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Capability, development and training

Further expansion of learning was a strong focus in 2019-20 and the organisation saw an increase in learning options and strong participation levels across all areas.

During 2019-20, an overall total of 24,570 hours of training were delivered internally to employees, comprising face-to-face delivery (518 sessions), virtual webinars (186 sessions) and online learning. This training covered a broad range of knowledge and skills, encompassing 220 different courses spread across 16 broad subject areas including Leadership, Content Making and Safety.

Employees remain highly engaged, with 15,604 learning completions recorded, an 11% increase on the previous year. General sentiment of those that participated was also very positive, with 97% of feedback respondents stating they would recommend the learning they had just completed to others.

The Great Place to Work funding, established in 2018, continued to be used to support technical and content training across the period. Employees across the organisation utilised these funds to complete specialised external training relevant to their roles across a range of areas including constructive reporting, comedy writing, 4WD training and drone operation.

For information on the impact of COVID-19 on training at the ABC, see International development (ABCID).

Targeted training

Technological change

The Learning and Development team continued to work closely with project teams across the organisation to plan for change and support ABC staff through those transitions.

The most significant technological change in 2019-20 was the introduction of a new online performance management tool, which replaced the existing paper-based process. The successful implementation of this change required that a significant number of employees be upskilled quickly and effectively. To ensure that this was successful, a multi-modal approach was utilised, using a combination of face-to-face, virtual and online learning to ensure that staff had the skills and knowledge required to effectively transition to this new platform, as well as the on-the-job support they needed to embed those skills.

Editorial standards

Training in relation to editorial standards remains a critical component of learning and development at the ABC.

Editorial training starts with an introductory online course and is supplemented with targeted face-to-face and virtual sessions that build on those introductory concepts. The sessions enable staff to explore how editorial standards apply to specific circumstances and contexts at the ABC.

In 2019-20 there were 892 completions of the online introductory module, representing 661 hours of training. A further 851 completions were recorded for the supplementary face-to-face/virtual sessions, representing an additional 1352 hours of training. Focus areas for 2019-20 included editorial standards in relation to reporting on key current affairs subjects such as hate speech and climate science.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination

Bullying, harassment and discrimination continued to be important focus areas for learning in 2019-20, with 2057 learning hours delivered in relation to these important topics across the period. A total of 1,594 completions of learning related to bullying, harassment and discrimination were recorded over the year.

In 2019-20 the existing online introductory course, which is compulsory for all new employees, was reviewed and updated to ensure it remained aligned with best practice and current legislative requirements. Additional online content was developed and rolled out to further enhance employees' skills and knowledge in relation to specific at-risk groups, such as people with disabilities and Indigenous Australians.

Attendant to the online content were a number of face-to-face/virtual sessions which were delivered to employees covering topics such as cultural awareness, prevention of bullying and harassment, and LGBTQI awareness.


The ABC’s two flagship leadership development courses, Activate Your Leadership and Accelerate Your Leadership, were strongly subscribed across 2019-20, with 89 leaders attending these courses throughout the year. Senior leadership was a key focus, with a successful leadership conference organised during the year providing an invaluable opportunity for senior leaders to come together to build networks and collaborate on critical strategic planning activities.

Across 2019-20 leaders were also provided with access to bespoke learning workshops designed to equip them with critical skills in areas such as staff development, resilience, collaboration and inclusiveness.

In 2019-20 the ABC looked to expand the reach of its leadership development to include not just people leaders, but also knowledge leaders (subject matter experts), piloting a new program designed to enhance the effectiveness of these subject matter experts and ensure that this critical group were effective and engaged.

Learning support - extreme events

Using learning to support and enhance ABC employees' ability to manage work and personal issues has always been an important focus, however the extreme bushfire events and emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic during early 2020 required a response beyond the usual offering.

During this time additional learning and support materials relating to mental health, coping with anxiety, resilience and working from home were quickly developed and/or sourced and rolled out to all employees. The materials were made available via online and virtual delivery to ensure they were easily accessible to staff regardless of their location, and continued related communications ensured employees were consistently aware of support availability.

ABC Radio Hobart Breakfast presenter Leon Compton working from home, with daughter Nola Compton taking a break from ‘producing’ to work on some ABC Reading Eggs.
ABC Radio Hobart Breakfast presenter Leon Compton working from home, with daughter Nola Compton taking a break from ‘producing’ to work on some ABC Reading Eggs.