Every year the PSA educates hundreds of delegates to support members in the workplace, so being able to moving training online during Covid disruptions has been a priority.
Prior to the most recent lockdown, a Stage One online delegate training pilot had already been scheduled.
It proved highly successful, with members across the motu completing the course for new delegates remotely. So when Covid alert levels rose due to the Delta outbreak, the pilot was extended.
The online training pilot enabled new PSA delegate Dr Jodie Crane from the Department of Conservation in Invercargill to learn while working on a kākāpō breeding project on a remote island.
“I was in a hut on Whenua Hou Codfish Island. It’s not flash but serviceable, with solar, hydro and internet.
“I hooked up to Zoom via the DOC satellite internet, and every half hour took a break to put coal on the fire.”
The senior ranger says she signed up for online training as her job is busy and it was nice to have the flexibility.
“It’s always good to be there in person but this worked well. The facilitator was fantastic and breakout groups were well managed to facilitate discussions.”
With other delegates training in lockdown environments, Jodie tried to keep their spirits up by showing them images of Whenua Hou, which is off Rakiura Stewart Island.
“You couldn’t think of a nicer spot.”
The shift online has proved so successful that by the end of 2021, 45 online courses will have been held to enable more than 600 delegates to complete PSA stage one delegate training.
The online format has received a lot of positive feedback, with many participants finding it easy to follow and appreciating the flexibility.
There was also praise for the online course workbook which could be accessed by logging in to MyPSA on the PSA website.
“Overall people have really enjoyed it. The breakout rooms were really successful giving delegates huge benefits from speaking and learning from each other,” PSA delegate development digitalisation project lead Georgie Dansey says.
KANOHI KI TE KANOHI MIX
The PSA began offering some socially distanced in-person delegate training again in October in Wellington.
The aim in the future is to make online training supplementary to in-person training, with online training offered prior and after in-person courses.
“There are still great benefits to having delegates meeting kanohi ki te kanohi to make connections and build relationships,” Georgie explains.
Some Stage Two online delegate training will also be offered in the future.