From Apprentice to Local Government Executive
The latest Institute for Public Policy and Governance Postgraduate Scholarship recipient and Master of Local Government student, Daniel Buckens, found his passion for local government over 20 years ago. During his career, Daniel has risen from apprentice to manager, and now has his sights set on executive roles. Having engaged in many roles and projects over the years, Daniel is the perfect example of how diverse a career in local government can be.
Can you tell me about your career?
I started in local government as a trades apprentice, and have been able to work my way up through the structure to higher positions up to the manager level. Local government has given me opportunities and skills to develop from being a tradesperson right through into engineering and management roles over my 20 years of employment in local government. I am now at that point in my career where I am looking to take the next step into director/executive role.
How and why did you become interested in studying local government studies at postgraduate level?
I was looking to undertake further study to broaden my career prospects within local government to achieve the next career goal. Whilst undertaking a short course provided by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance, it was explained what other study options were available, that was what sparked the interest in undertaking the Master of Local Government. I had explored a number of different options across both the engineering and business disciplines and considered that this course was best aligned with what I was trying to achieve in advancing my career within local government. What the course offers is a broader understanding of local government and provides the skills required to be an effective leader underpinning theory, principles, concepts and values of the public service.
Why did you choose to study at UTS?
I previously completed a Graduate Certificate in Engineering at UTS, and have undertaken short courses offered by the Institute. Given the affinity with the University and the offering of a course in my area of interest, I couldn't think of a better place to continue my learning. In addition, the method of delivery and units offered was a huge part of the decision.
What do you hope to accomplish while completing your degree?
I’ve only just started the degree and have already gained a deeper understanding of what local government is and local government’s role across the various areas in which we provide services contributing to the creation of public value. I am working full-time whilst undertaking study, and I am hoping the way the course is delivered I can apply my learning to the benefit of my organisation whilst completing my degree.
How do you plan on using your studies to achieve your future career plans?
The main motivation of undertaking the Master of Local Government was to gain skills and knowledge to further progress my career. I have technical qualifications, and I was looking for something that would stand me out from the crowd - and I think the Master of Local Government provides just that.
What does it mean to be the Institute for Public Policy and Governance Postgraduate Scholarship recipient?
It’s a huge honor and reflective of my passion for local government and it certainly provides additional motivation to complete the course. Taking on postgraduate study also comes with financial burden and this certainly eases that burden.
The $5,000 Institute for Public Policy and Governance Postgraduate Scholarship was established in 2017 to support policy and local government professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge and skills through postgraduate study, and to recognise the often diverse pathways leading to these careers.