The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has launched a new Women in Digital coaching program, open to women across the public sector seeking to develop digital skills and pursue leadership roles in technology.
DTA chief executive Randall Brugeaud said the program, a reboot of a similarly themed mentoring program facilitated by the DTA, would encourage more women to step into digital leadership roles.
The program will also no doubt seek to address the marked gender imbalance in senior leadership, and particularly tech leadership, positions across Government.
Women are vastly underrepresented in senior leadership roles across Australia’s public sector. For instance, while representing two-thirds of NSW’s public sector workforce, women hold a little over one-third of senior leadership positions.
Opportunities for senior career advancement within Victoria’s public sector appear slightly better, however, with women making up 44 per cent of senior positions.
While the gap in senior public sector representation appears to be narrowing overall, women are still grossly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) roles within industry, comprising just 17 per cent of Australia’s STEM-qualified workforce in 2016.
Worse still, just 15 per cent of women in STEM roles hold a senior position.
The DTA said its Women in Digital coaching program would facilitate connections with coaches and peers across government to nurture women’s digital skills.
The program will comprise several modules, including leadership development, mindfulness, influencing skills, work-life integration, confidence building, and career support in digital working environments.
Brugeaud said the program will encourage greater diversity within the Australian Public Service’s (APS) digital workforce, giving women tools to “reflect and learn, connect with their peers, and grow their digital careers”.
“As Head of the Digital Profession, I am committed to increasing the diversity of our digital workforce in the APS. This includes supporting more women into digital leadership roles,” he said.
The program will be held virtually and consist of seven two-hour virtual group coaching sessions and two networking sessions. An emphasis on small team collaborations will, according to program organisers, encourage participants to network and “share experiences in a safe space”.
The DTA has also emphasised the flexibility of program modules, allowing participants to alter their program schedule depending on their commitments.
The new program, running from November 2020 to August 2021, has been redesigned with guidance from Accenture, a global consultant, based on the outcomes of user research.
At the conclusion of the 2020-2021 program, participants will also have the opportunity to maintain connections through an Alumni Network.
Expected costs of the program will run between $6,000-$8,000 per participant, borne by the individual’s employing agency; final costs will be determined once total sign-up numbers are confirmed.