Federal public servants now have an opportunity to enhance their professional skills with the launch of the Australian Public Service (APS) Academy.
The Academy was established following a review that concluded that a centralised learning facility that focussed on core public service capabilities would best support APS development. The APS Secretaries’ Board agreed to establish the Academy in December 2020.
In response to the review of the future role of the Centre for Leadership and Learning (CLL), APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott released the APS Learning and Development Strategy and Action Plan. This plan is intended to ‘set the vision for a highly capable and future-ready APS across four pillars of action; capability, technology, governance, and importantly culture.’
The establishment of the Academy is the first initiative from the Action Plan. Other upcoming projects include a five-year strategy that will see the creation of an APS Learning Board, made up of senior APS leaders to lead public sector transformation, create partnerships and improve APS educational opportunities.
In launching the Academy in late July 2021, Commissioner Woolcott said “working in partnership with APS agencies and external industry experts, the academy will focus on developing ‘APS craft’ capabilities to equip our workforce with the skills, tools and knowledge to shape and deliver effective outcomes for government and the Australian community”. “The launch of the academy delivers on an important element of the government’s APS reform agenda to invest in APS capability”, he added.
The Academy, headed by Grant Lovelock, is based in offices at Old Parliament House and offers both in-person and online courses. It has partnered with APS agencies and external partners to deliver a ‘networked hub’ of frameworks, methodologies, toolkits, templates, networks and research centres. Also on offer are ‘bespoke learning options’, such as courses, webinars, events and immersive offerings.
Bridging the ICT skills gap is a core focus of the APS Reform strategy. The fact that the Academy has ‘technology’ as one of its four pillars indicates the degree to which the APS is now moving on a variety of fronts to create a digitally skilled APS.