Newsletter editorial: A word from our CEO’s

Newsletter editorial: A word from our CEO’s

As the CEO’s of The Healing Foundation and ANROWS we recognise the extra burden day to day on the workforce and are pleased to inform you that WorkUP Queensland is providing training and development in response to this significantly changing environment.

As we keep our distance to keep people safe from COVID-19 we are well aware that this distancing can lead to increased risk of domestic, family and sexual violence. The sector across Queensland has been highlighting these concerns to both governments and the broader community. At the same time services are establishing and refining new ways of working in a physical distancing environment, online and by phone and in some instances continuing face to face.

WorkUP Queensland has had the opportunity over this period to engage with the sector and in response has put together a suite of online professional development opportunities from one hour webinars to three part series and longer term communities of practice. Professional development opportunities coming up over the next few months include:

  • Capacity building during COVID-19
  • Maintaining meaningful contact with men who use violence: contemporary research to alternative approaches
  • Virtual Knowledge Circles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers
  • Maintaining well-being through COVID-19: A Neuroscience based approach to self-care
  • Emerging Leaders Series
  • Communities of practice for practitioners and administrators

We look forward to the days when we can connect in different ways again and hopefully, we carry with us some of the learnings and insights we have gained during this unusual time.

Take care

Fiona Petersen and Heather Nancarrow

Workforce Plans: Ready for action!

Workforce Plans: Ready for action!

This month marks the final stages in the co-design of workforce plans for the sexual assault, women’s health and wellbeing and domestic and family violence sector with implementation plans for the coming year well underway.

We are delighted with the plans, particularly the broad workforce development focus of the activities that will be delivered on both a statewide and regional level. These activities are themed across a workforce spectrum:

• Growing the workforce
• Retaining the workforce
• Developing the workforce
• Supporting the workforce
• Connecting the workforce, and;
• Sustaining the workforce.

The workforce spectrum highlights the sectors commitment to building a strong and sustainable workforce and the need for a diverse range of strategies and actions to achieve that. Examples of activities that will be undertaken this year include:

• Developing a career and capability framework
• Developing a sector induction program
• Delivering an online workshop series sharing cutting edge research and thinking
• Gathering and analysing workforce data
• Supporting place-based and statewide projects through WorkUP Queensland grants
• Developing an online workforce development hub, and;
• Delivering a wide range of learning and developing programs using a range of approaches.

We look forward to working with the sector to implement all of these exciting actions and more over the next twelve months.

SPARK Webinar series

SPARK Webinar series 

SPARK Webinars will connect practitioners with current research and a range of relevant topics for the sector. 

The Speakers Provoking Action, Reflection and Knowledge (SPARK) Webinar series will focus on practice issues and topics of relevance to practitioners. Sometimes they may be provocative, but they will always promote knowledge sharing across the sector and create a space for reflecting, thinking and talking about practice.  WorkUP Queensland will add regularly to the series throughout the year. Practitioners are warmly invited to contact us with suggestions for upcoming webinars.  

First SPARK Webinar: Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration is on May 13. Register here

A short sharp SPARK these Webinars will run for an hour only.  

In the first SPARK Webinar, Associate Professor Kelly Richards (QUT) will share the findings and recommendations from the newly released ANROWS research report ‘Community-based programs for sexual offender reintegration’.  You can learn more about this project here  and read a summary of the research report here.

Kelly will present her research and then respond to questions related to the workforce implications of her research. When you register to attend this event, you can submit your own questions about the research for consideration. 

 If you have an interesting idea or topic for a webinar, you can contact us about it at:  

“Inspiring and educational speakers” shared lived experience

Same Same but Different Inclusion Forum

WorkUP Queensland ran the first of two online forums yesterday on 21 April, 2020. Same Same but Different provided an opportunity for participants to hear sector leaders and those with lived experience talk about the positive impacts of inclusive practice!

The focus of the full day workshop was inclusion for people with a disability, those who identify as LGBTIQ, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse populations (CALD). Dr Brodie  Evans, Men’s Program Coordinator at Micha Projects gave a keynote addressing practical tips to embrace and celebrate diversity within our workplaces.

We also heard from Aunty Elsja Dewit, Cultural Healer at Murrigunyah Family & Cultural Healing Centre. She shared the importance of understanding and establishing key relationships in community, with personal insights for how achieve this.

Karni Lidell imparted knowledge as a person with a disability and engagement manager for Disability Connect QLD. Karni’s role is to increase employment of People with a disability across the Public sector. Her story highlighted ways we can create more holistic and responsive services for those with disability.

The voices of CALD survivors were also heard at the forum, providing participants with practical strategies for improving practice.

We received positive feedback from participants at Same Same but Different including:

“Inspiring and educational speakers”

“A great deal to digest, so thought provoking and informative”

“When I look at the lists… they are all things we do well…which gives me some encouragement”

“I liked Aunty Elsja’s message…to bring it back to the heart”

To find out how you can be part of our next forum or other initiatives around inclusion please visit




Blog #2 - Self-care planning

Self-Care planning

A self-care plan can help you to respond to existing or new stressors in your life. Embedding self-care into your routine can help you to maintain your wellbeing, even when life is relatively less stressful.

We have prepared a self-care plan that is simple to use and easy to customise for your specific needs.  You can also download the slides from a workshop that we presented on Self-Care planning.  

Please feel free to download and share these resources with your friends and colleagues.  

Self-care plan instructions

Self-care plan worksheet

Self-care plan workshop slides

Blog #1 - Facilitating online delivery

Facilitating online delivery 

The last few weeks has really pushed us out of our comfort zone.  We have had little choice but to embrace different ways of working together and it has gone surprisingly well.

We have a daily meeting online with our team and we are all involved in various meetings with a range of stakeholders.  We have delivered our first Virtual Knowledge Circle, a Statewide Reference Group Meeting and recorded an online workshop.  In a few weeks we will hold the first of our Same, Same but Different Inclusion forums, online. Register here

When we deliver face to face consultations, meetings etc, we are intentional about process, keeping people safe, and engaged.  We are continuing to grapple with how to do this in an online space and would like to share with you what we’ve learnt so far.

TIP 1:  Jump in 

Adapting to online delivery can be scary, but it is vital to keep connected with teams and stakeholders so jump in and give it a go.  We are all learning together, some things will work, and some things won’t.  Think of it as undertaking an action learning project; testing, reflecting, adjusting and improving over time.

Importantly, be kind to yourself if things go a little awry.  You don’t have to be the best or do the best, just do the best you can and improve as you go.

TIP 2:  Creating the space 

Just like a face to face meeting or workshop it’s important to have a facilitator or meeting host.  This person keeps the process moving along, keeps people engaged, starts and ends the meeting and manages the conversation.

To begin our sessions with bigger groups we use an introductory slide which explains the various features people can use to engage and sets some simple ground rules.  For example, some people are not comfortable with speaking online and prefer to use a chat function to contribute, sometimes people accidently talk over each other.  A ground rule such as, everyone is muted, please signal that you wish to speak, and the facilitator will unmute you is helpful in managing these challenges.

TIP 3:  Check in - Check out 

Posing a simple check in question and asking each participant to respond sets the tone for the meeting and supports people to feel comfortable with speaking in the group.  With external groups this also ensures that people know who is in the room which helps them to feel safe to contribute.  A check out question to end the meeting well is just as important – this supports people to contribute any closing thoughts or questions.  A couple of examples below:

Check in – what will enable you to feel safe to contribute today?

Check out – what are you taking away from our session today?

Of course, the size of the group needs to be considered and for larger groups a poll or quick breakout session to end the meeting might be best.  A slide to let people know how to provide feedback, how to get in touch etc is also helpful.

TIP 4:  Engagement 

It can be tricky to keep people engaged in online sessions.  We find that two hours is the maximum length that people can stay engaged and a ten-minute break in the middle is useful.  Whatever online platform that you use it will have a range of functions.  Developing a simple session map that includes mixing up the way that you’re engaging people using the various functions is helpful. We like to use polls to gather quick feedback, break out rooms to allow for small discussions and the whiteboard to collaborate ideas.

TIP 5:  Back up

The facilitator or host of the meeting needs to focus on keeping people engaged and running the session effectively.  It can be very stressful trying to do this and to manage any technical difficulties or challenges that participants may have.  A backup person to do this is useful and probably essential if you’re working with external groups of more than five.   The backup person can also provide trusted feedback to help improve sessions in the future.

TIP 6:  Breath in

Find a way that works for you to keep calm and carry on if things go wrong.  Stopping and taking a couple of deep breaths helps me to focus so that I can figure out what needs to be done.

Also, just be honest, we are all learning together, and people understand if we let them know something isn’t working and we’re trying to sort it out.

Stay tuned for more WorkUP Queensland blogs about ways to stay connected.


WorkUP Queensland is pleased to announce the second successful practice studio host!

Second successful practice studio host announced!

Congratulations to Women’s Health Queensland who have an innovative and creative plan to embed support for women across the state. Working with women in local communities on a range of health and wellbeing interventions, these support people will use the ‘partnering with women’ element of the Safe and Together framework as a model for engagement and interaction.  

Practice studio host organisations will be testing the implementation of three separate pieces of evidence and learning what it takes to bridge the research to practice gap. Information generated from the practice studios will form a resource for the sector, so we can all learn together.  

WorkUP will keep you posted via our website, our Facebook group (WorkUP Qld) and our newsletter on the progress of the studios. We’ll share news and updates and sometimes individual spotlights or case studies. 

Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get regular updates. If you work in the sexual assault, domestic and family violence or women’s health and wellbeing sector and are on Facebook, please make sure you seek us out and request to join our private Facebook group.