Affordable Training in an Era of Public Austerity

I’ll start this post by referring back to an earlier rant of mine about public sector funding cuts and staff development, in which I argued that the “unconference” format offered a way forward for public sector organisations to source cost-effective training as it becomes increasingly difficult to afford expensive courses and conferences.

Meanwhile, I’ve for some time been complaining about the number of unconferences in the public and voluntary sectors that are organised at weekends. I’ve got kids and I like to see them occasionally. The response I often get, particularly from local government people is – “we can’t do this stuff in work time”.

But, as I say, I firmly believe that these kinds of events are affordable CPD in an era of public spending cuts.

This morning I’ve been engaged in another Twitter debate, because Hyperlocal GovCamp West Midlands (#hyperwm) yesterday was organised as one of the first experiments of holding a public sector unconference on a week day, and it seemed to go well. So I suggested that this puts to rest the notion that it has to be done at weekends. I received a series of responses to this saying that not everyone can get the time off. BUT, I don’t understand why it is seen as “time off”. It is CPD, training, and it’s free apart from travel costs. Surely employers should be waking up to this as an alternative to expensive conferences and training courses.

Perhaps we need to organise an unconference for Local Government Personnel Managers to show them what they’re missing out on.

6 thoughts on “Affordable Training in an Era of Public Austerity

  1. I utterly agree with your point about unconferences being a really good way to get training.

    However, it’s probably indicative of where we are in 2010 that so many managers ‘don’t get’ digital channels let alone the unconference format which means that for many it’s the weekend or not at all.

    I’m hoping in years to come we’ll look back and roll our eyes that this was the case…

  2. Great post John. I completely agree that unconferences are great for staff development and have discussed with a colleague the potential for organising in-house unconferences. But we concluded that there’s still a huge cultural shift required for some staff to accept that they might have to participate rather being a recipient of training.

    Personally I get a huge amount out of unconferences and would love to attend more and send my team to more. I find attending at weekends easier (but not ideal) as my work schedule is often so busy. But I can’t expect my team to attend at weekends, unless I give them a day off in lieu. Also unconferences are often too far away to warrant a day trip. So I probably just need to get on with organising one locally. It’s been on the back burner for a while due to other commitments…

  3. Pingback: HYPER GO GO: John Peel and eight things to do after an unconference « The Dan Slee Blog

  4. Pingback: Unconferences, outcomes and small steps | John Popham's Random Musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s