Learning & Development

It has become ever clear over recent years that the success and efficiency of the Public Service begins with our people, and that the development of individual employee skills needs to be at the core of our strategy to ensure the continued advancement of the Public Service.

The public expect the best results and service provision from the public service. To achieve and maintain this, the public service needs to be focused on corporate and individual skills development, and in particular identifying training to meet the changing business needs, and preferred professional development opportunities of employees, specific to the particular organisation.

As a result of this requirement, there have been a number of excellent initiatives put in place recently to facilitate the development of graduate entrants, including the new Civil Service Graduate Development programme (in collaboration with the Irish Management Institute) and the Local Government Graduate Programme (in collaboration with the Institute of Public Administration). Excellent CPD supports are now also in place for graduates entering professional streams such as economists in the Irish Economic & Evaluation Service (IGEES) and Trainee Auditors.

While different, these development programmes similarly offer new graduate employees the opportunity to up-skill through high-quality, structured training programmes, team projects and other development supports, with the intention of preparing new entrants for their given role while also providing a solid and valuable foundation for their future careers.

What you might expect to experience

The Training/Development opportunities you might experience in the Public Service depend on several things, including the specific role you have been offered, the organisation/department you have been placed in, and the skills required to carry out your job in the role. Depending on the role, as a graduate you could expect to advance your personal skills in a wide range of different ways, and you could have the opportunity to up-skill and develop yourself professionally through high-quality training programmes, mentoring and support systems, internal training initiatives, and many more – all in order to make sure you have the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a fast-paced and results-oriented role in the Public Service.

Here are three examples of great programmes that have commenced recently:

Civil Service Graduate Development Programme

Civil Service Graduate Development Programme

Launched in May 2015 and developed jointly by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, a Civil Service Working Group and the Irish Management Institute, the Civil Service Graduate Development Programme has been designed to provide new graduate entrants to the Civil Service with the skills and knowledge required to equip them in their varied roles across the Civil Service. As part of this programme, entrants have the opportunity to secure practical and professionally valuable learning.

Personal Development Cycle

Built around the core competencies required across the wide variety of roles at graduate entry-levels across the Civil Service and tailored to the Civil Service environment, this programme engages and develops participants’ skills through a combination of project-based, interactive and independent learning as well as structured training. Entrants are provided with ongoing support during this programme, to ensure they feel equipped to manage the challenges of their new working environment and role. This experience aims to foster independent analytical thinking and decision making, develop relationship and interpersonal skills, and nurture strategic thinking and leadership potential.

Programme Journey

Special features of the programme include an innovation project participants are invited to complete, a structured mentoring programme, and the establishment of a graduate network. The intention is to make this one of the central and leading Graduate Development programmes on the market.

Check out the brochure for the Civil Service Development Programme here for more information, or to hear more from graduates who are currently on the programme, have a look at Sinéad’s profile here.

The Local Government Graduate Programme

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The Local Government have made great developments recently in the area of Learning and Development for graduate roles with the introduction of the Local Government Graduate Programme 2015 – 2017. This programme has been designed to equip nearly 120 people from the most recent graduate intake with the key information on the structure, priorities & challenges within the Local Government and broader Public Service.

Economic Enterprise and Business Development

The Local Government Graduate Programme runs over two years and aims to provide recruits with development opportunities while working in the Irish Public Service in order to help build their professional careers in their chosen area of expertise. Developed jointly by the Local Government Management Agency and the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), this programme has been designed to enable graduates to achieve a professional qualification in their given area while also continuously developing their skills and knowledge about the Local Government. This experience aims to help foster innovative thinking, develop capacity within the system, nurture leadership and help encourage graduates to make a positive contribution to the Public Service and Irish society broadly. This will be facilitated through a combination of on-site, office and project-based learning as well as formal training and accredited sector specific education.

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The central aims of this programme are to ensure graduate entrants to the Local Government have the opportunity to develop a thorough working knowledge of, and the skills required to perform highly within, the Local Government, facilitated through accredited learning and competency development in both a formally academic and a practical working environment. To find out more about what graduates in Local Government are doing, have a look at Ruaidhrí’s profile here.

Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Services

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The Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) CPD Programme has been developed in order to help equip Graduate Economist entrants with the skills and abilities required to support and inform the government.

Key to the development of the IGEES is the continuing professional development (CPD) of its members, so that relevant economic, evaluation and analytical skills are maintained and enhanced. The CPD Programme consists of a series of integrated training and development streams, drawing on a mix of training sessions delivered in-house (from experts within IGEES), external courses by appropriately qualified providers, and academic courses taught in the universities. CPD may also involve completion of joint assignments/projects and short periods of secondment to relevant research bodies/international bodies/institutes. The CPD Programme streams are:

  • Policy Analysis and Microeconomics;
  • Government Policy/Governance;
  • Macroeconomics and Fiscal policy; and
  • Econometrics, Data Analysis and Quantitative Methods.

The IGEES CPD programme continues to develop and evolve to reflect the changing skills and skill needs of IGEES members. IGEES members also contribute to and participate in internal and external events. A number of examples follow.

IGEES Annual Conference

The second IGEES Annual Conference on the theme “Delivering on socio-economic priorities while ensuring budget sustainability” was held in November 2014. It was chaired by Professor John Fitzgerald and was attended by about 100 people working in Government Departments, the wider public service, academia and various research institutes. It provided an opportunity for IGEES members working across the Civil Service to debate key policy and economic issues with some colleagues in academia and the wider economic and evaluation community.

Open Policy Debate Labour Market Policy Symposium

IGEES economists participated in the Open Policy Debate Labour Market Policy Symposium hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform in May 2015. The event brought together IGEES economists, policy officials, academics and researchers to discuss the current evolution of the labour market. Topics covered included employment and unemployment projections, regional distribution, job quality, emerging skills needs and the necessary policy response.

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IGEES Network

The IGEES Network was launched on in June 2015 with a conference examining the distributional aspects of Public Policy. As the Irish economy continues to re-emerge from the global financial crisis, the impact of the policies undertaken throughout this period are likely to become the subject of increased analysis. This should contribute to a conversation about the kind of economy and society Ireland wants which will, in turn, inform public policy. A central theme of this conversation is equality and the distribution and re-distribution of income. Within this large space, there are a myriad of considerations. These include, but are not limited to, the measurement of poverty, the importance of the welfare system in reducing inequality, poverty across the income deciles, the determinants of income inequality, the impact of fiscal policy on inequality, the relationship between childcare provision, income inequality and low work intensity households as well as the notion of inclusive growth. Many of these topics were explored in the IGEES Network conference.

To find out more about what graduate economists do, why not have a look at the profiles of recent economics entrants such as Alan’s here.