Pandemic is not the time to cut back on professional development, UNSW says

by Freya Lucas

June 17, 2020

Smart leaders will continue to invest in their people, and set money aside for professional development, even in times of “deficit and economic crisis”, an expert in organisational behaviour and human resource management from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has said

 

Underscoring the importance that the National Quality Framework places on practice being informed by critical reflection, setting professional development goals, and developing a culture of professional collaboration, recognition and continuous improvement, Professor Sanders’ remarks are a timely reminder to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services as they look to a new financial year, and adjust their budgeting and revenue forecasts to account for a changed landscape as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

“Earlier research shows that organisations who continue to invest in their people, despite a crisis, become stronger and more competitive after the crisis in comparison to organisations who terminate their investments in training their employees during the crisis,” the Professor added. 

 

With recent research pointing to the challenges of filling ECEC vacancies, investments in professional development not only support ECEC employers to meet their obligations under the NQF, but also provide a buffer against the challenges of filling vacancies should employees seek opportunities elsewhere. 

 

Professional development isn’t necessarily about spending large sums of money, Professor Sanders emphasised, saying that web based seminars, many of which have become increasingly more available as a result of social distancing measures, can provide a lower cost option which still represents an investment by an organisation in its people. 

 

“Employees can also learn from informal training like keeping up to date with their professional literature, experimenting in their work, knowledge transfer, and providing and asking feedback from colleagues. All these activities are not heavy in investments in terms of money but are in general more productive in comparison to formal training,” she added. 

 

The Sector maintains a register of upcoming events, both online and in person where available, that may support ECEC leaders in meeting their professional development needs. For more information, please see here.

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