NSW’s Department of Customer Service is making most of Stepping Into

Woman (Jacki Hodge) smiling at the camera.

Image: Jacki Hodge, Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion at the NSW Department of Customer Service.

AND members are becoming disability confident, providing career pathways for capable and talented interns and achieving their access and inclusion goals – all through the Stepping Into Program. NSW’s Department of Customer Service (DCS) is just one of our members reaping the organisational benefits of such a program.

DCS are inspiring interns’ career goals

“We really wanted to ensure our interns had a meaningful experience with us, so they built knowledge and skills they could use in the future.” – Jacki Hodge, Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion at the Department of Customer Service.

DCS is committed to reflecting the diverse community they serve in their workforce. To do this, they aim to exceed the NSW Premier’s Priority of having 5.6% of roles in the NSW public sector held by a person with disability. Participating in Stepping Into presented as a fantastic opportunity for the department to achieve this.

Passionate about kickstarting interns’ careers, the department designed a customised intern Personal Development Plan (PDP).

The PDP provides managers and interns a clear structure for the internships, including assisting managers in assessing performance, skill development, and capabilities of the intern. The program also places successful interns into talent pools or permanent roles once they have completed their internship.

Drawing from the department’s graduate program and AND’s workplan, the Intern PDP has six key areas, including:

  • a schedule to track work hours and days
  • a work plan – to set out tasks, due dates and support persons
  • a wellbeing section for self-care, including strategies for managing physical, mental and emotional well being
  • a goal-setting section – with 1-2 performance and 1-2 development goals to build and stretch capabilities
  • a review section – to identify successes, challenges, progress towards goals and if the intern met the required capabilities.

Interns meet with their managers weekly to discuss their PDP. It’s a living document, so interns can update goals to ensure they remain relevant and achievable.

“By referring to the PDP in every meeting, it’s easy for interns and managers to see growth being made, or where the intern might need some extra help,” – Jacki Hodge.

The program has provided DCS with firsthand experience in being more disability confident.

“Managers and teams need to be ready to implement any required workplace adjustments, including adjustments to communication and work styles. Going through the program really helps your organisation get off on the right foot for disability inclusion.” – Jacki Hodge.

With all its successes, Jacki highly recommends the program to other organisations.

“If you’re considering participating in the next intake, do it! We have had such great feedback from managers and interns, who both gained lifelong skills from participating in Stepping Into.”

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