This month I conclude my term as the inaugural Head of the Digital Profession. It has been an honour and a privilege to work alongside so many amazing people to build the capabilities we need to deliver the world-class government services Australians expect and deserve.
In just over 2 and half years we’ve grown from a handful of very keen early adopters to nearly 8,000 members. The Digital Profession is more than just numbers though – it’s a community of people who share their ideas, showcase their work, solve problems together and explore best practice in service delivery. Each member has a unique experience, but I wanted to share a story from one of our Digital Profession members:
'I have been part of the Digital Profession since it was first introduced and it certainly has helped with the information that is now available to me, my professional growth, connections, and ability to reach a large number of like-minded people within government in the digital space.
Before the Digital Profession community was launched, I relied on Google searches and the limited knowledge of those around me to find industry specific information. I now have access to quality information (some of which totally changed my thinking and approach) and have increased my network of those who I can reach out to. I have built solid relationships with people that would previously have been inaccessible, and we are all eager to help each other out when required.
The Digital Profession is my go-to if I have a question, want to explore new ways of doing things, or want to find out how something has worked successfully in the past.'
This illustrates how we’re helping to support people to build the skills and the networks they need to deliver great government services for all Australians.
Our communities have been critical. The Digital Profession online members’ community platform went live in June 2021 and the Data Profession joined the platform in August this year, providing opportunities for whole of government collaboration across two professional streams. We now have more than 15 communities of practice and have delivered more than 75 training seminars and events.
We have been able to establish a network of 250 digital leaders across the Australian Public Service (APS) to support workforce capability uplift. We have hundreds of Digital Delegates, ensuring the APS recruits senior digital leaders with the skills and attributes we need to support digital transformation in government.
One of my personal highlights has been the growth of our emerging talent programs. Since the Digital Profession was formed, we have been able to increase our intake of digital graduates, cadets and apprentices by more than 300%. As a person who entered the APS as a graduate way back in 1991, it’s wonderful to be part of so many people’s lives as they start their digital careers in government and support them as they develop and ultimately flourish.
It’s been a privilege to be able support our Coaching for Women in Digital and Women in IT Executive Mentoring programs. Being a mentor is an incredibly rewarding experience, one that I’ve personally enjoyed for more than a decade. I’m also delighted that we have been able to kick off the recruitment of our Digital Trainee Mentors. These mentors will provide vital support for the 1,000 Digital Trainees we’ll place over the next 4 years.
The Digital Profession has been helping to build capabilities on a global scale too. As part of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) Board, I’ve been able to support the development and maintenance of the SFIA framework and ecosystem. We have mapped 180 digital roles and built the APS Career Pathfinder which went live in July 2022. Since this time, it’s been used by 3,200 people to explore digital career options in government, with many more to come.
These are just a few examples of the great things we’ve been able to achieve together. Not bad given our first two years of operation were in the midst of a pandemic!
The success of the Digital Profession is thanks to the commitment of people like you. I’ve been supported by an amazing network of people both within and outside the APS. I’m thankful to each of you for being a champion for the Digital Profession, encouraging collaboration and whole-of-government approaches to solve some of the biggest and most complex challenges faced by our nation. People choose to work in the APS because they want to make a difference. You are helping us to build deep expertise which is making a difference in delivering the critical functions of government.
Chris Fechner, CEO of the DTA, will commence as the next Head of the Digital Profession in January 2023. I still have a few items to close out before completing the transition, but this work has been a life-long passion of mine, so I plan on continuing to be a supporter of the profession, as a digital leader, as a mentor and as an advocate. I ask that you also continue to provide strong support to Chris and the Digital Profession as we work together to help the APS become as good as it can be.
Head of the Digital Profession
Head of the Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce