Mentoring, mental wellbeing, and community development: new research highlights priority areas for community media training.

“You have a right to this place. You're welcome here. You want to be a part of it. We want to build this place together” - research participant.

The latest Community Media Destinations: Spotlight on Training research, conducted in partnership with Griffith University, highlights four priority areas for training as the community media sector works towards Roadmap 2033:

Employability skills - community broadcasting contributes to employability beyond the media sector and the report recommends showcasing the transferable skills developed by community broadcasters that lead to a wide range of employment pathways.

Mentoring - the value of both formal and informal mentoring experiences within community media is significant and the report recommends a continued focus on building and strengthening a culture of mentoring and support.

Mental health training and support - mental health and wellbeing in the community broadcasting sector needs greater emphasis, the report recommends an increased focus on training and pastoral support to improve workplace wellbeing.

Lifelong learning and community engagement - community media plays a major role in facilitating lifelong learning, and the report highlights the sector’s potential to increase community engagement initiatives.

The latest research was conducted in partnership with the Griffith University Centre for Social and Cultural Research, and builds on the 2021 pilot exploring community media involvement and creative industries career pathways. 

Academic researchers and community radio practitioners, Dr Heather Anderson; Dr Bridget Backhaus; and Dr Charlotte Bedford; collaborated on CMTO’s Graduate Destination Survey, using the results to identify 25 people who have completed community media training to undertake further qualitative research via interviews.

The research demonstrates the role community media plays in both professional and personal development through:

  • Career pathways - Participation and training in community broadcasting can be clearly and directly connected to career pathways.
  • Skills development - Participants all agreed their time in community broadcasting contributed to a broad suite of skills, which prepared them for future jobs, and enhanced current careers and employment.
  • Training - Training (including CMTO courses, other formal learning programs, and informal training) was seen by participants as a key benefit of community media.
  • Opportunities - Participation in community media facilitates many different opportunities in the form of career progression and training, as well as for personal growth.
  • Networks and belonging - Participation in community media contributed to both the development of specific networking skills and also the formation of valued personal and professional networks.
  • Finding the ‘Right Fit’: While some participants discussed how the unique environment of community media enabled them to develop a sense of identity and embrace their personal values, for others the ‘sink or swim’ approach and limited oversight over workloads led to stress and burnout.

“We’d say it’s like sink or swim and that’s a great thing for some and a catastrophic thing for others, because it means we lose a lot of people who, like, would have great skills if they had the formal training… If they had a different learning style” - research participant.

The CMTO CEO, Giordana Caputo, says the research report and recommendations are solid evidence of the impact training has on the personal and professional development of all participants in the community broadcasting sector.

“It's incredible to read these direct quotes from research participants on the profound impact training and participating in the community media sector has had on their careers and ultimately their participation in civic life in Australia.

The insights and recommendations are extremely valuable to us as a training organisation as we look at where to focus our energy and resources into the future. Thank you very much to the team at Griffith for their work and interest in our sector.”


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