Return to study turns focus to valuable skill set

Associate Professor Anne Tiernan is Program Director of the Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis at Griffith Business School.
Associate Professor Anne Tiernan is Program Director of the Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis at Griffith Business School.

A change in Peter Kolesnik’s career direction brought with it new opportunity.

Along with a new role, his move from Queensland Police Service to Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads in 2013 came with a chance to further his education.

He embraced the opportunity and enrolled to study a Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis at Griffith Business School.

“The GCPA has sharpened my skills in the policy space and enabled better insights into leveraging off my own skill set,” Peter says. “As students we are encouraged to step back and look at our existing skill set and consider how to capitalise on it in the workplace.”

PKwebPeter (left) built up a vast skill set during 18 years at the Queensland Police Service. He worked in road safety for 11 years and further enhanced his knowledge base during a seven-year stint in the Police Commissioner’s office.

He originally graduated with a Masters degree in strategic planning in 1994 and immediately put this qualification to use in the Criminal Justice Commission during the Fitzgerald reform era.

Now he finds himself revisiting elements of this working past through the GCPA. “It is giving me an opportunity to hone and refresh policy skills and enhance my ability to apply those skills at any level of government, federal, state or local.”

Not surprisingly the return to study has come with new challenges around time management, as Peter incorporates study periods and intensive class periods into a heavy schedule of work commitments. The quality of the course, however, means it hasn’t felt like a chore at any stage but quite the opposite.

Peter has been impressed by the quality of the lecturers at the School of Government and International Relations. “The lectures have an outstanding degree of content knowledge around the different subjects. The way the lecturers deliver the information really encourages participation and action among the student group.”

Guest presentations by key people from the government sector have been relevant and brought students up to speed. Former chiefs of staff to federal ministers, and senior civil servants from the Public Service Commission and the Premier’s Department have been among the speakers.

“They’ve informed us about changes in the political landscape and presented us with an insight into the operations of government, in particular around the shift towards the contestability of government services. This has been very beneficial in broadening my knowledge base.”

Peter, who is A/Executive Director for Road and Rail Safety at the Department of Transport and Main Roads, has also gained significantly from exchanges with classroom colleagues since his studies started in early 2014.

“We build a rapport with people from different agencies and learn from them as to how they’re applying the newly acquired skills in their environment.

“My GCPA studies, to a certain extent, are about leveraging off my professional change and making the most of the opportunities it brings.”