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676 Is networking beyond borders possible? Evaluation of CONNECT.ed: a sector-wide networking strategy
  1. Venessa Wells,
  2. Rachel Meade,
  3. Roisin Sweeney
  1. Injury Control Council of Western Australia, Australia

Abstract

Background Networking is an essential element of practice and developing partnerships, which often requires a significant investment of time, resources and skills.

Description of the problem Research revealed that injury prevention practitioners face complex challenges that can hinder their capacity to network and build partnerships. Challenges like restrictive budgets, heavy workloads, confidence in networking and sector diversity, which are amplified when geographically isolated, working in regional and remote Australia.

CONNECT.ed is an innovative network for people with an interest in preventing injury and creating safer communities. Designed to overcome some networking challenges, this paper describes the implementation and evaluation findings of CONNECT.ed.

Results CONNECT.ed’s aim was to support regionally-based Western Australian injury prevention practitioners enhance their partnership building skills by increasing access to networking opportunities. Since inception in 2015, it is now a network without boarders, spanning multiple countries and engaging practitioners from a diverse array of safety topics.

CONNECT.ed pairs practitioners randomly across the network, inviting them to participate in a short mutually beneficial conversation with a peer without a set agenda.

Differentiating itself from other networking and mentoring programs, CONNECT.ed is built upon the concept that all practitioners, regardless of position, experience or background, have something to share and learn from others.

CONNECT.ed utilises technology for connecting participants, removing status, providing legitimacy and permission for people to talk with others they would not normally meet.

Conclusion CONNECT.ed’s format challenges the convention that networking can only occur face to face and is time and resource intensive. CONNECT.ed is playing an active role as an enabling structure in the injury prevention sector and provides an innovative opportunity to network without borders.

  • Networking
  • Capacity Building
  • Partnerships
  • Sector engagement

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