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UC course fostering future government leaders in IT

Libby Roberts

27 January 2022: Resulting from a unique partnership between the University of Canberra and the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), the Graduate Certificate in Government Informatics is tailored especially for graduates in the Australian Public Service (APS).

Delivered by the Faculty of Science and Technology, the one-year course aims to help foster future IT leaders in government.

The Graduate Certificate delves into topics like APS values, policy development, administrative law and legislation, but also goes broader on how to add digital elements in new policy proposals, the alignment of IT with agency business objectives, project management, presentation skills and working collaboratively in a team.

Nathan Giannis, who also studied a Bachelor of Business Informatics at the University, studied the Graduate Certificate in 2021 and said that it was a really good experience to meet other graduates, learn relevant and up to date content and, in general, discuss the digital profession.

“A big part of the course is going out and doing your own research,” Mr Giannis said. “We were encouraged to go to our departments and have a look at the different technologies and data management techniques used, as well as the applicable ethics,, which I found really valuable.

“We had a few different guests come in for the course, some from the public service, organisations like Deloitte, and previous students. It was one of the best parts of the course, to have these people come in and share their experiences with us.

Mr Giannis said that learning about the realities of the workforce was both relevant and valuable.

“In the digital professions, the environment is always changing, and new technology is always coming out, so you need to keep up to date with it all,” he said. “This makes it an exciting area, but also means that upskilling is really important. The course is really beneficial, as it covers all of these aspects.”

Not only do graduates take away practical skills from the course, they also grow their networks, as all attendees are from different departments in the APS.

“Most of the grads I attended the course with are from interstate, and I think it was a good opportunity for us to make connections and new friends, which will also benefit us in the future,” Mr Giannis said.

Peter Alexander, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the DTA, said building such networks  is key for a future in the public service.

“If most people in the course continue with jobs in government and you have a network that you can easily ring up and ask for their thoughts or help, that is really beneficial.”

Mr Alexander said he has seen three elements that the Graduate Certificate participants come away with: knowledge of technology and contemporary approaches; knowledge of how to approach problems; and greater confidence overall.

“What we have seen is that people who finish the course are practical, pragmatic and more work-ready,” he said.

“For us, UC has been fantastic and we have a good partnership. There are occasions when we have said ‘here’s an emerging trend, wouldn’t it be great to get students thinking about that’, and UC always makes that happen – an example of this is how the University made sure that ethics in Artificial Intelligence is covered in a unit.”

The Graduate Certificate is a part of the Digital Emerging Talent Program. Originally set up by the DTA, it is now a program with the Public Service Commission.

Mr Alexander said this program is important in keeping graduates more enthused, excited and ahead of the pack.

“The graduates are more informed, able to hit the ground running, work in teams really well, they can deliver and speak up and can present really well. Overall, it is a really positive environment,” he said.