The innovative ELIPS seeks to develop and prepare young people for leading and managing the increasingly complex nature of the Public Service.

On April 14 and 15, 2023, young public servants, interns, and their coaches held the first of two planned contact sessions as part of the Emerging Leaders in the Public Service (ELIPS) programme, an innovative coaching and mentoring initiative under the auspices of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).

Three hundred applications were received from young public servants who wished to be part of the ELIPS programme, but only 120 were accepted. While ten volunteer coaches from across the Public Service make up the  core team of the ELIPS programme, providing mentorship and guidance to the selected young public servants.

Although the back-office work had been ongoing for several months, the ELIPS orientation and face-to-face session represented the actual start of the journey that the participants and their respective coaches have committed to undertake over nine months.

The ELIPS programme aims to equip young public servants with the necessary skills and knowledge to become effective leaders in the Public Service. Additional to the foundational activities, the ELIPS programme will revolve around  the delivery of five coaching and mentoring blocks, which progressively cover:,

  • Leading Self
  • Leading Change
  • Leadership Effectiveness
  • Leading Teams
  • Leading Performance

While much of the programme content is oriented toward the personal development of participants, it is part of a battery of interventions that contribute towards building a leadership pipeline for a capable, ethical, and developmental public service into the future.

“There is a gap in how we mentor young people and upcoming leaders in the Public Sector,” said the Director General of the DPSA, Yoliswa Makhasi, during the first ELIPS contact session in Boksburg?, Gauteng.

Also addressing the inaugural ELIPS cohort was the Chief Director in the Office of the DPSA Director General, Mr Nyiko Mabunda, who contextualised the programme in terms of the challenges the Public Service experiences. These include that the Public Service does not reflect the country’s demographics regarding the representation of young people, who constitute a large part of the population.

In addition to ensuring that the initial cohort of ELIPS participants is ready to up the ranks at the end of the pipeline,  the ELIPS journey is also meant to be an opportunity for learning and reflection to help shape Public Service policies on youth development and empowerment.

In his presentation, Mr  Mabunda shared the statistics that show the shortcomings of the current internship and developmental policies to advance young people up the ranks of the Public Service.

Of the 1,2 million public servants, he reported, 24,5 % fall under the youth category, yet they constitute some 37% of the population. The figures also showed  representation of young people in managerial positions, with 1,3% occupying senior management posts and 6.7% in middle management.

” We need to rethink how the Public Service should be now as we prepare for the future public service,” Mabunda said.

Importantly, the contact session was an opportunity for the participants to personally meet the coaches and their peers and share their expectations as the ELIPS programme begins in earnest.