An innovative industry partnership between TAFE NSW National Business, Northern Sydney Institute and NSW Department of Family and Community Services has been rewarded with a 2011 LearnX E-Learning and Training Award Gold Award at a ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 15 September 2011.
The award in the category of 'best partnership in a training program' recognised projects that demonstrate a high level of collaboration in the planning and implementation of significant workforce development initiatives.
NSW Community Services provides child protection services, out-of-home care services, intensive family-based services, foster care, adoption services and help for communities affected by disaster.
"From the outset TAFE NSW offered a solution for us that was flexible and best suited the nature of our workforce. One of the most appealing features of the program was the fast-track option, as we were dealing with experienced caseworkers who were already highly skilled" said Sean O'Toole, Director of Learning and Development for Community Services.
In 2008, the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry recommended that tertiary qualifications become mandatory for all frontline managers in the organisation. In order to address this situation a range of options were considered with the tertiary education sector and NSW Community Services decided to partner with TAFE NSW to offer staff a Vocational Graduate Certificate (Statutory Child Protection).
"The results speak for themselves with 59 of the 61 participants completing the qualification, including 27 Aboriginal staff who have no other formal qualifications. This represents a milestone in each of their careers and a significant boost for our workforce capacity," said Mr O'Toole.
The LearnX foundation is a non-profit trust that supports and promotes advancements in workforce learning. Other award winners from the Asia Pacific region included large corporate organisations such as the Commonwealth Bank, Air New Zealand and BHP Billiton Ltd.
"NSW Department of Family and Community Services had some very specific ideas about how they wanted the major workforce development program to run and we were determined to meet their needs. Significantly, we were one of only two government agencies who won awards and it is great to think our programs compare so favourably with the best being offered in the corporate sector," said Mr Dennis Owen, Client Relationship Manager, TAFE NSW National Business.