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Growing your own: partnerships between local government and universities in training EHOs
presentationposted on 11.09.2018, 00:00 by Lisa Bricknell, Dale Trott, P Porter, N Bannerman, M Holgate, K Moody, V Hamilton
The environmental health profession is unique in that it requires both a strong scholarly background in a range of disciplines and well-developed practical skills in the application of theory to sometimes unexpected situations. Historically, one of the ways in which this combination of abilities has been developed is through on-the-job training combined with block delivery at training colleges. Since the elevation of the professional qualification to degree level in the mid 1980s, this model has become less common, with most local governments preferring to employ fully qualified EHOs straight out of University. CQ University commenced environmental health offerings in 2008, at the request of a number of regional local governments who were finding it difficult to recruit and retain qualified staff. The course was designed to be delivered by distance, allowing such employers to”grow their own” through employment of locally-based trainees who were less likely to relocate once they were qualified. Subsequently, CQU has engaged in a number of successful partnerships with Local Governments and increased the number of long-term regionally based environmental health professionals. In this paper, a Participatory Action Research approach between university educators, local governments and graduates is used to explore the strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats to the success of such partnerships in training the next generation of EHOs.