Delivering Public Sector Transformation through Capacity Building
By Precious Imuwahen Ajoonu
Human capital investments in the civil and public service benefit the individual workers, the State and by extension the economy in which they operate.
This in turn has the potential to increase internally generated revenues, improve the lives of the citizens and overall welfare of workers across all cadres. There is simply no better indicator than a workforce that can outperform and solve problems effectively.
Within any action plan from whatever development goals there is, one element that remains ultimately indispensable is capacity building. Without it, due process gives way to counter-productive routine, initiative dies to rigid ideas and productivity, and work as a whole grinds to a halt over inflexible formulas; the very thing that we cannot afford at a time like this.
Capacity building implies a planned and coordinated antidote to forces that draw efforts away from meeting targets, closing the skills gaps, ensuring that factors that go into productivity retain a dynamic throb that faces challenges with confident swag, and injecting new ideas into the work place; ideas that utilize new trends and tools to bring desired results into creative reality.
In order to produce, to perform or deploy, individuals and (or) organizations need to reform and reshape the work place on the go, while productive efforts are in motion, capacity building must be at the forefront of both organizational and public service mandates.
To build capacity is to remain vibrantly efficient while work is going on, unlearning outdated methods, imbibing new methods through training, up-skilling and re-tooling which translate into a high performance workplace culture.
There is no better way to transform the public sector under any economy than to intentionally close the skills gap and prepare the workforce to take on challenges as they come. When done correctly, the result is usually significant enough to become visible – even in the short term.
In Edo State, the urgency of delivering public sector transformation through capacity building has been translated into direct action. The administration of His Excellency, Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is focused on ensuring that the civil and public service which he calls “the engine of Government” works. It was this thinking that birthed the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA).
JOOPSA has hit the ground running, positioning itself as the public sector learning center of choice. There is only one objective here: to improve service delivery across the various strata of civil and public service administration in the State and beyond.
JOOPSA’s mission is to ensure that public servants have unlimited access to relevant training through our Learning Management System and in-person sessions delivered by the best-in-class faculty. There is no doubt that this magnificent edifice, the outcome of a powerful vision, has been strategically positioned to become the foremost training institute in Africa.
It takes a strong sense of purpose and character to make this happen. The entire productivity ecosystem is ruled by the single principle of GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. By providing the economy with a solid foundation on which to process development, Edo State Government, under Governor Obaseki, is redeeming its promises to the people that Edo State will indeed be the best State to live and prosper in, by the year 2050. The emergence of a reformed and motivated workforce will be a testament that the government works when it aligns its interests with the welfare of the people.
JOOPSA is equipped with ultra-modern facilities; sourced and delivered in partnership with world renowned professionals and experts whose pedigree is a perfect match for its ambition.
The Academy has deployed and delivered a series of training sessions for the State Government, such as; training of Heads of MDAs and Permanent Secretaries on Performance Management System in partnership with Mactay Consulting, Change Management and Skills to Improve Workplace Performance training. JOOPSA organised and facilitated the onboarding session for new recruits into the Edo State Flood & Erosion Watershed Management Agency, ensuring that the new employees align with the performance-driven mindset of the new Edo State Civil and Public Service. In the words of the Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Osas Okungbowa Esq., “the Public Service has transitioned from being transactional to strategic.”
Working with our technical partners DAI, we are building an institution that will outlive this Government. To ensure that the change transcends the Law establishing the Academy, we have set up an Inter-Ministerial Counterpart Team (IMCT), headed by the Executive Governor, to work with JOOPSA. This team, made up of Directors of Admin and Shared Services across all MDAs will be crafting the JOOPSA strategy and sustainability plan for the next five years.
Like the butterfly, transformation is a difficult process but the results tell a different story. Imagine a sub-national where the civil and public service is positioned to deliver on its mandate to the people; one where the workforce is agile, nimble and ready to meet problems with solutions. If the civil and public service is the engine of Government, the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy is the workshop that ensures no faulty engine hits the road ever again.
Precious Imuwahen Ajoonu is Managing Director, John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA)