One in 10 APS senior execs now schooled in digital leadership

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One in 10 APS senior execs now schooled in digital leadership

'Leading in the digital age' surpasses its target.

More than 10 percent of senior executives across the Australian Public Service have now been schooled under the government’s flagship digital transformation leadership program.

A joint effort by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Digital Transformation Agency, the program was introduced in June 2018 to help advance a culture of digital transformation in agencies.

The optional two-month course takes participants through modern leadership and digital concepts such as service design, agile methodologies and where to focus digital transformation efforts.

It is part of broader efforts to uplift digital capability across government through a formal APS tech career track, which was introduced last year in response to the Thodey Review.

The review found the “APS lacks the ability to attract, retain and nurture high-quality talent and the level of consistent leadership… required for a culture of innovation and change”.

As at August 2019, 235 senior public servants had participated in through the program – then named ‘leading digital transformation’– with 98 percent of participants reporting that it was valuable.

A further 86 SES staff have since progressed through the program, according to figures obtained by iTnews, bringing the total number of SES participants in the program to 321 staff.

This represents approximately 11 percent of the 2805 SES staff employed across the APS as the end of the 2019-20 financial year.

In addition to SES staff, a further 15 executive level 2 (EL2) staff have also undergone training through the program, all of which participated during 2020, according to data provided by the APSC.

An APSC spokesperson told iTnews the program's business case participation targets had been met.

“It was anticipated that around 10 percent of SES would participate in the program to generate shifts in thinking about news ways of leading and working in a digital age,” the APSC spokesperson said.

“Participation in the program has slowed in the last 18 months, however programs will continue to be scheduled based on demand.”

According to the program's website, less than 20 SES staff are expected to be trained before the end of this financial year.

The spokesperson said the program had performed well against all three evaluation metrics to date: “overall program value; intention to apply learning and, recommends program to others”.

“In addition, participants recorded a significant uplift in capability as a result of their participation,” the spokesperson said.

The program is “one of a number of development opportunities available to SES to continue their professional development”, APSC added.

“The APSC recognises that learning occurs in many ways, through experience, exposure and education, including through formal courses,” the spokesperson said.

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