Continuing your professional development essentially ensures that you are proficient and competent in your profession. It can also furnish you with essential skills that can help you progress in your career.
Those were the sentiments shared by the Director of the Legal, Advisory and Litigation Division Mr. Richard Simbil who graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea with the highest-Grade Point Average (GPA) after completing the Masters of Economics & Public Policy (MEPP) Program in April 2022.
Mr. Simbil is a lawyer by profession and began his career with Paraka Lawyers in 2010 as a Junior Lawyer. He was fresh out of the Legal Training Institute at the time after being admitted to the Bar a year earlier. He worked with the firm for two (2) years before he successfully secured a scholarship to do his postgraduate studies at the Australian National University (ANU) under the Australian Development Scholarship (ADS). He was one of eight (8) successful PNG ADS scholars, who were further awarded the prestigious Australian Leadership Award (ALA).
In 2013, he went on to undertake a Master of Laws (LLM) program also at ANU and graduated with Merit in 2014.
Mr. Simbil returned to Papua New Guinea and joined the Public Services Commission (PSC) in 2015 as the Senior Legal Officer in the Legal, Advisory & Litigation Division. He worked in that capacity for about a year before he was promoted to the position of Director of the Legal Division. In his tenure as Director, he also served as the Acting Commissioner Provincial from the 27th of April, 2020 to early January, 2022 when a permanent appointment was made and he reverted to his substantive position.
In 2019, with the endorsement of the PSC Training Committee, he applied to undertake the Master of Economics & Public Policy course offered at the School of Business & Public Policy at UPNG which he completed in 2021 with flying colors.
Mr. Simbil said he decided to take up the course because he wanted to broaden his understanding of public policy and its development.
“After being employed in the public service for about five (5) years and being a manager for several years, I saw that I lacked a deeper understanding of public policy and its development. This became clearer to me when I was working on developing PSC’s legislation to amalgamate the Commission and the PSC Secretariat. I was searching for an opportunity to improve my knowledge to understand this area, and that was when I came across the Master of Economics & Public Policy course, and so I applied to UPNG to take up the program”, said Mr. Simbil.
He added that there were various topics covered in the course but there were some that stood out for him.
“Some of the topics included how to do research; how to address governance and developmental issues such as corruption and the challenges of sustainable development, etc. However, the three (3) topics that stood out for me and applied to my role as a manager were related to planning; that encompassed organizing and directing the completion of specific projects for the Commission whilst also ensuring that these projects are on time, on budget and within the scope to meet the objectives of PSC, which must also be in line with the PNG National Development Plan; another topic was corporate governance in an organization which I believe is very important”, stressed Mr. Simbil.
Armed with these new sets of skills and knowledge, Mr. Simbil said he is committed and focused and will contribute meaningfully to assisting PSC to fulfill its constitutional roles and functions, which will ultimately contribute to the development of PNG as a whole.
He thanked the good Lord for the blessings and protection that allowed him to complete his studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also thanked PSC for paying for his tuition fee for the first year of his studies. He also thanked his family, especially his wife, for the love and support at home, that helped him to focus on his studies and work at the same time.
Mr. Simbil also encouraged other officers of the Commission and colleagues within the Public Service to pursue further studies to upgrade their qualifications.
“The good thing about being a public servant is that you will be supported if you meet the requirements of your organization’s internal Training & Development Policy as well as Public Service General Order 6. My advice to everyone is to set your goals and be motivated and focused to achieve them”, he said.
The Public Services Commission commended Mr. Simbil for his determination and perseverance in attaining his Masters in Economic & Public Policy and also scoring the highest GPA in the course.
PSC continues to invest in up-skilling and enhancing the competencies of its human resource to achieve its goal as outlined in the PSC Corporate Plan 2019 – 2023 which is further streamlined through the PSC Training and Development Policy 2020 – 2023 that is aimed at providing relevant training for staff of the Public Services Commission.