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Recognising and building expertise

Staff qualifications

We value the professional capability of staff. As at 30 June 2020, a high percentage of staff (70%) had tertiary qualifications and 60% had a postgraduate qualification, which includes graduate diplomas, masters and doctorates.

External study

A study assistance scheme is available to reimburse employees for approved courses of study for a recognised qualification relevant to their work. Twenty-six staff received assistance for formal study in 2019–20. Areas of study included public health, biostatistics, data science, ecological public health, psychology, cybersecurity, health research, communications and media, and business administration.

Corporate learning and development program

We continued to invest in the learning and development of all our staff, including a formal induction program for new employees.

Our program of in-house training sessions complement on-the-job training and help ensure that staff develop and maintain specialised knowledge and skills. We provided 92 in-house courses in 2019–20 (compared with 169 in 2018–19). Due to COVID-19-related WHS restrictions, we were unable to deliver some programs. Of the courses delivered, 988 staff (compared with 2,411 in 2018–19) attended training, with some staff attending more than one course. Our learning and development program continued to focus on learning activities related to our work, including technical training, written communication, report writing, statistical and data analysis, project management, leadership and WHS.

In 2018–19, we designed and launched a new Executive Level Leadership Program to raise capabilities in strategic and performance management. This program continued through 2019–20. Over 140 EL 1 and EL 2 staff participated in the program during the year. To support the development of capabilities at level and support career progression, a pilot for an APS 5/6 Development Program commenced.

The AIHW also provided mandatory e-learning for all staff to complete, which covers content related to legislation and Australian Government guidelines, such as fraud awareness, privacy awareness, respectful workplaces, cultural awareness, cybersecurity and WHS. Completion rates ranged from 70%–90% across the suite of modules.

SAMAC conversations

The Statistical and Analytical Methods Advisory Committee (SAMAC) holds regular ‘conversations’ which aim to provide a forum for staff to:

  • access relevant expertise
  • discuss emerging practices and their implications
  • share innovative and potentially reusable practices
  • broaden their knowledge of our work
  • hone their skills in strategic conversation
  • develop habits of constructively giving and receiving feedback on analytical issues.

Five conversations were held in 2019–20 at which the topics discussed included:

  • Multi-source Enduring Linked Data Assets at the AIHW
  • environmental health reporting
  • deep learning and natural language programming
  • population health data sets
  • spatial analysis and data visualisation.

Miriam Lum On standing at a lectern and presenting to the audience at the Heart Disease in Women Strategic Roundtable
Ms Miriam Lum On presenting at the Heart Disease in Women Strategic Roundtable, Canberra, August 2019

Staff exchanges

In April 2018, we entered into a new MoU with CIHI for a further 5 years. Both organisations seek reciprocal exchange of specialised knowledge about business practices and processes, sharing of initiatives and transfer of expertise, primarily through a 12-month exchange of employees.

The AIHW welcomed two CIHI employees on secondment to the AIHW during 2018–19 and their tenure continued into 2019–20. We also supported one AIHW staff member to undertake a secondment to CIHI’s office in British Columbia, Canada, which also continued into 2019–20.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AIHW also supported 17 staff members to undertake roles with the Department of Health, PM&C, ACT Health and NSW Health. These secondments varied in tenure, up to 6 months, to support state, territory and Commonwealth governments response to COVID-19.