Behind the research findings that guide SESA

researchIn 2014, SESA will begin Education, Sustainability and Evaluation training opportunities with Waste and Water industry trainers from May onwards for completion by November this year.

We will be piloting and evaluating our progress and achievements. We’re commencing with a series of Sustainability Webinars.

If you are interested in some professional learning opportunities that will be  ‘just-in-time’ and ‘just-for-me’ learning please register your interest with SESA Project Manager, Larraine J Larri, at

In 2013 we conducted research and we:

1. Conducted Interviews with representative Waste and Water industry trainers

We asked:

  • What do you do now in relation to EfS (or EaS)?
  • How would you like to improve what you do in relation to EfS, in particular?
  • How can SESA support you to increase your skills and capability in EfS so that your impact is greater?

2. Distributed an Online Questionnaire to more Waste and Water industry trainers


  • undertook a short questionnaire based on findings from the interviews
  • used a representative sample of each State/Territory Waste and Water industry trainers
  • included the option to follow-up with a supervisor

3. Conducted Interviews supervisors/ employers of Waste and Water trainers


  • used a small representative sample of supervisors of people who completed the online questionnaire
  • captured opinions of what professional development strategies would be most likely to be supported

Key findings of our research


Sustainability education is a significant percentage of Water & Waste industry trainer job roles.

This is an important finding when considering professional development needs. How sustainability is taught (as well as what is taught) has implications for the success of training outcomes.

Water & Waste industry trainers reported facing significant challenges in engaging people within and outside their organisations in sustainability. 

Professional development in engagement strategies and Building the Business Case for Sustainability would enable trainers to ‘sell’ sustainability to their employer and the audiences they train.

Trainers indicated that integration of Education for Sustainability into their own delivery and organisational structures is integral to maintaining the momentum for sustainability.  

  • Training outcomes have shifted from ‘information’ to ‘transformation’, audience and topic diversity has increased
  • Marketing and engagement methods are critical to successful EfS
  • Trainers’ roles and background skills are extremely diverse, often without EfStraining
  • PD areas of most interest to trainers that relate to sustainability education were
    • Building the business case for sustainability;
    • Sustainability issues and concepts related to their field;
    • Achieving action outcomes and behaviour change (including motivating people; identifying needs and structuring information for audiences; and community/business engagement skills);
    • Course and program evaluation techniques;
    • Critical and systems thinking;
    • Social media use and analysis.

Trainers were also very interested in gaining skills in more generic areas of  technical skills and knowledge about waste/water; and Strategic planning and project management.

  • The educational resources requested by trainers were: Experiential learning activities (60%, 65); Case studies (58%, 63).
  • Making personal connections through the learning process was highly valued.
  • Accreditation for training was important but not essential.
  • Time, cost and gauging the value and relevance of training are the main barriers to uptake of professional development for both trainers and employers.

The research was undertaken in late 2013 by consultants Beth Akister and Laurel Freeland of Alchemy Living & Learning.

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