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Public Service Commission

Cultural diversity

Information on our work to support cultural diversity in the sector.

The NSW public sector delivers greater benefits for the people of NSW when our workforce is as diverse as the people we serve.  

A culturally diverse workforce: 

  • leverages the cultural competency of employees to deliver services that meet the needs of NSW’s multicultural customers 
  • builds public trust and confidence with the sector 
  • increases employee engagement through the diversity of senior leaders, as employees see themselves reflected in leadership 
  • attracts a broader talent pool in a competitive labour market. 

We use the term CALD to refer to cultural, linguistic and ethno-religious diversity. 

Increasing cultural diversity in the NSW government sector senior executive cohort

It is important that government sector senior leadership reflects the cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity of the NSW population.

The 'Increasing cultural diversity in the NSW government sector senior executive cohort' report outlines our strategy for the holistic programs we will lead to increase senior executive diversity.

The strategy has been developed following a series of consultations with CALD employees from across the government sector. The resulting action plan has been built in response to lived experience sharings.

Our action plan includes 4 focus areas to address career pathways and development, structural bias, support structures and workplace cultural safety, and valuing cultural strength. These actions will be brought to life through a series of projects over the next 3 years to 2025. 

Sponsorship program for culturally diverse employees

­­­Elevate and Advocate is a PSC Sponsorship Program supporting CALD employees. 

The program builds lasting relationships between executive leaders and CALD employees, supporting career mobility, and developing advocacy skills and inclusive leadership capabilities.

We are committed to making significant change in Public Sector leadership representation and the experience of inclusion for CALD employees.

Program participants for Elevate & Advocate 2024 have been selected and will be commencing the program in May. Information on future programs will be shared here and via communications to sector agencies in late 2024.

Program commitment

In order to participate, you must be able to commit to regular check-ins with your partner for the 6 month duration of the program. Structured guidelines on how often to meet, what to cover in meetings together and how to track progress will be provided. 

You must also be able to commit to attending the following sessions. 

Program Launch, Tuesday 7 May 2024, 10am to 1pm

This will take place in Sydney CBD and participants are encouraged to attend in-person. Virtual participation will be reserved for participants based outside of Sydney and who are immunocompromised. Registrations from 9:30am.

Capability Workshops: Tuesday 14 May 2024

Sponsors attend from 9.45am to 12:15pm, sponsees attend from 1.45pm to 4pm. There will be an optional lunch for all sponsors and sponsees together from 12:30 to 1:30pm.

Capability workshops will be delivered by MindTribes and are designed specifically to maximise program outcomes for sponsors and sponsees.

Capability workshops will take place Sydney CBD with the option of virtual participation for participants based outside of Sydney and who are immunocompromised.

Program close event: Wednesday 6 November

The program close event will be held on Wednesday 6 November, 9:30am – 2pm at the State Library of NSW. Virtual participation will be reserved for participants based outside of Sydney and who are immunocompromised. Registrations from 9:15am and lunch will be included. 

Accountability sessions and drop-in coaching sessions

All drop-in sessions will be held virtually and facilitated by MindTribes. 

  • Session 1: Monday 17 June, 1 – 2pm 
  • Session 2: Friday 12 July, 11am – 12pm 
  • Session 3: Thursday 15 August, 1- 2pm 
  • Session 4: Tuesday 17 September, 11am – 12pm 
  • Session 5: Tuesday 15 October, 3 – 4 pm 

How is this program different? 

Sponsorship, not mentorship

Mentoring and coaching is ‘behind-the-scenes support’ in someone’s career (for example, receiving advice).


  • helps accelerate sponsees’ development and career opportunities. This will be measured as a key program objective.
  • recognises that there is inequity in systems resulting in experiences of bias across the employee lifecycle and seeks to address this.  As an objective of the program, all sponsors will explore personal and structural biases and become advocates and allies.

Developed by experts in cultural equity and inclusion

The PSC is partnering with MindTribes to deliver this program. MindTribes are innovators for inclusion, building programs in partnership with organisations to address systemic inequalities.

‘Elevate & Advocate’ will be facilitated by the PSC with MindTribes CEO Div Pillay. Div is an experienced and respected diversity and inclusion practitioner with over 25 years of experience. Her work focuses on gender, race and cultural inclusion. As well as leading MindTribes, Div is a founder of social enterprise Culturally Diverse Women.

Mutual learning

Sponsees will be actively supported in their career progression, while sponsors will receive training in allyship and advocacy to better support the systems changes needed to ensure experiences across the employee lifecycle are more inclusive for culturally diverse employees. 

Informed by feedback

The PSC has experience in delivering sponsorship programs. This program will build on learnings from current and previous sponsorship and mentorship initiatives delivered by the commission, and stems from sector consultation.  

Frequently asked questions

How will the sponsor/sponsee matching process work?

EOI questions have been designed to support the matching process. Following the close of the EOIs, a matching panel will be convened made up of diverse senior leaders from NSW PSC and MindTribes.

The panel will be guided through a matching process, and sponsor/sponsee matches will be made using an anti-bias process and based on public sector areas of interest.

What will be covered in the Capability Workshops? Are these compulsory?

The Capability Workshops are a core component of ‘Elevate and Advocate’ and have been designed to enable sponsors and sponsees to maximise program outcomes.

The workshop for sponsees will include goal setting and how to get as much as possible out of the sponsee/sponsor relationship. The workshop for sponsors will include advocacy and allyship training.

How will sponsors and sponsees stay in touch throughout the program?

Monthly Accountability and Drop-In Coaching sessions will be scheduled throughout the program’s duration. Outside of these, sponsors and sponsees are encouraged to meet and connect regularly. A shared Microsoft Teams site will be utilised for everyone to keep in touch and updated on program resources.

What might happen if a sponsor/sponsee match is not working out?

The matching process has been carefully and intentionally designed. However, we know that there is a risk of a match not working out or there is a risk to cultural safety. The PSC team will be available to discuss this if it does arise, and further options will be considered so we can ensure everyone can participate in the program safely and effectively.

How will the effectiveness of the program be measured?

Measurement metrics for sponsors and sponsees have been developed which will chart both direct program outcomes, as well as qualitative measures around experiences of inclusion. Measurement metrics have been built using the Adaptive Leadership Criteria and Dimensions.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the sponsorship program please contact the PSC.


Belonging and inclusion strategy

All NSW Government agencies have a responsibility to support cultural diversity in their workforce.  

We’re using our position as a trusted partner and advisor for the sector to embed diversity and inclusion into everyday workplace practices.  

Belonging and inclusion strategy

A holistic approach to inclusion across the sector that brings together existing initiatives and new approaches to best practice. 

Belonging and inclusion strategy

Our Belonging and Inclusion strategy outlines the work we’re doing to connect, promote and support sector partners and to elevate the lived experiences of employees in policy design, and reflects on the need to take an intersectional approach to inclusion.

If you lead an Employee Resource Group in the NSW public sector and would like more support in establishing cultural diversity in your organisation, please contact us.