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APS data literacy

Whether in policy development, programme management or service delivery, data skills are essential for all Australian Public Service (APS) employees to support evidence-based, informed decision making. These skills also assist in improving operational efficiency, resource allocation and improved engagement with stakeholders.

While foundational data skills are important for all APS employees, some roles require more specialised data skills.

Data skills and capability in the APS

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) has developed a holistic approach to improve the overall data skills and capability across the APS in collaboration with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), other Australian Government entities and the private and academic sectors.

Through this engagement, a framework has been developed to empower the APS to harness the value of data and increase data literacy across all levels of the APS.

The framework has four components:

  • the Data Fellowship programme
  • university courses
  • the APS Data Literacy programme
  • data training partnerships

See Data Skills and Capability in the APS Framework on the PMC website for more information.

APS Data Literacy Programme

The APS Data Literacy programme is an initiative that will improve the data capabilities of non-specialist APS employees. The programme has been developed by the APSC in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and PM&C. The programme aims to ensure all employees across the APS have a minimum foundational level of data literacy.

The program focusses on five core skills for using data in the APS:

  • Providing evidence for decision makers
  • Undertaking research
  • Using statistics
  • Visualising the information
  • Telling the story.

APS Data Literacy Learning Guide

The APS Data Literacy Programme is delivered via the APS Data Literacy Learning Guide. Rather than a training course the guide provides access to a wealth of existing information and learning resources to help build data skills. The guide supports self-directed learning enabling learners and managers to access relevant learning when they need it.

The guide offers a wide range of learning options for each skill area including:

  • key reading
  • workshops
  • e-learning courses.

The resources within the guide have been drawn from a variety of sources including government, private and academic organisations. If you are aware of additional resources that could be added to the guide please email coreskills [at] apsc.gov.au.

The guide has been designed as a dynamic resource and the APSC will update and revise it regularly. It is currently provided in Microsoft Word format and a more interactive version will be available at a later date.

Target Audience

As basic data skills are increasingly important across all job descriptions in the APS, the APS Data Literacy Programme is suitable for all APS employees in non-specialist roles.


The learning options presented in the Data Literacy Learning Guide are from both government and non-government sources. Some can be accessed at no cost and others require a fee or subscription.

APS agencies are responsible for covering any costs associated with the suggested learning options listed in the APS Data Literacy Learning Guide.


For more information about the APS Data Literacy Learning Programme, please contact coreskills [at] apsc.gov.au.