Rural Link and Learn: Bridging the Gap

Rural Link and Learn: Bridging the Gap

Rural Linkand Learn SP Traralgon 4

The Rural Workforce Agency Victoria's (RWAV) 'Rural Link and Learn' initiative provided free, in-person training and networking workshops for rural allied health professionals in Shepparton, Horsham, and Traralgon.

"What I liked the most about the event was the opportunity to attend high-quality face-to-face professional development LOCALLY and network with other professionals in our area who work in similar rural/regional settings. Getting together like this and having the opportunity to network is quite rare." said one attendee.

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18 April 2024



No matter where you are


Rural & Remote Australia

Allied health professionals of Shepparton, Horsham and Traralgon

The 'Rural Link and Learn' events were a series of free, in-person training and networking workshops aimed at rural allied health professionals in regional centres across Shepparton, Horsham and Traralgon in Victoria. These sessions were designed for identified priority health professions (Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Psychology) to provide rural health workers with high-quality clinical professional training, helping them upskill in areas of community need and build professional networks in a supportive and engaging environment.

The need for further education and specialised training was identified as crucial for boosting job satisfaction and long-term retention among allied health professionals, as highlighted in the RWAV Allied Health Open Consultation and Solutions Forum, as well the RWAV Census and Health Workforce Needs Assessment. However, face-to-face training is often limited to metropolitan areas, putting health workers in rural regions at a disadvantage.

RWAV developed 'Rural Link and Learn' to address this gap and bring top-tier professional education and networking opportunities to rural locations where allied health workers support their community.

The project successfully delivered 14 events, including 12 training and networking days and 2 networking dinners, attended by 251 rural allied health workers across Victoria. The model received positive feedback, with an average experience rating of 4.7 out of 5. Attendees praised the ease of registration, the quality of clinical education and presenters, and the value of networking opportunities.

One attendee noted "This event shows that our work is recognised and valued, as our work is often isolated and goes unnoticed". Another commented, "It's a great opportunity for professionals who usually work alone to connect with other speech pathologists and feel less isolated." One participant described it as "a standout professional experience," highlighting the importance of such rewarding opportunities. Others echoed the sentiment, emphasising the need for more such experiences in their work areas to better serve their communities.

Following the training and as a result of delivering Rural Link and Learn, participants expressed an increased confidence in working with clients. They particularly appreciated the high-quality, local, face-to-face professional development and networking with similar rural professionals, which is rare in rural Victoria.

This rural training initiative was funding through a Rural Health Workforce Australia Innovative Practice Fund Grant.