The Learning and Practice Development Coordinator (LPDC) roles at the Centre for Mental Health Learning initially replaced the cluster manager positions as cluster functions transitioned to the CMHL. As the scope and outputs of the CMHL have evolved since the transition, so too have the LPDC roles.

The CMHL is not just an amalgamation of existing programs and responsibilities, it is an evolution of how to meet the public mental health workforce’s needs on a large scale. As the previous regional cluster model for learning and practice development activities shifted to statewide at the CMHL, it has required a reconsideration of how we can meet the growing needs of services and the workforce, and remain fluid in an evolving landscape.

In Victoria, there has not been a single agency which works to consolidate and standardise the training delivered to the mental health workforce. As a result, there have likely been opportunities missed for collaboration and pooling of resources, for aligning clinical practices and accessing academic support. CMHL’s role as a centralised training service can support statewide collaboration across area mental health services, statewide training providers, the Department of Health and other organisations, bringing invaluable benefit to the workforce and services. 


Connecting with AMHS

The LPDC have responsibilities in connecting the CMHL to the area mental health services. Jo and Jeff have split the services across Victoria between them and have begun to build relationships with the various personnel at each service. Through their roles on the CMHL workforce committees the LPDCs have been able to harness existing knowledge within the sector to inform planning for several workforce forums and conferences. Additionally, their work on these committees help them to stay connected to the needs of workers in areas which may not have significant educator allocation (such as older adult and youth mental health, and disciplines without designated educator positions) and to the specialty areas covered by SWTP and specialist teams. Jo and Jeff also sit on statewide training provider and other statewide leadership and reference groups. Jo and Jeff are building connections with other statewide peak bodies (for example, MHCC, IMHA, VMIAC, CLEW) and training organisations (No To Violence) to provide education and resources for the mental health workforce. Collaboration with this broad range of services identifies expertise in the field and has enhanced the offerings in the CMHL training calendar provided for clinical mental health workforce.


Training Coordination

The coordination component of Jo and Jeff’s roles consists of planning a calendar of free training opportunities for the whole state and allocating development resources, as done by the previous cluster roles regionally. Together with the events coordinator, Jeff and Jo have programmed a year-round calendar of learning and development activities. But the Learning and Practice Development Coordinators also support networking and aligning mental health training and education programs across the state. One of the first projects the LPDC roles have embarked on is a scoping project to meet with representatives from each of the area mental health services across Victoria and Forensicare to understand their workforce development priorities, training projects and structure of their education teams. The LPDCs, by connecting with services remotely and face-to-face, have developed an overview and understanding of the learning and development system within AMHSs, its strengths and stress points. They are now well placed to coordinate collaboration on larger projects statewide to further learning and development priorities.

The LPDC roles in the COVID climate understood some of the pressures and constraints that were put upon the systems due to restrictions. The LPDCs have worked internally with the events coordinator and the CMHL discipline specific educator roles to move events online and support other educators to adapt by providing videoconferencing platforms, IT support and information on delivering online content.


Current Projects

Some other projects the LPDC are working on to support statewide learning and development include:

  • designing and delivering training with SWTP input on ‘Facilitating online learning’ to help mental health educators adapt to COVID restrictions and virtual training
  • planning, designing, and coordinating of six workforce forums and conferences per year
  • providing subject matter expertise for the content update of MHPOD modules
  • coordinating a physical health education day
  • coordinating a statewide train-the-trainer program utilising NorthWestern Mental Health’s Suicide Prevention training package
  • identifying education needs via scoping project
  • developing an Introduction to Clinical Supervision e-learning package
  • converting statewide training provider face-to- face content to an e-learning package

The LPDC roles now cover a range of projects and responsibilities including being conduits between the CMHL and several external programs and agencies. The scoping project has also informed allocation of resources, including providing additional access to under-resourced or under- serviced programs. As COVID restrictions ease, Jo and Jeff are looking forward to going out to services and training providers to better develop relationships and find opportunities to connect and collaborate.


Jo Stubbs

Learning & Practice Development Coordinator

Jeffrey Weitzel

Learning & Practice Development Coordinator

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