Targeted digital traineeships will be offered to federal public servants as a direct result of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit held in Canberra.
First Nations people, women seeking career changes, older employees and Australian Defence Force personnel transitioning into civilian agencies will have priority.
The program aims to provide flexible training for digital skills alongside employment in the public service.
A total of 1,000 traineeships will be awarded over the next four years as a means of breaking down some barriers to greater involvement in the workforce.
It will also help tackle the digital skills shortage in the Australian Public Service while boosting job numbers with a technical focus.
In the current employment environment, IT workers are the hardest to find and retain, with competition across all sectors leaving the public service struggling to keep good people.
Out of necessity, building capability in digital and technology-related fields in the APS has become an urgent priority.
Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher said the new traineeships program was designed to help assist Australians facing barriers that are currently limiting their participation in the workforce.
“A key focus of the discussion at the Jobs and Skills summit has been on how we unlock opportunities for people, including women, who want to re-skill in order to more fully participate in the workforce,” she said.
“As a government, we understand that the tech and digital sectors are only going to continue to grow in coming years and it’s essential that Australians have the skills and training they need to take advantage of these jobs of the future.
“This program will play a key role in ensuring that the Australian Public Service is able to diversify its workforce and grow its in-house digital capabilities across Australia after a decade of neglect under the former government.”
Applications for the traineeships open in December, with those successful undergoing a 12-month training program that awards a Certificate IV qualification in a digital or technology-related field.
The Australian Public Service Commission is gearing up to mentor trainees while completing their courses.
The government’s Digital Economy Strategy has flagged the need to invest in updating digital skills in small business and across all sectors of the community.
“The Australian Government is embedding a focus on improving Australians’ digital skills within the education and training ecosystem, as well as creating more immediate options for re-skilling and upskilling for in-demand jobs,” the strategy document states.
But that is where the APS loses out to other sectors.
The latest Gartner global labour market survey reveals that IT workers in Australia are in such high demand that 39 per cent are actively looking to change jobs, making attracting and retaining such staff all the more difficult for the APS.