After twenty years with Department of Consumer and Employment Protection and its predecessors the Ministry of Fair Trading, I started a new job last week, a secondment to the State Library of Western Australia.
To those of you not familiar with the mystical inner workings of the Western Australian public sector, a secondment is a temporary loan of an employee from one Government Department to another. The process is competitive is most cases, the job vacancy is advertised (www.jobs.wa.gov.au), written applications required and most application are far more than a CV, you need to address the selection criteria and then is most cases an interview.
The advantage for the new agency is they get a far bigger and better pool of applicants to select from. The advantage for the employee is they gain to experience and new skills, without risking their old job, benefits or their golden handcuff (superannuation). The advantage to the old agency is that if the employee returns, they do so with new skills, experience and ideas.
If an employee returns, secondment is often seen as a try before you buy for the new agency and employee. Though it just the nature of the beast. In theory a secondment is only available for special project work or when (in public service speak) the substantive occupant is not occupying their position, i.e. they are on secondment, acting (the term used for intra-agency secondment) or on leave (I will not try to explain to our American friends long service leave, but lets say leave periods of 3 or 6 months are not uncommon).
For example, the Manager of the Internet and Online Services of the State Library of Western Australia was seconded to do a special project with the Shared Services Centre. (the WA public sector is undergoing a major restructure with some services, principally human resources and finances being taken out of the departments and centralised). The Consultant Web Services was appointed to act in the position of Manager of the Internet and Online Services and the position of Consultant Web Services became temporarily vacant, was advertised, I applied and was successful.
If the Manager did a good job at Shared Services, then they would have a good chance of getting a permeant job there. The position of Manager would become vacant and the Consultant Web Services would have a good chance of getting that position. Leaving the Consultants position open, and if I did a decent job between now and then, I would have a good chance of getting that position. However, there is a big if, the State Library of Western Australia is also undergoing a major restructure, and depending on the new structure, there may be no position for me on the July 1 when the new structure takes effect and as my secondment currently ends on 30 June, I may be back at DOCEP with some new skills and experience, in the new financial year.
Meanwhile, I need to take advantage of the perks of the new jobs, being located at the Cultural Centre in Perth, the Art Gallery and the Museum are just outside the front door, and a huge choice of restaurants are within a couple of blocks, not to mention the books.