Learning and Development
Displays ability to learn is one of Finance’s Valued Behaviours and is a core expectation of all staff. To support this, the department provides attractive learning and development opportunities.
During 2009-10, Finance spent two per cent of its operating budget on learning and development, exceeding the targeted minimum rate of 1.5 per cent. In Finance’s 2009 staff survey, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that Finance places a high priority on learning and development, compared with 79 per cent in 2008. The 2009 staff survey also indicated that 82 per cent of staff are satisfied with their access to learning and development opportunities, which was an increase of three per cent from 2008.
In the 2008-09 State of the Service employee survey, 70 per cent of Finance staff indicated they were satisfied with their access to learning and development opportunities, compared with 57 per cent across the broader APS. Seventy‑four per cent of staff said that Finance places a high priority on learning and development, which was 20 percentage points above the APS result.
Finance’s learning and development strategies are set out in the department’s Learning and Development Framework. The framework encompasses a range of development opportunities for all employees from APS 1 to SES Band 3. In consultation with their managers, employees agree on a learning and development plan as part of the performance management cycle.
During 2009-10, Finance’s range of programs, including leadership, professional skills and support for university study, achieved high participation rates and consistently positive feedback.
Employees engaged through targeted recruitment programs participate in structured learning and development opportunities related to working in Finance and the APS.
Finance’s Graduate Development Program provides graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to underpin their careers within the department and the APS. This twelve‑month program combines mandatory and customised training components. The mandatory component covers a range of base-level training, leadership training and various networking events. The customised component is developed by the graduate in consultation with their manager and HR Services Branch.
Graduates have the opportunity to advance to the APS 4 level during the program and apply for advancement to APS 5 at its conclusion. There are optional second year and third year programs.
In a survey of the department’s 2009 graduates, 94 per cent rated the Graduate Development Program as challenging and effective.
Career starters are supported in their transition from study to work with 12 months of training to equip them to become high quality Finance employees. Similar to the graduate program, this program includes a schedule of learning and development opportunities to help career starters acquire generic skills and knowledge. Career starters have the opportunity to advance to the APS 2 level at the end of their first year.
The career starters’ program includes an optional Undergraduate Study Program to help career starters to study part-time to complete tertiary qualifications. As at 30 June 2010 there were six career starters from various cohorts enrolled in the study program.
During 2009-10, Finance increased the range of leadership development programs for future leaders from APS levels 1 through 6, as well as Executive Level (EL) and SES officers. These include programs from the APSC, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), the Centre for Public Management and the Leadership Consortium, as well as tailored in-house programs.
Selected SES officers represented the department in a range of leadership programs during the year. Three SES Band 3 officers participated in the APSC Connections program. Seven SES Band 2 officers took part in core leadership programs run by the APSC including Leading Australia’s Future in the Asia-Pacific and Leading Across Boundaries. Four SES Band 1 officers attended the Leadership for a Democratic Society program run by the Federal Executive Institute in Virginia, USA, one SES Band 1 officer participated in the inaugural ANZSOG Towards Strategic Leadership program, and one SES Band 1 officer participated in the Canberra Public Sector Colloquium.
In March 2010, Finance ran a three day in-house program for 19 EL2 officers with more than two years experience at this level to further develop their skills in managing, influencing and negotiating. Eleven EL2 officers also attended the APSC’s Career Development Assessment Centre.
Finance is a member of The Leadership Consortium, which provided a number of leadership programs over the course of the year. Twenty-six EL1 and SES Band 1 officers attended programs run by the organisation.
Professional skills development
In 2009-10, 460 participants attended 28 in-house courses across four key streams: Professional Capability; Leadership and Management; Professional Qualifications; and Career Development.
Study and professional membership assistance
Finance provides support in the form of both leave and financial assistance to staff wishing to undertake approved further study. In 2009-10, 176 staff received assistance for study relevant to the operational needs of the department.
Finance also provided 128 staff with financial assistance for membership or subscription fees to organisations which provide professional support relevant to the department’s operational needs.
Postgraduate study program
Through a partnership with the Australian National University Finance staff can undertake postgraduate studies in management. In three courses offered to Finance staff in 2009-10, 68 participants studied units as a single program or towards a Graduate Certificate in Management, a Master of Management or a Master of Business Administration. Two students completed a Graduate Certificate in Management during 2009-10.
Learning and Development Panel
Finance’s non-exclusive Learning and Development Panel includes 16 organisations which provide services, including the delivery of training programs, facilitation services, executive coaching and career coaching programs for Finance staff. The panel is also used to deliver training programs for Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 employees. Forty-four orders had been placed through the panel as at 30 June 2010.
Other Finance learning and development opportunities
Finance facilitates seminars on various topics by internal speakers and high-profile speakers from the public and private sectors. In 2009‑10, the seminar series was revised to provide more flexibility in the selection of guest speakers. Speakers included Mr Saul Eslake, Program Director – Productivity Growth at the Grattan Institute, and Mr Joe Roff, the third most capped player in Australian Rugby history, in a presentation on ‘high performing teams – the difference between good and great’.
The Finance Legal Panel Seminar series invited firms on the Finance Legal Panel to address staff on current legal issues relevant to the department.
During the year Finance’s Deregulation Group hosted various seminars aimed at sharing knowledge of current topics in the fields of policy, regulation, economics and finance. The seminars were presented by various experts from across industry, government and academia. The Deregulation Group seminar program will continue through 2010-11 as the program is an important element of staff development and training.
To support Finance’s commitment to raising awareness of Indigenous culture among staff, the department took part in NAIDOC week activities, including a presentation by Professor Larissa Behrendt, a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman with an extensive background in Indigenous legal affairs. Further, as part of Reconciliation Week, Mr Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, addressed staff on ‘building relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians through the human rights framework’.
To improve information access and distribution, the department’s library undertakes research, disseminates newly published information and sources material from other collections. The library also offers four training courses: library resources, basic and advanced internet searching, and study skills. Web content managers are trained in site governance and standards to address important issues such as accessibility, privacy and archiving.
A comprehensive set of training courses have been developed for users of the Central Budget Management System (CBMS). These courses are scheduled according to the budget process timetable and user demand. During 2009-10, over 1,500 Finance and other Australian Government agency staff were trained by the department.
Finance provides ongoing training to COMCAR drivers and in 2009-10, 127 drivers participated in 13 courses encompassing 430 days of driver training.
In addition to the opportunities outlined above, Finance business groups identify emerging learning and development needs and provide appropriate training for staff. For example, during April and May 2010 Ministerial and Parliamentary Services ran information sessions for approximately 80 staff to explain the new provisions of the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2010-2011.