Jawun APS Secondment Program
The Jawun APS Secondment Program is open to high-performing, highly-skilled Executive Level employees, who are flexible, resilient and are prepared to be taken out of their comfort zone to work for a 6-week period in an Indigenous organisation. Jawun also offer 6-12 week Empowered Communities secondments to SES Band 1 or high performing Executive Level 2 officers.
The APS has partnered with Jawun since 2012. Under the current Memorandum of Understanding with Jawun, the APS commits to a mutually agreed number of secondees annually to undertake projects in regional and remote Australia. This partnership is designed to develop greater self-sufficiency for Indigenous people and their communities.
Further information on Information for workers from Australian Government Agencies, services and programs visiting remote communities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Jawun Secondment program?
Jawun is a not-for-profit organisation that manages secondments from corporate and government partners to Jawun Indigenous partner organisations. Jawun sources skilled people from corporate and government organisations and places them in Indigenous organisations to share knowledge and expertise. Jawun does this by:
- supporting Indigenous leaders to deliver on strategies and vision
- using corporate, government and philanthropic involvement to build the capabilities of Indigenous people and organisations
- fostering Indigenous economic and social development
- building a network where Indigenous, government, corporate and philanthropic ideas can be shared.
What does the APS’s partnership with Jawun aim to achieve?
In 2017, Jawun and the APS, represented by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), entered into a second five year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU forms a national partnership designed to develop greater self-sufficiency for Indigenous people and their communities. This partnership sees the diverse capabilities of APS employees applied to initiatives that:
- build the capacity of Indigenous individuals and organisations
- foster strong connections to facilitate dialogue and opportunity
- bring new skills and connections to Indigenous reform efforts.
For APS agencies and secondees, the secondments have the following objectives:
- that APS participation results in positive outcomes for the Indigenous communities
- that APS employees benefit through increased cultural awareness and personal development
- that APS agencies benefit through increased cultural awareness and broader awareness of Indigenous matters.
How does the Jawun program work?
Under the current MOU, the APS and Jawun agree the number of secondments to be offered each year. Jawun works with Indigenous partner organisations to identify the skills and experience needed in secondees, based on the organisation’s priorities. Jawun then works with the APSC to identify suitable secondees for each region.
What is the duration of a secondment?
Short-term secondments are for six weeks, including up to a week for induction. Longer term, six to 12 week Empowered Community secondments, are available to SES Band 1 or high performing Executive Level 2 employees.
Where are the secondments?
Secondments are available with Jawun Indigenous partner organisations in the following regions:
South West Australia
North East Arnhem Land
Lower River Murray / Far West Coast
Am I eligible to apply for a Jawun secondment?
The Jawun program offers short term secondments to high performing, highly skilled APS Executive Level employees, who are flexible, resilient and prepared to be taken out of their comfort zone. Longer term secondments are offered to SES Band 1 or high performing Executive Level 2 employees through Empowered Communities (EC). Nominating employees must be over the age of 25 for car insurance purposes.
Before applying, consider whether an immersive experience of this type is the right development opportunity for you. The program needs people who are able to adapt quickly and be flexible about changes to priorities and work tasks. You must be prepared to listen to the needs of the Indigenous organisation and recognise that you are there to support Indigenous leaders achieve their outcomes.
You must have good self-awareness. You will be away from your normal support networks, sharing accommodation with total strangers and are likely to find yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s essential to know your stress triggers, and be able to ask for help when you need it.
What is an Empowered Communities secondment?
These six to twelve week secondments are offered to SES Band 1 officers or high performing EL2 employees. The EC initiative is an Indigenous led proposal which aims to increase Indigenous ownership and give Indigenous people a greater say in decisions that affect them. It was designed by Indigenous leaders who want to introduce positive changes in their communities and regions. The projects are based on strategic priorities, often involving stakeholder engagement, and the higher order skills of our senior officers. EC secondments occur in the same locations as Jawun secondments. We aim to start them at the same time as a Jawun secondment round, so that EC secondees can take part in the induction week.
How will my placement be determined?
The Jawun experience is about using your skills to support the development goals of Indigenous organisations. The APSC will work with Jawun to determine the best placement based on required skills unless your agency has clearly identified a preference for a particular region when nominating to participate in the program.
When are secondments scheduled?
The six week secondments are generally arranged into four rounds each calendar year:
Round 1 - Between February and April
Round 2 - Between May and July
Round 3 - Between August and October
Round 4 - Between October and December.
How do I know which round to apply for?
Prior to selecting a preferred round on your nomination form take into consideration your work and personal commitments. You need to commit to Jawun for the entire duration of the secondment, so make sure you have agreement from your workplace and your family to be away for the round/s you nominate for. Do NOT nominate for a secondment round if you have any work or personal commitments at that time. Commitments might include graduations, weddings, medical appointments, or work project commitments.
What happens on secondment?
You will spend up to a week undertaking an induction program where you will learn about local Indigenous culture and meet with Indigenous organisations and community members. There is usually a camping trip, and in remote regions an off-road 4WD awareness course (region dependent). Induction builds team cohesion with your fellow secondees (corporate and other APS employees) who will form part of your support network for the remainder of the secondment.
After induction, you will begin working on your allocated project with your Indigenous organisation. You will need to remain flexible about your project, as priorities often change, which means your project may change with little notice. There will be check-ins by the Jawun Regional Director and weekly updates to complete on your project. At the end of the secondment you will complete a final report and present on your progress to regional stakeholders.
What types of projects do secondees work on?
Placements depend on matching secondee skills with what is required by the Indigenous organisations. APS secondees have been involved with a range of projects including:
- asset management
- policy support
- corporate governance
- project planning
- training and development
- HR systems development
- strategic planning
- risk assessment
- census analysis
- business planning
- gap analysis
What skills are Jawun’s partner organisations looking for?
When identifying what skills you have to bring to the program you should not only consider the skills you use in your current role but any skills you have used in previous APS and non-APS roles. Let us know about the skills you use in voluntary and community roles too. More information relating to skillsets is on the nomination form.
How do I apply for the program?
Each year, agencies are invited to participate in the Jawun secondment program. Each agency has its own internal selection process. Agencies then forward selected nominations to the APSC.
Each agency has a Jawun contact officer who can let you know about your agency’s nomination process and the number of nominees your agency is supporting for the year.
What happens next?
The APSC works with Jawun to identify the specific skills required in each region over the year. The APSC then reviews nominations and works with Jawun to place nominees.
Jawun uses telephone interviews to confirm placements. If you are selected for interview, the APSC will coordinate a call between you, the Jawun Regional Director, and agency representatives. The interview allows the Regional Director to assess your attributes and attitudes, learn more about your skills and ensure a good fit between you and the host organisation. The interview also provides an opportunity for you to learn more about Jawun.
It is important for potential secondees to be open and honest in their responses.
What is the role of the Jawun Regional Director?
Each Jawun region has a dedicated Regional Director on the ground who coordinates secondments with Jawun’s partner organisations. They match secondees to partner organisations, have the final say in the selection process, and work with partner organisations to develop project briefs for each secondment round.
The Regional Director is the central contact point for secondees during secondment. They coordinate the induction, support secondees as they transition to the project work, and keep in regular contact. The Regional Director coordinates a debriefing session at the end of the secondment.
What happens if I am selected for a placement?
After the telephone interview you will receive notification from the APSC if you have been successfully placed on a secondment. After this, Jawun will send a log-in to a restricted area on the Jawun website, ’My Jawun’, which contains pre-reading, information, and forms to complete. The completed forms need to be emailed to Jawun. There is an expectation that all pre-reading will be completed prior to the secondment. While this is happening, the Regional Director will be working with their partner organisations to match you with a secondment brief. Once you receive your brief you are expected to contact the host organisation to clarify your role. This may not be until a week or so before departure.
What support can I expect while on secondment?
The Regional Director will be in regular contact to check on your progress and provide support. It is expected that your agency Jawun contact and/or your manager will provide pastoral care on a weekly basis. Your agency Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider is also available if required.
The APSC is the first point of contact for Jawun for any issues arising during secondment. The APSC will coordinate with your agency contact and Jawun to resolve issues. In extreme circumstances secondments may be terminated.
Can family members attend the secondment?
Family visits during secondment are not encouraged. Jawun is an immersive experience, and you will be encouraged to join in community activities outside of your normal working hours. In most instances, you will be living in shared accommodation which is not conducive to family visits. Weekend reunion travel is generally not available, although you may be able to negotiate weekend travel options with your agency. You will need to take into account direction from your Regional Director relating to specific weekend reunion guidelines for each region.
Are there rules around weekend activities?
Given Jawun is an immersive experience you are encouraged to participate in community activities outside of work hours. You can also arrange your own activities after work hours or on weekends. Activities undertaken outside of Jawun organised activities are at your own risk, and you will need to sign a release and indemnity agreement to that effect prior to the secondment. Jawun has specific rules around weekend activities and use of hire vehicles. Your Regional Director will provide advice. Your agency’s risk management plan for Jawun will also provide guidance.
What are my agency’s responsibilities?
While the APSC is coordinating this program and is the key conduit for information and advice between agencies and Jawun, your home agency has a number responsibilities. Your agency is responsible for its own internal selection process. It is expected that each agency selects potential secondees who are best suited to this type of immersive experience. Your agency is also responsible for:
- Allocating a dedicated Jawun agency contact
- Completing the internal nomination and selection process
- Participating in the Jawun interview process
- Arranging travel for successful secondees
- Arranging travel allowance (including meal allowances) as applicable under your enterprise agreement
- Arranging a laptop, internet dongle and phone access for the duration of the secondment
- Managing secondee Work Health and Safety (WHS) and risk matters
- Supporting secondees prior to, during, and after secondment
- Reimbursing costs to Jawun, which may include: vehicle hire; fuel costs; 4WD awareness training; accommodation; some meals during induction week; cultural awareness ceremonies; incidentals and other induction week costs.
What specific laws, rules or policies do I need to be aware of?
All secondees must abide by the local laws of their secondment region, including respecting dry communities, where these occur. As a general rule, you should exercise common sense and respect people’s dignity at all times. Your Regional Director will discuss protocols that apply to the region during induction. Information for each region is included in the pre-reading on the ‘My Jawun’ website, including WHS information tailored to the specific risks in each region.
You will need to abide by any restrictions placed on you by your agency as part of its WHS and risk management approach. Secondees are expected to act professionally at all times. Your behaviour reflects on you, your agency, your host organisation, Jawun and your fellow secondees. All APS secondees must abide by the APS code of conduct whilst on secondment.
What is expected of me post-secondment?
Following your secondment, you are expected to debrief with your Jawun agency contact and your manager. You are encouraged to share your experiences and champion the program with colleagues throughout your agency, including through meetings, information sessions, intranet/blogs etc. You can elect to maintain contact with your host organisation or take on volunteer work within communities. You might like to consider becoming a mentor through the APS Indigenous Mentoring Program.
Who can I contact for more information?
- Your agency Jawun coordinator
- APSC Jawun Coordinator - Jawun@apsc.gov.au or 02 6202 3933 (option 2)
Sample of secondee feedback about the Jawun Secondment Program:
“I delivered presentations across the agency to build understanding in the realities of life in remote Indigenous communities. Feedback on the presentations was excellent. I have also participated in policy discussions with respect to Indigenous issues.”
“Before Jawun, when I was asked about the Indigenous community, my answers were shaped by suspicions fed by what I now know to be ill-informed stereotypes of the Indigenous community. Thanks to the Jawun program and my time in Shepparton I have a very different perspective today.”
“It was one of the most special things that has happened to me in my life. The whole concept takes you far from home to one of the world’s most beautiful places with 30 strangers. Once you arrive, you are given a really challenging project which requires you to produce results and build relationships with extremely diverse stakeholders. I would say that the key strength of the secondment is basically that it challenges you in every way possible. “
“The secondment was a unique, humbling, and enriching experience that will stay with me always. To read about the socioeconomic challenges in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities is one thing, to experience them as we did was another. Just as we were exposed to scenes and issues every day that left our hearts heavy, we were exposed to a great sense of opportunity, possibility and hope. This was so empowering, as we were working alongside some of the most determined and spirited people I have ever met. The landscape (and baking heat) of this rugged wilderness was also breathtaking and was the perfect environment to learn about risk, challenge, adventure and opportunity.”