On the job learning

One of the difficulties of working in a remote locality is ensuring staff members have access to appropriate training and development to perform their duties adequately, improve job satisfaction and enhance their career opportunities.Taking an innovative holistic approach, the Shire of Ashburton has become outcome focused rather than ‘course driven’. With the emphasis on shared responsibility, training and development is the responsibility of the individual staff member, their supervisor, manager and the organisation. To accommodate different learning styles and needs at a cost effective price, Council has developed the following strategies.

Annual Learning Plan

Each year, a Learning Plan is developed which is based on organisational, divisional and individual needs. These requirements are determined through a consultation process. They are then prioritised to be consistent with the current and future skill requirements of Council, budgetary constraints and operational necessities.Individual staff are able to identify specific learning needs at their annual Performance Appraisal. Based on the Learning Plan, various courses have been provided in house. As a result, a far greater number have been able to access relevant training.

Staff Resource Library

As a remote Council, videos, books and other learning materials can be difficult to access. To address this, a library has been developed where staff can borrow for their own study purposes, to assist in work related problems or as recommended reading by Human Resource staff.

Online Learning

A computer package, including modules ranging from basic to an advanced level, has been introduced for all staff to use.

Study assistance

A study assistance policy provides both financial support and release from work for employees to pursue continued professional development through relevant tertiary institutions.

Video screenings

Regular lunchtime video screenings are conducted on a variety of current topics, such as managing stress, safety issues and risk management.

Coaching/On the job training

Supervisors and managers are encouraged to use effective coaching techniques and provide on the job developmental opportunities and guidance. Role and management coaching is provided by Human Resource staff.


Workshops are conducted in response to identified needs with recent examples focusing clarifying roles, responsibilities and expectations of being part of a team.

Job rotation

In some instances it has been possible to offer a lateral move within a section. This not only promotes the development of new skills and knowledge but also motivates employees.