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Associations placed to help industries at the brink

  • 3 Min Read

As social distancing and self-isolation measures continue across Australia, associations are seeking to keep their members engaged, productive, and up-to-date with the latest industry best-practice – all despite not being able to gather in person.

As social distancing and self-isolation measures continue across Australia, associations are seeking to keep their members engaged, productive, and up-to-date with the latest industry best-practice – all despite not being able to gather in person.

In times like these, associations must deliver more than quarterly meetings, newsletters, and email updates. Associations can show their true value and drive greater member engagement by proactively delivering training and development resources. With many professionals forced to work remotely or facing reduced hours, members are seeking to upskill and learn how to augment their businesses in the face of COVID-19.

So how can associations provide their members engaging, relevant, and up-to-date professional development programs?

A good example can be found in how the international Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) leveraged online learning platforms to deliver training to its 1,800 members.

GAFTA provides in-depth training to help members understand the complex details of grain trading contracts which is vital to ensuring mutually beneficial trades and minimising disputes.

With its membership spread across 95 countries, GAFTA sought to increase access to education resources so its members could upskill regardless of where in the world they lived. Previously, it would hold face-to-face training sessions as part of its Professional Development program, but with an expanding member base this was becoming prohibitive.

To add greater value, GAFTA moved its courses online to deliver learning that enhanced member engagement while simultaneously improving the scalability of its training programmes.

Furthermore, it was able to expand the reach of its lessons by creating a series of short courses to provide deep dives into specific areas of the grain trade. These short courses can be rapidly updated as required, meaning learners always have access to the most current information available.

Automation also enables previously manual aspects of course administration to be handled by the platform, giving instructors more time to focus on assisting learners to grasp the content and develop their skills.

As the training solution was completely online, large-scale gatherings were no longer required, and members could access the content when and where it suited them most.

GAFTA’s example shows that associations can offer their members comprehensive, relevant, and engaging professional development courses which can be completed anywhere, and on any device.

As COVID-19 disrupts industries overnight, best practice is continuously being redefined. How will doctors, nurses, and medical workers need to change their day-to-day routines? How will accountants incorporate government subsidies and incentives into their client’s businesses? How will lawyers interpret new coronavirus legislation?

The relevant industry associations are the best placed to answer these questions. Given the ever-evolving nature of the crisis, courses must be quickly updated to ensure members have access to insight on the latest policies and regulation – online courses offer the fastest and most engaging way to deliver this content.

As this pandemic continues to spread, industries are overhauled with every passing day. While uncertainty is rife and many professionals are unsure what the future holds for them, associations are in the best position to clear the confusion. They can be the single source of truth that helps navigate members through challenging times in their personal and professional lives.

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