Junior Professional Officers program seeking applications
Australia is committed to building strong and resilient multilateral partnerships and creating opportunities for talented young public servants.
In September 2021, the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs announced Australia’s engagement in the United Nations (UN) through the Junior Professional Officers (JPO) Program, joining 40 other nations to provide young professionals with an unparalleled opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of multilateral international cooperation. Australia will be investing $25.6 million over four years (2020-21 to 2023-24) to support Australian JPO placements at various international institutions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of international institutions in responding to global challenges. This investment demonstrates Australia’s commitment to building a strong and resilient multilateral system that upholds the rule of law and protects human rights."
This whole-of-government initiative offers mutual benefits and value for all parties. The UN is provided with additional resources and capacity to fulfil its mandate, especially as we work to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. In turn, placements provide young professionals with hands-on work experience in an international, multilateral organisation. JPOs become UN staff members and international civil servants for the duration of their assignment, where they acquire invaluable skills, new knowledge and intergovernmental experience for a future career in the multilateral space. The Program also allows candidates to work with some of the world’s leading experts in the multilateral space, thoroughly enriching their learning experience. The initiative also benefits the APS as the UN, with offices in 193 countries and 37,000 employees, is the world’s largest universal multilateral organisation, and of unique importance in ensuring that Australia has the international influence needed to protect national interests, sovereignty and values.
Led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Government will sponsor up to 16 JPOs per year, who must be current ongoing APS employees, no more than 34 years of age at the time of application and Australian citizens. Candidates will also need to have a strong understanding of Australia’s strategic priorities and policy interests, hold an advanced university degree and have a minimum two years of relevant professional experience. JPO placements present a unique opportunity for young Australian public servants to collaborate with intergovernmental institutions to maintain peace, advance human rights and promote justice, equality and development.
JPOs are sponsored under a bilateral agreement between the UN and the Australian Government for assignments within specific UN organisations, for up to three years. Assignments require relocation and may have a country-specific, regional, sector-based or thematic focus, thus providing diverse and varied experience for candidates.