2019 FINALISTS - Will Spensley Memorial Award for Innovation - PUBLIC SECTOR


Department of Finance
Virtual Assessment Centres - Modernising the recruitment process

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The Department of Finance has successfully embedded technology into its graduate recruitment process enabling candidates to participate on a global reach. During the recruitment process for the 2019 Graduate Program, PEXIP - a video conferencing app - was rolled out.  


Finance didn’t want to miss the talent of those who choose to broaden their horizons and recognised the need to be innovative. This technology provided the flexibility for candidates to be involved using their mobile devices in remote locations around the world while taking on new experiences, whether interning in South East Asia or volunteering in Africa.


Twelve candidates joined the virtual assessment centres using the PEXIP Infinity App from various countries. Four of these candidates made it into the merit pool. Furthermore, two accepted an offer to work at Finance and commenced in the 2019 Graduate Program. Assessment centres challenge participant’s ability at problem solving, teamwork and their leadership capacity. The app used facial identification technology to facilitate group discussion and expose candidates’ reactions in real time.  


Arlen took part in the assessment centre from Singapore, ‘I was impressed by the department’s innovative use of digital technology. It was a positive sign about working at Finance and ultimately helped me make my decision to work for the department’.  


From Tanzania, Timara joined the assessment centre, ‘Without this option, I couldn’t have participated. No other department that I applied for, as a graduate, offered such a flexible approach.


Although I was travelling, I felt my skills and circumstances were valued throughout the experience’. 


In preparation for the 2020 graduate recruitment process, Finance aims to leverage the PEXIP technology giving candidates the choice to physically attend or to participate in the virtual assessment saving on travel costs and facilitating engagement on a global reach.

The Melbourne Metro Water Partnership

In partnership with Fusion Graduate Consultancy

The Melbourne Metro Water Partnership - A Collaborative Graduate Development Program

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Melbourne’s water authorities, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, South East Water and City West Water commenced a collaborative partnership to establish an integrated graduate development program. Our vision was to work together to increase opportunities to attract top talent to the water industry. We aim to grow a pipeline of talent to meet the workforce and capability demands of the future.


We worked as one partnership to create our overarching strategy aimed at developing the skills required to deliver exceptional outcomes for our customers, communities and the environment.


Our customised development program aims to deliver the following outcomes:

·         Develop a critical awareness of self and learning style to enhance own leadership capability

·         Build essential business skills to work efficiently and with success in the working landscape 

·         Develop resilience and agility to work effectively in the water industry, and deal with setbacks 

·         Gain experience working on a tailored project to make a real difference to the future of the water industry

·         Cultivate a network of young water industry professionals to learn and grow with for entire careers


Some of the key elements of the graduate program include a formal welcome event, 8 development workshops hosted by each of the organisations across a 2-year period, a water industry mentoring program, an innovation project and excursions to various water treatment and cultural heritage sites across Melbourne.


The partnership was formed early 2018, with the first graduate cohort commencing the development program in January 2019. 


What is so innovative about this?

As an industry, we are preparing for a future with less water to share. Therefore, collaboration is the key to our industry’s future success. What makes our program innovative is our four water authorities are cross collaborating to deliver outcomes for the benefit of our future industry and community through a tailored, best-practice Graduate program.

Victorian Public Sector Commission

Disability pathway to the Victorian Government graduate program

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Inclusion by design

The Victorian public sector is committed to fairer representation of people with disability at all levels of our workforce, including our graduate programs. We are deliberately reducing barriers, especially invisible barriers of low expectations and mistaken assumptions. We aimed for 6% representation of people with disability in our 2020 cohort. 

Attraction first

In 2019, the Victorian Government graduate program cleared a new disability pathway to ensure equitable access. It began with marketing. We researched and tested with eligible students, including those with various disabilities. Our messages, advertising and website responded to what they told us. Our data collection statement specifically covered disability information and built trust early. 

Fair processes

We invited candidates to contact us early and responded personally to those opting into our pathway. They chose their communication channel and we answered questions that might have held them back.

Our assessors had disability confidence training. To avoid selecting out on the wrong things, we made over 80 adjustments across our 4-stage process. Many were very simple. We provided a separate interview room at assessment centres, so a Deaf person or someone with autism avoided background noise. We used larger fonts for printed materials for visually impaired candidates. We replaced videos with phone or in-person options where appropriate.  


Our new campaign doubled applications overall, but quadrupled applications from people with disability. 156 people opted into the pathway, and 150 more shared disability information. We’re smashing targets, with 10% of first intake offers going to high potential candidates with disability.  More expected in second intake!

That’s not all

We’re piloting a Workplace Adjustment Passport for 6 current graduates. The Passport allows the person with disability to carry their workplace adjustment with them. They needn’t negotiate new arrangements each rotation. They just get on with their marvelous careers.