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DTA Australia designing and delivering programmes to build digital capabilities across government

Attracting, developing and retaining suitable talent to drive the digital transformation agenda is one of the biggest challenges for governments across the world. In Australia, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is designing and delivering programmes to improve digital skills of the Australian Public Service (APS).

As part of a AU$13.9 million Budget commitment over three years to build digital capability, the DTA and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) have started design work on future digital literacy programmes aimed at:

  • Attracting new talent for digital roles, through expanding existing ICT entry-level programmes
  • Identifying and establishing training opportunities through the Digital Marketplace
  • Increasing talent retention through defining digital career pathways, opening up new opportunities and better ongoing support
  • Developing digital skills for executives which will enable better service delivery

Chief Digital Officer of DTA Peter Alexander will lead the digital capability building and delivery functions within the DTA.

Among existing initiatives, applications are open for the DTA’s ICT Entry-Level programmes which aim to bring new talent into digital roles across the government, by recruiting ICT ‘Apprentices’, ‘Cadets’ and ‘Graduates’.

The ICT Apprenticeship Programme is for students who are currently completing their Year 12 Certificate. ICT Apprentices will work the equivalent of 4 days per week within an Australian Government agency, with the remainder of time dedicated to completing a Certificate IV (2 years) or a Diploma (3 years) in an IT-related field. The course fees for the qualification are paid by the agency, and the apprentices are provided with paid study leave in order to attend your classes.

The ICT Cadetship Programme is for current university students who have completed their first year (or full-time equivalent) of an undergraduate degree in ICT, or an undergraduate degree with an ICT major. Cadets work a minimum of 2 days per week within an Australian Government agency. They can devote the remainder of their time to finishing your university study, which should take a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 3 years to complete. During the cadetship a generous study allowance is provided to support university costs.

The ICT Graduate Programme is a 12-month programme for ICT Graduates who have completed their degree in ICT within the last 7 years. Recruits work full-time in an Australian Government agency, while completing a Graduate Certificate in Government Informatics.

The Programme offers development opportunities to help recruits transition into the Australian Government. They will also become a graduate member of the Australian Computer Society to help strengthen their employment credentials, manage their ICT career, gain new skills and stay up to date on developments.

Recruits will also complete a graduate development programme and attain a Graduate Certificate in Government Informatics which includes a development opportunity to complete a major ICT project.

Up to 1000 people are expected to apply for the current intake. The DTA is aiming to place 250 digital entry level staff in government agencies across Australia in the next 12 months. This will be the largest intake in the programmes’ 10-year history which has seen over 1000 people start their digital careers in government. Applications for the DTA’s 2018 apprenticeship programme close 4 August and cadetship programme close 11 August.

The CEO of DTA, Gavin Slater, said, “The DTA has a vital role role to play in building digital capability across government, and my vision is for us to create an environment where we can bring staff from government through the DTA, get them to work on real issues and real problems, using techniques like user-centred design, rapid prototyping, building a solution, testing it, being prepared to fail and try again.”

Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said skilled staff were crucial to delivering effective digital services and the government needs to keep up with the private sector.

“We want the next group of digital superstars to see government as a great place to start their career,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

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