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Career Management Guide - Too Good

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					A guide to

Managing Y Career our
in the SA Public Sector
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Produced by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Employment

F u t ure R e g

Introduction
As the world of work changes, so too does the public sector environment we work in. Now more than ever we must take responsibility for developing our skills to enhance our career options. Fortunately, the South Australian public sector offers a diverse range of job, role and career alternatives. Yet, the very wealth of opportunities available means that it can be difficult to determine the right path to take. This guide has been written to help make sense of the career pathways available. Adopting a ‘what if?’ approach, it explores the various choices on offer - choices that range from the active (determining our career goals and working out how to get there) to the passive (waiting for things to happen). The guide also provides the resources necessary to identify career aspirations and formulate professional development strategies. Now, this isn’t as dry as it may seem. Charles Dickens, in his famous book ‘A Christmas Carol’, used ‘the Ghost of...’ to explore different ideas. So do we. But in this case, we focus on the past, present and future issues that impact on career management. Our goal in adopting this approach is to provide you with an interesting, informative and comprehensive range of tools and resources to enable you to manage your career. Section one of the guide examines The Ghost of Career Past and, in doing so, highlights key areas where change in the public sector workforce can affect the choices we make and the employment alternatives available. The next section, The Ghost of Career Present, focuses on recognising current skills and knowledge - information essential in determining potential career paths and understanding the steps required to reach our objectives. Section three, the Ghost of Career Future Regret, highlights the results of not following our aspirations and offers suggestions for avoiding ‘career lethargy’ by identifying, creating and making the most of opportunities. The final section, the Ghost of Career Future Success, focuses on using the Public Sector Training Package (PSTP) as a resource for career development. Here we look at:
● ● ●

using the Training Package to research new careers sourcing training from the Package to suit our needs obtaining recognition for existing competencies.

Additional resources you may find useful include:
● ●

Rickshaws, Cruise Ships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey Accelerate: an online PSTP Recognition of Current Competency tool.

For more information please contact: Belinda Chhabria Senior Project Officer Office for the Commissioner for Public Employment Ph: 08 8226 2221 Email: chhabria.belinda@saugov.sa.gov.au

Table of contents
Ghost of Career Past ....................................................................................................................................3 Organisational restructures ...................................................................................................................4 Redundancy & redeployment ................................................................................................................ 4 The rise of multiple careers....................................................................................................................4 More contract & part time jobs & flexible working arrangements ........................................................ 4 Changing industries & the emergence of new jobs.............................................................................. 4 Recognition of the life/work balance .....................................................................................................5 Ghost of Career Present ..............................................................................................................................7 Interests ..................................................................................................................................................8 Values .....................................................................................................................................................9 Motivations .............................................................................................................................................9 Realistic skills audit ..............................................................................................................................10 Career influences .................................................................................................................................10 Tools to help gather personal information ........................................................................................... 11 Career coaches/counsellors ..........................................................................................................11 Online resources ............................................................................................................................11 Career drivers survey .....................................................................................................................13 Ghost of Career Future Regret ..................................................................................................................15 Avoiding ‘boiling frog’ syndrome .........................................................................................................16 Identifying job/career unrest ................................................................................................................16 Recognising and creating opportunities ............................................................................................. 18 Impression management and career limiting behaviours .................................................................. 21 Impression management ...............................................................................................................21 Career limiting behaviours .............................................................................................................22 The importance of lifelong learning .....................................................................................................23 Ghost of Career Future Success ...............................................................................................................25 Scenario planning ................................................................................................................................26 Networking ...........................................................................................................................................28 Mentoring .............................................................................................................................................28 Careers in the public sector .................................................................................................................28 The Public Sector Training Package (PSTP) ....................................................................................... 29 What are Training Packages? ........................................................................................................ 29 What is the Public Sector Training Package? ................................................................................ 29 What does it mean to be competent? What do we need to do to become competent? ................. 31 Where do competency based standards come from? ....................................................................... 31 How to use the PSTP for career planning and development ............................................................. 32 The PSTP Key Areas table .............................................................................................................32 Recognition of Current Competency ............................................................................................. 34 Training and assessment ...............................................................................................................34 Practical matters ............................................................................................................................35 Evidence for assessment ..............................................................................................................36 How completed units and/or qualifications can advance your career. ........................................ 37 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................39 Appendix A—Technical and Personal Skills Identification Charts ............................................................ 40 Appendix B—Career Drivers Questionnaire .............................................................................................. 42 Appendix C—Identifying Career Unrest Questionnaire ............................................................................ 51 Appendix D—Chart – How to use the PSTP for career planning and development ............................... 54 Appendix E—Qualifications and Key Areas of the PSTP .......................................................................... 55 Appendix F—How to read a unit of competency ...................................................................................... 57

Ghost of
“Who are you and why are you here?”
“ I’m the Ghost of Career Past - here to clean out your old ideas about careers, so that you can wake up to what’s holding you back.”

Career Past
“ I’ve stayed in my job for years and not got anywhere. Why should I change now? Why would I want to wake up?” “ Because while you’ve been sleeping everyone else is exploring this new world of work!”

F

or a long time a career in the public sector could safely be

described as secure, long term, permanent, career for life, progress

up the ladder and so on. Today, no one can deny that the nature of the public sector has changed significantly. While some ghosts of past career characteristics still linger, a new set of characteristics have evolved, and it is critical that employees are aware of them when planning and developing their public sector careers. Let’s look at some of the changes that have impacted on today’s workforce.

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Ghost of

Career Past

Organisational restructures
Organisational reviews almost inevitably result in changes, be it in the agency’s focus, composition or even existence! Such an environment creates significant uncertainty. Because these things happen—and happen with increasing frequency—it makes sense to be prepared. How? By being flexible, by undertaking new tasks and new jobs, and by recognising the value of lifelong learning—learning that enables us to obtain useful, transferable skills.

Redundancy and redeployment
As government priorities change and evolve so too do employment opportunities. This means that any of us, irrespective of our length of time in the workforce, may find that our existing job is no longer as important as it once was. To ensure that we’re not suddenly confronted with redundancy and/or redeployment and paralysed by the prospect, we need to remain flexible in outlook and not only keep our skills up to date, but continually look for opportunities to broaden our knowledge and expertise.

The rise of multiple careers
Once a public sector career meant one job for life and employers avoided those ‘flighty’ individuals who had worked in a number of areas, but today most employers value the experiences employees have gained from different roles and organisations. Employment diversity, combined with desirable personal and professional characteristics, can broaden our career opportunities considerably.

More contract and part time jobs and flexible working arrangements
Contract employment often raises concerns about financial and domestic stability. How, for instance, can we commit to a mortgage or make major monetary decisions if we don’t have permanent employment? These questions are more than reasonable and are a down side to current employment patterns. But the situation isn’t totally bleak. As contract employment becomes more common, we can utilise these arrangements to develop new skills, acquire new experiences and pursue areas of interest. Furthermore, part time and flexible employment, although not ideal for everyone, provides many public sector employees with opportunities to balance home, work, study and social commitments.

Changing industries and the emergence of new jobs
The public sector is a large and diverse industry affected by changes in government policy and business/industry development. Such changes can impact significantly on the work we do. New jobs may emerge in response to altered needs, and employment opportunities may disappear as demands decline and priorities alter. Today’s work environment, in comparison with the continuity and constancy of the past, is quite unstable and no one can confidently predict what the future holds. Given such tumultuous surroundings, we need to display flexibility and enthusiasm for new jobs, roles and responsibilities if we wish to position ourselves for the future.

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Career Past

Recognition of the life/work balance
Pursuing a career once conjured images of early starts and late finishes, spending limited time with the family, having no social life and either working on the weekend or spending hours thinking about tasks that needed to be completed. In short, career success required total dedication to one’s job. Although this outlook can still be found in segments of the workforce, in general the nature of work and our reactions to it have changed. Today a significant percentage of employers and employees realise that balancing personal and work life achieves the best results. Many employers support flexible working arrangements such as flexi-time, working from home and alternatives to the 9.00 am – 5.00 pm working day. In addition, they offer organisational support and provide access to programs for personal as well as professional development. Workplaces, particularly within the public sector, are moving towards creating a better balance between life and work. As public servants, it’s important that we recognise and use these alternatives to increase our work satisfaction. This, in turn, will improve team and agency morale.

continually developing

flexible adaptable

Employees need to be:

jugglers!

dynamic

These dynamic changes to the environment mean we need to take charge of our own learning and direct our careers towards goals that are important to us. In the current career climate there are many opportunities available. The question, of course, is whether we want to pursue them. We may, for instance, be committed to our work but not entirely happy with the environment. Alternatively, we may enjoy working with our colleagues but be bored by the tasks we’re expected to perform. In each case we need to identify what it is we want from our work lives. That’s the first and most important step. Once we’ve done that we can plan a career journey that suits our interests, talents and needs. The material that follows guides you through this process.

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Notes
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Ghost of
“ Oh not again! What is it this time?”
“ I’m the Ghost of Career Present and I’m here to help you look within yourself and explore what’s important to you individually in a career.”

Career Present
“ How are you going to do that?” “ I’m going to guide you through an assessment of your values, interests, skills, motivations and needs that will help you identify what you need and want to be happy in a job and career.” “ Oh alright then, but I can tell you that what I value, need and want right now is my sleep!”

I
● ● ●

n order to make decisions about the future, irrespective of the issue, we need information. In the case of career decisions, we must have a clear

understanding of where we are at present before we can plan to move forward. This section of the guide will: help direct your information gathering identify resources to enable you to learn more about yourself and your needs be of value irrespective of whether you are looking at advancing in your current field of work or switching careers.

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Career Present

Thinking about a career change?
Focus on something you enjoy doing. Explore your hobbies and interests and look critically at your experiences and the skills and knowledge you possess. Pursuing your true interests and focusing on careers that match your skills, values and motivations will enable you to have a more satisfying and fulfilling work life.

Interests
People often regard their hobbies and interests as something to do to relax after work. Yet these things can play an extremely important role in determining our career choices, if we just think laterally. If we focus on the areas of work we most enjoy, for instance, we’ll generally find that they are things we’re good at: tasks or functions that give us a sense of achievement and professional and personal satisfaction. The same is true in relation to interests. We generally like exercises or activities because they offer a challenge or reward. These interests or skills can almost always be translated into employment opportunities if we’re prepared to think beyond the traditional linear career pathway. But this doesn’t mean other areas are out of reach. The career identification process involves exploring our interests and comparing them to the reality of a workplace environment. If there is something that we’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the opportunity to do so, then it is a potential option. Of course identifying your interests won’t immediately provide you with an obvious career pathway. What it may do, however, is help you recognise the possible work environments to which you are best suited. Within your current workplace there will be tasks you enjoy and find easy; others may be difficult and unpleasant. By identifying what you feel about particular tasks and why, you can begin to consider employment options that meet your personal and psychological needs.

Values
Values are what we believe in and think are important. These values are influenced by our backgrounds and life experiences. Some jobs will provide us with opportunities to apply our values while others may require us to perform tasks that run counter to the things we support. It is important that our values align with the organisation’s values, as it can be both difficult and unsatisfying to work for an agency with ethics and behaviours that conflict with our own. Jobs that support our value systems, on the other hand, allow us to pursue our beliefs and to feel motivated and inspired. One of the interesting things about values is their relationship to occupations and lifestyles. The things we value often play an important part in our career choices and our behaviour in the workplace. If, for instance, income and employment status are important, then we will probably select jobs that pay well, offer opportunities for advancement and require considerable out of hours commitment (the latter generally being essential to achieving the former.) Yet our values are not static. When we’re young we may be keen and ambitious, and money and promotion may be our guiding motivators. When we’re older and/or have families, the long hours and associated pressure may no longer suit our values and lifestyle.
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Values may also change after significant life events. A survey conducted by Market Facts in the USA in late September 2001, for example, found that 73% of 1,000 respondents believed helping others had taken on greater significance in their lives after the events of 11 September, 2001 and 67% said serving their country had become more important. 1 Some of the most common career values are listed below. As you read through them, consider the values that are important to you.
● ● ● ● ● ●

Job security Good working conditions Being treated with respect and consideration Opportunities for learning new skills Opportunities for promotion and advancement Earning enough to live well

● ● ● ● ● ●

Achieving something worthwhile Being independent and taking responsibility Having personal power and influence A sense of belonging and being accepted Helping others Being highly regarded and admired.

Now evaluate your current job against your values. Does your employment align with the things you believe? Can you achieve the things that are important to you in the workplace? People who are unsettled or unhappy in their positions often have values that are at odds with those of the organisation they work for. If—or when—you decide to pursue other employment opportunities, consider the things that are important to you and then match prospective jobs and environments against your values.

Motivations
If we’re to be satisfied in our careers, it’s important that we’re interested in the work that we do, that our values align with our employment and that we’re motivated. And, as you know, different things motivate different people. If you look through the list below, for instance, you’ll find that some of these things motivate you but others hold little interest.
● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Financial rewards Autonomy Security Status Working conditions Relationship with colleagues Opportunities for advancement

● ● ● ● ● ●

Opportunities for development Collaborative/independent working Opportunities to be creative Responsibility Recognition of success Travel

Being motivated affects our behaviour and attitudes at work. Motivated workers are often high performers; they display energy, enthusiasm, determination and work well with their colleagues to generate ideas and overcome problems. Lack of motivation, on the other hand, may lead to poor performance, absenteeism, procrastination, apathy, lack of cooperation, personal unhappiness and ultimately a change of jobs or careers. It is important to remember that it is the situation that motivates people at work

1

The survey was commissioned by American Demographics magazine (Vogt, Peter (2002). Redefining Career

Values [Online]) Available:http://featuredreports.monster.com/911/reevaluation/ Accessed 24 May 2004).

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Career Present

rather than the individual being a motivated person or not. Sometimes there are circumstances where the work environment changes to one where the factors that motivate us are no longer present or our jobs change in a way that we didn’t expect or want. This often leads to a decrease in motivation and therefore a decrease in job satisfaction. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to begin seeking alternative employment if changes can’t be made to the situation. Identifying the things that motivate us, and ensuring those motivators exist, is one of the things we must do if we are to plan and pursue fulfilling careers.

Realistic skills audit
One of the most important things to do before deciding on a career change is to identify our existing knowledge and skills. After all, if we’re not aware of our strengths and positive character traits, what possibility is there that we will:
● ● ●

select a career that matches our competencies? be suited to the position? convince potential employers to appoint us?

People who recognise their knowledge, skills and expertise and communicate these qualities to others generally make job and career changes more easily than their less aware colleagues. In order to gather this type of information it’s important to consider all the activities we undertake: at work, at home, in the community, with friends and as forms of relaxation. Stop for a minute and think about your particular skills. What do you do well? What knowledge and information do you have? What qualities do you possess? Are you reliable, persistent, flexible? Perhaps you’re creative, innovative, open and honest? Focus on all your talents and abilities. Don’t be modest. And don’t take your skills for granted. People often think that everybody else has similar skills or that what they do is ‘normal’ rather than notable. It’s important not to underestimate what you’ve accomplished. Even something as seemingly routine as keeping fit and staying healthy requires energy, discipline and motivation. If you haven’t already done so, reflect on your employment background. What jobs have you performed in the past? What did they involve? What knowledge and skills did you need to do them successfully? Now that you’ve begun thinking about these issues use the worksheet in Appendix A to record your skills. Some examples have been provided but we’ve left plenty of room for you to list your talents, traits and abilities. You may find you have so many skills you will need to add more rows! Recording our knowledge and skills in this way and regularly updating our competency/expertise profile will not only help us focus on the abilities we have, it will also provide a ready reference for determining if we have the skills required for the jobs that interest us.

Career influences
Other people can be impacted on by decisions that we make and will also contribute to, and influence, our choices and decisions. Therefore, we need to consider the impact our decisions may have on the lives of others, and to consider the opinions of those who may be affected by our behaviour.

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Career Present

Look at the list of people below who might influence or contribute to your future choice of career. Which of these individuals/groups could influence or contribute to your career decision and what would their influence or contribution be?
● ● ● ● ●

Parent(s)/guardian(s) Friends Partner/spouse Neighbours Your children

● ● ● ● ●

Other relatives Work colleagues Teacher/lecturers Employer Other people (who?)_____________________________________

There are also geographical and financial factors that affect career choices. For instance, you may find a job advertised that really appeals to you and aligns with your interests and values. But the job is in the country and you’re based in the city. In light of the experience you would gain from working in the position and the boost it would give to your motivation, you’re prepared to move to the country. Your family, however, may be less than enthusiastic. Then too, there are financial implications to consider. You may like to start a completely new career, perhaps in environmental science, but you have no background in the area. You will therefore need to go to university and undertake a four year full time degree (it’s a lot longer part time!). Can you afford to do this? Will your partner or family support you financially while you study? What impact will changes in your employment have on your ability to service the mortgage, pay school fees and meet existing financial commitments? Even if you don’t leave the workforce altogether, can you realistically accept a lower paid position in order to build a new career? Deciding to change careers can be an exciting and challenging step towards a different future. If we’re to give ourselves the strongest chance of success we need to consider each of the issues raised above.

Tools to help gather personal information
To date we’ve explored five key areas that are fundamental to making career decisions.
● ● ●

Interests Values Motivations

● ●

Realistic skills audit Career influences

But not all of us feel comfortable identifying what it is we want to do or determining where our true interests lie. If you’re in this position, don’t worry. There are a number of methods you can use to help clarify your interests, values and motivators.

Career coaches/counsellors
Career coaches and counsellors can help identify career directions, set career goals, and develop career plans. This process involves discussion, consultation and self assessment questionnaires to identify values, preferences, personality attributes, skills and employment possibilities. ‘Career coaches and counsellors’ can be found under this heading in the Yellow Pages.

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Online resources
The Testing Room – www.testingroom.com
This website enables you to undertake selected psychological questionnaires and receive short reports on your performance without paying for them. More comprehensive reviews are available at a cost. Examples of the available questionnaires include:
●

Career interest inventory—This questionnaire helps you identify and understand your career interests in order to match them with occupations. The full report (available at a cost) identifies the two areas of greatest interest and provides a wide variety of occupations that correspond to those preferences. Career values scale (CVS)—The emphasis here is on personal value systems as they apply to careers and work. The final report relates questionnaire responses to ten career values:
● ● ● ● ●

●

Service Orientation Teamwork Influence Creativity Independence

● ● ● ● ●

Excitement Personal Development Financial Rewards Prestige Security.

Once again, the more detailed report is available at a cost and identifies areas of importance, main sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and suggestions for working with this knowledge. The Career Values Map (which also needs to be purchased) is designed to provide information and advice useful for exploring career and work life.
●

The Personality Index is an objective measure of five personality traits and 17 facets of personality. Using the Personality Index as part of the personal development process will greatly enhance what you know about yourself. The personality index has 85 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Study styles—This tool measures how you study and prepare for exams. It looks at preferred study environments, methods used for understanding, learning and integrating new information, decision making behaviour and study routines.

●

MyFuture website – www.myfuture.edu.au
A useful and comprehensive website covering all aspects of career planning. My Guide, for instance, takes you through a set of steps in order to build a career management plan: the steps, in the form of a maze you must navigate, include: Planning and reviewing—The focus is on reflecting on past career efforts and understanding current needs. Identifying—Interests, likes and experiences are identified by undertaking a range of activities and answering a number of highly pertinent questions. Exploring—Building on from the previous two steps, you’re encouraged to generate and consider career ideas. Deciding—You’re provided with information about industries, occupations, courses and organisations relevant to various career ideas to help you make a decision.

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Summarising—As the name states, this step summarises your personal profile and career ideas and encourages you to reflect on this information, record your thoughts and feelings, and describe and determine your career direction. Planning—Once you know where you want to go, you must plan to get there. This step includes a set of activities to assist in creating career pathways and action plans. Doing—Finally, you need to put your plans into action. This end point offers a range of articles designed to support your active career development.

✩

This website also contains information and articles on career development, work and employment trends and education and training. Highly recommended.

Career drivers survey
‘Career drivers’ are the things we want to gain from work. While some people may think that work is just about giving their skills for financial reward, for most of us it’s more than that. We choose particular types of careers because they motivate us. An extremely useful instrument in determining career motivations is the Career Drivers Questionnaire2 (Appendix B). The questionnaire is based around the following ‘drivers’:
● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Material rewards: seeking possessions, wealth, and a high standard of living. Power/influence: seeking to be in control of people and resources. Search for meaning: seeking to do things that are believed to be valuable for their own sake. Expertise: seeking to gain a high level of accomplishment in a specialised field. Creativity: seeking to innovate and be identified with original and different output. Affiliation/social relationships: seeking harmonious and rewarding work relationships. Autonomy/independence: seeking to be independent and make key decisions without asking approval. Security: wanting a relatively safe and predictable future. Status: seeking to be recognised, admired and respected for contributions to the work environment.

● ●

At this point you may find it useful to work through the questionnaire. Your responses will help identify the things that are important to you: the things that make you feel happy and satisfied with your working life. Knowing this, you can then measure potential jobs and careers against their ability to fulfill the drivers you find significant. This chapter dealt with one of the most important steps in career planning: self understanding. Once we know the things that motivate, interest and inspire us, and we recognise our skills, knowledge and expertise, we can begin to plan for a satisfying and rewarding future: a future explored in the next two sections of the guide.

2

Career Drivers Survey— Francis, Dave (1994) Managing your own career. Harper Collins Publishers.

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Notes
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Ghost of
“ What!!!??” “I hate my job”

Career Future Regret
“ I am the Ghost of Career Future Regret and you are looking at yourself in 5 years time. Your career is not going far and you are not enjoying your work.” “ Gee, not much is going to change. I’m already frustrated at work but I do look more miserable. What can I do to improve things?” “ Sorry, that’s not my area - but I can help you figure out what the problem is now. Why not lay on my couch and reflect on what is bothering you about your career right now, then maybe we can see why you’re headed towards a ‘grim’ ha ha ha future. Small reaper joke there.”

career is not something that just happens: it’s something we work towards. It requires us to make the best of opportunities that become available and create opportunities where they may not have existed. Think again about your career. What would it look like if it didn’t address your wants and needs? What would happen if your job didn’t align with your values and principles? How would you respond to work/life imbalances? Do you have misgivings about the path your working life has taken? This section of the guide looks at how to prevent a life of ‘career regret’. Our discussion explores:
● ● ● ● ● ●

A

avoiding the boiling frog syndrome identifying job/career unrest and acting to resolve it recognising and creating opportunities impression management recognising career limiting and career enhancing behaviours engaging in lifelong learning.

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Avoiding ‘boiling frog’ syndrome
Most of us combine busy work and personal lives. We focus on getting things done, meeting timelines, finishing projects and writing reports. We’re active and constantly doing things. In the process, we may neglect thinking about where our careers are heading. In effect, increased workloads and responsibilities—whether they are at home or work— mean that we concentrate on what we need to do in the here and now. This attention to day to day activities at the expense of our futures is often referred to as the ‘boiling frog syndrome’. Why? It is said that to boil a frog you don’t drop it into a pot of boiling water because it will immediately jump out. Instead, you put it in a container of water at room temperature and slowly warm the water. The frog will swim contentedly, not noticing the change, until it is cooked. How does this story relate to career management? Think about the following statements:
● ●

‘I’m too busy to go to that development program.’ ‘It’s too much work applying for new jobs, and if I don’t get the job it will be a waste of my time.’ ‘I’m not putting my hand up to do that task, it’s not in my job description.’ ‘The way I’m doing things has worked for this long, why consider new ways? ‘I’m not really happy with my job, but at least I know what I’m doing.’ ‘I’m bored with my job, but I know the people so well, and a new workplace might not be as good.’

● ● ● ●

People with ‘boiling frog syndrome’ can often relate to these comments. Basically, like frogs, they swim around in the pot (not always contentedly) and don’t recognise the need to ‘jump’. They are ‘too busy’ to think about anything other than getting through the day. Career planning and professional development is forgotten in the face of workday demands. But, as you know, those demands may not only change, they may cease altogether. Jobs that seem so essential and important may suddenly disappear with organisational restructuring, or be combined with other tasks requiring new knowledge and skills. If we allow ourselves to become so caught up in daily routines that we don’t think about the future, we may well find ourselves in the difficult position of facing workplace changes we are not prepared to handle. In order to avoid the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome, we need to actively assess the work that we do, identify potential workplace issues and develop an effective plan for our career development.

Identifying job/career unrest
There are many reasons why we may enjoy our work and choose to pursue a particular career. We may be interested in the field we’re working in or in the people with whom we work. We may like the pay or the work hours. Perhaps the location is convenient and the job challenging and exciting. For some of us, our enjoyment is reliant on a combination of these factors. If, however, we’re unhappy at work, we often find that the opposite principles apply. Yet, it’s not always easy to identify the reasons behind our unhappiness ... which means that it’s difficult planning strategies to improve our overall work satisfaction. Feeling unhappy at work often leads to a desire to change jobs—this desire is referred to as ‘career unrest’.
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The many reasons for career unrest can include:
● ● ● ● ● ●

inadequate pay or conditions unreasonable workload excessive travel lack of interest or challenge bad work environment no room for promotion

● ●

restructuring discrepancy between personal and organisational values lack of security wanting to change lifestyle wanting more/less responsibility

● ● ● ●

developing career promotion partner’s relocation personal circumstances.

● ● ●

If you found yourself nodding sympathetically with one or more of these indicators, you may be experiencing job or career unrest. If you’ve already considered changing jobs, it’s important to identify why you’re unhappy before you launch into a new career direction. People often think that a new job will make them happy. But will it? Perhaps there are other factors influencing your levels of job satisfaction. The following issues could well be the cause of job dissatisfaction.

Job unrest
Almost everyone occasionally feels dissatisfied with aspects of their work. You may feel frustrated or bored with the budgets for which you have been responsible for the last five years, or with the lack of control you have over monetary reporting requirements. This frustration doesn’t mean that you’re no longer interested in financial management, rather that you’re dissatisfied with the way your skills are being used. In this case the obvious option would be to continue pursuing your desired career, but to look for another job than enables you to apply your skills more usefully.

Organisational/industry unrest
Organisations and industries change. So do individuals. These changes can sometimes mean that the values and directions you support are at odds with the agency’s goals. The processes, policies or principles of the organisation or industry may clash with your personal philosophies, leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Alternatively, you may enjoy your work but dislike your colleagues or find the politics of the work situation difficult to handle. These things don’t mean that you need to seek a new career. Instead you should consider moving to a work environment, team and/or employer more compatible with your needs.

Career content unrest
Ever felt that your skills and abilities were not being utilised? Or been in a situation where you’ve been expected to perform tasks beyond your skill level? Or felt disillusioned because your job wasn’t what you were expecting or as enjoyable as you’d hoped? Quite a few of us have experienced one or more of these conditions. If we are in this position we can either hope that our circumstances improve, approach management to discuss the mismatch of skills and expectations, or research new fields that relate to the work we do.

Career self unrest
All of us have beliefs about our careers and what they should involve. We expect to behave a certain way and to do certain things. If these expectations aren’t being met, it’s likely that we’ll find work disappointing, even meaningless. The answer is to find a career that suits our personal needs and philosophies.
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Personal/life unrest
Most of us have experienced times when we’ve struggled at work or found things difficult to deal with because of stress in our personal lives. Stressors, irrespective of whether they are related to relationships, illness, changes or additional responsibilities, can have a profound affect on our work performance and enjoyment—a fact we can sometimes overlook. Addressing personal life issues can often lead to greater work satisfaction. If it doesn’t, we need to identify career issues and address them more effectively. The exercise, Identifying Career Unrest 3, (Appendix C) will help you identify why you might be looking to change your current job or career and will assist in determining the best solutions.

Recognising and creating opportunities

4

Pursuing and developing a career involves a lot more than just taking advantage of opportunities if they arise. What happens, for instance, if they don’t? Where does that leave you? Although there are many people who impact on the choices and decisions we make, such as managers, family and friends, ultimately we are responsible for our careers. We’re the ones that need to recognise and create opportunities that will enable us to develop new skills, engage in satisfying and fulfilling employment and meet our goals. That said, what can you do?

Stay in the current job
If you’re in a job that is challenging, interesting or provides you with the experiences you need to further your career, there’s no need to do anything other than take up the opportunities that arise. Even if the job isn’t as attractive and rewarding as you may have hoped, it may not be convenient for you to move, particularly if you’re dealing with personal issues/life unrest. Changing jobs as a means of responding to difficulties in your private life is not the answer.

Enrich the current job
Performance management is a wonderful mechanism for discussing areas of work you enjoy, recognising factors that divert you from your career direction, and targeting skills and activities you would like to develop. By sharing this information with managers and identifying the types of experiences, tasks and projects you’re interested in, you increase the likelihood that you will receive organisational support for your career aspirations.

Seek promotion
Applying for jobs with increased responsibility and challenges can go a long way to letting others know that you’re interested in career advancement. Acting appointments, although sometimes criticised for being ‘a lot of work for little reward’, are practical opportunities for you to display your knowledge, skills, abilities andpotential shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re considering long term career possibilities.
3

This questionnaire is a product of Career design associates, Inc and can also be found at http://www.career-design.com/merchant/CareerSurvey.html—Identifying Career Unrest, see page 55 Stevens, Paul (1996) Stop Postponing the Rest of Your Life. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California

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Seek temporary assignments
Taking on a short term temporary assignment in another team, another workplace may seem both frightening and potentially a waste of time or effort. However, moving out of your comfort zone for a short period of time to work on a different project, with different people and in a potentially different workplace or culture can greatly assist your career development in a number of ways.
● ●

You can ‘try before you buy’ to see if it meets your expectations. You can use the opportunity to demonstrate skills and knowledge that may have been unrecognised. Your willingness to work with others and gain new experiences highlights your flexibility. Volunteering for one short term assignment can often result in requests to undertake other projects or activities, thus expanding your skill base and knowledge of different work areas and careers. The Background Briefing Paper on Appointment and Assignment Practices for Non Executives in the South Australian Public Service (available on the OCPE website at www.ocpe.sa.gov.au/home/publications/supporting-materials/) provides information on how this works in the SA public service.

● ●

Find a similar job but with different context
There may well be times when you’re not quite sure why you’re feeling dissatisfied: is it the job or the area in which you’re working? The answer is to look for a similar job, with similar tasks but a different context and focus. If you’re still dissatisfied, it’s obviously the job rather than the environment.

Move down
Traditionally moving down was perceived as a demotion: almost everyone wanted to move up the ladder towards jobs with higher pay and more responsibility. Today that’s not always the case. Not everyone wants the additional pressure and stress that comes with senior positions. Some of us prefer to balance our lives between work and family/ friends. Yet we may not come to this realisation until we find ourselves in positions where the accompanying anxiety and reduced personal time outweigh the financial and role benefits. The answer may be to take a job at a lower level: a job that is enjoyable, fulfilling and less personally demanding. Such a move doesn’t have to be within the same workplace. You may decide, for instance, to move to another team or division in order to gain new experiences in other areas. Unfortunately, not everyone will understand your reasons for moving down but that’s to be expected given your different values and workplace motivations. What is important is that you feel comfortable with your decisions.

Moving sideways
While traditionally the perfect career is characterised by successively moving from one step to the other, stepping sideways can give you the opportunities you need to develop your skills and increase your experience in roles that your current job may not offer. Moving down can also be viewed in this way, as it may be your dream to do a certain job, which for whatever reason you have not done up till now. To get to where you want to go in this dream profession you may need to consider starting at a lower level in order to get to the position you desire.

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When considering how to reach your career goals, whether you move sideways or down or choose another strategy, try to become more open minded when considering your options and avoid dwelling on the traditional notion that constantly moving up the career ladder translates into a perfect career.

Change business unit/agency
Every agency offers a different work environment, outcomes and approaches. Venturing out of an organisation in which you’ve worked for years can be a daunting prospect, but taking such a step also has the considerable advantage of enabling you to experience similar work from a different perspective, or completely different work where your skills are transferable. If you’re interested in an area, but lack experience at a practical level, you should not be disheartened. Rather if you seek work in a similar position/role to that which you currently occupy, you can apply your existing skills while learning more about the workplace and profession.

Propose a new job
Sometimes when we’ve worked for an organisation for a while, we recognise areas where a job or position could be created to address an area of need. It may be, for instance, that training is required in an area where you have both the knowledge and ability to develop and deliver a program. Or that with changes in team/division priorities a ‘gap’ has emerged that you know you could capably fill. Alternatively, you may recognise the need and be interested in developing the skills to address it. In situations such as these you need to be proactive, and the way to do this is to create a comprehensive proposal outlining the current situation, the area of need, and your solution. Now this may not mean that a new job is created or that, if it is, you will be invited to fill it. What it does do, however, is demonstrate our understanding of the organisation, your ability to recognise opportunities that will improve the agency’s service and your initiative and enthusiasm for undertaking additional work to improve organisational performance.

Parallel job
Taking on an additional job outside of the public service is a way of acquiring new experiences, developing new skills and expanding your knowledge. Not only can it expand your horizons, it also demonstrates your work ethic, your commitment to career development and provides information that can influence future work related decisions. But although parallel jobs can have significant benefits, it’s not a straightforward means of furthering your career aspirations. As public servants we cannot undertake additional work outside of the public service without permission. The Commissioner’s Circular 52 provides information and guidelines for chief executive officers and delegates when considering applications for permission to undertake employment outside the public service. If gaining permission proves to be too complex, you may consider changing to part time employment or working as a volunteer. Whichever path you choose, it’s important that you discuss these directions with your line manager.

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Impression management and career limiting behaviours
Impression management
We all create impressions whether we want to or not. People look at the way we dress, listen to the things we say, watch our use of physical space, observe our ability to meet commitments and form an opinion. While we can’t always determine exactly what that impression will be, it’s important that we consider the potential impact we have and try to forge a positive image. As to how we do this, think of the characteristics on which we make conscious and unconscious judgements about others, such as:
● ● ● ●

gender age appearance expression

● ● ●

eye contact posture distance

● ● ●

touch verbal and written communication skills personal care.

We are unable to change many of these things, and there’s no reason why we should. We don’t want to pretend to be someone we’re not or to fit into a particular mould. Rather, we want people to see beyond the packaging and notice our talents, strengths and characteristics. To reach that point, however, we need to make sure that we don’t alienate people by the things we do or say, such as:
● ● ●

interrupting others not listening ignoring non-verbal communication

● ●

displaying disregard for professional appearances failing to fulfil our obligations.

Impression management is about making people look beyond our obvious physical characteristics and recognise the knowledge, skills and qualities we have to offer. Pause for a minute and think about how you present yourself to other people.
● ● ●

How do you want them to perceive you? What things about you are they likely to notice? Why? What impact could these impressions have on your career?

In order to improve the impression we create, we need to:
● ●

accept our strengths and talents and capitalise on them whenever we can identify areas we feel are essential to our career development and find ways to gain the required knowledge, skills and experiences learn to ‘read’ people and situations so we can customise our communication style accordingly. Useful resources focusing on this area include: – – Goleman, Daniel (1999) Working with emotional intelligence. Bloomsbury, London. Weisinger, Hendrie (1998) Emotional intelligence at work: the untapped edge for success. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.

●

●

remember that we are ‘on show’ during work hours, irrespective of where we are and what we’re doing and our behaviour during lunch breaks, happy hours and staff parties will all impact on how others see us.

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Career limiting behaviours
The Center for Creative Leadership5 found that there are several behaviours that can limit our career prospects and impact on the impression we create in the work environment. These ‘career limiting’ actions are described below - hopefully you won’t identify with many of them! Poor interpersonal relationships:
● ● ● ● ● ●

You think more about getting promoted than about the job you’re in now. You have or are perceived to have an insensitive or abrasive style. You adopt a bullying approach in your interactions with others when under pressure. You tend to isolate yourself from others. You can be emotionally volatile and unpredictable. You have hurt a number of people in your career progression.

Difficulty in making strategic transitions:
● ● ●

You are unable to make the mental transition from technical manager to general manager. You have not adapted to the management culture. You do not handle pressure well.

Lack of follow-through:
● ● ● ●

You tend not to follow through on the promises you make and leave people hanging. You ‘make a splash’ and then move on without completing a job. You do not pay enough attention to detail. You have left a trail of little problems.

Over-dependence:
● ● ●

You have chosen to stay with the same manager for too long. You ‘burn out’ or run out of steam. You rely too much on your natural talent.

Strategic differences with management:
●

You disagree with higher levels of management about how the agency or department should be run. You cannot handle conflicts with an ineffective manager or managers with whom you disagree.

●

5

Center for Creative Leadership—http://www.ccl.org/CCLCommerce/index.aspx

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The importance of lifelong learning
‘The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.’
Morris Adler

Learning is a normal part of life for most of us ... it’s just that we don’t call it that. Instead we use such terms as ‘talking things over’, ‘reading’, ‘exploring’, ‘experimenting’, ‘trying something new’, ‘sharing’, ‘copying’ and ‘finding out’. In each case we’re actually learning something about ourselves, our abilities, other people and/or the world around us. The same should be true in terms of our work. Winning a position is just the beginning of what, for some of us, is a lifelong learning curve. If we’re to be valued employees that people want on their team and that management ‘can’t bear to lose’, we must learn from all our experiences, good, bad or indifferent. This doesn’t mean we have to enrol in a course or return to study. Rather, we need to keep looking for opportunities to improve and expand our knowledge and understanding. Our commitment to learning can be demonstrated in many different ways, including:
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

volunteering to do new things being open to alternatives participating in personal and professional development asking to be involved in training opportunities talking to different people with different jobs maintaining networks demonstrating enthusiasm learning from experiences and modelling that learning undertaking study—formal or informal—related to areas of interest.

Lifelong learning is an important stepping stone towards a rewarding and fulfilling career. Part of this process involves identifying the things we need to do to reach our career goals and then doing them, rather than simply sitting back—like a boiled frog— lacking the skills we need to be effective and feeling unappreciated, under utilised and bitter because we’re not being ‘given the opportunities’ we feel we deserve. We are responsible for our careers. We are the ones who need to take action if we’re to achieve our dreams. Others may support us, encourage us, offer us advice ... but in the end our careers are in our hands. We need to make the most of them.

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Notes
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Ghost of
“ I’m sure there should be another ghost who shows me how good my career can be...”

Career Future Success
“ Sorry. You’re not the only one having issues with your career. It’s been a busy night!” “ Thank goodness you’re here! I really need your help on this and I don’t want to waste any more time!” “ Well, I’m the Ghost of Career Future Success and I’m here to show you what you can and need to do to progress in your career planning.”

W

e’ve explored careers past and present, avoided career disasters by adopting survival strategies and are now about to embark on a

successful future. The Ghost of Career Future Success is probably the most important chapter in this guide, as it deals with positioning. And, in many ways, that’s exactly what career management is all about: positioning ourselves to take advantage of future opportunities. To do this, however, we need to consider what the future might look like and what opportunities could be available. But it is not enough to plan for a desired future. Our ability to achieve our career goals depends on flexibility, resilience and our ability to expect the unexpected.

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The only certainty we have is that the future we plan will be different from the future we experience. But, to some extent, we can minimise the variation between our dream and the reality by flexible, adaptable and responsive planning. Thus, this chapter begins by describing a very useful tool known as ‘scenario planning’. From there, it explores networking, mentoring and introduces the nationally developed Public Sector Training Package (PSTP), which is designed to address the career development of state and federal government employees.

Scenario planning
Scenario planning is a method for planning for the future by understanding the driving forces of change. Scenarios, in this case, are specially constructed stories about the future with each scenario representing a distinct, plausible world. The purpose of scenario planning is not to predict the upcoming events, but rather to show how different forces can manipulate the future in different directions. Once we’ve identified these forces we can then position ourselves for when, or if, they happen. The usefulness of scenario planning lies in its ability to enhance our understanding of potential futures, thus enabling us to better respond to situations when they emerge. Try working through the following steps. You may be surprised by what you discover!

Scenario planning process
Step 1 Brainstorm possible scenarios of what the future world of work will look like.
● ● ● ● ● ●

Think further—5 to 10 years Think broader—consider the range of possible futures Where is the world (your agency, public service, profession) going? What is it going to look like? Use what you know to consider what your future options might be Take into account the certainties, uncertainties and key drivers determining the environment in which you operate What are some of the current and emerging key issues that your industry/profession/agency has to contend with? What events in the past can you identify that have shaped today and might influence tomorrow? What major constraints are you experiencing inside or outside your organisation or profession (financial, legislative, legal, political, environmental, technological etc)? Which of these issues do you think will impact on your industry/agency/profession? Where might you be in 2010? If this is what your work and personal world is like, what should you do to position yourself for new opportunities?

●

●

●

● ● ●

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Step 2
●

Analyse and develop at least two very different scenarios to describe possible and plausible futures and develop a plan that will prepare you for them in their eventuality.

Develop and/or test your career positioning and development strategies to address each of these visions in the future. Test your career options against various views of the future —will the tasks you’re performing now be relevant? Positioning: prepare yourself for the future—do you require further education, up skilling, experience, networks? Gain skills that will go across BOTH scenarios, build relationships that are critical to both scenarios, acquire relevant knowledge for both.

●

●

●

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

What
Skills Knowledge Networks will I need in this scenario?

What
Skills Knowledge Networks will I need in this scenario?

Get a mentor or coach

Work on obtaining the COMMON
Skills Knowledge Networks required by both scenarios

Nominate to be part of the projects that will give you new skills and knowledge

Undertake new study

Attend forums and conferences on relevant topics

Training programs

Subscribe to journals to keep up to date with the latest information

Join associations for networking

Scenario planning is very important for future thinking and planning, but to make the most of these potential futures we must start implementing our plans now.
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Networking
Networking involves developing and maintaining relationships with others for mutual benefit and is perhaps one of the most important forms of career advancement. Your networks are a venue for the mutual sharing of information and ideas and can provide assistance with work related issues when needed. These networks, in turn, can introduce you to their networks and in so doing expand your organisational and professional links along with your options and opportunities. Involvement with professional associations and/or networking groups not only offers a formal (and occasionally informal) structure for discovering information and learning of new workplace events and possible employment vacancies, it also ensures that you keep up to date with the latest professional developments.

Mentoring
Mentoring usually involves an experienced senior member of the organisation taking a younger employee ‘under their wing’ and sharing their knowledge, skills and insights. In this situation there isn’t a particular goal to be achieved; rather the focus is on building a supportive relationship that will encourage and foster the individual’s professional development. Having a mentor can be an extremely valuable way of learning. A good mentor may discuss career options, introduce you to other people, provide resources, organise new work experiences to enhance your skill development, help you understand the organisational culture and support you on your learning journey. More information on mentoring can be obtained from Rickshaws, Cruise Ships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey.

Careers in the public sector
There are many benefits to working in the public sector and the amazing array of career options is one of them. You only need to look through the weekly Notice of Vacancies (NOV), the SA Government recruitment website, to see the variety of jobs available. The NOV is a fantastic tool for career planning because it provides an overview of current employment prospects and allows you to identify those you find of interest. Most job advertisements have job and person specifications (J&PS) that can be downloaded and if they don’t, the contact person will be able to give you the information you desire. www.vacancies.sa.gov.au Looking through the J&PS of appealing jobs enables you to discover the qualifications, characteristics, knowledge and experience a person is expected to have in order to successfully work in the area. This is important information if you’re considering pursuing a particular pathway. Another way to explore jobs and careers is through informational interviewing such as interviewing a person about the work they do. In this case the emphasis is on acquiring information, not winning a position. Adopting this approach allows you to find out about how people moved into their job, the challenges and opportunities they face and the stresses and rewards they’ve encountered. Useful questions include:
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

What are the major tasks? What skills are required? What are the greatest demands of the job? What is the work environment like (physicality, resources, workload, pace and people)? What are the positives to this work? What are the negatives? What are the possibilities for advancement or promotion? What are related/similar occupations? Who else should I talk to about this occupation?
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One of the many advantages of working in the public sector is the ability to move across agencies and work in short term contracts (3 to 12 months) in areas where we can add to our portfolio of skills, knowledge and networks. As you can see, there are various methods you can use to develop the skills, gain the knowledge and acquire the experience needed for career development. It’s up to you to make the most of them. If you’re interested in exploring learning options, access a copy of Rickshaws, Cruise Ships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey, produced by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE).

The Public Sector Training Package (PSTP)
Probably the most useful career development tool for public servants is the Public Sector Training Package (PSTP). Irrespective of whether you’re interested in starting a new career, enhancing your current career, or exploring the types of work that exist, the PSTP is the perfect tool.

What are Training Packages?
Training Packages detail the skills and knowledge (known as competencies) required for effective performance within a particular industry. Training Packages exist in such diverse industries as building and furnishing, business and management, community services, engineering, laboratory operations, veterinary nursing, and many more. Training Packages are not training courses. Rather, they outline the competencies that a person must achieve if they are to work in a particular job at a particular level of responsibility. They also describe the performance criteria used to assess whether a person meets the specified standards. As for how the training occurs, this is determined by the workplace, the training provider and the individual.

What is the Public Sector Training Package?
The PSTP contains all the competency standards deemed relevant to public servants working in state and Commonwealth governments, and there are over 360 standards in all. They, in turn, have been grouped into 56 qualifications beginning with Certificate II and encompassing all areas up to the Advanced Diploma6. Needless to say, there are many competency standards common to all employees. These are found in the key area ‘Working in Government’ and include such skills and activities as complying with legislation, supporting policy, working ethically and communicating effectively within teams and organisations. These are known as ‘core’ competencies because they are fundamental to our work. The actual number of core competencies an individual needs to achieve to receive a qualification depends on the level and area of the qualification. That said, the Training Package is quite flexible, meaning that you can undertake selected units or even just one unit rather than completing a full qualification. If you choose to complete a full qualification at a later date, you may be able to put the unit or units you have obtained towards that qualification.
6

See Appendix E for a list of the qualifications available in the PSTP.

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What does it mean to be competent? What do you need to do to become competent?
The diagram below provides a clear, concise definition of competency based training.

Becoming competent
You need the skills to perform the task You need the knowledge to explain why you do the task this way You need to perform the task Behave the right way. Get the job done. You need to perform the task the way your organisation expects it to be performed. You meet organisational standards. You need to perform the task to the same level consistently over a number of times in a range of situations.

Once you can do all these things, you are competent!

To be competent is to perform a task to the prescribed standard. If you can’t meet those standards you need more practice and/or additional training. Concepts such as ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ have no place in competency based training. You are either ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’. An advantage of competency based training is that the standards are nationally recognised. This means that if you achieve competency in a nationally accredited qualification or competency unit in South Australia, your qualification or achievement will be recognised in all Australian states and territories.

Where do competency based standards come from?
Many organisations have competency statements describing the knowledge and skills required by their workers. These documents are written to meet the organisation’s needs and often relate to staff recruitment, development and succession planning 7. Nationally recognised competency standards are different in that they focus on the industry, such as hospitality or community services, rather than a particular workplace or agency. The creation of these standards involves Australia wide consultation with organisations working in the area and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) involved in training new and existing employees. Together, these groups and individuals identify the comprehensive range of skills and abilities required of people working in their industry—skills that range from entry level (for trainees) to the highly complex (for senior management).
7

See Appendix F for more information on units of competency and how to read them.
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Because all industries require this vast array of skills, national competencies are written at different levels, so we have the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). If you look at the table below, you will see that the AQF level corresponds to a particular qualification.

Secondary School

AQF Level 11 10 9 8 7 6 5

VET Sector

Higher Education Sector Doctoral Degree Masters Degree Graduate Diploma Graduate Certificate

................... Bachelor Degree
Advanced Diploma Diploma Certificate IV Certificate III Certificate II Certificate I Advanced Diploma Diploma

Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

4 3 2 1

Nationally recognised competencies are grouped in Training Packages to form qualifications at all levels of the AQF. Within these Training Packages there are rules about the competencies individuals are required to have to obtain a qualification (core competencies), and those they can select (elective competencies) to complete the qualification. Within the Certificate III in Government, for example, participants are required to complete seven core competencies specified in the PSTP (more details about this package are provided on the following page), and four elective competencies. This means if you were working in procurement in the public sector, you could select electives from the Certificate III in Government (Procurement and Contracting). The competencies would thus relate directly to your work environment and provide us with a building block towards a nationally recognised qualification. And, as mentioned above and highlighted in the AQF chart, qualifications range from Certificate I (entry level) up to the Advanced Diploma or Degree level (level 7).

To learn about the competency standards that apply to your specific work area or relate to your career ambitions, you need to venture into the world of vocational education and training (VET). If you have internet access you may like to visit the following websites. For information about VET and all Training Packages: Australian National Training Authority - www.anta.gov.au National Training Information System - www.ntis.gov.au For information about the Public Sector Training Package (PSTP): Public Service Education and Training Australia - www.pseta.com.au Office for the Commissioner for Public Employment - www.ocpe.sa.gov.au/ learning_and_development/

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How to use the PSTP for career planning and development
The PSTP contains all the competencies required by public servants in areas that do not already have their own Training Package. Specialists working in ForestrySA for instance, can refer to the Forestry Training Package for the competencies and qualifications available in their industry. Similarly, professionals in the Department of Health and the Department of Families and Communities (social workers and child protection workers, for example) will find the Community Services Training Package and the Health Training Package relevant to their work. If you’d like more information on the complete array of available Training Packages, visit the National Training Information Service (NTIS) website at www.ntis.gov.au and search under ‘Training Packages’.

The PSTP Key Areas table
The Key Areas table categorises all the units of competency from the PSTP, as well as those units imported from other Training Packages, under the 29 Key Areas of the PSTP 8 This not only . enables you to see the areas of work involved in the public sector, it also describes the competencies required by someone working in that area. This means that if you want to explore other career options or alternatives you can refer to the Key Areas table for ideas. While the table only lists unit titles, accessing the complete unit of competency is not difficult. 9 You can either obtain a copy of the PSTP from your workplace or view and download the required material from the PSETA (the developers of the PSTP) website at www.pseta.com.au. A useful quality of the PSTP is that it allows you to undertake one or more units as you see fit. You don’t have to pursue a full qualification if you don’t wish to do so. Thus, you can gain the knowledge and skills when you require them rather than being caught up in a long term study program, which may not meet your needs. The following chart outlines how to use the PSTP for career planning and development.

8 9

See Appendix E for a list of the Key Areas of the PSTP . See Appendix F for more information on units of competency and how to read them.

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Public Sector Training Package

STARTING

POINTS:

Key Areas table Qualifications Units

Get an idea of all the different areas of work in the public sector Decide on the AQF level of the qualification appropriate to your situation, eg Certificate III, Diploma

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Decide on a qualification key area

Select relevant unit(s) that will fulfill your need, skill gap or career goal

Have a look at the competencies expected of someone working in this area
Will your current job allow you to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required at your preferred level? Which electives will further your career goal and prospects?

Conduct a self assessment of the unit(s) to see where your current skills and knowledge lie against the unit(s)

Read the full units of competency listed in the key area to see what skills, knowledge and behaviours you will need to have to successfully work in this area Select electives from the PSTP or any other Training Package

Already competent and have evidence to prove it

Not yet competent and need training

Recognition of Current Competency

Develop an assessment plan

Develop a training plan

Meet with an accredited assessor from a Registered Training Organisation and present your evidence

Gather a portfolio of evidence for the units

Undertake assessment activities

Undertake training activities

You receive a Statement of Attainment for the unit(s) that you have undertaken or a certificate recognising your achievement of a full qualification

Assessor decides you are Competent

Assessor decides you are Not Yet Competent

Refer to OCPE publication Rickshaws, Cruiseships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey

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Additional information about gaining qualifications and/or being accredited with units of competency

Recognition of Current Competency
The chart refers to Recognition of Current Competency (RCC). This means that if you have developed a particular competency within the workplace and would like to have it formally recognised, you simply prove to an accredited workplace assessor that you can meet the specified performance criteria. The assessor isn’t interested in how you developed the competency, just that you are competent. So, how do you prove competency? You collect evidence to demonstrate your abilities (the type of evidence you can use is described on page 41–42). This material will enable the workplace assessor to evaluate your skills and, ideally, recognise your current competence. People sometimes regard the RCC process as a lot of work. It shouldn’t be. Generally, RCC is a positive experience because it provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your learning, skills and competencies. In many cases you may be surprised at the extent of your abilities. Furthermore, gathering information about your competence can provide valuable material for your curriculum vitae. And, as an added benefit, working through the RCC procedure helps to reinforce your learning.

Training and assessment
If you want to learn new skills and/or gain new knowledge, some form of professional development is required. You may not want to undertake a full qualification, or you may want the qualification but prefer to undertake selected units when you need them. That’s not a problem. You can undertake different units with different training organisations and then put all the Statements of Attainment together to give to one RTO, who will issue the appropriate qualification. You don’t need to worry about studying with more than one training provider. All RTOs must recognise Statements of Attainment from other RTOs, regardless of the state or territory in which they were obtained. If you choose to do this, it’s important to keep track of the units you’ve undertaken to ensure that they form a full qualification. Should you require additional help with this task, the OCPE has developed a tool that enables you to monitor the units you’ve completed as well as identifying the qualifications related to each unit. This mechanism, known as ‘Accelerate’, is available online and can be found at the OCPE website at www.ocpe.sa.gov.au/ learning_and_development/vocational_education_and_training/accelerate/. Another particularly appealing aspect to competency based training is that anyone can enrol to study Training Package units. Unlike universities with their stringent entry requirements, you don’t need certain grades to be accepted and you don’t need to work your way, step by step, through various levels of a qualification. With Training Packages you can begin an Advanced Diploma if you wish, provided you can, or will have the opportunity to, demonstrate competence in the units of competency you are undertaking. And therein lies a dilemma. While you can enrol in units at the AQF level of your choice, you need to consider whether you’ll be able to meet the evidence and assessment requirements given your current position in the workplace.

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Confused? Don’t be. Imagine, for example, that you are currently working as an ASO2 but that your goal is to move into management. It would be unrealistic to enrol in an Advanced Diploma of Government (Management), because you would not have the opportunities to demonstrate the skills necessary for someone working at an advanced level (approximately an ASO6 and equivalent). Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t aim for more advanced goals. If you’re in a supportive workplace you may be able to assume higher level duties—duties that enable you to learn and develop competence. Unfortunately, not all workplaces are able to do this. Workloads, staffing and budgetary issues will affect employers’ abilities to assist employees in career development programs. If you do find yourself in situations where you want to further your career but are unable to undertake higher level tasks and responsibilities, you can still work towards your desired goals: you simply need to approach the matter strategically. Begin by looking closely at the knowledge and skills that underpin the competency (they are listed in the Evidence Guide). These are the skills and knowledge you are assumed to have in order to demonstrate competence. Such skills can often be gained in any position at any level. Let’s return to the competency cited at the beginning of the chapter: Work Effectively with Diversity. You could begin your journey towards competency by learning about anti discrimination legislation, the principles of cross cultural awareness, and communication skills. Not only would these skills assist you in your current position, they would also prepare you for demonstrating competence at a later stage. Alternatively, you may choose to undertake non-accredited training (training that is not nationally recognised). Although you will not receive formal recognition for your participation, the range of short courses and workshops delivered by training providers and agencies is extensive and the sessions may well help you to develop the knowledge and skills you need. If you’re interested in pursuing training, be it accredited or non-accredited, it’s a good idea to contact the HR personnel within your agency for assistance in identifying the professional development that suits your needs.

Practical matters
Unfortunately, training qualifications and units from Training Packages are not offered every year on an ongoing basis. RTOs have their own schedules for where and when they deliver units of training. Therefore, it’s very important that you determine when you want to engage in training and how you want to do so. As you know, training can be undertaken both on the job and off the job. The resource, Rickshaws, Cruise Ships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey, helps you to identify preferred learning methods and takes you through an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. If you require training from an off the job training program, you should contact staff in your organisation’s HR area to see if they can offer advice or recommendations. A number of government agencies run selected training programs from the PSTP and you may be able to tap into one. Information about these courses can be obtained from your agency’s HR area or from the OCPE website at www.ocpe.sa.gov.au. RTOs, such as TAFE and privately owned companies, frequently offer Public Sector Training Package qualifications. You would need to contact them directly to find out more. If and when you do so, you need to remember that off the job training programs must include an assessment component. To find out which RTOs provide training and assessment against units or qualifications, you can visit the NTIS website at www.ntis.gov.au.
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Career Future Success

If you choose to undertake on the job training you will still need to be assessed by an assessor from an RTO who is accredited to issue a Statement of Attainment for units or a full qualification. Once again the NTIS website can help identify an appropriate RTO.

Evidence for assessment
To be deemed competent, be it through the RCC process or through completing a training program, you must provide evidence. What constitutes evidence? Evidence is anything that demonstrates your ability to meet the competency standard. There are many resources you can use to help identify suitable evidence. RTOs and workplace assessors will have many ideas. Your managers and peers may be of assistance, particularly if they are undertaking competency based learning themselves. The OCPE can also provide assistance. It has a number of Recognition of Current Competence Guides - including the Advanced Diploma of Government (Human Resources) and the Certificate III and IV in Government—that describe suitable evidence. The list below, taken from one of these guides, offers some possibilities, including:
● ●

samples of your work—letters, articles, flowcharts, memos, reports statements from employers, colleagues, clients or relevant organisations about the tasks you’ve undertaken and the quality of your performance references relating to community involvement (where relevant) copies of reports, certificates, diplomas, statements of attainment and qualifications relating to your education/training (make sure to include a copy of the course content) outlines of relevant courses/workshops you’ve attended (with copies of the content) minutes of meetings you’ve attended indicating your involvement and activities copies of performance appraisals reports outlining work responsibilities as they relate to the various units of competence (this could include a description of the relevant tasks you’ve performed or why you adopted a particular course of action and its impact) personal profiles or curriculum vitaes highlighting relevant experiences diary entries describing work tasks/performance records of enquiries/customer/colleague contact that reveal relevant knowledge/skills verbal evidence, such as responses to questions and hypothetical situations that reveal the required level of knowledge and skill statements describing how you’ve tackled problems and communicated with peers, clients and management testimonials from mentors video tapes showing your involvement in various activities/performing specified tasks audio tapes photographs of relevant work with a statement of verification from your manager or supervisor workplace observations materials you’ve developed, such as websites, cartoons, policies, procedures and brochures anything you believe demonstrates your competence.

● ●

● ● ● ●

● ● ● ●

●

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

More detailed information about the nature of evidence is included in the previously mentioned RCC guides.
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Don’t worry, you don’t need to collect all of the evidence listed above. You only need enough to demonstrate that you are competent. Usually this means you will need to provide one or more pieces of evidence for each of the performance criteria in a competency standard. Remember though that one piece of evidence can be used to demonstrate a number of things. It may, for instance, illustrate your competence in a number of performance criteria and competencies. If there are gaps in your evidence, the workplace assessor will either ask for additional information or will assist you in identifying training and development opportunities that will enable you to gain competency in those particular areas. In many cases the workplace assessor will also ask questions to either clarify information or to further their understanding of your abilities. Once competency has been proven, the RTO will either issue you with a Statement of Attainment for the individual unit or a Certificate if you’ve completed an entire qualification.

How completed units and/or qualifications can advance your career.
Completing a unit of competency or achieving a full qualification means you have gained new knowledge and skills that will not only help you perform your current job better but stands you in good stead in applying for other jobs. Public service job applications normally ask you to detail your skills, knowledge and experience in certain areas of competency. Having achieved a unit or qualification gives you strong evidence to include in your application. The Statement of Attainment or qualification provides confirmation that you have demonstrated competency using actual workplace examples. More than this, however, the evidence you use to prove your competence to the assessor can be linked to the selection criteria, thus providing additional information in support of your claims. And, finally, because the PSTP is recognised by all state, territory and federal public sectors and is the basis for public sector training and development, any unit of competency or qualification you have gained is transferable. You need to proudly acknowledge these achievements in your curriculum vitae.

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Notes
...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

Conclusion
Back to the present!
The friendly ghosts of The Guide to Managing Your Career in the Public Sector have taken us on a journey from the past, through the present and explored two very different futures: those of regret and success. Your actions now will determine the shape your future takes.
..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

The Ghost of Career Past acknowledged that the world of work has changed and discussed the implications those changes have for today’s workforce. The Ghost of Career Present enabled you to assess your current situations and discussed the self knowledge and insights required to plan for the future. A variety of tools were identified that can assist with this process. The next two ghosts described two possible futures: one of regret where the potential consequences of lethargy were discussed and strategies for responding to negative events were explored. The other, the Ghost of Career Future Success, identified a variety of ways to plan for your career and position yourself for meeting your career goals both now and in the future. Most importantly, this Ghost introduced the Public Sector Training Package, the career development tool for public sector employees. So, having travelled backwards and forwards in time, what are you intending to do now? Will your career be one of future regret? Or will you take steps to ensure that your career is a future success? Your future is in your hands. Use the information provided to create and pursue an interesting, rewarding and satisfying career path. After all, if you’re going to spend half your life working, you may as well enjoy it!

Appendix A .................................................................. 40 Technical and Personal Skills Identification Charts Appendix B .................................................................. 41 Career Drivers Questionnaire Appendix C ................................................................. 51 Identifying Career Unrest Questionnaire Appendix D ................................................................. 54 Chart—How to use the PSTP for career planning and development Appendix E .................................................................. 55 Qualifications and Key Areas of the PSTP Appendix F .................................................................. 57 How to read a unit of competency

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APPENDIX A

Technical Skills Identification
Skill/Knowledge
Counselling Project management

How I have used/developed this skill/knowledge
5 years as volunteer telephone counsellor with Lifeline. Completed project management training and undertook policy review project I reduced customer complaints in my unit by more than 20% by....... Gained detailed knowledge on all legislation relevant to equal opportunity, ie Equal Opportunity Act 1984, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, sections of the Public Sector Management Act 1995, through my role in HR.

Customer service

Equal opportunity legislation

Editing Public speaking Computer programming Policy development Italian language

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APPENDIX A (continued)

Personal Skills Identification
Skill
Time management Communication Teamwork Leadership Negotiation Problem solving Budget management Decision making Initiative

How I have used/developed this skill

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APPENDIX B

Career Drivers Questionnaire
This exercise will help you to concentrate on these motives and will help in the overall process of career decision making now and in the future. A word of warning before you begin - sometimes you will find yourself struggling to compare two items that appear equally relevant or irrelevant. But, please persist. This technique forces you to weigh up difficult choices. There are no right or wrong answers - it depends upon personal preferences, so please try to be as honest and objective as you can.

Instructions
Below are listed 36 pairs of reasons often given by people when asked what it is they seek and need from a career.
●

You have three points to award—no more, no less—for each pair of questions So you most decide on the distribution of these three points between each pair of questions. For example: A = 3 points B = 0 points or A = 2 points B = 1 point or A = 1 point B = 2 points or A = 0 points B = 3 points

●

There are no right or wrong answers - your distribution of the three points for each pair depends on your own personal preference, so be honest and objective. Work quickly and instinctively through the exercise. It should take you about 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Don’t forget—you can only allocate a total of three points for each pair of questions. Write the numbers in the squares next to the questions.

●

Career Drivers Survey— Francis, Dave (1994) Managing your own career. Harper Collins Publishers.

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Reminder: The total for each pair of questions should be no more than 3 points A 1 I will only be satisfied with an unusually high standard of living. I wish to have considerable influence over other people. 2 I would obtain particular satisfaction by being able to freely choose what I do. I want to make quite sure that I will be financially secure. 3 I want to use my creative abilities in my work. It is particularly important to me that I work with people I like. 4 I only feel satisfied if the output from my job has real value in itself. I want to be an expert in the things I do. 5 6 I would enjoy feeling that people look up to me. Not to put too fine a point on it, I want to be wealthy. I want a substantial leadership role at work. I would want to do that which is meaningful to me, even though it may not gain tangible rewards. 7 I want to feel that I have gained a hard-won expertise. I want to create things that people associate with me alone. 8 I seek deep social relationships with other people in my work. I would get satisfaction from deciding how I spend my time. 9 I will not be content unless I have ample material possessions. I want to demonstrate to my own satisfaction that I really know my discipline or field of expertise. 10 11 12 My work is part of my search for meaning in life. I want the things that I produce to bear my name. I seek to be able to afford anything I want. A job with long-term security really appeals to me. I seek a role that gives me substantial influence over others. I would enjoy being a specialist in my field. 13 It is important to me that my work makes a positive contribution to the wider community. Close relationships with other people at work are important to me. 14 15 I want my personal creativity to be extensively used. I would prefer to be my own master. Close relationships with other people at work would give me special satisfaction. I want to look ahead in my life and feel confident that I will always be OK. Total each column—transfer results to next page B C D E F G H I

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APPENDIX B (continued)

Reminder: The total for each pair of questions should be no more than three points

A Transfer results from previous page here. 16 17 18 I want to be able to spend money easily. I want to be genuinely innovative in my work. Frankly, I want to tell other people what to do. For me, being close to others is really the important thing. I look upon my career as part of a search for greater meaning in life. I have found that I want to take full responsibility for my own decisions. 19 20 21 I would enjoy a reputation as a real specialist. I would only feel relaxed if I was in a secure career. I desire the trappings of wealth. I want to get to know new people through my work. I would like to play roles that give me control over how others perform. It is important that I can choose for myself the tasks that I undertake. 22 I would devote myself to work if I believed that the output would be worthwhile in itself. I would take great comfort from knowing how I will stand on my retirement day. 23 Close relationships with people at work would make it difficult for me to make a career move. Being recognised as part of the ‘establishment’ is important to me. 24 25 I would enjoy being in charge of people and resources. I want to create things that no one else has done before. At the end of the day, I would want to do what I believe is important, not that which simply promotes my career. I seek public recognition. 26 27 28 29 30 I want to do something distinctively different from others. I usually take the safe option. I want other people to look to me for leadership. Social status is an important motivator for me. A high standard of living attracts me. I wish to avoid being tightly controlled by a boss at work. I want my products to have my own name on them. I seek formal recognition by others of my achievements. I prefer to be in charge. I feel concerned when I cannot see a long way ahead in my career. Total each column—transfer results to next page

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

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APPENDIX B (continued)

A Transfer results from previous page here. 31 I would enjoy being a person who had valuable specialist knowledge. I would get satisfaction from not having to answer to other people. 32 33 I would dislike being a cog in a large wheel. It would give me satisfaction to have a high-status job. I am prepared to do most things for material reward. I see work as a means of enriching my personal development. 34 I want to have a prestigious position in any organisation for which I work. A secure future attracts me every time. 35 When I have congenial social relationships nothing else really matters. Being able to make an expert contribution would give me particular satisfaction. 36 I would enjoy the status symbols which come with senior positions. I aspire to achieve a high level of specialist competence. Total each column (should add up to a total of 108 points) A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

Rank your scores, with the letter with the highest score at the top. Highest score =

Highest score =

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APPENDIX B (continued)

What the scores mean

Item A

Meaning Material Rewards: seeking possessions, wealth and a high standard of living

B

Power/Influence: seeking to be in control of people and resources.

C

Search for Meaning: seeking to do things which are believed to be valuable for their own sake.

D

Expertise: seeking to gain a high level of accomplishment in a specialised field.

E

Creativity: seeking to innovate and be identified with original and different output.

F

Affiliation/Social Relationships: seeking harmonious and rewarding relationships with others at work.

G

Autonomy/Independence: seeking to be independent and able to make key decisions for yourself.

H

Security: wanting a relatively safe and predictable future.

I

Status: seeking to be recognised, admired and respected by others through your work.

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More detailed explanation of each score:

A. Material Rewards: seeking possessions, wealth, and a high standard of living. Material rewards are defined as tangible assets, including money, possessions, quality of housing, and other material possessions. People with material rewards as a career driver take decisions about future work life primarily to enhance their material wellbeing. They seek roles which provide a high income, and they take on tasks that may be unfulfilling or uncongenial but which provide a high income or other material rewards. For example, they may move house or even emigrate only for material advantage. The key concern is wealth.

B. Power/Influence: seeking to be in control of people and resources. Power/influence is defined as wanting to be dominant and to have others behave in subordinate roles; also connected is a need to take decisions about policy and how resources are expended. People who have power/influence as a career driver take decisions primarily to increase the extent of their personal control over people and situations. They attempt to move towards the centre of organisations and gain formal and informal power. They get satisfaction from deciding what should be done and who should do it, and they are often uncomfortable in subordinate roles. People with power/influence as a key driver seem to gravitate towards managerial or political roles. They are proactive (initiating), they use personal power, and they have high selfconfidence and clear ideas about what should be done. They are concerned with impact. The key concern is control.

C. Search for Meaning: seeking to do things which are believed to be valuable for their own sake. Search for meaning is defined as being motivated to do things considered to be a contribution to something bigger, finer or greater than the individual according to religious, emotional, moral, social or intellectual criteria. People with the search for meaning as a career driver will take decisions which are explicable only in the context of their personal beliefs and values. This may take the form of helping others rather than helping themselves. Personal fulfilment is the ultimate payoff, and they may make considerable sacrifices in order to follow their inner beliefs. The key concern is contribution.

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APPENDIX B (continued)

D. Expertise: seeking to gain a high level of accomplishment in a specialised field. Expertise is defined as specialist knowledge, skills, competence and capacity to perform unusual, difficult or specialised activities. People with expertise as a career driver work hard to gain a depth of competence in limited but specified fields and will strive to maintain their specialist capability. They dislike going outside their defined area. One of their primary sources of satisfaction is being valued as an expert. The expertise may be mechanical, craft, intellectual, scientific or practical. So both a blacksmith and an accountant probably have expertise as a career driver. Professional managers can be included in this category, especially those with formal training in management sciences. People driven by expertise structure their working lives around a defined discipline. The context and challenge of the work determines their behaviour. Generally, professional or trade qualifications are seen as essential entry qualifications. Since most disciplines are continuously developing, the specialist keeps up to date with journals, conferences, study programmes and so on. The key concern is mastery.

E. Creativity: seeking to innovate and be identified with original and different output. Creativity is defined as devising something new which bears the name of the originator. This may be a work of science, art, literature, research, architecture, an entrepreneurial activity or even a form of entertainment. People with creativity as a career driver do things which are distinctly different from those which others do, and they want to own the results. The individual’s name is closely associated with his or her products. Genuine innovation is very highly prized. People driven by creativity derive excitement from breaking new ground. They’re stimulated by puzzles, riddles, challenges and problems. They can tolerate setbacks or failures without letting them destroy optimism. A feeling of accomplishment in producing something novel is key. People with this driver are willing to take decisions which may result in disadvantage if it means they can work in creative ways. They often prefer a solitary or small team environment to large bureaucratic systems. The key concern is originality.

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APPENDIX B (continued)

F. Affiliation/Social Relationships: seeking harmonious and rewarding relationships with others at work. Affiliation is defined as striving to be close to others, enjoying bonds of friendship and being enriched by human relationships. People who have affiliation as a career driver take initiatives to develop deep and fulfilling relationships with others. These bonds become extremely important to them. They put their feelings for others above self-aggrandisement and preserve continuity in important relationships. They may continue with unsatisfactory or unfulfilling jobs because of the quality of their relationships with others. Their commitment is to people, not to task, position or organisational goals. The key concern is closeness.

G. Autonomy/Independence: seeking to be independent and able to make key decisions for yourself. Autonomy is defined as taking personal responsibility for the structure, processes and objectives of daily life. People with autonomy as a career driver act to increase the amount of control they have over their own working lives. They resist attempts by organisations to put them in boxes. They identify, and then fight, constraints. People like this often fail to cope well with bureaucracy and seek to become their own masters. They enjoy feeling ‘I did it all’, and they prefer to work alone or with a small team which they lead. The desire for independence is very influential in autonomy-driven individuals. They do not like to be directed by others. They experience the procedures, systems, conventions and protocols of others as irritants. Restrictions evoke hostility or fury and their response is to create environments where the individual sets his or her rules. Sometimes such people can function happily in organisations where they negotiate a good deal of psychological space for themselves. This type of person would sacrifice organisational position for self-direction. There is survey evidence that those who are entrepreneurial are strong in this driver. The key concern is choice.

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APPENDIX B (continued)

H. Security: wanting a relatively safe and predictable future. Security is defined as wanting to know the future and to avoid being exposed to unpredictable risks. People with security as a career driver take decisions which help them to feel relaxed about their future. Their primary goal is high predictability, rather than high income. They see life as a journey to be undertaken by the safest routes with the best maps and guides available. This type of person chooses employers after careful consideration of their stability and record of looking after employees. They may associate security with membership of blue chip companies or institutions. They make career choices with the future in mind. If a promotion opportunity substantially increases doubt about the future, they may well reject it. People driven by security accept what the world has to offer rather than taking a radical stance; they evade conflicts which could become make or break. They undergo training to increase their worth to the parent organisation. Until recently security was seen to be related to long service, but this is no longer always the case and the security-driven person may well move from organisation to organisation in order to build breadth of experience which results in increased personal marketability and ‘security’ in a rapidly changing labour market. The key concern is assurance.

I. Status: seeking to be recognised, admired and respected by others through your work. Status is defined as wanting the esteem of others and to be highly regarded. Status is demonstrated by symbols, formal recognition and acceptance into privileged groups. People with status as a career driver undertake whatever actions are needed in order to enhance their prestige. This includes making personal contacts with influential people, taking responsible assignments and self-publicising. They may seek positions of power and authority, but their desire is for the prestige of the position rather than the exercise of control. Status is not directly related to social class. For example, some people value being recognised as an authority on art or as a person with outstanding fashion sense. The person is motivated by a desire to leave an impression on others and be recognised as someone worthy or special. The key concern is position.

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APPENDIX C

Identify Career Unrest
Consider the following questions about your work situation to get some clues about why you are wanting to change jobs.

Level I: Job Unrest
Mark any statement that is NOT TRUE for you:

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

I have impact on and control of most decisions affecting my work. Management provides adequate support for my work. I like the physical setting of my job. I like the hours I work. I like the people I work with. I am paid on a level equal to my responsibilities. My co-workers appreciate and respect my work. My agency treats people fairly and ethically. I am comfortable communicating with my co-workers and management. Management has reasonable expectations and goals for my job.

If you marked three or more statements in this section, you may be suffering from Job Unrest. Job Unrest can be problems specific to Work Environment, Negative Corporate Culture, Poor Management and Communication, Dramatically Increased Workloads, Erratic Changes in Management, Hours, Salary, or Travel.

Level II: Organisational/Industry Unrest Mark any statement that is NOT TRUE for you:

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

I can see myself in the same career 10 years from now. I feel I have control over my career. I can deal effectively with change and uncertainty. My career field has more opportunities now than it did 3 to 5 years ago. My industry is stable and I can count on keeping a good job. I have opportunities for growth and learning in my agency. I am aware of my options and have an alternative career plan. I ask for what I need to achieve my career goals. I keep abreast of changes and trends that affect my career. I know the steps to take to keep my career on-track.

If you marked three or more statements in this section, you may be suffering from Organisational/Industry Unrest. Organisational/Industry Chaos can be Limited Opportunities, Lack of Stability, Security, Growth, Survivor’s Syndrome, Restructuring, Job Loss and Job Ambiguity.

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APPENDIX C (continued)

Level III: Career Content Unrest Mark any statement that is NOT TRUE for you:

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

I like the type of work I do. I can be my best self on my job. My talents are fully utilised in my job. I enjoy my everyday work duties and activities. I feel that my personality matches my career. My work is building on skills I enjoy using. My interests relate directly to what I do on the job. I am using creativity and self-expression on the job. I feel successful and rewarded in my work. I feel I am in the right career field.

If you marked three or more statements in this section, you may be suffering from Career Content Unrest. Career Content Unrest is a Mismatch of Skills and Personality to Duties and Activities of Job or Partial Person Syndrome: Leaving Best Self at Home.

Level IV: Career Self Unrest Mark any statement that is NOT TRUE for you:

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

My career brings meaning and value to my life. I selected my career field based on my own aspirations and needs. I have a focused future purpose and a strategic plan for gaining it. I am learning new skills that I enjoy utilising. My work achievements are meeting my expectations. My work and personal life are well balanced. I have insight and information on activities in my career field. I have insight and information on activities in other career fields. I am satisfied with my present level of accomplishment in my work. I am achieving personal and professional growth.

If you marked three or more statements in this section, you may be suffering from Career Self Unrest. Career Self Unrest can be triggered by a Search for Value, Meaning, Commitment, Unfulfilled Potential, Needs or Expectations, Burnout, Aspiration/Achievement Gap, Treadmill Going No Where or Questioning Definition of ‘Success’.

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APPENDIX C (continued)

Level V: Personal Self/Life Unrest Mark any statement that is NOT TRUE for you:

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

My personal life is positive and I am a happy person. I understand myself and my needs. I am comfortable with who I am at this point. I have supportive family and/or friends. I have strong self-esteem and I relate to others in a genuine manner. I handle loss and change effectively. I learn from my mistakes and failures and move on. I can take informed, calculated risks based on my own judgment. I am responsible for my own life and the decisions that affect it. I see myself as a ‘survivor’ and ‘thriver’ in life.

If you marked three or more statements in this section, you may be suffering from Personal Self/ Life Unrest. Personal Self Unrest can be Unresolved Personal Issues: Failures, Regrets, Disappointments, Doubts, Divorce, Death, Illness, Addictions, Mid-Life Crisis, Pocket of Grief, Losses, Self-Defeating Behaviours or Personality Disorders.

A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

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54

How to use the PSTP for Career Planning and Development
Public Sector Training Package

STARTING

APPENDIX D

POINTS:

Key Areas table Qualifications Units

Get an idea of all the different areas of work in the public sector Decide on the AQF level of the qualification appropriate to your situation, eg Certificate III, Diploma

Decide on a qualification key area

Select relevant unit(s) that will fulfill your need, skill gap or career goal

Have a look at the competencies expected of someone working in this area
Will your current job allow you to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required at your preferred level? Which electives will further your career goal and prospects?

Conduct a self assessment of the unit(s) to see where your current skills and knowledge lie against the unit(s)

Read the full units of competency listed in the key area to see what skills, knowledge and behaviours you will need to have to successfully work in this area Select electives from the PSTP or any other Training Package

Already competent and have evidence to prove it

Not yet competent and need training

Recognition of Current Competency

Develop an assessment plan

Develop a training plan

A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

Meet with an accredited assessor from a Registered Training Organisation and present your evidence

Gather a portfolio of evidence for the units

Undertake assessment activities

Undertake training activities

You receive a Statement of Attainment for the unit(s) that you have undertaken or a certificate recognising your achievement of a full qualification

Assessor decides you are Competent

Assessor decides you are Not Yet Competent

Refer to OCPE publication Rickshaws, Cruiseships and Tour Buses: The Guide to Planning Your Learning Journey

APPENDIX E

Qualifications available in the PSTP are: Generalist
● ● ● ● ●

PSP20104 Certificate II in Government PSP30104 Certificate III in Government PSP40104 Certificate IV in Government PSP50104 Diploma of Government PSP60104 Advanced Diploma of Government PSP30204 Certificate III in Government (Border Protection) PSP40204 Certificate IV in Government (Border Protection) PSP50204 Diploma of Government (Community Capacity) PSP30304 Certificate III in Government (Court Compliance) PSP40304 Certificate IV in Government (Court Compliance) PSP40404 Certificate IV in Government (Court Services) PSP50304 Diploma of Government (Court Services) PSP50404 Diploma of Government (Enterprise Architecture) PSP60204 Advanced Diploma of Government (Enterprise Architecture) PSP40504 Certificate IV in Government (Financial Services) PSP50504 Diploma of Government (Financial Services) PSP60304 Advanced Diploma of Government (Financial Management) PSP40604 Certificate IV in Government (Fraud Control) PSP50604 Diploma of Government (Fraud Control) PSP40704 Certificate IV in Government (Service Delivery) PSP50704 Diploma of Government (Service Delivery) PSP50804 Diploma of Government (Human Resources) PSP60404 Advanced Diploma of Government (Human Resources) PSP40804 Certificate IV in Government (Injury Claims Administration) PSP40904 Certificate IV in Government (Injury Rehabilitation Management) PSP50904 Diploma of Government (Injury Management) PSP30404 Certificate III in Government (Land Administration) PSP41004 Certificate IV in Government (Land Administration) PSP51004 Diploma of Government (Land Administration) PSP51104 Diploma of Government (Management) PSP60504 Advanced Diploma of Government (Management) PSP41104 Certificate IV in Government (Occupational Health & Safety) PSP51204 Diploma of Government (Occupational Health & Safety) PSP60604 Advanced Diploma of Government (Occupational Health & Safety) PSP41204 Certificate IV in Government (Project Management) PSP51304 Diploma of Government (Project Management) PSP51404 Diploma of Government (Policy Development) PSP41304 Certificate IV in Government (Procurement) PSP51504 Diploma of Government (Contract Management) PSP60704 Advanced Diploma of Government (Strategic Procurement) PSP51604 Diploma of Government (Record keeping) PSP60804 Advanced Diploma of Government (Record keeping) PSP41404 Certificate IV in Government (Statutory Compliance)
55

Specialist
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

APPENDIX E (continued)

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

PSP41504 Certificate IV in Government (Investigation) PSP51704 Diploma of Government (Investigation) PSP30504 Certificate III in Government (Security) PSP41604 Certificate IV in Government (Security) PSP41704 Certificate IV in Government (Personnel Security) PSP51804 Diploma of Government (Security) PSP41804 Certificate IV in Government (Road Transport Compliance) PSP51904 Diploma of Government (Workplace Inspection) PSP60904 Advanced Diploma of Government (Workplace Inspection) PSP30604 Certificate III in Government (School Support Services) PSP41904 Certificate IV in Government (School Support Services) PSP30704 Certificate III in School Support Services PSP42004 Certificate IV in School Support Services

There are also ‘key areas’ within the Training Package designed for people with different interests and specialisations. This range of competencies means that we can select areas particularly relevant to our jobs and/or careers. The key areas of the PSTP are: ● Ethics & Accountability ● Legislation & Compliance ● Management ● Public Sector Financial Services ● Government Science And Technology ● Border Protection ● Road Transport Compliance ● Public Land Administration ● Government Security Management ● Courts ● Injury Management ● Government Service Delivery ● Enterprise Architecture ● Occupational Health And Safety ● Fraud Control ● Policy ● Regulatory ● Procurement ● Project Management ● Human Resource Management ● Working In Government ● Community Engagement ● Public Affairs. Imported competency standards from other Training Packages include: Education Services ● Frontline Management ● Administration ● Record Keeping ● E-Government ● Community Development.
●

56

A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

APPENDIX F

Understanding a unit of competency
Since the late 1980s competencies have played a key role in career planning and professional development. Understanding how to read competencies means you can select those that relate to your existing and desired skill levels and plan accordingly. A unit of competency is made up of: 1. Unit title and code All units of competency are given a unit title and a unique code for easy identification. For example, the unit PSPGOV308A is made up of: PSP The first few letters are the Training Package identifier. In this example the PSP refers to the Public Services Package. If the unit were from the Business Services Training Package, it would be BSB. The next few letters refer to the key area of the Training Package in which the unit of competency is based. In this example, the unit of competency comes from the Working in Government key area. The first number after the key area identifier refers to the indicative level on the AQF. The following two numbers refer to the sequence of that unit within the key area, for example, 08 refers to the eighth unit of competency at the AQF level 3 in the Working in Government key area. The letter at the end of the unit code refers to the version of the unit. An ‘A’ refers to the first version of the unit. If a review of a Training Package results in an amended unit, a ‘B’ would be found at the end of the unit. A third review would result in a ‘C’, and so on.

GOV

3 08

A

2. Elements of competency Elements of competency are the competency’s basic building blocks. They are a series of work activities or steps that an employee in a particular area is expected to be able to do to achieve competence. 3. Performance criteria Performance criteria describe the required level of performance in terms of workplace outcomes. Performance Criteria are written as YES/NO statements, so that the individual can check their expertise and skill base by saying ‘yes, I can do this’ or ‘no, I can’t do this’. Performance criteria are what individuals need to be able to demonstrate in the workplace and form the basis of both training programs and the assessment process. 4. Range of variables Because all workplaces are different, the unit of competency describes a range of variables. These are the issues, situations and practices that encompass different types of work settings and requirements. 5. Evidence guide The evidence guide details the knowledge and skills that underpin the competency. If an individual can’t display these qualities they will be unable to meet the performance criteria.

A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

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APPENDIX F (continued)

EXAMPLE Unit PSPGOV308B Work Effectively with Diversity Unit Descriptor This unit covers recognising and valuing individual differences and working effectively with diverse clients and colleagues. Key Area Working in Government Elements 1 Recognise and value individual differences Performance Criteria 1 Workgroup diversity is explored to identify attributes that may be of benefit to the organisation and its client base 2 Colleagues are assisted to acknowledge and use their diverse attributes to contribute to work group processes, outcomes and delivery of services to diverse clients 3 Own work practices are used to acknowledge and reflect the diversity of self and colleagues for the benefit of workplace activities, stakeholder relationships and outcomes 4 Client diversity is identified and responded to inaccordance with legislation, policy and guidelines 2 Work effectively with diverse clients & colleagues 1 A range of communication styles is developed and used to respect and reflect the diversity of the workplace and client groups 2 Compliance with the requirements of public sector legislation, policies and guidelines relating to workplace diversity is demonstrated through personal conduct in the workplace 3 Feedback from clients and the workgroup is sought and utilised to continuously improve personal effectiveness in working with diversity Range of Variables The Range of Variables provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. It allows for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. It allows for different work requirements, work practices, and knowledge. The Range of Variables also provides a focus for assessment and relates to the unit as a whole. Individual differences may include
● ● ● ● ● ●

culture religion race language gender sexual preference peers junior staff internal stakeholders

● ● ● ●

●

physical differences politics expertise experience / working styles age

●

● ●

thinking styles / learning styles / intellectual differences interpersonal approach interests

Colleagues may include

● ● ●

● ●

external stakeholders / clients / customers supervisors and senior management

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A Guide to Managing Your Career in the SA Public Sector

APPENDIX F (continued)

EXAMPLE

continued

Evidence Guide This Evidence Guide must be read in conjunction with the Assessment Guidelines for the National Public Services Training Package. Critical aspects of evidence
●

integrated demonstration of all elements of competency and their performance criteria knowledge of anti-discrimination legislation and codes of conduct establishing rapport with all colleagues Nil Nil

●

●

Interdependent assessment of units

Pre-requisite units: Co-requisite units:

Co-assessed units: This unit may be assessed with any of the generalist public sector specific units at Certificate III or above, particularly PSPETHC301A Uphold the Values and Principles of Public Service, PSPGOV401A Apply Knowledge of Government Processes, PSPGOV402A Deliver and Monitor Service to Clients, PSPGOV403A Use Resources to Achieve Work Unit Goals, PSPGOV404A Develop and Implement Work Unit Plans and PSPGOV405A Provide Input to the Change Process

Underpinning knowledge

● ● ● ●

anti-discrimination legislation principles of cultural awareness EEO, equity and diversity principles codes of conduct cross cultural communication interpersonal communication cross cultural competence, including gender and disability

Underpinning skills

● ● ●

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Notes
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