Christine Mann, Director of Cultural Capability and Engagement at the North West Hospital and Health Service was the recipient of a 2017 QUT and Queensland Public Service Commission scholarship to undertake the Public Sector Management Program (PSMP).
Christine says to others considering applying for the scholarship, absolutely go for it! As you will see from her story below, completion of the PSMP provided new skills and knowledge along with a great sense of achievement.
What scholarship did you receive and when?
In 2017, I received the Queensland Public Service Commission/QUT Diversity Scholarship. This year was extra special as 2017 represented the 25th Anniversary of the Public Sector Management Program. The Queensland Public Service Commission (PSC), in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) announced they were offering four scholarships for the Public Sector Management Program to Queensland Public Servants who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. The scholarships were being offered on a one-for-one basis whereby one person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent would be offered a full scholarship in exchange for the agency funding an additional participant. It was wonderful Queensland Health is supportive of this program and there was me another colleague that went through in the same cohort.
Who or what inspired you to apply?
Prior to joining Queensland Health in February 2017, I had spent the previous 11yrs with Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and in a senior leadership position since 2011. Each year a Child Safety Service Centre Manager in our region would undertake the study and each year I had been offered this opportunity, however, declined as I had a small family with my firstborn in 2012 and second child 16 months later. Upon joining Queensland Health in 2017, this opportunity was forwarded to me by our Executive Director Nursing & Midwifery and Clinical Services and I thought that I should probably take hold of this opportunity given the wonderful support by my respective Executive Teams and not put it off any longer.
What was your personal growth story?
My background is a Bachelor of Social Work conferred in 2000 and within the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women I substantively held the positions of Child Safety Officer, Team Leader, Senior Practitioner, and Manager. The first three roles were very much drawing upon my professional background, however, since entering the AO stream as an AO8, I was mentored and had to learn different skills with the increased responsibility that comes at this level and managing expectations from clients, community stakeholders, staff and peers. It was time to extend myself with further formal studies that were relatable to the skills and knowledge gap that I identified within myself and being successful in obtaining this scholarship and completing the Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) met my goals in this area.
How did/or is this study transforming you / or the organisation that you work for?
I feel I really understand the criticality of delivering on public value and a greater understanding of the political environment that we work within.
What was the highlight of your study experience?
The networks made, the high calibre of the QUT academic staff and the support from the PSMP Program Administrators.
What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?
Absolutely go for it, but not before ensuring you understand the ongoing commitment required over the 15 months. Before making application, I had discussions with my husband and line supervisor about the support that I would need from them at home and in the workplace. I’m employed full-time in the public sector, had children at the time aged 4yrs and 5yrs old, and live in Mount Isa, which means travel four times during this period down to Brisbane to attend the blocks. With support, it can be done and the sense of achievement, new skills and knowledge, and a greater network of friends and contacts at the end of it was absolutely worth it.
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