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Learning and development

This factsheet has been developed as part of a series to help agencies attract and retain diverse ICT staff. For more information on ICT workforce planning please see the Whole-of-government strategic ICT Workforce Plan 2010–2013 or email ictskills [at] apsc.gov.au.

Learning and development strategies for staff with disability

Staff with disability can face special challenges accessing learning and development opportunities. The following strategies can help level the playing field for staff with a disability.

  • Hold discussions about learning and development opportunities with employees with disability during the performance management process and ask them if they require support to attend necessary training.
  • Fund adaptations out of a central fund for reasonable adjustments for staff with disability, so managers need not balance the training needs of employees with disability against the training needs of other employees.
  • Seek the views of staff with disability (e.g. through focus groups or staff surveys) on strategies to overcome the restrictions they face in accessing training at both internal and external venues.
  • Strategies could include flexible learning solutions, e-learning or learning by distance. Organisations specialising in the employment of people with disability can assist agencies develop solutions to meet the needs of their staff.

Create a supportive work environment

Effectively changing the culture of an agency requires ongoing exposure of employees at all levels to the issues facing people with disability and Indigenous Australians. Agencies can raise awareness and understanding of those issues through learning and development programs.

Such awareness-raising needs not be limited to formal disability or cultural awareness training programs, although this is a good place to start, but should be incorporated into management training, induction sessions and other learning and development activities addressing people management and team development.


For more information on learning and development programs such as Indigenous Career Trek Workshops and Supporting staff with mental health issues go to the Commission's learning and development programs page.

Upskill your employees

Some difficulties that staff with disability or Indigenous staff experience in winning positions on merit may be due to their qualifications.

Significantly fewer Indigenous employees or employees with disability have tertiary level degrees.

Difficulties students with disability face in accessing higher education include problems accessing adaptive technologies, the need to provide assessments in different formats and the need for extra time to complete assessments.

One way agencies can improve the competitiveness of employees with disability and Indigenous employees is by supporting and encouraging them to upgrade their qualifications.

Learning and development strategies for Indigenous staff

The results of the 2009 Census of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander APS Employees highlight the need for career development and learning and development activities to be targeted to specific groups of Indigenous employees:

  • activities focussed on leadership were most likely to be seen by EL2/SES employees as a ‘high’ priority for their personal development, whereas communication skills were seen as most important by employees at the APS 1–4 levels.
  • access to a mix of Indigenous-specific and general learning and development opportunities is best. Target Indigenous-specific programs at lower classification levels (e.g. at apprentices/trainees/graduates/cadets and APS 1–2).
  • ensure there are learning and development opportunities for Indigenous staff outside of Canberra, including on and off the job opportunities.