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Business as Unusual – a new training norm for local government

By Patricia Paolini, Business Development Manager Training  


Currently in Australia, we find ourselves in an interesting and challenging time. COVID-19 has certainly disrupted our ‘normal’ and with that we have seen desolation for many families, workers and industries. We are all well-aware of the hourly, daily and weekly changes to our isolation status but thankfully it seems, numbers seem to be decreasing or at the very least, stabilising. 

On a positive note, what COVID-19 has also done is encouraged creative thinking, challenging us to ‘think outside the square’ to find new ways to deliver products and services. 

The training team at Peak has done just that and very quickly adapted their instructor-led training into Virtual Training sessions using a video conferencing solution. Training this way is in real-time and allows trainers and participants to see, hear and talk to each other just as they would in a classroom set-up.  

So, what does this mean to your council? Councils have jumped on board this new mode of delivery and we have seen a surge of enrolments into our Virtual Training sessions. The reasons are obvious – virtual training eliminates travel costs and reduces downtime of staff. As a result, those councils with lower budgets or those that are remotely located are now able to train staff who would not previously have been able to attend classroom training due to large travel costs and loss of productivity. 

Councils will also benefit from Virtual Training sessions as they can make use of lower productivity timeframes for upskilling staff. Many councils are using this time to deliver compliance related virtual sessions and eLearning courses such as the Code of Conduct for Local Government, Fraud Awareness, Cyber Security, Managing Remote Teams and Working Remotely and many others. During May, we will also deliver our first Zoom qualifications. Yes, our normal has changed into a new normal and one that is likely to surpass COVID-19. 

With the 2020 Local Government Elections now complete, upskilling newly Elected Members is more critical than ever. This supports the new term of council and enables greater immediate outcomes for the community. There is lots to learn in terms of being an effective councilor, passion and vision is ingrained however the rules, legislation and protocols are learnt. The role of the councilor is a complex one.   

The initial months of any new term is a time for learning, so for us, Elected Member training also continues virtually or with social distancing conditions adhered to. And once again, councils are answering the call and ensuring their Councillor Induction Programs are not disrupted.   

Peak is providing numerous Elected Member virtual workshops to councils including compliance and induction related topics such as, Effective Meeting Procedures and Legal and Ethical Obligations as well as our Elected Member Skill set made up of three foundation programs to support the new Elected Members.  We pride ourselves in assisting Queensland Councils to maintain their planned upskilling of council officers, all levels of management and our new 2020 Elected Members.   

We welcome councils to our new virtual normal.