra. Detailed information about these arrangements will be provided to relevant candidates in due course.


26. Do applicants need to be Australian citizens?

Yes, applicants must be Australian citizens or will be an Australian citizen when the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program commences in February, 2014.

27. Can applicants apply for the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program if they have already applied for other positions at the ABS?

Yes, however, they must meet the program prerequisites and requirements in order to be considered. Also, please note that the recruitment and selection process for employment opportunities at the ABS are separate. Applicants are encouraged to consider the requirements and expectations of each selection process when preparing their application.

28. What preparation can applicants do before submitting an application?

Applicants are encouraged to read information about the Australian Statistician’s Fellowship Program, including the details provided in the Applicant Information Kit (AIK).

Applicants can also conduct research on the ABS by browsing the website. It contains very important information about the ABS, including key corporate documents (e.g. the Annual Report, Forward Work Program and Corporate Plan).

Applicants should also take time preparing their statement of claims and the selection criteria, as these form important elements of the online application.

29. What sort of information do applicants have to provide in their application form?

The online application form includes the following elements:

    • Eligibility
    • Program Prerequisites and Requirements
    • Personal Details
    • Equity and Diversity
    • Educational Qualifications
    • Current Employment
    • Statement of Claims
    • Resume
    • Selection Criteria
    • Referee Details and Report
    • Declaration

30. How do applicants respond to the Selection Criteria?

Advice on how to respond to Selection Criteria, including links to useful reference materials, is outlined in the Application Information Kit (AIK).

31. Can applicants edit their application after it has been submitted?

Applicants who submit their application before the closing date will be able to edit the responses in their application form. However, they will also be required to complete the submission process again if any changes are made. Applications cannot be edited after the closing date.