Master of Local Government graduates career-ready

Master of Local Government graduates career-ready
18 December 2014

ACELG congratulates Alison Ballind and Rebecca Ryan as the first graduates of ACELG's new Master of Local Government degree. "Our graduates are definitely career-ready and prepared for sector challenges," said Dr Tim Robinson, Director Sector Engagement and Teaching at their graduation ceremony at the University of Technology, Sydney recently.

Dr Robinson said the UTS Master of Local Government is unique in Australia and offers senior local government practitioners the opportunity to expand their skill base in leadership, management and governance. "The program is tailored to the complex and ever-changing context of the local government sector. We are really pleased to congratulate the first two graduates who have come through this program."

Alison Ballind, a Councillor at Griffith City Council, said that the ACELG Masters course broadened her understanding of the challenges and requirements of the local government sector. "The course provided knowledge on how to research, assess, design and implement alternative processes and ideas. Course discussions were a significant contribution to understanding the diversity and complexity of local government, and the supervisors were very encouraging and only too happy to provide advice and direction. I recently secured permanent employment back within local government – partially as a result of this qualification."

Rebecca Ryan, General Manager at Blayney Shire Council said she found the Masters degree highly rewarding and described how her studies had a positive impact on her career. "After completing my Masters, I applied for and was successful in being appointed the new General Manager of Blayney Shire Council." 

As part of the Masters degree students produce a final research report on a relevant topic. Alison Ballind's final project focused on the working relationships between elected and appointed leaders in local government, specifically between Mayors and General Managers. 

Rebecca Ryan's final project focused on the NSW Government's recommendations for the establishment of new Joint Organisations, and the feasibility of establishing an 'Orana Joint Organisation of Councils' in the northwest region of NSW. Rebecca also stated that with her final research project for the Graduate Diploma, both projects were very rewarding and 'added value to my professional skills.'

Through ACELG extensive and national network, such works can also make an important contribution to issues within the sector, and both graduates are excited about the opportunities the course will bring and the new networks that have opened up for them. 

"One of the most rewarding aspects of the course was the unexpected outcome of expanded networks and exposure to local government professionals from a range of disciplines," said Ms Ballind. "While the learning occurs in a formal sense there are additional learnings that can be achieved through the experiences of other participants. These discussions were a significant contribution to expanding my understanding of the diversity and complexity that is local government."

Alison also stated that the inclusion of modules on governance and research were 'extremely beneficial' to rounding out previous study, and as an elected representative, provided clarity around the roles and responsibilities of those involved in local governance'.

All ACELG teachers and presenters are selected for their expertise and capacity as sector thought-leaders. One of the most rewarding elements of the Masters course said Ms Ryan was "having best practice council staff as presenters who provided real life out of the box solutions and programs.” 

At the Masters graduation, ACELG also congratulated Catherine Zammit, Paul Sullivan, Patricia Kirkland and Jessica Quilty as graduates of the Graduate Diploma of Local Government Management program.

Applications for the next intake of the ACELG-UTS Master of Local Government Management close January 31, 2015.

For more information go to ACELG Teaching and Learning or contact Gabrielle Watterson on 02 9514 7971 or [email protected].

Left to right (back row): Rebecca Ryan, Catherine Zammit, Alison Ballind, Paul Sullivan, Tim Robinson (ACELG), Geraldine O’Connor (ACELG). Left to right (front row): Gabrielle Watterson (ACELG), Ronald Woods (ACELG).
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