'We will always be looking for people': third-sector workforce dilemmas

Earles, Wendy, and Lynn, Robyn (2009) 'We will always be looking for people': third-sector workforce dilemmas. Third Sector Review, 15 (2). pp. 105-124.

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This paper explores the current demand-supply disjuncture for appropriately qualified and experienced staff for community services in Far North Queensland and addresses the question 'How can a local service sector respond to this emerging issue?' In 2006 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare undertook a review of the available literature on the community-services workforce and identified shortages of qualified staff and skill deficits among current staff as common themes. While workforce development has emerged as an area of research interest within organisation studies, there is little focus on the issue in the third-sector, yet is a critical component of community-services workforce development. This research involved a co-operative inquiry between a regional university and community-service providers. Its aims were to map the local experience of the current demand-supply disjuncture of appropriately qualified and experienced staff; to identify and develop local 'agency'/action to support capacity-building of individuals and organisations within the context of key national and state strategic initiatives; and to develop a wider research and action agenda in partnership. Data was collected through participant observation in, and audio-taping of, the inquiry group's conversations. The main processes used within the group were self-reflection on experiences, informal questioning within organisations, and exploration of strategies developed to date and proposed in response to the issue. The data included information on the nature and extent of the local issue and strategies and findings from the shared inquiries of the cooperative group. The data set was analysed for local themes, in constant comparison with national themes, and is presented as a conceptual framework that emerged in conversation. The findings informed immediate local practice and the development of research and development agendas, in partnership with local community-service agencies.

Item ID: 8649
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: non-profit, workforce, professional, community-services, sustainability
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ISSN: 1323-9163
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2010 03:47
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940117 Structure, Delivery and Financing of Community Services @ 100%
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