DVA answered the call from Services Australia for help processing claims related to COVID-19, knowing that now more than ever, the Australian Public Service (APS) must work together to support Australians.
In order to ensure there was no impact on support for veterans and their families, DVA took care in selecting which of the volunteers would be temporarily seconded. These staff members were primarily in coordination, administration or policy roles. A number were graduates, who only began their public service careers this year.
In addition to helping Australians doing it tough, these staff members are learning new skills that will assist them once they return to DVA. Tracey Noble, an Assistant Director in DVA’s Early Engagement and Transition Section, said learning to process claims had given her unique insights that would assist her in her DVA policy role: ‘I work in a policy area, and I like the big picture of policy – but [processing claims] has given me balance. The tangible benefits at the end of the day, seeing how many claims you’ve done and people you’ve helped, is also great… It’s very rewarding.’
Kim Gibbins, a Program Officer in the Commemorations and Memorials Section said: ‘It has been a huge learning curve, and a good experience. Working for DVA for 13 years, it was good to be out of my comfort zone... [The best part of the experience] is learning a new job, a new program, a new system, and ultimately what they do at Services Australia for the community.’
Many of these staff members are also using the secondment as an opportunity to expand their networks. Sophie Covell, a DVA Graduate, said: ‘The networking is something that you may not get otherwise. You get to sit next to someone from another government department, and speak to them about their job. You also get a sense of camaraderie, sitting next to other people who are also processing claims. It’s been a great opportunity.’
DVA is staying in close contact with our staff on temporary secondment to check on their wellbeing, offer support and ensure that their connections to DVA remain strong.