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Learning for Purpose: Investing in People and Organisation Capability


Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 4:20 pm
Staff Reporter
EY (Ernst & Young) is running a series of workshops for the Learning for Purpose Consortium that will build the capacity of the not-for-profit sector through a focus on learning.


Wednesday, 8th March 2017
at 4:20 pm
Staff Reporter


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Learning for Purpose: Investing in People and Organisation Capability
Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 4:20 pm

EY (Ernst & Young) is running a series of workshops for the Learning for Purpose Consortium that will build the capacity of the not-for-profit sector through a focus on learning.

The workshop series will start in April 2017 and run to November 2017. If you are interested in joining the Learning for Purpose Consortium, please complete a short survey here Learning For Purpose Survey or contact Les Hems for more information.

Why Learning for Purpose?

The Australian not-for-profit sector is going through unprecedented change. Public service reform at Commonwealth and state/territory levels is fundamentally changing the relationships not-for-profit organisations (NFP) have with both government, clients and communities. The focus is now on delivering agreed outcomes and providing client choice. Digital disruption, social innovation, increasingly casualised labour market, ageing population, and budget pressures are all combining to challenge NFPs strategies and viability of operations.

To not only survive but thrive, NFPs will have to invest in their strategies and organisation capabilities and become agile. While some NFPs will “buy-in” strategic and operational capabilities others are actively investing in their most valuable asset – their people, the human capital.

The Learning for Purpose research program

In 2016 the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Social Impact (UWA CSI) launched a three year collaborative applied research project with EY (Ernst & Young) and the Australian Scholarship Foundation. Funding for the research is from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and EY is providing pro bono and in-kind support.

The Learning for Purpose research program is designed to help build the capacity of the not-for-profit sector through a focus on learning. As part of this research, EY has established a consortium of not-for-profit (or for-purpose) organisations to actively participate in, contribute to and benefit from the research program. The consortium plays a critical role in ensuring that the research program meets the needs of the not-for-profit sector.

In 2016, EY undertook a series of meetings to understand how the consortium might be founded, what types of learning not-for-profit organisations are seeking and how best to meet this need. This consultation process generated a curriculum for the Learning for Purpose workshops, methods for NFPs to engage in and benefit from the research, and the types of research outputs that will directly benefit consortium members.

The benefits of being a member of the Learning for Purpose Consortium are detailed below and a fee of $2,000 per annum is being levied to encourage active participation in the research. This fee directly contributes to the cost of the research.

Learning for Purpose Workshop Series

EY will host and facilitate a series of pro bono capacity building workshops in state and territory capitals for consortium member organisations. The workshops will focus on:

  • Outcomes measurement: Measuring the most important value not-for-profit organisations create.
  • Preparing for the future now:
    • What does commissioning and contestability mean for not-for-profit organisations?
    • Getting ready for social impact investing and outcomes based contracting.
    • Integrating service performance reporting in to your annual reports.
    • Disruptor or disrupted: Investing in innovation through “try, test and learn”.
  • Effective models for partnering and collaboration: The antidote to “merge or die”.
  • “Real” Collective Impact: how to develop and implement integrated place based systems.
  • Do you know if the program works? Developmental evaluation methodology for social innovation and capturing real-time learning.
  • Data driven decision-making for not-for-profit organisations: Developing and implementing integrated shared measurement data systems.
  • Managing complexity: Client segmentation and designing differentiated services.

Consortium members will be invited to attend three workshops per annum and three people per organisations can attend (staff and board members). These three-hour workshops will also be converted into a series of webinars which will be freely available to all consortium members.

The workshop series will start in April 2017 and run to November 2017. A similar workshop series will be held in 2018 and 2019 if consortium members wish to continue, it is anticipated that the curriculum for future years will be decided by consortium members.

Active Participation in the Learning for Purpose Research

Consortium members will be invited to events where they can contribute to and learn from the research. Active participation in the research will lead to consortium members receiving a bespoke report on their workforce characteristics such as learning needs, work engagement, and innovation. Consortium members will also have the opportunity to feature in the research outputs including case studies and snapshot reports.

Active participation will also ensure that the research addresses the broader needs of the not-for-profit sector including building an evidence base to influence policymakers and funders of the value of investing in training, education and work learning. This active participation will also ensure the research is pragmatic and doesn’t over burden the sector.

Interested in joining the Learning for Purpose Consortium?

If you are interested in joining the Learning for Purpose Consortium, please complete a short survey here Learning For Purpose Survey.

For more information please contact Les Hems les.hems@au.ey.com.




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