How to upskill a team

You may need to build individual capability to get the most out of your multidisciplinary team.

Assess digital capability

Capability is the combination of skills, knowledge and attributes needed for a role.

In a multidisciplinary team you need people in specific roles to build a service. Ideally, the core team will stay the same through the service design and delivery process. Other roles may change depending on which stage of the process you’re in.

Find strengths and weaknesses

When you set up your multidisciplinary team, you’ll need to assess:

  • what capabilities your team members already have
  • where they may need to upskill

You can use the Digital Transformation Agency and Australian Public Service Commission’s digital learning standards to help decide which capabilities you need to build in your team. Once you are familiar with these, you can recognise existing and transferable skills.

For example, you may have a team member who is working as a content designer. They also have some experience in user research. You can find out if that team member:

  • is willing to build on their user research skills
  • can upskill on the job
  • needs training, mentoring or coaching

Build on previous experience

Your team members may have come from other roles. They may have existing capabilities they can use in their new roles. Spend time with your team to find out what these capabilities are.

For example, you may discover that a team member has written policy in plain English in a previous role. They can transfer this capability without needing to upskill.

Ways to upskill

By now you should have a clearer idea of where your team needs to upskill. There are a number of ways you can upskill your team.

On-the-job learning

People prefer to learn digital by doing digital. Team members can learn on the job from other people in your team or agency. Arrange for them to shadow those with existing capabilities so they can learn new skills.

You can also use secondments or temporary transfers to and from other agencies. This is a great way to:

  • fill temporary gaps in your team
  • upskill your own team members

You can also bring in a specialist contractor on a short-term basis with the capabilities the team needs to work on your service. Make it clear that they will need to upskill team members as part of their work. Ensure they are aware of this from the start, so you get the right person for the job. This way, the capabilities stay in your agency.

You can also encourage your team members to join a cross-government community of practice and attend meet-ups and events.

Coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentoring provide opportunities to learn and develop. Be clear on which one of these you need for your team.

Coaching is usually done with a peer of similar experience. A coach:

  • helps work out goals and a plan to achieve them
  • helps to identify obstacles
  • works with people to solve problems
  • checks in regularly until the goals are achieved

Brainstorming ideas and working on solutions with a colleague is a form of peer-to-peer coaching.

Mentoring is done by someone with greater expertise and knowledge in an area of learning. A mentor:

  • upskills the other person by passing on knowledge
  • knows how to ask the right questions
  • empowers the mentee to achieve their objectives
  • helps develop the mentee for current or future roles

Find out what coaching or mentoring opportunities your own agency offers or explore opportunities outside your agency. You can then decide on the best option for your team. Your decision may also depend on costs and business objectives.

Digital Practice Circles

An example of coaching and mentoring is the DTA’s Digital Practice Circles. This program offers peer-to-peer coaching with mentoring by a capability expert. It is for APS level 5 and 6 staff. The program improves digital capabilities and uses the digital learning standards.

Digital Practice Circles:

  • allow peers to network across agencies, discuss, upskill and find solutions to problems together
  • provide access to capability experts to help guide participants in building digital capabilities
Join a practice circle

If you would like to nominate someone at APS level 5 or 6 as a potential participant in Digital Practice Circles, or are interested yourself, please email capability@dta.gov.au

Training

You can use the digital learning standards to decide what kind of training your team needs. This training can be:

  • delivered in-house at your agency
  • procured through a training provider
  • done on an existing course

One way to find trainers is through procurement panels. For example, you can find training providers on the Training Marketplace.

Get in touch

For further information, please email capability@dta.gov.au