The Civil Service Clerical Staff falls within the category of “interchangeable” staff. They belong to the Public Administration and Personnel Department (PAPD) of the Ministry of Finance, but they staff every Department of the civil service, often changing post and Department every few years.
On the initiative of the Director of PAPD, CAPA, in collaboration with PAPD’s Clerical Staff Section and Clerical Staff’s trade union branch, designed and is now reqularly offering a corresponding training programme.
The design and delivery of the programme has been the culmination of a process, which begun in July 2010, with the establishment of a special Learning Unit for all clerical staff. The Unit functions parallel to the Learning Units which have been established in all civil service organisations and cover “vertical” learning needs (i.e. organisation-specific, including technical needs).
The Learning Unit, then, in close cooperation with CAPA, proceeded to diagnose and analyse clerical staff’s “horizontal” learning needs (i.e. the needs clerical staff have, regardless of where they are currently placed).
The learning needs analysis employed a range of diagnostic methods, including methods like:
- the study of written sources of information, like the job-descriptions prescribing the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for each hierarchical level of clerical staff
- interviews with the Directors of different Departments
- workshops with clerical staff of all ranks, currently serving at different civil service organisations.
The learning needs analysis led to the design of two modular training programmes for clerical staff, one for entry level and one for higher ranking staff.
Many of the learning needs identified were common for both levels. Some of the needs point to knowledge or information gaps relating to the archiving system and procedures, EU issues, legislation, official correspondence, private secretary skills, etc. Other learning needs have to do with soft skills. In addition, higher ranking staff was found to be in need of management and coaching skills training.