The VPSC is piloting a new program to identify and develop Aboriginal leaders. Uniquely, the program accepts nominees from both government and Aboriginal community controlled organisations.

There are ten participants in the Aboriginal Future Leaders pilot, which is run by the Aboriginal Employment Unit. Each participant was nominated because they have been identified by their employers as demonstrating significant potential to take on greater leadership roles in future.

The Future Leaders program consists of:

  • leadership coaching in group and individual sessions
  • tailored personal development through experiential learning
  • a two-day, activity-based leadership residential

It is designed to foster an emerging style of Aboriginal leadership – relationship-based, with its own distinctive attributes that draw on identity as a resource.

Participants design their own learning experience to develop desired leadership attributes such as social and political intelligence, vision and storytelling, cultural and personal authenticity, and creativity and innovation.

Paul Grimes, Victorian Public Sector Commissioner welcomed the commencing group in July:

“Future Leaders empowers you with confidence in making choices that affect your career and community. It helps you navigate the complexities that come with living and working across two worlds.”

Suzy Coates, a participant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning attended the residential in September:

“This program acknowledges the merging of personal and professional lives that Aboriginal leaders experience. That’s what sets it apart. It isn’t asking for us to conform, rather encouraging us to draw from our identity as a source of strength.”

Government-based participants in the pilot are employed at VPS5/6 level within the Victorian Public Service. In 2019, Future Leaders will seek nominations from the broader public sector.

Future Leaders is an initiative of Barring Djinang, the public sector’s five-year Aboriginal employment strategy. Community partnership is part of the government’s broader commitment to Aboriginal self-determination.

Learn more about the Future Leaders initiative

Learn more about Barring Djinang

Contact the Aboriginal Employment Unit by phone (03) 9651 0837 or email

Commencing participants of the Future Leaders program with Joe Murfet and Mason Atkinson from the VPSC Aboriginal Employment Unit.


Suzy Coates, a participant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning with Emma Eastwood, VPSC Director, Workforce at the welcome event.


Participants Casey Atkinson and Andrew Arden at the welcome event.

Group coaching at the Future Leaders two-day residential.