Australia turns to Team Based-Learning to train job seekers for a 21st century job market

Updated: May 31, 2019

Some of the challenges more mature job seekers face in a competitive labour market is the need to be digitally savvy and the ability to identify the value of their existing transferrable skills when entering new jobs and industries.


PeoplePlus Australia has been putting together a pilot program that incorporates Team-Based Learning (TBL) to help mature job seekers navigate the current labor market and land a job they are suitable for.


PeooplePlusPeoplePlus’s Registered Training Organisation Australian’s

Employment Training Solution (AETS) provides training services and support in employment and developing business skills. The program also helps mature job seekers workers upskill and aid their transition into new jobs or industries. AETS ran a pilot program, funded through the Australian Federal Government where they use TBL to promote confidence building, digital literacy, resume and interview skills among job seekers above the age of 40.


"Incorporating TBL in the curriculum has helped teach older job seekers new tricks to adapt to the current job market", PeoplePlus National Quality and Compliance Manager, Sharon Phayer noted. The main areas job seekers need to support in is in


i) boosting their confidence levels

ii) building digital literacy

iii) and capitalizing on their existing skill sets to approach job search with a more open mind.


Sharon noted that from her experience some older job seekers start to lose their confidence once the job search goes beyond six weeks and gets even more complex as that time extends, sometimes as long as 5 years.


As such, an essential part of the program is to ensure job seekers are not fatigued by attempting to find work and instead are encouraged and trained to build resilience.


Digital literacy is also an area that requires a lot of training amongst this age group since many job-seeking processes such as sending applications and creating resumes heavily depends on navigating technology that they don't know. Most jobs get listed on job portals and employers rely on emails to communicate with applicants. Sharon said that she was initially “shocked about how the participants in the program were falling short of digital literacy.” In a competitive job market digital skills are often listed as requirements. As such, improving the job seekers skills to navigate a computer to put a CV together and use job portals have been an important aspect of the training program.


Often mature job seekers tend to stay within industries that are

not relevant and are exiting the Australian labour market, and with rapid digital disruption some are forced to use their existing skills and experience to venture into new industries. Therefore, having a more open-minded approach is necessary for job seekers to identify their transferrable skills. Their current skills could be transferred to new industries or fields they have never been in before.


Use of TBL to train older job seekers


PeoplePlus uses TBL in their AETS program to help older job seekers absorb content for better employment skills and best practices. TBL is also put to use to help them identify their existing skills, build confidence and help put together a more convincing pitch to employers when applying for jobs.


The five elements taught in the program include pitching, interviews, resume, networking and strategy. Prework takes the form of mini lectures in the beginning of lessons instead of just assigning readings for students to complete before class.

The mini lectures are followed by the IRAT and TRAT. The IRAT and TRAT put across key points and content that you want the participants to absorb. More than consolidating knowledge it also helps to speed up and simplify the learning. Additionally, since facilitators are putting together the content for testing it helps them to become very clear on the learning objective for each module. As a result, students are also very clear on what the expectations are and the key take a ways,” Sharon explained.


After testing the content from the mini lectures through the RATs, application exercises are practiced to test if participants are able to apply these skills in the real world context. An example of the application cases include pulling apart a job application and looking at which stories best fit for a job interview. These exercises not only help the participants position themselves as the best candidates for the job put also play the role of building their confidence in long drawn job searching processes. “We not only taught the participants how to effectively pitch themselves to the employer but also to pull apart their experience to look deeply to develop a positioning matrix that shows what they have done. We also taught them how to use that to pick and choose and match against the actual requirements and tailor their applications based on their own experiences and knowledge via stories. It’s amazing to see how much their confidence grows,” Sharon added.


Using TBL through the online software such as InteDashboard also helps significantly for these job seekers to gain digital literacy and to put those skills constantly to use. Sharon explains that this allows for dual learning as the participants are also learning digital literacy without actively thinking about digital literacy by just being able to use the program. During the process of coming up with the program the team had “worked closely with InteDashboard and co-designed the content for our course,” she added.