Like all governments, the federal public service faces increasing demands for innovation, cost efficiency, organizational agility, responsiveness to the needs of citizens, and harnessing new technologies across organizations.
Blueprint 2020, a vision for the federal public service of the future, makes it clear that change and transformation will be an ongoing dimension of the professional lives of public servants for the foreseeable future.
At the same time, the composition of the federal public service is changing dramatically under the influence of shifting demographics. The aging of a generation of leaders and experts means that we need to focus our energies on workforce renewal, knowledge transfer and recruitment. In doing so, we have to keep in mind that younger workers are more educated and tech-savvy than ever before. They expect new and innovative ways to learn, including platforms such as social media, e learning and blended learning, and they want to learn from each other.
In this environment, government leaders recognize that a world-class public service cannot thrive without continuous learning, training and development.
This was clear from public servants’ input to Blueprint 2020. Public servants themselves are keen for more training and development opportunities – they want to build the competencies they need today and to acquire new skills for the future. As they told us during Blueprint 2020 engagement activities and consultations, they also want new and diverse ways of learning that make good use of technology.
In response to these needs, the government has made an enterprise-wide commitment to learning, with the Canada School of Public Service (the School) – the central learning institution for the Public Service of Canada – playing a key role in supporting public service transformation.
Over the next two years, a new common curriculum will be accessible to all federal public servants, regardless of their location and at no cost to them. Public servants will learn from the “best of the best” among their peers, public service leaders, and experts in the private and academic sectors. Learning will focus on skills and knowledge unique to the federal public service and be aligned with government priorities and emerging key competencies.
The common curriculum will support public servants at all stages of their careers, starting with foundational development for all, including orientation to the public service, values and ethics, performance management, accountability, language maintenance, finance, HR and IT. Specialized offerings will continue to be developed and delivered in partnership with professional communities (e.g., IT, communications, procurement, security).
New programming for managers and executives will be introduced to equip them for the critical transitions to management and leadership responsibilities.
This approach will bring the federal public service into line with the practices of leading organizations. Departments and agencies will be able to better plan for their training needs, linked to talent management and government priorities.
Anytime, anywhere learning
For our part, the School is working to be more nimble and responsive than ever to the learning needs common to the federal public service. Courses, tools, videos, other resources and job aids are increasingly available online as part of a learning ecosystem on the School’s new online learning platform, which also gives learners the chance to become familiar with new technologies in the workplace.
Already, all events – including Armchair Discussions, the ADM Forum, the Executive Lecture Series, and the annual Manion Lecture – are offered at no charge for learners, and many are available by webcast nationwide. This past July, the School released a revamped Orientation to the Public Service curriculum, and December saw the launch of the new four-phase Manager Development Program.
Work is underway with the official languages community to update the School’s current language maintenance offerings and provide new tools for second language maintenance and test preparation. An Executive Leadership Development Program and a Transformation and Change Curriculum will be highlights among the School’s new offerings in 2015–2016.
This is an exciting time to be a federal public servant, and learning will play a pivotal role in helping public servants and the government to undertake the biggest transformation we have ever faced. Continually supporting new and innovative ways of learning is an important step in equipping employees – new recruits and seasoned experts alike – with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
I am proud of the contribution the School has already made to building a strong foundation for the future of the federal public service. We have taken great strides in the right direction, but there is a lot more for us to do, and we will all need to work together to take full advantage of our corporate asset: the School.
As the federal public service transforms itself, we must do likewise in order to remain a world-class institution capable of anticipating and responding to the evolving needs of the public service and the priorities of government.
A New Enterprise-Wide Approach to Learning as announced in the Destination 2020 report
• Employees: Equitable access to career-long learning to do their jobs better and develop skills for the future.
• Departments and agencies: Better planning for training investments with direct links to talent and performance management.
• Enterprise: Greater linkages between training and government priorities. Learning will support the creation of a common public service culture of excellence at all levels.
National Student Paper Competition and Public Choice Award
For the second year, the School is coordinating the Blueprint 2020 National Student Paper Competition on the future of the federal public service with academic partners from across Canada. The voting period for the Public Choice Award began in March.