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Aspiring Directors Program

A renewed Aspiring Directors Program will be launched this fall as a pilot. Please contact the Client Contact Centre for more information.


Career transition programs are vital to supporting talent management across the public service. The Aspiring Directors Program (ADP) is a guided developmental activity for identified candidates to reflect on the competencies that are critical to the success of executives in the federal public service. Participants will explore the importance of self-awareness and personal reflection in becoming a better leader and examine the leadership and self-management skills needed to build teams and become an effective agent of change.

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About the program

Spread over a period of approximately six months, the Aspiring Directors Program consists of three phases, two of which are classroom or virtual classroom-based, and one that also involves both online and on-the-job learning. Capitalizing on this blended learning approach, the Aspiring Directors Program focuses on the competencies that are critical to the success of an executive, with a particular emphasis on:

  • guiding identified participants to reflect on the competencies and self-awareness that are critical to the success of executives in the federal public service​ 
  • applying new leadership knowledge and awareness on the job ​ 
  • inspiring the next generation of public service leaders, regardless of whether they join the executive cadre. ​ 

This unique program draws on our faculty's wealth of expertise and features guest speakers with real-world experience. With their guidance, participants will develop and learn how to apply the leadership competencies and self management skills needed to meet today's quickly evolving demands.


Phase 1: In class

Improve your self-awareness to become a better leader – in class or virtual classroom

Over the first three days, participants will deepen their self-awareness of their leadership strengths, challenges and possibilities. As they start to build their peer network, they will focus on:

  • Self-reflection
  • Listening in a way that demonstrates full presence
  • Fostering productive conversations
  • The Key Leadership Competencies required at the executive level
  • Expectations of the public service executive cadre
  • Individual development plan​ 

Phase 2: On the job

And now...act on it!

This four-month phase gives participants the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired individually and in groups back on the job. Additional assignments and online facilitated discussions will further enhance the development of the Key Leadership Competencies needed at the executive level. Participants need to identify, within their own organization, an executive (EX-01 to EX-03) for job shadowing.

Phase 3: Virtual class

Making the transition to an executive role

In the final phase of the program, participants will:

  • develop an appreciation of the strategic, operational, cultural and emotional dimensions to leading change in the public service
  • acquire tips and tools for building a shared vision
  • develop an awareness of the methods to further emphasize systems thinking
  • prepare for an executive role​ 
  • personal leadership narrative​ 
  • update of individual development plan​ 


To qualify, you must:

  • be at the EX-minus 1 level or its equivalent within your organization
  • have a talent management plan in your PMA

We recommend that you have human resource management experience and that you have completed with success the Authority Delegation Training Program. We also recommend that you pre-identify the mentor who you will be job shadowing in phase two.

How to register

Contact your departmental learning coordinator to obtain registration instructions.

Frequently asked questions

Aspiring Directors Program: FAQ

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