Boosting the workforce through innovative training
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System highlighted the need to build workforce capacity and capability. A key part of this will be reimagining methods for the delivery of training, to reach a broad range of individuals regardless of their location, workload and other commitments.
Research by Mental Health Victoria (MHV) reveals that isolated communities see remote learning as a disadvantage. While it is essential that workers in these communities have access to other training opportunities, remote learning nevertheless remains an essential part of effective training delivery in such areas, where opportunities for face-to-face training are limited.
Other research has shown that those who are time poor prefer digital learning methods, as they allow individuals to incorporate upskilling into busy schedules.
In either case, whether the individual is in an isolated community or is based in the city but time poor, the difficulty of attending face-to-face training is the common denominator.
This highlights the importance not only of remote learning, but of innovation in delivery. Not everyone will benefit from the same delivery methods, so focusing on innovation will improve the design of diverse training packages to meet the needs of the current workforce wherever they are.
Better by design
Designing diverse training packages should include methods for enhancing the experience of remote learning in order to maintain participant engagement.
This can be achieved through design thinking to construct packages that consist of various platforms, methods and processes that suit the training platform and its user.
MHV’s Psychosocial Learning Hub is a great example of innovative training — in this case, non-accredited upskilling for the NDIS workforce. It provides bite sized learning modules through an app by remote learning specialist Yarno, combined with the Learning Management System platform.
The purpose of this learning style is to allow individuals to participate in training while on-the-go, without needing to take time out of their busy workday.
Webinars can also play a key role in remote learning. They provide a structured forum to deliver highly considered content in a way that is short, sharp and to-the-point.
Robust learning, engaging delivery
Accredited courses that require more in-depth training will need to take a different approach to ensure the learner receives adequate training and feels they are equipped for the workforce.
This can be achieved through incorporating a diverse learning strategy, such as interactive participation combined with a standardised governance framework for online and face-to-face courses to ensure that competency is evenly distributed across both cohorts.
This will build the efficiency of the workforce by reaching a broad range of workers across various locations, while reassuring the individual that they are receiving adequate training.
We have seen developments in remote communication because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Future training strategies need to keep this momentum going by incorporating creative strategies into training packages, to effectively and efficiently build workforce capacity and capability.
Stephanie Caroll is a Project Officer — Workforce Development at Mental Health Victoria. Her work includes the Research, Engagement, Collaboration, and Information (RECI) Project, which is conducting a training needs analysis and mapping service workforces across the Victorian community mental health system. The project, funded under the Working For Victoria initiative, aims to utilise research and information gathering, system improvements and stakeholder engagement to design training opportunities that meet targeted needs or identified gaps.