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Southbase Construction Leads The Way In Professional Development

National commercial construction company Southbase Construction uses internal framework and digital badging to promote and reward professional development.

Southbase Construction introduced a forward-thinking professional development programme in 2017 to support consistency across teams and career progression. The programme gives employees access to 60 micro-learning courses, each designed to help them upskill in a specific area.

Micro-learning courses are bite-sized education opportunities, designed to cut through the jargon and focus on specific industry and workplace skills.

Since introducing their highly structured approach to professional development, Southbase Construction has supported, tracked, and celebrated the achievements of hundreds of employees.

"Our employees are learning and bettering themselves, and we’re able to deliver consistency and a high-quality service to our clients. It’s a win-win situation," said Southbase Construction’s People and Compliance Manager, Carena Parish.

Recently promoted Project Manager, Tom Quin, who joined the team in 2014, has completed 31 micro-learning modules, or ‘competencies’, since 2017. He credits the consistency across teams at Southbase Construction to their commitment to professional development.

"I could go and work on a job in Auckland, Queenstown, or Christchurch and pick up where the last project manager has left off. Everything is done the same, so we’re all on the same page, heading in the same direction, working towards the same goal," Tom said.

Daniel Foster, who was also recently promoted from Site Engineer to Project Manager, says the training has helped him transition into his new role.

"As a project manager who is just starting out, I feel that I have the tools I need. There are no real grey areas on procedures and how things are done," he said.

eCampus NZ, who support the online learning for several Te Pūkenga subsidiaries, has worked with the company to help them design and award digital badges to recognise their team’s achievements.

A digital badge is a visual, online image of a skill or competency earned. These online certifications can be stored in an online profile, allowing learners to instantly share their achievements with employers, colleagues, whānau, friends and professional networks.

The launch of the digital badging has attracted interest from health and safety regulators in New Zealand, who have connected with Southbase Construction on LinkedIn to learn more about their innovative approach to upskilling their workforce.

Members of the Southbase Construction team who have been awarded a digital badge have enjoyed sharing their achievements online.

"They can put these badges on their CV and share them online. Our team have shared their badges on LinkedIn and have had messages of congratulations from people internally and externally. It’s great exposure," said Carena.

Daniel has received two digital badges to recognise his achievement of Health, Safety and Environment competencies. Last week, Tom was awarded his third Health, Safety and Environment badge, and he was the first in the company to receive his Heath, Safety and Environment Certified badge.

Both Tom and Daniel have shared their digital badges on LinkedIn.

"The badges prove that we know about health and safety in the construction industry," said Tom.

"They are a really good way to reward people," said Daniel.

Southbase Construction has now rolled out thirteen digital badges to reward employees for upskilling in a range of areas, from Health and Safety to IT.

Daniel believes that his career progression at Southbase Construction is directly linked to the professional development opportunities they offer.

"One of the keys to keeping your employees is giving them a professional growth path. At Southbase, there’s a huge emphasis on helping us to understand what the next stage of our career may look like, and they’re very proactive at enabling us to get there," said Daniel.

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