Emerging leaders in the Community Public Services Sector

A new crop of leadership talent is sprouting in the PSA’s Community Public Services (CPS) sector.

A women on top of a mountainThese budding leaders have been supported through the creation of a new emerging leaders training session, held for the first time in late 2015 in Wellington.

The emerging leaders training was the result of the PSA’s quest to find a way to nurture and encourage people working in community public services to develop their leadership potential, said PSA organiser Amy Ross.

The CPS sector is the PSA’s fastest growing, with membership rising by 15% in 2015. It has an 83 percent female workforce carrying out critical work in areas such as disability; mental health; drug and alcohol recovery; home support; social services, and aid and development.

“We knew there was lots of talent within our pool of delegates in this sector, but felt that we could be doing more to support them to progress onto further leadership roles within the PSA. We were finding our members were keen to become delegates, but less keen to step up to leadership roles like joining the CPS Sector Committee. We suspected this could be a confidence issue and that we needed an interim step of some sort to encourage our people to feel confident to take on leadership roles.”

After throwing a few ideas around about how to support delegates, Amy and her colleagues came up with the idea of running a two day emerging leaders training programme. They then identified delegates they thought would be keen, and ran the inaugural programme late last year.

The first training proved to be a huge success. Over the two days, attendees developed their skills in things like communication, a deeper understanding of the structure of the PSA and where the CPS sector committee fits in (and why it’s so important!) and forged strong connections as a group.

According to Amy, “It was inspiring to see the delegates’ confidence grow by leaps and bounds over the two days. Many went from having no faith in themselves to do something like be on the sector committee to the complete opposite! They began to fully believe in themselves and their leadership talents. We had basically everyone attending put their hand up to join the sector committee. It was so great to see them thriving this way.”

“It’s a fantastic thing for them but equally fantastic for the PSA because we will benefit from their ongoing development and their contributions to us and the wider public service.”

“I felt so privileged to have been part of these two days with an amazing bunch of people – both the wonderful delegates who came along and my colleagues at the PSA who helped make it happen. I think each side learnt as much as the other from the whole process.

The success of the training has spurred us on and we are planning on making this a regular fixture on our calendar for CPS sector delegates,” said Amy. 

By Briar Edmonds