5.1 Professional development and training  


Resource Description

DARU offers a range of professional development workshops and training for disability advocates. It holds about six workshops and training sessions per year, in Melbourne and in regional areas. Examples of events and themes over the last four years include:

  • Disability legislation training
  • What is Good Governance and Succession Planning?
  • How Government works
  • What is good advocacy?
  • Working with people with behaviours of concern
  • Getting the most out of your board
  • Submission writing
  • Domestic violence and women with disabilities
  • The Advocates Charter: A tool for individual and systemic change
  • Meeting communication and information needs
  • Doing IT Better
  • Navigating through the legal system
  • To Stand Beside: Advocacy for Inclusion Training Program
  • Cross cultural awareness and communication
  • Resilience in the workplace
  • Fixed penalty notice
  • Tear down the walls
  • Assessment and Referral Court List (ARC) How Does It All Work?;
  • Mentoring training
  • Using social media


Interview findings

Stakeholder responses on the usefulness, relevance and accessibility of the training, workshops and professional development courses provided by DARU include:

  • Sixteen organisations were happy with the training provided by DARU to the sector.
  • Eight organisations indicated that the training provided should be more practical and assist advocates in their day-to-day jobs, while also being focused on skills and professional development.
  • Four organisations said they have not attended any training; one of these was not aware that DARU provided training, the others either did not have time or did not see the relevance of the training to their jobs.
  • Two organisations commented that the training they have attended has been hit-and-miss in value, either because they already knew the information, the information was too general, or the presenter did not appear to understand the practical needs of advocates.
  • One organisation indicated that DARU should not provide training, while another said that it is great DARU provides training and should keep offering this service, particularly in regional areas.
  • Two organisations said they did not understand why DARU is providing training to the sector as this is something that DAV should be providing.
  • Three organisations commented that the Managing stress workshop was useful and should be held again, while the Cultural differences 2011 workshop was also seen as very important.
  • Three organisations said the training sessions were too long, as giving up a whole day to attend was often difficult given their heavy workload and part-time hours.
  • Two organisations asked that training be held on varying days so that availability would be greater.
  • Other organisations suggested that the training be rotated around central regional locations such as Ballarat, Ararat and Benalla.
  • Two organisations stated that they would prefer training to be provided online, as then they could take the training in their own time.

Almost half the organisations interviewed provided ideas for new workshops and training sessions, a few of which have already been held by DARU. The suggested training sessions fall into three categories: Generic training, advocacy specific training and organisation management. Figure 5.1 below shows that breakdown, which suggests a real need and desire for capacity building and organisational development across the sector.

Figure 5.1 Ideas for training from interviews


Figure 5.1 Ideas for training from interviews


The suggested training topics to be sourced by DARU are listed below for each of the three categories:

Generic Training:

  • skills in how to deliver a presentation
  • team building skills
  • ‘train the trainer’
  • how to run a conference
  • information and technology (IT)
  • web page management
  • understanding the language of government and how to work through the system
  • cultural diversity
  • stress management
  • time management
  • assertiveness
  • training from DHS on how to fill in their various forms, particularly lodging a complaint
  • changes to the state guardianship laws
  • social networking and social media skills
  • how to effect positive change.


Organisational Management :

  • management
  • board and governance training
  • financial planning
  • linking into the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) or Jobs Australia
  • training on organisational and management skills
  • managing contracts.


Advocacy Specific Training :

  • information on privacy requirements for advocates, as disability advocacy comes under the Health Records Act
  • understanding human rights and how advocacy operates within the international, national and state frameworks
  • how the health sector and social work sectors interact with each other and what this means when advocating
  • vilification of people with a disability.