On 4 August 2017, 17 managers from across the Justice and Community Services Sector embarked on a five month Management Development Program (MDP) designed and funded by Stretem Rod Blong Jastis mo Sefti in partnership with the MJCS. The MDP aims to engage managers in development that strengthens their practical capabilities so that they are better equipped to confidently and skillfully undertake management responsibilities, and contribute to improved agency performance. It includes a formal training component with participants completing a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management delivered through the Australia-Pacific Technical College and three additional days of technical training in line with Government of Vanuatu requirements. This formal learning is complemented by regular Action Learning group sessions that provide participants with an opportunity to collaboratively discuss the application of their skills in the workplace, reflecting on, and learning from their management experiences.

Each of the manager participants were selected through a competitive process, and are sponsored by their Head of Agency. Participants include managers from the Customary Land Management Office, Department of Correctional Services, Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Office of the Vanuatu Ombudsman, State Law Office, Vanuatu Cultural Centre and Vanuatu Law Commission. The managers have just completed their third formal week of training and have two further weeks scheduled for mid-October and November to complete their Certificate qualifications.

The participants have already shared examples of how they are strengthening their management approach and applying MDP learning in their workplaces including:
• Trialing alternative management styles and facilitating more regular meetings with junior staff to monitor and support their work
• Empowering and involving staff in decision-making and delegating responsibilities, and
• Considering mechanisms to strengthen linkages of the work of individual teams to organisational business plans, including through performance management that is measurable and realistic.
All managers are now implementing major workplace projects targeted at creating or updating a continuous improvement system or process in their workplace. We look forward to this being the first of a number of MDP's offered to support management development across the sector.