Strengthening Our RCAF Team – Generating a Civilian Learning and Development Plan

Magazine Article / January 4, 2021

By LCol Sandra Humphreys, Directorate Air Personnel Management 2, Ottawa

Learning, training, and professional development are all crucial building blocks to ensure the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) of today is equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow. For military members of the RCAF Team, learning is often a prescribed journey based on an established occupational path, but for our Public Service partners it is a more cooperative effort.

The development of a plan is key to any successful endeavour. For the Public Servants on your team, the first step is identifying what knowledge, skills and abilities are needed. Once established, discussion, validation and prioritization of the organization’s needs requires engagement with the employee. This can be done along with performance management discussions, prior to the start of the fiscal year, or as a dedicated meeting on learning and development at any time. This discussion will determine a solution and/or activities suitable for achieving the learning aim.

The agreed-upon learning objectives and decisions are captured in the Learning and Development Plan (LDP) as part of the Public Service Performance Agreement. It is an important step towards obtaining necessary training; however, an approved LDP is only a plan and still requires the authority to commence training.

Once the plan is in place it will need to be appropriately funded. Often the LDPs are prepared in advance of fiscal allocations, so it’s vital that no training be conducted prior to resourcing. In addition, supervisors will need to consider the equitable division of funding when there are competing demands from multiple LDPs.

Once funding has been secured, a Training Application Form is created and signed for each activity. This is the formal approval required to commence training. After the form is registered and the learning is complete, the activity needs to be tracked. While some courses on the Defence Learning Network (DLN) Learning Management System are automatically tracked, others may need to be manually entered into the Human Resource Management System. This may feel like the completion of the cycle, yet there is one final step: finding opportunities to apply the newly acquired knowledge and skills. This is a critical step to reinforce any knowledge, skills and competencies that were gained from the learning activity.

Learning helps build a skilled, well-trained and professional workforce, strengthens organizational leadership, and promotes leading-edge management practices. Demystifying the steps to affect learning in the Public Service will ultimately strengthen the RCAF team.

To access the  DLN Learning Management System.

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