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Learning and development

Finance continues to strengthen its workforce by building organisational capability to encourage retention and enhance ongoing performance. Human Resources works closely with business areas to ensure development opportunities are integrated and, where possible, co-designed with subject matter experts from the business to ensure content aligns to business activities. This approach also ensures development activities are clearly defined to meet the needs of the business and are supported with relevant tools and resources to ensure a blended approach to learning.

In 2017–18, we undertook analysis as part of our workforce planning activities to help us understand the capabilities we require now and in the future to deliver business objectives. As a result of this analysis, a number of initiatives have been implemented:

  • creating learning and development solutions for capability focus areas, including stakeholder relationship management, leadership and management, and working with people. These solutions were supported by offerings for foundational skills, including communication skills, change management, performance management, team building, business information technology applications and career management
  • supporting managers and employees with a range of tools and resources available electronically through the department’s learning management system and online through the intranet. Resources include e-learning programs, articles, videos, tools and templates provided in an interactive, accessible and self-paced learning environment
  • continued implementation of targeted talent management initiatives for SES and Executive Level 2 (EL2) cohorts to enhance leadership capability and ensure effective succession planning.

Finance continues to support employees to complete relevant tertiary study to improve their professional skills and knowledge through the Study Assistance Program. In 2017–18, 94 employees received study assistance through paid study leave and financial assistance to undertake tertiary education.

In addition, 13 staff were supported to complete the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Finance. This program, purpose-built for the public sector and delivered by the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra, builds capability among emerging leaders at Finance and in the wider APS. Students develop a thorough understanding of the Australian Government budget framework as well as sound financial, strategic and policy development capabilities.


In 2017, the Senior Executive Service (SES) leadership group worked together to develop the leadership expectations which they considered to be essential to the department achieving its objectives:

  • be part of the solution
  • collaborate, innovate
  • develop self; develop others.

The leadership expectations were released for adoption by all staff and, since their inception, have been incorporated into a number of departmental initiatives and plans, including the Secretary’s Award criteria, Australia Day Award categories and criteria, and the transformation model.

The department continues to invest in developing current and future leaders, through initiatives such as SES career conversations, an EL2 talent identification initiative and participation in various external leadership programs and events.

Career conversations are held annually for SES staff, where strengths and opportunity for further development are identified as a means of actively managing talent and succession planning.

In September 2017, the department commenced a talent initiative pilot for a cohort of high-potential EL2 officers in the department. The initiative aims to gain greater insights into the career potential of participants through engagement of a high-potential identification questionnaire and career conversations to inform the support and investment needed to enable potential to be met.

Entry-level programs

Finance continues to support its entry-level employee cohort to develop their skills, experience and capabilities to become engaged and productive members of the department and the APS. In 2017–18, we engaged 19 graduates, 21 career starters, five cadets through the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program, two apprentices through the Indigenous Apprenticeship Program and four Stepping Into program participants. Each cohort undertakes a development program targeted to their specific needs to enable an effective transition into the workforce and the APS. Aspects of the development programs include induction, formal training to achieve a professional qualification, foundational skills training, mentoring, attendance at APS-wide events, project work, as well as placements in the business to ensure effective on-the-job learning.