ABOUT

ABOUT 2017-10-27T01:28:01+00:00

Learning for Purpose is an independent, non-partisan, national initiative to research and realise capability development in the Australian Not-for-Profit Sector.

We seek to systematically understand and improve the means through which individuals and organisations gain and sustain the knowledge, skills, and abilities for a better world.

The initiative is led by the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia Business School in collaboration with the Not-for-Profit sector, social enterprises, universities, government partners, industry and philanthropists.

We have a vision for a thriving Not-for-Profit sector that attracts, develops, retains and motivates the best talent to achieve great things.

CHALLENGE

The Learning for Purpose initiative was created because everyone in Australia benefits from those 600,000 Not-for-Profit organisations that address social disadvantage, education, well-being, community cohesion, sports, biodiversity, artistic creation, cultural heritage, and more.

Meanwhile, public reforms, growing demand, and increased competition require Not-for-Profit organisations and their employees and volunteers to innovate and adapt to deliver greater impact.

The ability of Not-for-Profit organisations to respond to those challenges – to be sustainable and successful – highly depends on their people. The lack of attention, time and resources for Not-for-Profit employees and volunteers, remains a challenge with substantial upward potential.

APPROACH

The Learning for Purpose initiative supports Not-for-Profit organisations and their people to reach their full potential for more impact and a better Australia. We take a long term and evidence-based approach to raise awareness about fundamental challenges, advocate for the Not-for-Profit workforce, and inform and empower all stakeholders.

We operate at the intersection of work science, data analytics, and real world problems. The way forward is not about making people work harder, but let them and their work become smarter. Our ultimate aim is to identify, share, and help implement the most effective means for growing Not-for-Profit people, organisations, and their impact.

RESEARCH

We research the state, need, and effect of Not-for-Profit knowledge, skills and abilities, and the mechanisms on how to best develop them.

Our research bridges scholarly rigour with practical relevance to address learning, work engagement, well-being, leadership, and impact.

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REALISE

We realise learning experiences by designing, delivering, advising, and helping resource what makes employees and volunteers more effective.

Our approaches are based on applied science to create learning experiences that change how people at work think, feel, and act.

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LEADERSHIP

Our integrated team melds expertise in the science and management of people, organisations and work within the Not-for-Profit context, and lot’s of practical and positive spirit. We are excited by what we can accomplish together, and not afraid to question convention and tackle wicked challenges.

Dr Ramon Wenzel, Director Learning for Purpose

Ramon Wenzel, Ph.D., is the Director of the Learning for Purpose initiative to research and realise the potential of Not-for-Profit organisations and people. He is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Social Impact and Business School of The University of Western Australia.

Ramon draws on human psychology and organisational management to improve the effectiveness, evaluation, re/design and transfer of all forms of formal and informal work learning including training, leadership development, and action learning. 

Ramon spearheads a national team comprising a wealth of expertise, experience, networks, and dedication.

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Prof Paul Flatau
Director Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia

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Prof Sharon Parker
Director Centre for Transformative Work Design, University of Western Australia

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Prof Karin Sanders
Head of School of Management, University of New South Wales

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Dr Tim Bednall
Senior Lecturer, Management, Swinburne University

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Dr Renu Burr
Associate Professor, University of Western Australia

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MILESTONES

Productivity Commission Report
Pilot Study
Origin Foundation Funding
Report on Social Return on Education and Training
Continued Research Funding
Action Learning for Purpose
Not-for-Profit Workforce Study

Productivity Commission Report

2010 | The Australian Productivity Commission released its report on the "Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector". It is found that the Australian Not-for-Profit sector is large, diverse, and socially and economically significant. The wider understanding of the sector's role and contribution is considered "poor and deserves attention". The report highlights "increasing workforce pressures" and the "need to strengthen the capacity" and to "address future workforce needs".

Pilot Study

2013 | A pilot study is developed with the Australian Scholarships Foundation to systematically examine professional development offerings relevant for the Not-for-Profit sector and test pre- and post-training levels of key competencies and confidence, among other measures.

Origin Foundation Funding

2014 | Origin Foundation commits to and generously supports a program of ground breaking research on the Social Return on Education and Training in the Australian Not-for-Profit-Sector.

Report on Social Return on Education and Training

2015 | The landmark report on the Social Return on Education and Training studies is released. It is the first systematic examination of opportunities and challenges relating to the professional development of the Australian Not-for-Profit workforce.

Continued Research Funding

2015 | The Australian Research Council partially funds the continuation of the Learning for Purpose research agenda until 2018 through a Linkage Grant that involves EY and the Australian Scholarships Foundation. Australian Executor Trustees give further support to the Australian Not-for-Profit Workforce Study.

Action Learning for Purpose

2016 | The first Australian Action Learning Program for the Not-for-Profit sector is developed and offered for free through the proud support of BHP Billiton and in collaboration with WACOSS. Two cohorts comprising 25 Not-for-Profit experience accelerated individual-organisational development to realise a challenge for greater impact.

Not-for-Profit Workforce Study

2017 | The Australian Not-for-Profit Workforce Study is underway. It is the largest ever research study on and for all levels of Not-for-Profit employees and volunteers. It is designed to share freely the most effective means for making Not-for-Profit work more developmental, healthy, meaningful, and productive.

PARTNERS

The challenges we tackle require to work side-by-side with experts from the Not-for-Profit sector, social enterprises, universities, government partners, industry and philanthropists. Making a meaningful impact at scale requires deep collaboration and partners that facilitate opportunities, data and resources. Join us.