Canberra creative agency launches Acting EL1 T-shirt as a tribute to home town
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Canberra creative agency launches Acting EL1 T-shirt as a tribute to home town

It's the Australian Public Service level where you finally get to lead a team, have input into some major business decisions and, in most cases, take home a six-figure salary.

Yes, most public servants aspire to be an Executive Level 1 (EL1) for most of their careers - and now there's a T-shirt to wear when you've finally "made it".

Designer Mat Colley said a six-month stint at the ATO inspired the very Canberran T-shirt.

Designer Mat Colley said a six-month stint at the ATO inspired the very Canberran T-shirt.

Photo: Lightbulb Studio

Canberra creative agency Foundry has just released a new series of T-shirts, including our personal favourite - the very Canberran Acting EL1 shirt.

Foundry creative director Mat Colley's clever design recognises that it's actually those people acting in an EL1 role who have the best perks - they get to take home an EL1 salary for a few months but also retain the option of returning to APS6 level and the benefit of flex leave.

'I wanted to design a T-shirt that only Canberrans would understand,' Colley said.

'I wanted to design a T-shirt that only Canberrans would understand,' Colley said.

Photo: Foundry
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"It really is the best of both worlds," Colley said.

He said he designed the Acting EL1 T-shirt as a cheeky tribute to his home town and as a Christmas gift option for hard-to-buy-for public servant friends.

"I grew up in Canberra and I love all its quirks and how we all speak in acronyms and public service language," he said.

"I did a short stint at the ATO before launching Foundry and was fascinated by the public service culture.

"I wanted to design a shirt that was a bit of an in-joke - something that only Canberrans would get."

Colley, a graphic designer whose client list includes several federal government departments, has been designing and printing T-shirts as a hobby for more than a decade.

While the initial print-run of Acting EL1 shirts is small, Colley has a printing press in his Fyshwick office and is ready to print more quickly if the shirts prove popular.

"It's designed as a conversation starter - my dream is to see all the Acting EL1s out there in their shirts having a pint in a beer garden over summer," he said.

In other public service news, we understand Canberrans are now using "EL2" as a verb in situations outside of work - as in, "she EL2ed me".

The verb apparently means to approach a problem in an unnecessarily complicated way, ensuring that a consensus is reached for every tiny step along the way.

Read the story of a Canberra mum being "EL2ed" in a school playground here.

Foundry's T-shirt collection can be found online at http://foundryco.com.au/store/

Follow Bree Winchester on Instagram and Facebook

Bree Winchester is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times

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