Talent and performance development
The strength of a world class regulator like the EPA lies in the capability and talent of its staff. We build staff capability through:
- training programs
- a graduate program and internships
- talent development and performance management
- internal Expressions of Interest processes
- external recruitment
- leadership development.
Learning and development
The Capability and Talent Branch is responsible for developing and delivering content tailored to our business needs.
Learning opportunities cover many areas
Corporate compliance and systems
Wellbeing, health and safety
All courses are led by experts and are designed to give officers specialist skills and knowledge.
EPA staff and external regulators access training programs through the online portal EPA Learning. In 2020–21 we offered 71 courses, delivering:
- 20 in person
- 32 through online self-paced eLearning
- 16 through webinars
- 3 through blended modes.
In 2020–21 we trained 489 EPA staff plus 265 officers from external agencies.
Developing our leaders
EPA staff who are moving into leadership roles or already lead teams can take leadership training through DPIE Learning and Development. The EPA also pays course fees to help nominated leaders gain external qualifications such as the:
- Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) offered by the Queensland University of Technology
- Executive Master of Public Administration, offered by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
Investment in the development of our current and emerging leaders is part of our broader commitment to developing our talent for today and the future.
The right people in the right place at the right time
A key element of talent acquisition is our bulk recruitment process. This approach builds a pipeline of talent through talent pools we can draw on to quickly fill roles. Moving to regular bulk recruitment also supports awareness of the rhythm of regular recruitment by the EPA, for both external candidates attracted to a purpose-led role with the EPA and existing staff planning their next career move.
We also aim to become an employer of choice to attract talented team members at different stages of their career. We are achieving this by improving the efficiency and transparency of the process, and by building visibility of who we are, our culture, the benefits of working with the EPA, and what we offer as a purpose-led, people-centred inclusive employer.
Internal Expressions of Interest (EOIs) have long been a way for the EPA to identify opportunities for staff development and ensure we have the right people in the right place at the right time.
To streamline the process, the EPA developed and deployed an intranet form and dashboard for all staff roles to enable staff wanting to work in new areas for short-term acting arrangements to express their interest and capabilities. People leaders across the organisation were able to have a full view of these staff, their skills and availability.
Supporting our frontline staff through blended learning
Training and development for frontline staff, such as our authorised officers, is an essential part of the EPA having a learning mindset.
In 2020–21 we developed and delivered three new online training programs to enhance regulatory operations officers’ skills and knowledge:
- Regulating under the POEO Act
- Introduction to Native Forestry Regulation in NSW
- Introduction to Contaminated Land Regulation in NSW.
These programs are offered to current staff and are also part of the development path for our new employees.
Staff can access the online modules whenever it suits them. This has been particularly beneficial for those working flexible hours from home during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
In early 2021 the NSW Government eased lockdown restrictions and staff began to return to the office. We were able to run face-to-face training, giving staff access to a broader range of courses.
Graduate program and internships
The EPA’s internal graduate program employs recent graduates with a tertiary qualification in environmental science, engineering, technology, or law plus science.
Placements are temporary and run for two years, with four 6-month rotations across the organisation. The aim is to give participants a range of experiences that will develop them into well-rounded, multiskilled regulatory officers.
The two graduates who started in the EPA’s graduate program in January 2019 secured employment with us in September and October 2020.
In February 2021, six graduates commenced at the EPA. Five graduates started in our graduate program, and another one was placed with us through the Public Service Commission’s 18-month graduate program.
“The graduate program has deepened my understanding of the environmental issues facing NSW today, while both diversifying my professional skills and exposing me to a breadth of knowledge from my colleagues.”
Victoria Seeck, placed in the Governance, Risk and Planning Division
The EPA also offers both general student internships and two kinds of targeted internships.
Targeted intern programs
2021 EPA Graduates on orientation day. Photo: EPA
The EPA partners with two organisations, CareerTrackers and the Australian Network on Disability, to offer paid internships through their programs.
CareerTrackers supports Indigenous undergraduates in their quest to graduate and find employment by linking them with employers for paid, multi-year internships. The EPA has partnered with CareerTrackers since 2015 to attract young Indigenous talent to the EPA (and in doing so, gain a fresh perspective on the way we work).
The Australian Network on Disability offers services to help improve accessibility and the inclusion of people with a disability into the workforce. Its Stepping Into program is a paid internship scheme that matches talented university students with a disability with roles in leading Australian businesses.