NZFBS Training Committee Chairman’s Report to AGM November 2016
The 2015-2016 training year was one of several highlights and was cruising along fruitfully until MSD dropped their bombshell somewhat diverting the attention of serviced based tutors and committee members. The sea of faith upon which we had sailed so fruitfully quickly turned into oceans of despair.
Despite these winds of uncertainty which continue to this day tutors continued to deliver excellent courses, Keith Coppins (Training Manager) and Paula Birnie (Training Support) worked assiduously on a variety of updates, new material, tutor appraisals, certification of new tutors while the Training Committee and the Training Quality Review Tam (TQRT), to mix metaphors for a final time kept their collective eyes on the ball.
The highlights, significant achievements and ticked boxes which we would have celebrated on 30 June had other deadlines not been in our faces, were:
The completion of the Budget Adviser Introductory Course (BAIC) rewrite: This was a mammoth task for Keith and Paula in particular who appreciated assistance from a number of tutors as well as Raewyn and Kate. The updating of information, role plays, scenarios, case studies and worksheets was last done in 2006 so it was well overdue. Early trials by four of our most experienced tutors identified some required tweaks which have been tidied up and BAIC courses are being favourably received by trainees. Tutors deserve credit for their thorough planning and professional delivery of these ensuring that new advisers have the best possible training with which to enter their months of supervision.
Training of New Tutors: In June 2015 Keith, Raewyn and I went on tour interviewing prospective new tutors in Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. From these we selected 10 to be trained in Wellington using the well established format of two full four day block courses a month apart with lashings of homework. This was the sixth of these that I have been involved in and the fourth in which I had the privilege of being lead tutor. I will always be grateful for these wonderful opportunities. Once again we had a wonderful group of people who will serve us well as opportunities arise in years to come. Congratulations to Angela Saunders (Tauranga), Carmel Lumsden (Auckland), Christina Marcroft and Hayden Fitzgerald (Manawatu/Wanganui), Mary-Ellen Gadd (Wellington), Lynda Markie (Gisborne) and Tania Taueki (Christchurch) who are now certificated and to the lead tutors who guided and mentored them.
Because of a dearth of BAICs some have earned their tickets through the delivery of professional development modules and this has worked well. TQRT members have noted how well the new tutors have been received by trainees and advisers.
Clocking up the miles: Over the year tutors have delivered 26 face-to-face BAICs with 133 trainees completing these. Courses have been relatively small with some districts showing a much higher level of cooperation with sharing courses than others.
Many thanks to our dedicated tutor team for constantly going the extra mile to ensure that training is delivered affectively throughout NZ. We know from course evaluations how much this is appreciated.
Thanks to all services who took their hosting responsibilities seriously providing excellent facilities, food and liaison. Tutors travel far and wide to deliver training. I personally travelled over 6000km throughout the year. It would be diverting to know the grand total for the country.
The only negative note on the tutoring front was the reduction in funding precluding planned tutor refresher training.
Stats for all types of courses are:
BAIC pass mark increased to 90% This has been the goal of training committee for some years which finally found favour with the board based on the irrefutable logic that no self respecting service would allow an adviser to present a budget worksheet to a client that was only 75% correct. The change was finally agreed to when a TQRT survey revealed that of 120 trainees only five would have missed the bus had the 90% pass mark been in place.
Community Education progress: Significant on this front have been the development and delivery of the budgeting / financial capability workshops for NZ Post and Community Corrections. As it seems likely that community or outreach programmes will become increasingly important under whatever the new regime may be these and other local initiatives are even more important. They also double as a potential funding source for services and a parent body.
PDM portfolio expands: There are now 17 PDMs available to services of which 12 have been updated in the last four years (seven in the last two). Two are available by distance and two by e-learning. It is also pleasing to note that services have finally come to grips with the requirement for pre-approval of professional development courses from external providers. The ill-advised idea of BAIC M4 doubling as a PD module proved an abject failure for reasons predicted by the training committee who opposed the idea. A supervision refresher module is in the pipeline.
Certificates for PDMs reviewed: For reasons of cost the issue of certificates for PD modules was discontinued. These can still be requested and delivered on line but of far more use are the records of learning updated and issued annually. Copies for each adviser and service managers are much appreciated. Thanks to Paula for getting these up and running.
Conference recognised as professional development: National Board decided to make full conference attendance recognised as one professional development for the 2016-2017 year. While this does not appear to have created an influx of attendees, and does fly in the face of some professional development requirements, it is certainly appreciated by attending advisers. Both the theory and actuality will be examined by the training committee after the event.
BAIC funding ceased: The advent of funding for BAIC courses no longer being available has led to a reduction in the number of these as some services needed to come to grips with the reality of having to self fund training. This also changed the regime for authorising payment of tutors. Host services must now wait until they have been notified by the Training Manager that all paperwork has been received.
Mental Health 101: Mental Health 101, presented by Blueprint for Learning and funded by the Ministry of Health, has been attended by a considerable number of services around the country who gained pre-approval for recognition as professional development. This is a model of how external provision should work and also of how demands for a particular topic can be met using outside expertise rather than expending time and scarce dollars on writing a new internal module. It cannot be seen as a universal model but works well for extremely specialised topics.
Field Officers can now attend PDMs: Approval was given for Field Officers to attend PDMs as observers or, preferably and numbers permitting, full participants. The main objective was to enable them to become up to date with current and new topics but there is also another positive spin-off which is their ability to lend support in key compliance modules such as supervision. A most worthwhile initiative.
Many thanks to Keith and Paula for their enthusiasm, efficiency and support and also to Raewyn who is a keen supporter of all things training. Special mention is earned by Tania Huata-Kupa and Michelle Nahu, our Tangata Whenua Representatives, whose thoughtful and principled contributions and willingness to represent the training committee strongly at board level are much appreciated. Margaret enjoyed her time with us and, in February, handed over to Carmel, who has shown a keen interest and watchful eye. Along with Fredrick Church and Jan Otsuka we have a high powered committee which ensures that the pivotal role of training in the work of budget services is kept at the forefront.
I have always held the chairmanship of the training committee to be a privilege and one that I have greatly enjoyed over a number of years. In terms of achievement, new initiatives, new friendships made and old ones maintained, welcoming new tutors to the fold and my busiest tutoring year ever, this has been one of the best.
Best wishes to all in these uncertain times and may we meet again!
Chairperson of the Training Committee