Blending life with work and learning

22nd February 2023

By Alison Heagney, Executive Officer

As the Executive Officer of Community College Northern Inland and also a farmer, entrepreneur, wife and mother (and the rest) at home; it's easy to become overwhelmed at times. So why encourage my own skill development and that of my staff, and how? Well, it's part of workforce and personal development—and that's particularly important when employees are looking for more value in their work roles, when business owners need to improve productivity, and there are candidate shortages making it difficult to replace migrating staff.

I'm sure like me, you're finding that work is becoming more complex and even personal transactions require some savvy skills. If your business is struggling, my advice is to grow your own staff into roles that increase your business, through training and opportunities—given where warranted of course. And if you are reading this as an employee, you will benefit personally and also your business will benefit. If we can’t raise productivity together then that pay rise will not be available, no matter how many times you ask.

The college has listened to the needs of businesses and our students. We recognise that it's hard to find the time or the place to study—particularly when you are working hard already. You want a quality trainer, new up-to-date learning, to be part of a student group to make new friends and for support. But you also want to train when you are available—at a time that works for the business and for you.

So the college didn’t go “online”. Instead we have developed programs in Business, Community Services, Ageing and Disability that are blended. Blended programs are a mix of monthly regional workshops, Zoom video learning sessions, and online access to training 24/7. We also have local campuses staffed and available to give support and access to technology or to provide a place to meet up with other students or the trainer.

The college is very conscious that a student—whether a business owner or manager, a worker delivering a service or an administrator—needs to be able to learn skills when they are available. We also know that students at all levels want to meet new people and create friendships, professional networks and have “working on myself time/me time”.

I am personally doing training this way myself—picking out times that are available in the day or evening and looking forward very much to meeting the other students in my class in person soon. And last year I completed training the same blended way and I have made some great friends, contacts and broadened my professional network. It wasn’t all easy but it has given me an overall boost professionally and personally.

The college is offering regional programs starting soon. Students interested in enrolling in a blended learning course should contact their local campus.







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Alison Heagney, EO