Workforce Development

Workforce development in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) field aims to build the capacity of organisations and individuals to prevent and respond to AOD-related problems and to promote evidence-based practice. It adopts a systems approach that goes beyond the provision of education and training to include issues such as recruitment and retention, workforce planning, professional and career development and worker wellbeing. Without addressing these underpinning and contextual factors, the ultimate aim of increasing the workforce’s effectiveness is unlikely to be achieved [33154].

The concept of workforce development is dynamic and has evolved over time.

As such, workforce development can be defined as:

a multi-faceted approach which addresses the range of factors impacting on the ability of the workforce to function with maximum effectiveness in responding to alcohol and other drug related problems. Workforce development should have a systems focus. Unlike traditional approaches, this is broad and comprehensive, targeting individual, organisational and structural factors, rather than just addressing education and training of individual mainstream workers [18400]

This broad definition of workforce development involves an extensive range of individual, organisational, structural and systematic factors that impact on the ability of the workforce to effectively prevent and respond to AOD issues. Without addressing these underpinning and contextual factors, the ultimate aim of increasing the workforce’s effectiveness is unlikely to be achieved [34733].

The key issues impacting current and future workforce development initiatives include:

  • the need for workforce development processes to be informed by systems thinking
  • workforce development at organisation, sector and systems levels being based on comprehensive workforce planning
  • undertaking a gap analysis to determine what needs to be done to attain the requisite workforce profile
  • evidence-based activities aimed at recruitment and retention and maintaining the wellbeing of the workforce
  • using evidence-based innovation dissemination processes [34733].


Key resources


Workforce information


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