Graduate Data Network

About the Graduate Data Network

The Graduate Data Network (GDN) aims to empower graduates to advocate for better data use, analysis, and capability across the APS. We want to use data to drive greater policy, program and corporate delivery outcomes across the APS for the benefit of Australians.

Established in April 2018, we have since grown to over 470 members from 34 federal agencies and four states and territories as of November 2019.

The GDN is not necessarily a group for data specialists. We are policy, program, service delivery, legal, financial and other graduates who want to see greater use of data to support our work.

The three objectives of the GDN are:

  1. Championing cultural change – Giving graduates confidence to discuss and use data both within and across agencies.

  2. Empowering graduates – Building a platform for graduates to identify and discuss opportunities and challenges in data, and collaborate on initiatives and projects to address these issues.

  3. Working with Senior Executives – Working with Senior Executive governance forums to amplify our bottom-up approach. This includes the Secretaries’ Data Group, Deputy Secretaries’ Data Group, Data Champions Network and the National Data Commissioner to positively influence data culture in the APS.

Our Work Program

Each year, the GDN delivers projects to deliver the following outcomes:

  • improve how the public sector uses data

  • analyse the culture of the APS and identify opportunities for improvements to various networks and programs relating to data

  • increase the influence of the GDN to empower graduates

In 2019, we had over 100 graduates delivering on the following eight data-related projects:

Data Maturity Assessment – A collaboration between the GDN and the Senior Executive Data Champions Network which involved a pilot assessment of the data maturity of APS agencies to inform a set of APS minimum data governance standards.  

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Diversity Report – A report focussed on analysing the recruitment and continued employment of culturally and linguistically diverse employees in the APS. The analysis provided recommendations to create a more diverse and fulfilled workforce.

Indigenous Diversity Report – Similarly to the CALD Diversity report, the Indigenous Diversity Report focussed on Indigenous employees in the APS, analysing their recruitment and ongoing employment.

Graduate Demographic Analysis Report – A report which analyses the demographic profile of APS graduates, to enable the Senior Executive Service to make informed improvements to the programs.

Small Data Forums – The delivery of smaller-scale events which provide graduates with an opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussion on topics such as the ethics of data, and an opportunity to network with Senior Executive, academics and other graduates. These events are also often attended by the general public.

Large Data Forum – An annual event to engage graduates and new starters in compelling discussions about the use of data and data-driven technologies in the APS. Our first event, held in 2019, was attended by over 230 graduates from 25 agencies.

Data Mentoring – A data mentoring program between graduates and officers at the Executive and Senior Executive levels to help graduates learn about career and development opportunities in data.

Communications – A integral part of the GDN which provides regular updates and interesting data news to our members, and aims to increase our outreach to empower even more graduates to champion data use and capability.

If any of these Working Group interest you, please make sure to click the ‘Sign-up’ link below.

For further information on the Graduate Data Network, please contact the 2019 Co-Chairs: Sarah Campbell ( and Handuni Wickramasinghe (

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be part of the Graduate Data Network?

There are various ways to get involved in the GDN. As of November 2019, we have over 470 graduates subscribed to our mailing list. We send monthly newsletters and invites to our exciting events to this mailing list.

Members can also be involved in Working Groups, the Steering Committee or as Co-Chair.

How many hours per week are GDN members expected to volunteer to participate?

This is highly dependent on the role the graduate takes on in the GDN, and their capacity. For most, it should be no more than a few hours a week if roles are balanced within the Working Group.

To ensure roles are balanced and the success of Working Groups, each group has an appointed adviser. The advisers are enthusiastic and committed graduates who played key roles in the GDN in the previous year, each delivering Working Groups projects on time and to a high standard.

How many events each year does the Graduate Data Network require its members to participate in?

Members are not required to take part in any events, though participation is encouraged.

Graduates have the option to apply to be in a Working Group. If a graduate applies and commits to be in a Working Group, they will be expected to deliver the product from that Working Group. Depending on the project, this could include presentations and events.

If a GDN member has taken on a leadership role, what is expected of them?

The leadership roles within the GDN involve either being on the Steering Committee or a Working Group Lead. Please see below for a description of these roles:

Steering Committee member

  • Helps set the strategic direction and work program of the Graduate Data Network

  • Drives the GDN’s agenda and approve each Working Group deliverable

  • Updates the Steering Committee at meetings on the progress of the Working Groups and identifies any issues

  • Assists in governance matters related to the GDN, including providing advice on key decisions and issue resolution

  • Provides direction and guidance to members of the GDN.

Working Group lead

  • Coordinates the Working Group

  • Liaises with relevant stakeholders

  • Ensures Working Group products are delivered on time to a high standard

Are the events/meetings scheduled to occur during work time?

The GDN is a whole-of-government initiative. Many federal and state government agencies support this initiative and consider GDN activities part of members’ core work responsibilities.

As the GDN’s work benefits the APS, meetings, some events and completion of working group projects should occur during work time to encourage a work-life balance.

What other requirements are there for GDN members?

There are no further requirements beyond the commitment the graduate has made by applying for their selected role. Working Group members will be required to deliver on their group’s product, and the Steering Committee members will be required to attend Steering Committee meetings and work as effective members.

We do encourage participation at events such as the small and large Data Forums; however, this is not compulsory.


To receive our newsletters, invites to our exciting events, and opportunities to join our Working Groups, please enter your details at the link below.

Sign up here!

If you have previously signed up and your details have changed, please update your details here.

How to get involved in a Working Group

Recruitment for our Working Groups takes place in April-May each year. Please sign-up and keep an eye out for our emails to get involved!

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