The University of Adelaide’s vision is to be the most trusted provider of lifelong learning in South Australia by delivering high quality and industry-centric education through shorter forms of study to help grow the South Australian economy and increase access to education.
Sally Jones recently became the General Manager for Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) at the University of Adelaide, the business unit responsible for delivering short courses and microcredentials. Sally contacted Jessica Fazackerley from Accru Harris Orchard at the beginning of 2022 to conduct a business improvement review.
Building a great business
Sally says, “To me, a great business is one that operates a sustainable model that is customer-centric, connected to the organisation’s values and vision, functions as ‘one team’ and delivers value to the community it serves.”
“What’s most important to me in leading professional development at the University of Adelaide is increasing accessibility of knowledge, skills and networks to more people when they need it,” she explains. “Of course, none of this can be achieved without people being at the centre of what you do. Having a purpose-driven, collaborative workforce that is invested in each other’s wellbeing and development is very important to me.”
Challenges along the way
Some of the challenges the University of Adelaide PACE business unit have faced in seeking to diversify educational offerings are centred around operating a unique business model that offers services differently within a well-established education organisation.
Sally notes, “Some of the initiatives that have been developed to help solve this include improved forecasting and pricing of services, as well as establishing very clear service models and catalogues to deliver commercial success and services to internal stakeholders.”
AHO’s role in the journey
The Accru Harris Orchard team has had a relationship with the University of Adelaide for some time. However, in January 2022, Jessica Fazackerley began working with the PACE staff on a business review to identify opportunities for process improvement, along with realignment suggestions to increase efficiencies and optimise service whilst improving capacity.
Jess explains, “We recommended a service model for one of their growing services, along with pricing recommendations to ensure sustainability. We also assisted the PACE leadership team with the development of a pricing calculator that should improve quotation efficiency along with pricing consistency, revenue growth and accuracy.”
“Jess was a valuable set of eyes and ears ‘on the ground’ and was able to blend seamlessly into my team, establishing quick and effective rapport to relay important information,” explains Sally. “She was then able to undertake secondary pieces of work with the PACE leadership team to develop an initial pricing calculator and services model that we could shape into ultimate working solutions for our staff.”
“Jess is a wonderful positive force to have on your side while you’re navigating a range of business challenges,” Sally says. “She’s great at listening, taking in multiple perspectives and quickly understanding the business to get to the heart of the problem.”
She adds, “For me, the biggest indicator of someone’s influence and success is how much you notice their absence! Once Jess concluded her work with us, I realised how much I valued and had come to rely on her advice and mentorship as well as her great work on developing solutions for my team.”
Future of lifelong learning at the University of Adelaide
Sally and her team have many goals for lifelong learning and professional development at the University of Adelaide over the next 3-5 years, including building a range of in-demand, innovative and high-quality courses that reflect the strengths and priorities of the University of Adelaide. The team looks forward to developing education offerings that meet and exceed the needs of local, rural, and international learners while also practising financial sustainability to enable further investment in lifelong learning for the communities they serve.
To learn more, visit the University of Adelaide website.