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Workforce planning, attraction and retention

More than 650 national, state, territory, regional and urban water education resources are part of the Water Education Toolkit which has been developed by the University of Queensland and funded through the Federal Government's $12.9 billion Water for the Future initiative.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) plays a primary role in progressing whole-of-government priorities for the Smart State. Toward Q2 - Tomorrow's Queensland is the Queensland Government's vision of a state where knowledge, creativity and innovation drive economic growth to improve prosperity and quality of life for all Queenslanders.

The Workforce Strategic Plan 2009-2011, released in February 2010, establishes a clear vision for the department, as well as specific workforce goals and outcomes. It includes a strong emphasis on developing our people's talents and ideas to create a dynamic and innovative workforce focused on achieving the department's vision. The plan specifies the department's approach for developing and retaining its high-quality and professional workforce for the future and meeting the needs of government and the community. It will ensure that the department is well placed to deliver on its key policy platforms.

This plan has been developed for all employees of education and training, including the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care. It invites partnering with leaders and managers to provide high-quality, innovative human resource management in consultation with employees and their representatives, and reflects a deliberate effort to integrate workforce strategies for DET.

To achieve our workforce goals and outcomes, priority actions will be undertaken in four key focus areas:

  • creating the right jobs and finding the right people
  • developing the performance of our people
  • looking after and valuing people
  • using data, governance and systems to drive quality in our people management.

During 2009-10, the department:

  • initiated and upgraded business systems to improve and streamline delivery including:
    • upgrading the department's payroll system - The Solution Series (TSS) - from version 3 to version 5
    • commencing the two-year Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) project. MyHR, the department's new business solution, provides robust, integrated and e-enabled HR technology in the areas of HR-based corporate reports, payroll automation, recruitment and applicant management, performance, capability and talent, and prevention and management of workplace health and safety risks and incidents
    • releasing MyHR corporate reporting module to the department
    • launching an online MyHR process to streamline teacher transfers
  • implemented a range of strategies to attract and retain, build capacity, and value people in the education and training workforce including:
    • re-launching the Make a difference. Teach campaign to attract people to teaching as a profession, including a new website, branding and communication strategy
    • administering the 2010 Teacher Qualification Survey to gain information on teacher qualification and experience. This data will be used to inform the development of workforce planning and attraction and retention initiatives
    • continuing to develop and integrate initiatives that support attraction and retention, as appropriate for the changed economic and business environment, to maintain a quality workforce to deliver future services
    • converting 220 long-term temporary staff to permanent status
    • offering a suite of scholarships to support aspiring and current teachers
    • introducing the Teacher Education Scholarship program which supports alternative pathways into teaching in the STEM disciplines of chemistry, physics and senior mathematics
    • investing more than $48 million to enhance the capability of our workforce, including TAFE and school teachers
    • helping teachers meet the re-registration requirements of the Queensland College of Teachers' Continuing Professional Development Framework
    • participating in the whole-of-government Indigenous Employment Working Group, which is focused on the Queensland Government's commitment to the Australian Employment Covenant
    • releasing the Valuing Performance policy statement to embed and inform the management and development of employee performance within the department
  • supported service delivery in state schools by:
    • providing an additional 0.5 teacher FTE to one-teacher schools with greater than 20 enrolments and with enrolments in 7 or 8 year levels (from Prep to Year 7), from the start of the 2010 school year
    • employing an additional 350 full-time equivalent staff, comprising 288 teachers and 62 teacher aides, to meet enrolment growth in Queensland state schools, and support students with disabilities and for other initiatives
    • funding an additional 5000 teacher aide hours per week to support Prep-Year 7 students.

The department has negotiated three replacement certified agreements in 2009-10:

  • the Queensland state school teachers agreement that gives quality teachers enhanced rewards and career advancement opportunities, and helps achieve the objectives of the National Partnership Agreements
  • the Queensland state school cleaners agreement that gives increased wages and provides efficient and high-quality services
  • the Queensland TAFE teachers agreement that provides increased salary over the life of the agreement.

Our people

Strategy: Attract, retain and develop a high-quality, skilled and professional workforce that reflects the diversity of Queensland's population

DET has the largest workforce in the Queensland Government and rates among the largest organisations in Australia. Our diverse profile includes school and TAFE teachers and specialist staff, as well as professionals engaged in the education and training sectors.

As at 30 June 2010, the department had a combined workforce of 83 638 people, which equates to 65 829 full-time equivalent staff across the state in various full- and part-time roles. The department's workforce - based on Minimum Obligatory Human Resource Information point-in-time data - comprises:

  • 55 085 school-based staff
  • 6591 staff in TAFE institutes
  • 2614 central office staff, including 2040 education, 483 training and 91 Early Childhood Education and Care staff
  • 1539 staff located at regional offices.

The staff retention rate for 2009-10 was 94.7 per cent and the annual separation rate was 4.85 per cent.

Figure 53: The department's workforce composition 2009-10

The department's workforce composition 2009-10

Bar graph showing department's workforce composition by employment category

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 54: Location of the department's workforce 2009-10

Location of the department's workforce 2009-10

Pie graph showing location of the department's workforce 2009-10

Source: Department of Education and Training

The average age of departmental employees is 45 years, compared to 43 years across the Queensland public sector (see Figure 55). Queensland's average state school teaching age is 42 years.

Figure 55: The department's age profile 2009-10

The department's age profile 2009-10

Bar graph showing the department's age profile 2009-10

Source: Department of Education and Training

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Women in our workforce

Photograph showing two female central office staff in conversation

Women make up the majority (76 per cent) of the DET workforce. These women make valuable and significant contributions to leadership roles, the education of young people and adults, and the support of schools and TAFE institutes by delivering specialist and corporate services.

As at 30 June 2010, women filled 45 per cent of senior and executive management positions in the department (see Table 25: Workforce diversity - equity group representation).

Currently, women on statutory authority and company boards associated with the department have a total representation of 38.4 per cent. Please see Appendix 3 (new window) 118K Adobe PDF document for more detailed information about the representation of women on department-related boards.

The department is committed to providing women with equal employment and career development, and helping them achieve work-life balance through flexible work arrangements. Some key actions to support our female employees include:

  • the celebration of International Women's Day for DET staff, recognising the achievements of women in the department
  • the development and implementation of the Women in Leadership Strategy 2010-2013
  • exploring the implementation of virtual networking.

Initiatives for women's career development include mentoring programs, women in management programs, professional development and training courses, work shadowing and higher duties opportunities.

Table 24: Representation of women and men in DET disaggregated by annual earnings, 2009-10

Earnings groupings



Total FTEs



29 999 and less






30 000 - 39 999






40 000 - 49 999

11 576.2

2 688.4

14 264.6



50 000 - 59 999


2 354.1

10 453.6



60 000 - 69 999


2 355.5

8 511.7



70 000 - 79 999

15 648.8

5 980.7

21 629.5



80 000 - 89 999

2 813.2


4 364.8



90 000 - 99 999

1 531.9


2 659.5



100 000 - 109 999






110 000 - 119 999






120 000 and over






Source: Public Service Commission

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Attracting new employees

Attraction of new employees, especially in our schools and TAFE institutes, is critical for high-quality front-line service delivery and a revitalised workforce.

During 2009-10, the department employed more than 1100 graduates to permanent teaching positions, and an additional 316 teachers and teacher aides to meet enrolment growth in Queensland state schools and support students with disabilities.

In 2009-10, the department undertook various initiatives to attract new employees, including:

  • refining the Teacher Application and Assessment Ranking System introduced in 2009
  • awarding 13 Bid O'Sullivan and eight 1Pearl Duncan teaching scholarships to help people in rural, remote and Indigenous communities commence education degrees at Queensland universities, leading to permanent employment in the state school system on completion
  • marketing directly to industry and to secondary students to attract TAFE teachers and school teachers, as well as re-launching the Make a difference. Teach website and attending various careers and employment expos and events
  • expanding the Rural Area Teaching Education Program, a community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Education Program to deliver teacher education courses to Indigenous students
  • encouraging registered and retired teachers to engage in short-term teaching opportunities while travelling in rural, remote and regional Queensland, through the Grey Nomad Teacher Employment Strategy
  • increasing the supply of TAFE teachers in identified high-demand teaching areas by supporting industry experts to obtain the qualifications needed to become TAFE teachers
  • offering graduate employment and Teacher Education scholarships to aspiring teachers in high-demand curriculum areas and difficult to staff locations.

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Developing our workforce

The department improves the capabilities of its people through targeted professional development, providing programs suitable for employees throughout the various phases of their career: aspiring, beginning, consolidating, growing, high achieving and transition phases. A suite of statements, standards and capability frameworks support the department in developing these programs, such as:

  • Public Service Commission's Capability and Leadership Framework
  • Valuing Performance policy statement
  • Developing Performance Framework
  • Executive Capabilities Framework
  • Leadership Matters: Leadership Capabilities for Education Queensland Principals
  • Professional Standards for Teachers
  • Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework.

Key priority areas for professional development included:

  • Literacy - The Key to Learning: Framework for Action
  • Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework
  • Numeracy: Lifelong Confidence with Mathematics - Framework for Action
  • Science Spark - Reigniting Students Interest in Science program
  • VET Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives
  • Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Learning
  • Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework
  • Year of Creativity 2009.

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Employee induction

Induction is an essential element of professional development, assisting employees to develop their performance and provide high-quality service. An online Public Sector Induction Program has been available on the DET website since March 2010. This program is part of the department's suite of centrally coordinated induction programs and support materials, including:

  • the Flying Start Induction Toolkit for beginning teachers
  • the First-Time Principals Induction Program
  • local, district and regional programs.

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Developing leaders

Strategy: Encourage strong school leadership to improve outcomes for all students

In 2009-10, the department maintained its commitment to coordinate, support and strengthen the continuing professional development of teachers, school leaders and leadership aspirants. Initiatives that fostered executive, school, TAFE and public sector leadership included:

  • maintaining a Register of Executive Coaches, which gives individual professional development support to high performing principals, senior executive officers and senior officers
  • conducting the Leadership Development Program: Leading from any chair, which 85 employees participated in throughout 2009-10
  • supporting the DET Leadership Community, which is an alumni group of around 90 staff from across Queensland who have completed a Leadership Development Program. The Leadership Community capitalises on the department's investment in these programs by encouraging its members to apply their leadership behaviours, continue their leadership development and connect with other members
  • developing the leadership capabilities of 16 Business Services Managers, developing their leadership capabilities to support a network of more than 500 other Business Services Managers across the state
  • maintaining a Workplace Coaching Register comprising 140 trained internal workplace coaches, and providing ongoing development to 23 recent graduates of the Certificate IV in Workplace and Business Coaching
  • embedding the Public Service Commission's Capability and Leadership Framework into the performance and development planning process.

Principals and leadership aspirants developed their leadership capabilities through various programs, including:

  • Enhancing Leaders for the Future (60 participants)
  • Principal Connect - Supportive School Leadership (61 principals)
  • Achievement Matters (40 participants)
  • School Leadership Teams (81 participants)
  • Supporting School Leaders in the Developing Performance Framework (153 school leaders)
  • People Matters (43 participants)
  • Leadership Matters: Using Leadership Case Studies (100 participants)
  • eLearning Principal Program (244 participants).

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Improving teacher quality

Strategy: Introduce reforms to improve the quality of teaching across all schools at all stages of teachers' career cycles

The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership Agreement was established to drive and reward systemic reforms to improve the quality of teaching and leadership in Australian schools. Further information about the agreement can be found in Working with the Australian Government.

The following sections provide information on the department's strategies to improve teacher quality.

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Experienced Senior Teacher classification

As part of the recent teachers certified agreement, the department established the new classroom teacher classification of Experienced Senior Teacher. The new classification has been created to recognise and reward those with four or more years satisfactory service as Senior Teachers (or seven or more years in the case of three-year trained teachers), and attract and retain teachers in the classroom through an enhanced classification structure. There are no quotas applied to the classification as they are not new positions, but rather a personal classification held by classroom teachers, which is determined by merit.

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Returning to Teaching

The Returning to Teaching (RTT) program is a professional development program that provides opportunities for teachers who have not completed 200 days of teaching in the five-year period of registration to meet the condition placed on their registration. RTT programs are a requirement under the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005.

The programs help teachers returning to classroom teaching to understand the current curriculum frameworks, teaching and learning practices, and legislative and legal responsibilities that are central to their work with students in contemporary school settings. RTT programs comprise 30 hours of engagement and must be approved by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

Further information about Returning to Teaching programs is available on the QCT website External Link.

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Mentoring enables employees to regularly interact with more experienced members of the organisation on issues relating to their job and career development. Mentoring is a relationship designed to build confidence, help participants take responsibility for their own learning, help them apply greater initiative to their own development, and assist less experienced staff to 'navigate' the organisation.

In 2009-10, centrally coordinated mentoring programs included:

  • the pilot of the Diversity Mentoring Program to assist employees from diverse backgrounds to gain greater confidence in seeking employment opportunities at higher levels within the department
  • Central Office Mentoring (COM) Program, which is designed to develop leadership capability within the department through one-on-one mentoring partnerships
  • participation in the Public Service Commission's Inspiring Women Mentoring Program. The program is aimed at supporting women in A03 to A07 (or equivalent) positions to develop their careers within the Queensland public sector
  • Women in Leadership Mentoring program to assist female employees to gain leadership skills to support their career development within the organisation.

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