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Major government projects boosted by new project leadership academy

12 April 2018
The Academy will run key programs for government agencies
The John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney will launch a new Major Projects Leadership Academy dedicated to the development of effective project leadership at all levels of government.

With Australia’s population expected to increase 36 percent by 2036 to 34 million, governments are under mounting pressure to ensure taxpayer money delivers the right services.

The NSW Government has committed $80 billion dollars to infrastructure alone for the next ten years while other states face similar project pipelines, creating a stretch in available resources to deliver complex projects successfully.

To meet this challenge the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney will launch a new Major Projects Leadership Academy dedicated to the development of effective project leadership at all levels of government. It is designed to upskill a critical mass of leaders of projects across Australia to produce better project outcomes.

The Academy will deliver leadership development programs for key government departments and agencies, provide a platform to share best practice knowledge of major projects and support with future project innovation.

Since its inception in 2012 the John Grill Centre has delivered impactful leadership development and executive education programs backed by evidence-based research on major project leadership. The Centre has worked with government departments and agencies delivering vital infrastructure including NSW Transport, Roads and Maritime Services, Victorian Level Crossing Authority, Queensland Health, Health Infrastructure NSW and UrbanGrowth, helping to make a significant impact on how teams are operating and delivering projects.

“In our partnership role with government, our initiatives are realising impressive gains and transforming how project teams are being led, and how projects are sponsored and governed,” said Professor Suresh Cuganesan, Chief Executive Officer, John Grill Centre.

We are creating a capable and transferable pool of talent to support the national project pipeline.
Professor Suresh Cuganesan, Chief Executive Officer, John Grill Centre

"The Major Project Leadership Academy brings together a much needed offering for the whole major project eco-system that encourages a different perspective on how these projects can be led through better understanding of the complex dynamics, stakeholder influences and enhanced team practices.”

Sir David Higgins who is Chairman of High Speed Two Ltd (UK) and Gatwick Airport Limited, and member of the John Grill Centre Advisory Board said, “Collective action is required to address and support the leadership capability gaps facing public sector project leaders in Australia.

“The United Kingdom achieved this with their Major Projects Leadership Academy and a similar solution in Australia would be invaluable to support state and federal government in achieving their infrastructure project outcomes.”

The Centre has brought together a group of senior advisors with extensive public sector and major project experience to work on this initiative, this group will complement the John Grill Centre’s Advisory Board ensuring the issues unique to government-owned projects are reflected in the Academy’s initiatives.

The Hon. Nick Greiner, former NSW Premier and CEO of Infrastructure NSW, and member of the John Grill Centre Advisory Board, added, “Immediate action is needed to build a public service capability to manage the decades of projects in the pipeline for NSW. The John Grill Centre is well placed to support government in upskilling project leaders and their teams to help create transparency in projects for all parties.”

The Major Projects Leadership Academy will:

  • facilitate key leadership development programs for core public sector audiences including responsible owners, senior leaders and their teams and future leaders
  • provide services to support major project health assessment, project business cases, peer reviews and project coaching and mentoring, which will deliver an immediate impact on projects
  • incubate critical new ideas to meet the needs of future social and transport planning through research and innovation hubs
  • present outside perspectives on project issues, supported by masterclasses at all levels of government, allowing departments and agencies to network and share best practices.

Academy offerings will be co-created with government to support the development of leadership practices needed for successful major projects in the rapidly changing political and social environment.

To launch the Academy the Centre is bringing together key project leaders across government departments and agencies to build a common understanding of capability and capacity gaps and collaborate to pilot and co-create leadership programs to strengthen their teams for future growth.

Key John Grill Centre team members supporting the Major Projects Leadership Academy include Suresh Cuganesan, Garry Bowditch, Maurizio Floris, and Malcolm Dunn.

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