The CMHL is committed to working closely with our partners in the mental health sector to create collective ideas and solutions. This means connecting, listening to, and working alongside people and organisations that know and understand their areas of expertise.
One group critical to this work is the Victorian Mental Health Statewide Training Providers (SWTP). A significant amount of training available to the Victorian Mental Health workforce is provided by these 18 departmentally funded organisations.
Early collaboration between the CMHL and the SWTP began in 2018, when the CMHL brought representatives from each of the statewide training providers together to develop a shared understanding of the current state context, capture people’s best hopes for the future of the Victorian mental health learning space and identify the leverage points for positive and sustained change.
We then worked closely with the statewide training providers again in the development and launch of our website which was deliberately designed to promote and showcase the training and resources available from the SWTPs.
The CMHL website acts as a portal or hub for users to find training and resources from many providers in one space. Previously many workforce members were not aware of the full range of training providers, let alone where to find their training offerings.
Statewide Training Provider Scoping
In May 2019 the CMHL commenced the SWTP scoping study. This study helped CMHL to understand in detail the operations of each of the SWTP and was critical to establishing baseline knowledge with the aim of identifying gaps, strengths, and innovation. SWTPs were generous with their time and resources and provided significant contributions to the overall understanding of the mental health workforce development landscape more broadly. We did not bring the full group ofSWTPs together whilst we undertook the scoping.
Then in the first half of 2020 COVID irrevocably changed the training landscape. The CMHL began receiving calls from statewide training providers, other trainers and area mental health service educators looking for ideas and support around how to train and what to prioritise, so established a regular SWTP meeting in response. The SWTP meetings occur every second month with an agenda that includes:
- Providing expertise regarding subject matter and training to ensure relevant, quality driven, and innovative mental health workforce development in Victoria.
- Considering how to progress identified quality improvement initiatives such as state-wide training needs analysis or developing an evaluation toolkit
- Facilitating connections between individual SWTPs
- Sharing recent relevant research and other key documents.
- Assisting CMHL and SWTPs in identifying, and developing responses to, knowledge gaps within the mental health service workforces.
- Providing a space for the CMHL Learning & Practice Development coordinators to share with the SWTPs findings from their connections to and work with the area mental health services.
- Providing space for discussion and sharing ideas regarding (but not limited to): training needs; events planning & delivery; service/place-based workforce development activities; training evaluation; workforce development innovation
These meetings are invaluable in helping the CMHL understand the collective impact of SWTPs contributions to mental health workforce development in Victoria and ensure any CMHL-led solutions prioritise the expertise and experience of the SWTPs.
Some work we would have liked to have progressed with the SWTP now has been out on hold while we wait for the implementation of Royal Commission (RCVMHS) recommendations. To understand what a training needs analysis and a quality review and improvement process might look like, we first need to be guided by the newly proposed Victorian Mental Health Workforce Strategy, and the Mental Health Workforce Capability Framework. Both of these documents are scheduled for publication by the end of 2021.
Learning Management System
The CMHL has developed and launched a learning management system, which if desired, can be utilised by SWTP to house their e-learning. We are also working directly with SWTPs to develop some e-learning modules.
CMHL has been able to advocate for more up-to- date, relevant policies to help guide SWTP work, and have recently returned to discussions with the SWTP regarding a consistent statewide approach to training evaluation.
A co-designed process began in October 2021 to explore what a statewide training evaluation framework and toolkit might consist of. This activity will include SWTPs, and lived experiences workforces’ members from the CMHL Live Learn Lead Collective (LLLC). This work will also ultimately involve representation of and contributions from area mental health services, and members from other relevant CMHL advisory groups.
We look forward to continuing to work with the statewide training providers as key partners in the mental health workforce development space. We will always strive to ensure that CMHL solutions support and acknowledge the significant expertise held by the SWTPs.