These initial signature initiatives bring the strategy to life and create momentum from which it can mature. They form the basis of the Digital Profession Stream over its first year.
Establish the Profession
The APS Digital Head of Profession has been appointed by the APS Secretaries’ Board, and this Strategy has been endorsed. In making these decisions, the most senior leadership groups across the service sign up to supporting the evolution of the digital professional stream and practical initiatives that lead to real, sustainable action.
This Strategy identifies what the digital professional stream looks like today in the APS, and it will evolve to draw on the best international, industry and state/territory models. This picture will lead to being able to identify our gaps in capability and to design an operating model for the future.
This will take an iterative approach involving key stakeholders.
Targeted skills uplift
There is an immediate need to lift some critical, advanced digital skills such as embedding cloud environments. The Building Digital Capability program has produced sustainable and effective learning models such as Capability Cubed. These will be applied, on a cost-recovered basis, to improve the APS’ capability in these areas. We will focus on one skill to begin with, and expand sustainably to other skills identified as core priorities.
Foundational skills for all
Foundational digital skills are needed by almost everyone working in the APS today. Access to basic digital skills will be provided and/or facilitated with the market (reducing costs to agencies). This would cover core skills such as working in agile teams and basic user research.
Sample skills assessment
We will trial a digital skills assessment for a sample of 100 volunteers from across the APS.
The Building Digital Capability program produced a career pathways framework. This framework helps people to assess their current skills, and explore options to develop into digital roles. The framework can adapt to use different databases of skills. We will draw on global frameworks to describe the skills and competencies for professions working Information and Communication Technologies, software engineering and digital transformation. This creates a common language across industry, government and academia.
Our volunteers will include a mix of APS roles and levels across agencies.
We will use a skills assessment tool to help them identify their proficiency levels, skills and gaps.
This will help them develop an individual development plan and digital career pathway options.
More broadly, we will be able to assess the 100 people and produce insights into that particular cohort of APS employees. This will help develop a broader picture of the APS digital workforce.
This process will also enable us to test the skills assessment tool and the skills assessment process.
The development of an employee value proposition can help make the APS an employer of choice. A structured approach to uplift digital capability will help identify the skills we need, helping us to design jobs, capability development and a work environment that attracts and retains the skilled people we need for the future. This includes improving the diversity of our digital workforce.
Working in digital ways, and using modern technology, may introduce new ideas for work design and workplace flexibility.
The digital profession will value people across the profession and from other disciplines. It will recognise the value that diversity brings to the APS’ ability to deliver the best outcomes for the people and services of Australia.
Leadership and Culture
Our APS senior executive (SES) are expected to exemplify the changes needed to lead in the digital age. This includes immersing themselves in digital training and development opportunities like the Leading in a Digital Age Program. However, it is not enough to just attend the training. We need the SES to foster an environment where agile teams can experiment, collaborate, learn, get quick feedback from users and stakeholders and deliver better outcomes, sooner.
Our leaders need to show their own abilities to lead well in new, changing and ambiguous situations, using their ability for whole-of-systems thinking in an adaptive and agile public service.
There are some key roles where we need relevant professional credentials. Agency Heads will be encouraged to include digital professionals on selection panels for key leadership roles. They will be professional advisers to the selection panel.
Leadership is not only the domain of senior executive. In the digital age, there is more opportunity for everyone to take an active role in inspiring and leading change. Recognising this, we will also explore a reverse-mentoring program. Participants in the DTA’s Emerging Talent program will be matched with senior executive to shed new insights into how to design and deliver better government services.
We will acknowledge and champion the achievements of our leaders. There is a need to showcase best practice across the service. This supports change and enables other leaders to adapt.
We will champion the role of all our people in being leaders of change and co-creators of a culture that enables collaborative and adaptive ways of working. Cultural leadership belongs to everyone and the profession will set expectations and guidelines to support agencies to bring people together to solve complex problems. We don’t yet know what the jobs of the future will be or what skills will be required, so we need to future-proof our workforce and workplaces. The need to attract, retain, develop and deploy people with current and future skillsets, means that we need to create a learning culture that values ongoing learning and collaboration as part of core business. This will enable the design and delivery of services that meet the needs of people and businesses.
We will expand this concept so that we can learn from others outside the public sector. Experiential learning from other government jurisdictions, the private sector, non-government organisations, and academia will enable leaders, as well as build lasting partnerships to accelerate the digital transformation of services to the people and businesses of Australia.