A proud Jawoyn-Jaru woman, Jody Dixon worked in personal development and training for over 20 years and is deeply passionate about helping people reach their full potential. Indigenous people make up 33 percent of the Northern Territory’s population, as well as the majority of people living in remote or very remote areas. For Jody, participating in the PSMP provided an opportunity to explore how workplace development could be improved for Indigenous workers within the Department of Education.
As the PSM Program Unit Coordinator and facilitator for the Unit, ‘Managing Operations for Outcomes’, I had the outstandingly good fortune to work with Jody as she focused on the crucial work of building and sustaining the capability and capacity of First Nations People.
Jody adopted a culturally responsive approach to her project and achieved highly regarded outcomes from her work. She focused strongly on her own learning and capability enhancement as she developed and delivered the project, and was able to demonstrate not only the importance of this work and highlight the inherent value, but also bring new approaches and thinking to her context.
“My workplace project was about building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal people, especially within a remote context,” she says. “The aim was to look at the gaps within our current policies for personal growth and professional development, and then co-designing and co-developing something that was culturally appropriate and inclusive for everybody.”
Jody was new to government when she started the PSMP and says she really enjoyed having the chance to meet other people in the public service.
It (the PSMP) gave me the opportunity to network with other agencies and really understand the amazing work that everybody does. That was a highlight.”
As an Indigenous student, Jody says she was “blessed” to connect with the University’s Carumba Institute. She also says that the program’s tutors were a valuable resource. Tackling the topic of federalism in Unit One was confronting, but Jody’s tutor helped her approach it from an Indigenous perspective.
“She was like, well, let’s think about it in an Aboriginal context,” Jody says. “Aboriginal people have been here for 60,000 years – what federation and what roles and governance have they had for that amount of time? So that’s where I took my first project.”
Jody completed the PSMP in early 2020, and says the tools she learned have been invaluable in her role since then. “It really gave me a mirror to look at self and look at the development of others, and to grow from looking at things from an operational lens to a strategic lens. We’re really looking at the internal public value that the department offers.”
Jody shares her story here:
Tell us about your workplace project, and why you chose that topic.
So, the project was about Building an Expert Workforce within the Department of Education, and I looked at how we provide differentiated support for aboriginal employees in a remote context. My workplace project I thoroughly enjoyed it’s very dear to my heart about building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal people, especially within a remote context. So, we aimed at the project to look at the gaps within our current policies for personal growth, and professional development, and then looking at that and then co-designing, co-developing something that was both culturally appropriate and inclusive for everybody.
What has happened since completing PSMP?
I completed PSMP just when COVID hit, so that was very interesting, and since then the program has given me tools and the program really validated information and knowledge that I already had internally. So, from there I’ve been able to reflect on my own development, so really gave me a mirror to look at self, and look at the development of others, and have actually grown from looking at things from an operational lens to a strategic lens and really looking at the internal public value that the department offers.
What was the highlight of your PSMP experience?
The PSMP gave me the opportunity to network, so I thought I was quite new to government, so with other agencies and other people and just really understand that amazing work for everybody does. That was a highlight, and then also doing this fabulous project which allows me then to go across agency and really look at that co-design in regards to aboriginal workforce development.
How did you find the support whilst studying the PSMP?
I think that I was really blessed to connect with the Carumba unit and the support that I had from them and the PSMP facilitators, to think outside the square when it came to my assignments in regards to the aboriginal context here in the Northern Territory, we have a population of 33% and so really looking at to context what we do internally and looking at public value and how do we do that in a place-based way. I had Tutor Michelle Bernstein, yeah, so she really got me thinking outside the square when it came to federalism that first unit I could almost cry and she was like well let’s think about it in an aboriginal context at Aboriginal people being here for 60,000 years you know what federation and what rules and governance would they have and succeed in for that amount of time so that’s right up my first project.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying the PSMP?
So, the advice I’d give to anyone considering PSMP would be to believe in yourself, courage before confidence, and that if I can do it anyone can do it, honestly, and to just believe in yourself there are units in there that you’re able to self-reflect and real strength based within the program.