career planning for contractors within the public sector.

How public sector careers have been viewed has changed in the last few years. Rather than a job for life, the public sector is now a dynamic employer that offers career development and the ability to transition across departments for employees and contractors.  

Whilst contractors may feel limited by their position, career development as a contractor is possible within the public service. Planning is essential to developing your career, ensuring you’re continuously headed in the right direction and making your dreams a reality.

opportunities within the public sector.

The growing diversity of career paths in the public sector workforce means that you can find new opportunities with adequate planning. Federal and state government agencies will advance experienced contractors to higher levels within your grade band or higher grades, including management levels. They are also looking to attract new contractors with their fresh perspectives and knowledge. Currently, Randstad Consultants are finding contractors with skills in data and digital, health, customer relations, citizen experience and user-centred design are in high demand. 

Once, the goal might have been a permanent position for a contractor, but now a contractor can achieve career progression with the flexibility that comes with their independence. To do this, you must have a clear understanding and skills of government processes within the public service and build a strong network of contacts via interagency cooperation. And also, make the most of lifelong learning so that you are skilled and able to take up new contracting opportunities that progress your career. 

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pair life-long learning to the competency framework.

While there will be no evaluation process or clear pathway for promotion for many contractors, the competency framework is an essential starting point that all staff members should measure themselves against. It describes the capabilities a candidate must demonstrate to perform in the role effectively. It is used to assess employees by managing their performances, capability development and career planning to ensure they meet the organisation's needs 

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Being a contractor can still mean you have a career and progress, but your development might come from moving from role to role or department to department. Being aware of your skills and experiences and then mapping those to the competency level needed for that next role and effectively communicating those at interviews are critical.

Amelia O’Carrigan
Associate Director Public Sector at Randstad

This framework will also help you understand your strengths, current capability levels and what is required to move forward successfully in your career progression, forming the foundation of your productive career plan as a contractor. Remember, although the organisation may not lay out a career path, match the framework to your lifelong learning practice to develop the right skills to get you ahead. 

The government at federal and state levels think of roles as levels with competencies and functional skills mapped to those levels. As a contractor, being aware of these can help you map out your skills and identify those you need more development in. Self-learning and all the potential resources you can pull on are essential.

Make sure you lean on and share skills developed through previous experiences, such as volunteering work, part-time positions or studies. Here, you are building your skills inventory, essential in finding a job. 

understand the development opportunities that are on offer within your organisation.

An increasing number of departments will conduct formal assessments, constructive professional feedback, and self-assessments with contractors to identify your development needs. Yet again, it is up to you as a contractor to drive this conversation. Be proactive and ask what might be available to you. 

Once identified, ask if you can further your development activities with job rotation, shadowing colleagues and managers and undertaking different roles and projects that should take place for you to gain exposure to different environments and opportunities that may suit your needs in professional development. 

This framework will help you better understand job expectations and assist in planning development. It will potentially help you find meaningful and compatible work with your goals. 

Talented contractors working in the public service and their ideas are highly sought after as state and federal governments seek to increase innovations and effectiveness.

To learn about training ideas, resume writing and coaching, plus the latest job opportunities contact your Randstad Consultant.

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