Organisation: Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
Job Title: Assistant Program Officer, Community Engagement
Word Limit: Maximum of two pages
Location: Brisbane Inner City
Supports Strategic Direction
Throughout my career, I have worked effectively in a number of roles where I have demonstrated my ability to think strategically and take a long-term perspective with the work that I undertake. For example, in my current role with Defence Community Organisation (DCO), I had the opportunity to work temporarily from the Amberley Air Base and, during this time, I identified that the team was using an out-of-date manual to write reports. As the reports were being written for command using an outdated staff duties list, I recognised the implications that this would cause. By sending reports that were formatted incorrectly and contained incorrect information to a Unit, the assessment and recommendations would automatically lose credibility. Taking immediate action, I informed the Amberley Area Manager of my concerns, which prompted an update of the manual and staff received training regarding the new writing methods. This in turn meant that DCO Amberley was now able to produce reports of greater value and in adherence to protocols, thus ensuring their usefulness to our associated stakeholders. Additionally, within my role with DCO, I have played an integral role in contributing to continuous quality improvement. This was demonstrated when I identified that the KidSmart programs being run by DCO were not achieving the desired end results in engaging and building resilience in Defence children. Subsequent to discussing my concerns with my supervisor, I gained permission to rework the program. This was achieved through researching programs that were being delivered for Defence children in America, as well as my knowledge of the most effective therapeutic programs for children. As a result, I successfully amended the program to include an increase in fun and inclusive activities, as well as activities that taught the children the aspects of their work that their parents undertook whilst working for Defence. Since the implementation of the new program, participation has increased by 20% and we consistently receive positive feedback from parents advising of the impact it has made.
My ability to achieve results is based on my drive to perform and excel at requirements and necessary tasks. By fostering strong relationships with my team, I have successfully met deadlines, secured stakeholder commitment and used innovative solutions to solve challenges, leading to the delivery of measurable results. In my role as Defence Social Worker, I am responsible for the provision of advice regarding Defence policy, counselling, and individualised assistance to Units. At the beginning of 2016, I was responsible for arranging an education forum for Defence School Transition Aides (DSTAs) to showcase the new educational policy being introduced by Defence to support schools with Defence children. I achieved this by organising guest speakers to fly to Brisbane from Canberra, including the Head of People Group, the Regional Education Liaison Officer, as well as a DTA to speak of their experiences. In order to meet deadlines and budgetary constraints, I carefully evaluated the costs and benefits for each individual challenge such as the location of the event, catering costs, whilst considering the costs of the guest speakers. Subsequent to receiving feedback that the scheduled time for the forum would be a busy time for Units requesting support from DCO Social Workers, I weighed up the potentials and concerns of the situation to assess its viability. The advantage of moving the forum forward would result in increased participation for social workers; however, it would also mean readvertising the forum, and rescheduling flights and venue hire. After consulting with my team, I made the decision to go ahead with the forum as, realistically, it would be beneficial for one Social Worker to be present. As a result of my planning and effective decision-making, we achieved the highest DSTA and Defence Transition Mentor participation rate since commencing the forums, with positive feedback received from all stakeholders.
Supports Productive Working Relationships
Having always worked within team environments, I have become adept at fostering and sustaining positive relationships. I am friendly, respectful, supportive and encouraging toward my team members, and am willing to share workloads and commit to action when a team member requires assistance. An example of my achievements in supporting productive working relationships occurred last year whilst working for DCO and the Area Manager was absent. During this time, I was appointed to delegate work from Changepoint and at the time, there had been a freeze on hiring new staff due to budget cutbacks; however, there was no reduction in the amount of work we were required to manage. It was therefore my responsibility to delegate work to a team of four other Social Workers, covering the New South Wales border to Amberley, whilst taking great care to ensure workloads
To manage this, I actively listened to my team members regarding their capacity to take on more work and worked collaboratively with them to assist with caseload management, effectively prioritise, and work efficiently to save time. The environment at DCO often experiences rapid changes in terms of funding and management priorities and, to further support my team, I consistently gathered information regarding current trends. This information was shared during weekly ‘what’s new’ sessions incorporated into the weekly team meeting, where I would share the information and provide the opportunity for my team to share their feedback and concerns. Furthermore, I was actively involved in ensuring that my team were progressing professionally by encouraging them to attend training sessions. On one occasion, I organised for the team to participate in training to obtain their Gottman Relationship Counselling accreditation. This involved advocating on behalf of the team with senior management to obtain full funding for them to attend. My success in this contributed greatly to the achievement of increased knowledge and capacity within the team.
Displays Personal Drive and Integrity
With a demonstrated record of integrity, consistency and a focus on quality service and outcomes, I possess practical experience and a range of professional skills and strengths based on the principles of government legislation, including the Australian Public Service Act and Anti-discrimination | Equal Employment Opportunity principles. In my current role as a Social Worker, acting honestly, ethically and professionally is of utmost importance and, in order to provide effective services, I follow a range of processes covering the fostering of relationships, clear and honest communication, as well as frequent participation in peer and supervisory feedback and evaluation. By doing so, I ensure that my actions and decisions are fair and just, whilst upholding integrity at all times. During my time working for the Fair Work Ombudsman, I demonstrated my drive through taking personal responsibility for coaching other staff members for four months. This involved taking a hands-on leadership approach and leading by example in the achievement of positive outcomes and proactive problem solving. During this time, I assisted a Junior Industrial Relations Advisor who was having difficulty with a client who had received conflicting information from our agency. To resolve the matter as efficiently as possible, I offered to take over the call, whilst the Advisor listened. Modelling effective conflict resolution skills to my colleague, I spoke calmly, acknowledged the clients concerns, reviewed their situation, offered them accurate advice, and provided them with a reference number to prevent a reoccurrence of the situation. The outcomes of the steps and processes that I utilised resulted in the client calming down and being satisfied with the end result. Having the Advisor listen to the call provided them with a greater understanding of how to manage situations like this in the future.
Communicates with Influence
A confident and highly experienced communicator, I communicate verbally with clients, co-workers, Defence superiors and external stakeholders on a daily basis, ensuring that I remain professional, courteous and respectful at all times. This was also evidenced whilst I was working for the Fair Work Info Line. When taking telephone calls from customers, I often dealt with callers who had a limited understanding of the industrial relations system and were unsure of their rights. In these instances, customers were often upset or irate, so it was important to remain calm and professional while using open and closed questioning techniques to elicit appropriate information. This approach ensured that I was able to provide a high-quality service at all times. In my current role, my communication skills are utilised extensively to gain interest and support from my clients in order to foster their active involvement. Additionally, I have provided countless briefing presentations to groups of Defence members ranging in size from 10 to 400. This requires that I adjust my communication style accordingly so that I can maintain audience engagement and provide important information about DCO and the services it offers. Upon commencing this role, I was responsible for facilitating a PowerPoint presentation for over 100 Military Personnel on the topic of staying connected with family whilst they are on deployment. Knowing and understanding my audience was imperative to my success as often they would not display any emotion or would appear as if they were not paying attention. I realised the importance of not taking offence to this, and kept on track with my presentation in a professional manner by focusing on key points and using appropriate, unambiguous language. My successful ability to communicate with influence during the presentation was evident when I was personally thanked by numerous Officers for my input into the Mental Health Week information sessions.