Broadening horizons through a oneAPS Opportunity

The Digital Profession has launched the oneAPS Opportunities pilot – with the first opportunity being a visual scribing workshop with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC). We spoke with 3 participants to get the full story on their oneAPS Opportunity experience.

A group of people working and drawing together at a table
Caption: The APS Centre of Excellence for Workforce Planning at a visual scribing workshop, run by the DTA under the oneAPS Opportunities pilot.
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What is oneAPS Opportunities?

The Digital Profession is trialing a new approach to whole-of-government digital talent mobility called oneAPS Opportunities. The program aims to help agencies quickly deploy digital professionals to areas of greatest need, while providing the opportunity to develop capability within their own staff by allowing them to take on new work.

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What the program does

oneAPS Opportunities gives managers access to digital professionals from across the APS for short-term work. Managers post opportunities – digital professionals can respond, while staying linked to their home teams/agencies. These forms of placements are supported in the APS Mobility Framework as ‘Informal Arrangements’.

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The opportunity

Adina Lieu is the head of the APS Centre of Excellence for Workforce Planning at the APSC, and led the development of Delivering for Tomorrow, APS Workforce Strategy 2025.

Adina and the team realised they had a skills gap in visual communication, and conceptualising ideas visually, to make it easier for stakeholders to engage with their program of work.

In response to the need for better visualisaton, DTA visual scribe Belle Hogg was joined by Chris Wilson (IT System Administrator) from Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE), to deliver a workshop for APSC staff. Chris also dabbles in visual note taking and cartooning.

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Adina and Chris’s oneAPS Opportunity experience

Adina wanted to use APS expertise, rather than go external, so the oneAPS Opportunity and workshop was the perfect choice. It made organising the training easy and the entire process was smooth running.

“My team identified clear connections with our work and how we could use the new skills they were developing, in the way we communicate with stakeholders across all APS agencies,” said Adina.

In addition, Chris applied to co-facilitate the workshop because he wanted to develop his skills in visually representing ideas.

“You can always learn something new, just because you're meeting different people with different experiences and knowledge to share. The practice helps to hone your skills,” said Chris.

Chris enjoyed the simple online application process - as it didn’t take long to get things moving. He said that he learnt a lot from the experience and would be taking it back to his home agency.

“We're also looking at more innovative ways to move forward, so the oneAPS Opportunity has sparked momentum. I've now got some education on producing a training module for graphic recording and visual note taking,” Chris added.

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Sally and Heather’s oneAPS Opportunity experience

Sally Lowe and Heather Pye work in the APS Centre of Excellence for Workforce Planning. Both were excited about the workshop but hesitant about the importance for their work - but that was all about to change.

“One of the challenges in the work that we do is that working across the whole of the APS is we need to find ways to simplify complex messages. Visual scribing provides a different way to communicate complex ideas in really simple ways. There's plenty of opportunity to use this communication method in our team,” said Heather.

Sally will continue on to do some visual scribing with a colleague, which is part of the rollout of the Workforce Strategy over the next couple of months.

“As part of our program of work we are piloting some foundational workshops for workforce planning. One of my team will scribe the sessions and present it back to our participants as a summary for them,” said Sally.

The oneAPS Opportunity proved a very positive experience, and has already had a strong influence on the work the team is doing.

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Types of opportunities

Running a workshop is just one example of a oneAPS Opportunity. Other examples could be to:

  • pull in a developer for a week to develop a prototype for usability testing
  • get a delivery manager in for a month to start a team on agile delivery
  • engage a content designer for a couple of weeks to edit and re-design your website information.

There are many possibilities.

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Contact us

If you’re interested in being involved in a oneAPS Opportunities pilot, contact the Digital Squads team at digitalsquads@dta.gov.au.

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