Digital Profession campaign video
Randall Brugeaud: The digital profession at its core is about ensuring that we understand the capabilities that exist both within and outside the public service, the skills that we expect to need in the future, and then building a strategy and implementation moving us from where we are now to where we need to be.
Peter Woolcott: Well, I'm passionate about the public service, and the public service is all about delivering for Australians, both in terms of service delivery and in terms of advice to government. If we're going to do our best, do our job, we need to be right up to speed with what the expectations of the Australian people are around technology, and what government requires in terms of advice, and digital and data are just absolutely fundamental for us to do our job.
Beth Worrall: Digital skills are important for everyone, and in recent times we've all had to adapt the ways in which we work, the ways in which we earn money, the ways in which we connect with loved ones. Then increasingly people are expecting to access government services online, and how can that be done unless a government is really equipped and passionate about using technology to its best abilities.
Jacque Curtis: I think digital skills are especially important for government because it's the way of the world. They are the next, I guess, frontier of how we go about doing our business, so we're building on traditional skills and then trying to embrace new technologies or new capabilities, which is what government needs to be able to do if they're going to meet the needs and expectations of citizens, which are as we all know becoming more sophisticated all of the time.
Jade Carson: The government needs more digital skills because the future is digital. The public want things to be on-demand, flexible, intuitive, and it could be something more than that in the future as well, and we need people to help us imagine what that future can can be.
David Gruen: I think there's a wide range of digital skills that are important, and in fact that's kind of why you need a profession. And I guess what the advice I would give is: don't limit yourself to one place. Often the perspectives you bring will be valuable in places that you didn't realize they'll be valuable.
I think it's a fantastic opportunity for a career professional to look at the government agencies as a career path. The opportunities are many and varied. Your skills become very portable. They're high demand, and in fact are also well paid roles.
Rachel Noble: We are deeply invested in making sure that people within our organization have the world's best digital capabilities, digital skills. There are many different organizations within government and we're pretty good at helping people move around and have a really fulfilling and diverse government career.
Peter Woolcott: This is a job like no other job in terms of working for the government because it is meaningful. There is real meaning to what you do, and so it's just a matter of keeping connected to people, keeping engaged, keeping your skill levels up and adjusting to very rapidly changing environment.
Randall Brugeaud: So the digital profession is something all digital professionals should be part of. It offers opportunities to network, to get training, development, but also to apply those skills in ways that you may not have otherwise had access to.
Digital Profession campaign video - Jacqui Curtis, Chief Operating Officer, Australian Taxation Office
I think for me what digital ready really means is that you've got a mindset that's thinking about the possibilities, the opportunities that digital can provide and it's an enabler that's really allowing us to take that to the next level.
So it's helping us to step it up a gear, and become really sophisticated about how we understand our clients what we can do with technology in order to enhance the experience for them.
So I think it's about having the skills, not only the mindset but the skills as well, to understand what that technology can do from both the business perspective and also the client or the citizen perspective.
But it's also being prepared to think about it from an individual perspective keeping up to date and learning and being open to building new skill sets and thinking about new possibilities.
Digital Profession campaign video - Rachel Noble, Director-General, Australian Signals Directorate
It's always been our challenge as an organisation to use technology in the cleverest way possible both to enable our own business and our mission objectives but also to understand it and use it in ways that it probably wasn't designed for or imagined in order to get a competitive edge, if you like, in the business of foreign espionage.
Every day that we work we are trying to imagine how to use that technology cleverly to Australia's advantage, but also keep on top of what's developing, what's new, what's coming next and understanding how we might be able to use that to achieve our intelligence objectives for the government
The people that come to my organisation every day to work believe deeply and profoundly in the mission that we undertake, and that is to protect Australia's national security and its national interest by the work that we do, and if you're passionate and engaged about that as something that would motivate you to get out of bed in the morning, then perhaps the government is the place for you.
Digital Profession campaign video - David Gruen, Chief Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics
So I think the digital profession is a portfolio of skills, because digital platforms have important implications for cyber, for privacy, and for ease of use and a digital professional is someone who can design such a platform in such a way that it's going to be safe and secure but also easy to use.
I think the public sector is a good place to start your career. You will learn a whole lot of things that will be valuable to you in your profession, because the public service is increasingly a big user of sophisticated digital platforms that need to be scalable and able to be used across the whole community, and that's rare in the private sector.
Digital Profession campaign video - Beth Worrall, National Skills Program Lead for Microsoft
Digital skills, and acquiring these skills, is not about forcing everyone to become a software developer or an IT administrator. It's more about trying to support people to use the tools that are currently available to do their jobs, but also create this opportunity to be curious about how they can use these tools going forward, and embrace this concept of lifelong learning.
It's a commitment to investing in your own skills, and accountability to invest in your own skills, and a future-focused approach to how you want to grow as a professional in the future.
Digital Profession campaign video - Peter Woolcott, Australian Public Service Commissioner
I think throughout the Australian Public Service the leadership is very much focused on how we use technology, both in terms of citizen facing, but also in terms of how we use technology inside the system to deliver policy and advice and services.
So being digitally ready is absolutely fundamental to what the DTA and the digital profession is trying to ensure happens in the wider public service.
But of course you also need to make sure that you've got all the skills in terms of the people who are working in these areas, and that their skills are constantly being updated, and of course that they have career powers for them which are very much open in terms of how they develop themselves.
Digital Profession campaign video - Randall Brugeaud, Head of Australian Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce and The Australian Government's Head of the Digital Profession
Digital skills are very important today. You only need to look around as you're on public transport, walking around shops, at home, people are needing digital to conduct their lives, and there is no more important way to deliver digital services than through government, and as a consequence of that we're in a global competition for digital talent, and the more we can do within the Australian Public Service to build talent, the better positioned we'll be.
Digital ready at its core, I think, is being proactive. We're preparing ourselves and being proactive in thinking about what might be needed in the future. It's inclusive, because digital is not just about the technicians, who do infrastructure or networks, it's about people who understand user needs, and are able to interact with people who we're providing services for. It's got to be contemporary, because digital moves so quickly, you never never learn it all.
Finally it's about being ongoing. It's not just something that you do and you're done. You need to continually refresh your skills in order to maintain that digital readiness.
Digital Profession campaign video - Ron Gauci, CEO, Australian Information Industry Association
If we're not digital ready, then the reality is we just won't be able to keep pace with what's happening in the marketplace. And my concern is that we'll become uncompetitive, and we'll lose opportunities offshore. We'll lose skills offshore, and we'll become consumers instead of producers of the skills that we require to be a competitive economy
What we're seeing amongst our members of the AIIA is that there's significant investments in this space, not only from a workforce point of view, but enabling the technology internally, so we're seeing significant investments if not billions globally going into ensuring that there is a capacity and a capability around digitisation within their own organizations.
So it's really important for the organizations and in fact the professional people in our industries to understand the opportunity that digitisation creates for them.
Digital Profession campaign video - Jade Carson, CIO, National Gallery of Australia
So to me it's about bringing people, multi-disciplinary teams and areas together to be able to develop policy and service delivery from the beginning which impacts the design of our digital services and how we're going to deliver those.
So like digital skills, being digital ready is not like just having the technology to be able to do it, it's actually understanding what it is you're trying to deliver and understanding your clients and your stakeholders.
So for me I really think there needs to be more diverse voices within the technology and within the digital space.
So for me personally I am involved in women in ICT groups outside of the Public Service, but have also established women in IT, digital and data groups within the Public Service and I'm also trying to get more indigenous voices and other voices that need to be in tech to ensure that when we are thinking about how we deliver and design something we're considering all of those aspects.
Coaching for Women in Digital introductory session, 22 July 2021
Kath Spencer: First of all I want to say welcome, thank you so much for joining us at this information call.
Now if you have questions as we go along and you don't want to lose sight of them, pop them in the chat and we'll put them all together as we go along.
Okay let me start with our, uh, typical welcome.
So we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Island people here today, and today I’m coming to you from the Boonwarrung land.
I’m Kath Spencer, I’m the program sponsor and I’m also a principal director at Accenture and I’m going to be sharing more detail about the program, how it's structured, what it's like to be involved, what you need to do a bit later on in this call.
I’m also lucky enough to have with me Genevieve Henchy, she's the lead from our Digital Profession. So she's going to share with you why we're bothering to run this program at all, what you're going to get out of it, and the benefits for you and for your agency.
And also with me I have Maddie Harvey. She's been one of the coaches that we've had in the course for the year that we've been running it so far. So she'll share some of the themes and highlights of conversations that we've had with our participants from this year's cohort. So that's who you've got talking to you.
This is how we're going to run it. There's plenty of opportunity to ask questions, feel free to chuck your cameras on if you want to or don't want to that's fine. While we just get through some of this information I’m going to hand over to Gen now to take us through why the Digital Profession has decided to, to pursue this Coaching for Women in Digital program. Over to you Gen.
Genevieve Henchy: Thanks Kath! It's lovely to be here everyone and thank you so much for joining us today at this information session.
We did note that the, the link did have the wrong date and time so very apologetic about that but you're all in here now so looking forward to giving you an update.
So my name is Genevieve Henchy, I am the Director of the Member Engagement and Acquisition team in the Digital Profession. We're all about making sure that we're providing valuable opportunities and valuable engagement experiences for our members and I’m delighted to be here to give you an overview of the Coaching for Women in Digital program.
So the Coaching for Women in Digital program is offered by the Digital Profession. And just a little bit about the Profession. We're all about aiming to lift the digital capability of the Australian Public Service, to transform government services and build a government fit for the digital age. We want to improve the digital experience of individuals and organizations to build a digital ready workforce. We provide access to career development and training, mobility opportunities across government, networking and mentorship and a platform for skills recognition and expertise. We also provide guides and resources on best practice methodology to design and deliver digital skills. As part of this we recognise the importance of delivering and developing a diverse and innovative digital leadership group and we want to develop a culture of change too, which is why, which is the key to digital transformation.
So if you're interested in the Digital Profession um you can join um from our website, digitalprofession.gov.au. We'll put the link in the chat and I encourage everyone here to join up if you aren't already a member.
So why are we focusing on this? Why are we focusing on the Coaching for Women in Digital program? Well we're here to attract, develop, and keep women in digital roles in the APS. The program provides support so women in digital can thrive and you can have meaningful digital careers. We can and we should do better to give women a place in the digital workforce. Diversity in digital teams produces better products and services and we know this. A more balanced and diverse workforce delivers better services and outcomes to the Australian people and with this particular program we think we can definitely do this by changing that um, that, that mindset shift.
So what are the program benefits and what will you get out of it? The program provides timely and valuable support for those working in digital in what has been an extraordinary and extended period of rapid change and disruption. Participants in the, in the Coaching for Women in Digital program get the opportunity to determine their experience based on goals. You have the time to dedicate to the development of leadership skills. You have a supportive network to share experiences and apply what is learned to help reinforce behaviour change, and above all else you get a rewarding human-centered and flexible experience.
For agency representatives and managers who might be joining this call there are also benefits to teams and agencies, such as bringing leadership skills back to work, as it's a key component of the program. The program offers personalised development pathways and it contributes to the employee value proposition of agencies. Teams and agencies benefit from improved networks across the whole of government and we believe that employees have more purposeful career direction.
Graduates also receive recognition through digital badging for use on CVs, social media and other platforms.
So we just wanted to touch on some program improvements, and through previous iterations of the Coaching for Women in Digital program we've had overwhelmingly positive responses, um, and we've continued to improve the program and tailor it to the needs of our participants based on research and save, and surveys of the current program cohort. So within this we've made sure to make the program more targeted to user needs and more flexible so it can fit into existing schedules.
We in the Digital Profession really want to hear what participants think as the program progresses and our team will help with anything you might need along the way. So within this we're pleased to present this new year of the Coaching for Women in Digital program and I encourage you to talk to your delegate and submit your application to secure your place. We'll provide the application link in the chat and Kath will now run through some further information and program content to give you a taste of what the program can offer. Over to Kath.
Kath: Thanks Gen.
Okay, so let's start with the nitty-gritty. It's a 12-month virtual group coaching course. What that means in real life is that we'll have seven, two and a half hour sessions where you will be in a small group being coached on a variety of leadership topics.
There's also a kick-off at the beginning and a celebration at the end so 9 actual sessions that you need to really commit to, to coming into and really being open to the idea of self-development and what you're going to get out of it.
It is targeted at EL1 female or female-identifying people in digital-related roles. Don't get hung up on the digital element, it doesn't mean you need to be a technical expertise. This course doesn't focus on building technical expertise, it focuses on building leaders in a technical digital space so you might be leading a team, working heavily with a digital team, needing to be able to lead others who have to do digital roles, anything in that realm fits in, that fits in nicely with the course content.
The cost is $7000 plus GST and our applications are open until the 9th of August. The commitment from you is around the 3 hours a month mark.
So they're the, the bones of what it is.
It's really important to recognize the diversity of participants we have currently in the in the current cohort we've got people from 30 different agencies, so it does give you exposure to that whole-of-government feel and build that network of people who do similar things in different contexts that give you different experience and different ways of peer learning as you go through the course.
It is a flexible course too because it's all run virtually.
We run each month in a series of cohorts. So you might be in the Tuesday morning cohort, and then one month something comes up and you can't join your your Tuesday morning cohort and that's okay, we can move things around and you can make up into another group if you need to.
If you need to change your day if you need to miss it all together because you're on holiday somewhere lovely maybe, if we ever get to travel properly again, uh, you'll be doing something lovely then we can work out ways for you to make up on the content.
The idea going into this is that it is for you, it is to help you be your best self as a leader within government, and what we want to do is provide you with the most flexible model, we can do that. So let me talk a bit more about how the course talks about.
So I mentioned that there's a kick off and there's a celebration event, looking at the timeline for the next course we're going to kick this off in September and it'll finish up in about July/August 2022, that's when your active contribution is required for the course.
On top of that 12 months there's another 12 months after this where you continue to get access to the materials. Now that is part of our alumnae network, that's when you'll actually join in with this year's cohort as well and be able to network and continue to build those skills and develop yourself as a leader in the digital space.
The actual course content specifically though, the actual topics that we cover. We start by looking at strengths. So we believe strongly that for you to be your best self, you actually are your best self when you focus on the areas of strength, and that can be everything from how you communicate, to how you present an idea, to the way that you think.
So the course starts with doing an assessment of your strengths and then we look at what that means and how they fit together and how certain strengths pay off one another to enable you to really shine.
The second module is more focused on how you apply those strengths in real in real life. So what do you do with this information – that's nice that I have a strength in communication but what does that mean?
The third session really focuses on what gets in the way. So sometimes you'll find yourself not being your best self, not being able to operate to the best of what you think you probably could and it helps you unpack what is that is it that's limiting where you, you being your best self. That's all looking in, it's reflective, it expects you to look into yourself and really be honest with where you are and what you're doing. What you want to be the middle portion of the course focuses more with looking outward. So how do you show up as a leader? That's the whole leader course. How do you present? What do people think about the way you work? What kind of feedback are you getting in leading others? We talk more about the feedback as well. So how do you give feedback to people in your team? How do you get feedback? What do you do and how do you present as a leader, an authentic leader and how do you take the best of what you've learned around you and apply it into how you, you show up. The third component of the course is really about looking forward. Now that we look at branding and networking and how you progress your career. The course isn't focused specifically on career progression from a moving-up perspective but what it looks at more is how do you bring the best of yourself to bear every day.
This is the bones of the course. This is the bit that you really need to be like, ‘Yeah, this sounds good, this sounds interesting, I can commit to a couple of, you know, 2 and a half hours a month to go to these sessions and really get the most out of them.’
On top of this we have a number of, uh, slightly more optional areas of engagement if you want to get a bit more out of it. If you want to access a bit more information, connecting with a bit more of your network, you can join some of these additional engagement options. We have a couple of what we call coffee connects, which are pretty informal connections between people across the program so that you can just get to know some of the other people who are doing the course, experiencing similar challenges to yourself or learning similar new skills.
We also in the orange have something we've called a hot topic. We run a series of briefings where we have industry leaders come in and take on particular topics. They might be digital trends or they might be innovation and creativity, and we run those on an opt-in basis now for those hot topics. We record them so if you can't make that specific hot topic you can go and watch the recording, but if you can make it then you can interact with the presenter.
We specifically don't record the coaching sessions because you're expected to participate in those and you say things about what you're doing and who you're working with and what you're working on, and, so they're absolutely not recorded. But all of the other content we have is available on our digital platform, which I'll show you in a second.
The last piece of additional engagement we have are coaching drop-ins. So we'll run a couple of those over the year because what you'll find after you've set your goal in the first couple of sessions you'll set a goal that's for you, how, what do you want to do to make you your best self as a leader. That goal will evolve across the year as you learn new things about yourself and about your experience and about the way you're working and how that plays into how your life changes across the year. And so we have those coaching drop-in sessions throughout the second half of the program, just in case you need a bit of guidance and help to just tweak the language and tweak the objectives that you're trying to go for so that's the meat of the program.
So we run a kick-off event where we'll have a guest speaker, we have a celebration event at the end where we bring together all that you've learned and really reflect on where you're taking yourself in your career.
We have the 7 sessions in the middle, which is where we actually dig into the content, we go through the new things to learn, how you apply them. They're very practical sessions. So over half of that time is spent in discussion and groups and activities and doing exercises so that you can really apply the learning as we go. It's a lot less talk, talk, talk than this session is right now, a lot more interactive activity, and then obviously the additional engagement opportunities.
So underpinning all of this we have a digital platform. So the digital platform enables you to access all the materials that we'll post.
We also provide you with some pre-work and some post-work for those sessions. It's not a big time commitment to that to do those particular pre- and post-work but that's where you start to really embed the learnings.
So some of those activities might be, think about your strengths, and you know, or complete or have a feedback conversation with your manager to get some advice on how they see you, or we might ask you to read an article or watch a TED talk or do something like that that ties into the content that we're covering in that session. What that enables you to do is really contextualize the content that we cover in class with your real world where you're working.
The platform is the other aspect that you have for the full 24 months. So after the 12 months of group coaching you can still have access to the platform where we continue to post the latest thinking in various areas of leadership development. You'll have access to any new recordings of hot topics and it gives you the ability to just dip back into content that we've covered in the course if you need to refresh yourself at any point.
So that's the content that we're covering in the course. We're now going to make it a little bit interactive, a little bit involved and we're going to use one of the tools that we use in the course to help understand what it is that's going on. So we want you to get on your phone or on the page on your internet and access a site called menti.com, m-e-n-t-i.com. You can use the little QR code if you've got your phone handy and you should be accessing a quiz. There's also a link in the chat window that's easier to click on to go into the Menti site so I'll give you guys all a second to get in there.
People coming on in. Uh, for those of you who are going direct to the site you see up on the top of the screen there's a, um, what is that, 8 digit number starting with 8-8 – that code there. If you use that code when you try to, uh, to go into a, um, a survey it should just pop up. How are we going… got one person safely in, we'll give the rest of you a second to get logged in.
So this tool is, um, effectively an online quiz-type tool and we use it a bit in the program as an ability for you to log questions or answer questions in an anonymous way. So once you've got a few of you, a few more of you logged in, you'll see that the first question that we ask in there is, ‘What you want to get out of the program?’ And what this tool does is it amalgamates all the answers and it lets us get a feel for what it is that you want to understand, and then it also helps us take the, uh, take an aggregate view of data from the course.
Okay. Some great comments coming through. So just talking to some of these comments. The intent of the course is to build your, your leadership skills in a digital environment. So, um, the thing’s about confidence, leadership skills, building networks, connecting with others, um, understanding how to maintain that good digital, sorry, good leadership skills in a fast-changing environment is absolutely part of what we focus on.
As Gen mentioned before we're in a really dynamic environment, things are changing every day, you can't think of change anymore as an event that happens, it's just a permanent state. So being able to really build that leadership muscle so that you can be adaptive and responsive and support your teams is, is really important.
So what we look to do is by being this is a self-directed course, so you need to figure out what the goal is, what is the thing you want to get out of it, and then we give you the techniques and tools to help you on the path to achieving that goal.
The other, uh, really cool thing about this program that I’m most excited about is that it's whole-of-government. So you're going to meet people who do similar sorts of things to you, facing similar challenges in similar environments from agencies all over Australia. And so we have in the current cohort, we have people from Brisbane and Melbourne and Sydney and Adelaide and Canberra and we're angling to get a couple in from the other, other side of Australia for this year. We want to get some Perth folk in there and so we can get a really broad network built for you. And what we've found from current participants is that they're really creating some, some nice relationships across agencies which is helping them as they progress their careers and they're coming across new situations – someone else in the cohort may have already faced that and they can help each other in the coaching sessions.
Okay some really great, um, comments coming up on the on the chat so really appreciate that.
Okay Maddie do we have a second question? Was that the only one?
Okay so that was really the gist of what I wanted to take you through so do keep popping any, any questions as you think of them into the chat or we'll have a dedicated Q a bit at the end of the call. I’m going to hand over to Maddie now just to take us through some of the insights and learnings we've found from this year's cohort. So over to you Maddie.
Maddie Harvey: Thanks Kath, and, uh, we thought it might be helpful to hear a bit more about these kinds of discussions that we've been having and, uh, the challenges and opportunities that the current cohort of women are experiencing.
So first and fore most let me reiterate that these coaching sessions are confidential. We operate under a shared coaching agreement which creates a safe space for everyone to be able to share openly. So what we'll put on screen in a moment are some of the feedback points that we've received across sessions, uh, and it'll bring, um, bring the some of the, the program and what was spoken about to life.
So reflection number one the of, um, of what was spoken about as Kath said, there's a really strong focus on building self-awareness and introspection, and a common theme of growth that we've worked on has been confidence, and this has meant different things for different individuals. ‘How can I grow my impact?’ uh, ‘How can I take the next step in my career, whatever that looks like.’ ‘I’m in an acting position, how can I really own that and bring my best and whole self to work?’ So this program is, is self-directed by you and what you want to get out of it and that's important to note because we work a lot on goal setting and, uh, revisiting those goals regularly, keeping them fresh and relevant to you and that we're trying to meet you where you are, um, and that's really important because it is such a diverse group and you all come with different, uh, career stages, different challenges, opportunities as we said. So where we're trying to meet you where you are.
Reflection number 2 has been the power of small group coaching and, and connecting with others, so building both that opportunity to, uh, have shared experience but also shared perspective and perhaps another individual has gone through something similar, they might have some lessons learned that they can share. Um, what we have really loved seeing in the program is these natural organic connections outside of the sessions. So we've noticed that people have been connecting by themselves, where they notice that they might have a similar role to somebody else. So for example they might both be designers, or we've seen where people have identified they might be facing similar challenges in their work, so they might both be experiencing, uh, the same, same challenge with a team member. Um, so we are really focused on connection and growing your network across government.
Reflection number 3 is something that came through very strongly, which was actually gratitude of having the time to think about this, think about you, and if you're naturally a reflective person which you may well be, uh, because you're here on this call, you're attracted to the program. Some of the areas that we talk about may not be new to you, you may have thought of them before, but having the opportunity to dedicate time to yourself, step out of your context for 3 hours a month, learn, reapply, refresh that thinking and then step back into your context and apply those tips and techniques and ways of working, um, that's how we grow and that's how we continue to grow, and, uh, I think it's fair to say in every single session that we have had there has been a number of people who have spoken about the timeliness of what we covered. So, uh, they might be preparing for, um, their achievement plan, their performance plan, and we've just covered giving and receiving feedback. Or they might have had an interaction that didn't quite go to plan and we've just covered communication styles and preferences, so how different people interact and where they might be coming from. Or another one that's come up has been, um, some, some of the women have had an opportunity land on their desk for a step-up role or project role where they wouldn't have put their hand up, uh, before, but we've just spent some time talking about personal brand and setting intention in their career and where they want to get to, so they've put their hat in their ring and they've had a great experience that way.
So a lot of the conversations that we've had have focused on confidence, personal growth, connection with peers, a focus on practical tools and techniques that you can take back not only to your role and your workplaces and your agencies but also your personal life, uh, and, and then focus on where you're at and where you're heading and as I said, building intention more into that.
So hopefully that gives you a bit more of an overview of the style of conversations that we have. As we said, uh, it's up to you, it's self-directed in terms of what you want to get out of the program. And on that note we're going to, in a moment, open up to you. We're keen to hear from you any questions that you have so I’m going to pass back to um, to Kath, they're keen to hear what you're thinking.
Kath: Thanks, Maddie.
So, uh, just touching a couple of questions have been popping up in the chat.
So there's a question around EL1s, how tightly wedded are we to that. So the answer is the course is targeted at EL1s, but it's primarily the group, but if you've got high-performing APS6s or people in acting EL1 roles they'd be welcome to apply, provided they have agency support to do the course because it's targeted at that leadership level. Uh, we know that in some agencies those leaders are APS6s, it's just the nature of, the size, or the shape of that agency.
The question around which levels of government we're open to – everybody. We want federal, state, local, anyone who has an APS in their, in their title, we will take you in the course. We find it incredibly beneficial to participants that we have a really diverse mix of agencies across the board, because you get such a rich perspective when you've got people coming, doing similar jobs in different agencies or different jobs across similar agencies, you get a really rich perspective for people to draw their own learnings from.
Uh, the cohort question. The way it works, is we had, I think, 73 this year and they broke into 5 cohorts so it's, it's one let's call it one year group and we'll take, um, somewhere around the 70 to 80 mark, probably will fall into this year group, and it'll break into 5 to 6 cohorts depending on the, the end number we end up with. We try to keep the, the small-group coaching down to 15 or less people, because the way the group coaching works is we take the 15 of you or the Tuesday morning group, or the Wednesday afternoon group or whichever group you're in and in the course, there is a portion where there's a bit of teach, and we talk about a new concept or we talk about a particular leadership principle, then that 15 goes into even mini-groups so you'll be in a group of 4 or 5, uh with a coach to take you through an activity, and then you come back as a 15 and we talk about something else, and then you might break up into another different group of 5 and so you get to meet more people and interact with the coaches in different ways.
So we will accept, so we need 70-odd people for the course to run but really anything more than that we'll find a way to make it work, we want as many people in government as possible to have the ability to take this kind of self-directed leadership program and be their best self.
So if you've got any other questions you can direct message them to Maddie or I if you don't want to put them in the in the big chat or you can just pop them in the big chat.
So from a general leadership course, it kind of depends what the leadership course is about. Leadership courses range in nature and format and structure. So, some leadership courses are all about progression, how do you get to the next level, some are all about, uh, particular models or methodologies. We try and keep it a bit more general than that because not one model doesn't typically fit everybody and often leadership courses, uh, that are offered are one and done, you go to a program for a day or a week or a couple of days or whatever it is and then it's yeah, you get bombarded with a whole bunch of information, and then you are like sent away to go and apply it on your own. What the Digital Profession has, has tried to do with this particular program is create an environment for you to learn and grow across the course of time, because what we know from the research is that each of these steps you take to building your best self take practice, they take intention, and they take time for you to think about them and apply them. So what we've built is a program that over the course of the 12 months of active coaching and 12 months of alumnae time, you get to actually develop and grow and course correct because maybe the goal you had on day one turns out to not be what you really need to do to get to where you're trying to get to with your career. So that's how we see it different from the other courses and available within your individual agencies.
Uh, mentors or coaches. What do you mean by mentors? Because the way the course runs is we have, uh, we have a coach in each session, 3 coaches actually, and usually we have the same 2 in each month and then we have one guest facilitator each month depending on what the topic is and so each month you get access to a couple of different people to explore different ideas with. I’m not sure that it quite answers your question though Lucy, it's not a one-on-one conversation so you don't get… so the coaches, I guess facilitators, they will vary, and we'll assign them as we move into the program next year. So we have our lead coach’s name is Rosemary, so she'll be in each course, through parts of the content, but we choose the other coach based on the particular topic we're covering so you get [inaudible].
What other questions have we got going around?
Yeah so the course is run through Zoom, and we realize it is a bit challenging across some agencies. Today was particularly frustrating because there was a Zoom update that was launched and so even, uh, our hosts on the call all had to upgrade just as it was time to start. So it is the tool we use, it is tricky, we recognize for a couple of agencies, uh, we have had participants this year who've found alternative means to access into the Zoom. So short answer is yes, Zoom, um, because there's no one whole-of-government collaboration tool that we could use instead that would work for everybody, so it is, it is that.
Basis for selection. So if you're in government and you're an EL1 and supported by the agency really the only thing we ask of there is that you're … we'll ask you to submit in an application form which we'll give a link to shortly, and, um, you will fill in some, some, basic information: what are you trying to get out of it, you know, do you understand the time commitment, do you have, uh, acceptance from your delegate or manager.
We've had an amazing question come through on a direct message and it's my favorite questions we've gotten for the day. We've got someone on our call who's going on maternity leave partway through. We actually had a couple of babies born in this cohort, which made me very happy. Participants started the course with us, they took a break of a month or 2 while they get settled in with their new little bundle, and then they came back and rejoined the program. So you can absolutely participate if you're going on leave, depending on how your life goes, we had one baby come surprisingly early and so they were a bit disrupted, but we have means for you to catch up on the content that you missed, so it would absolutely be, um, workable for someone in that situation, and we're very excited for whoever it is.
Any, um, if you change your role in the program? That's actually one of the likely outcomes from being in the program, we’ve had a number of people who've shifted their roles as part of the program, that's totally fine as well. So if you change roles within your agency then it's really easy, because you're, you know, but if you change roles and change agencies that's still okay, because the way it works is your, you enroll your agency supports you, your agency, um, pays the fee, once you're in the program, you continue on the program and it doesn't matter where you end up in government, government wins anyway because you are still benefiting from the outcomes of the program.
Any other questions?
The other one we sometimes, we, we've found as we've talked to people about this course is the, the question on the time commitment, and ‘What if I can't make my session?’ As I mentioned earlier, we recognise life gets in the way. We had a couple of people on this year's program who were involved in, um, critical programs like the vaccine rollout, things that are important to all of us, and so they had a point where they just missed a couple of months because they had no space to invest in themselves for those months. So we got, they got in touch, we worked out a plan, and we caught them up on the content that they'd missed and now they're back in and they're finishing up the program, and they found that really valuable that they had the flexibility to, to move with their life to be able to, to participate in the program.
But if there's no other questions, um, we might wrap it up there. Maddie, if you want to bring up the link for enrollment is that on the next…
So you can QR code in, you can go to the Digital Profession site, uh, have a look at the information on the site. If you've got any questions please reach out if you think of anything after we've hung up the call, we're really keen to, to see you all benefit from this program so reach out with your questions, we'll help you answer, we'll help you get on the on the books for, for next year's cohort. So, I think there's no more last-minute questions. So, thanks everyone – oh, one more question. Oh sorry, that's your notes. So, if you've got questions, go to digitalprofession.gov.au, so thanks everyone.