The Foreign Service Development Program (FSDP) is a three-year program for new Foreign Service officers in the Political/Economic and Commercial/Economic streams. The program promotes foreign service and leadership competencies through diverse work and professional development experiences at headquarters and abroad. This includes a variety of assignments, mentoring, on-the-job learning and a formal training component.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada uses a competency-based approach to learning and assessment for the FSDP. Participants must master certain competencies over the three years. Competency-based training structures learning around skills or behaviours defined as fundamental to successful performance.
The formal training component of the FSDP is an integral part of the program and is mandatory for all participants. Its purpose is to provide participants with a common orientation and, the knowledge and skills required to be effective foreign service officers. Formal training complements and accelerates learning through the acquisition of new competencies that, afterwards, are integrated into the work environment.
A portion of the training is mandatory, determined in accordance with the stream to which participants belong, and a portion is recommended, for which participants can pick and choose amongst a list of courses based on individual interests and career plans.
Training is interspersed throughout the program allowing trainees to continually expand their understanding of issues and to actively reflect upon and apply what they learn during their assignments.