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9th April, 2020

7 free learning opportunities to inspire innovation and development in lockdown

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or trying to stay productive during downtime, there are some great, free learning opportunities available to business owners and entrepreneurs at the moment.

Many businesses are having to turn to remote work options now or change operations completely. This is an unprecedented time, and entrepreneurs are struggling to find ways to cope and keep their ventures going.

You likely feel stressed and out of control at the moment, but as you move your team to remote work or find ways to innovate, there are additional alternatives for growth and development to consider.

Check out some of the excellent free learning opportunities currently available for business owners and managers.


1. LinkedIn Learning courses


If you’re struggling to set yourself and your teams up with effective remote work situations right now, LinkedIn can help.

The social media firm, through its Learning Hub, has recently opened up 16 of its learning courses to the public for free.

Through videos (more than 13 hours worth), written content, exercises, and exams, you and your employees can learn best practices for numerous topics.

There are resources on time management and productivity, presenting digitally, managing stress, building resilience, managing remote teams, leading virtual meetings, and using tech tools.

And if you happen to be looking for some great courses on mindfulness to help keep you in a positive frame of mind, LinkedIn has six great courses to share.


2. Greg Layton’s Chief Maker Academy


Australian executive coach Greg Layton is the host of a #1 ranked iTunes career podcast, The Inner Chief.

Layton has coached top CEOs and executives across the globe for over a decade. He is also the founder of Chief Maker. The company helps senior executives achieve organisational transformations and turnarounds.

Through Chief Maker, Layton runs the Chief Maker Academy, a practical and easy-to-consume executive coaching platform.

The online programs provide scalable and customised learning for individuals and teams looking to become influential leaders and enjoy more rewarding careers.

To support entrepreneurs struggling due to COVID-19, Layton is making all Academy programs free until the end of April 2020.

Sign up this month using the coupon code “MYOB” (not case sensitive), and you’ll get access to the self-paced courses for free for a full year.

They’re valued at hundreds of dollars.

There are courses on topics such as turning a crisis into opportunity, creating a clear career plan, embedding powerful habits and routines, and leading a team.

The courses assist individual entrepreneurs looking for a pathway through the crisis, and teams needing to learn and work together during this pivotal time.


3. ExecOnline leadership courses


U.S. firm ExecOnline delivers online leadership development programs.

They partner with top global business schools to deliver programs that help solve organisational business needs.

For business owners, HR managers, and other leaders, the training firm has recently released access to free resources related to leading, resilience, and the law.

Head to ExecOnline’s Virtual Uncertainty website to get access to three offerings to help you keep your venture on track.

There’s a keynote on flexibility and resilience by guest host Professor Homa Bahrami, Senior Lecturer at UC Berkeley Haas, and a keynote on navigating new leadership challenges by guest host Dorie Clark, a strategy consultant, speaker, and author.

The website also features an on-demand podcast on the second wave legal implications of COVID-19.

It examines best practices for HR leaders responding, managing, and preparing for the impact of the pandemic.

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4. Switch Tasmania’s digital solutions workshops


Switch Tasmania is a not-for-profit specialising in providing digital solutions to small businesses.

The organisation does this via Australian Small Business Advisory Service Digital Solutions, a federal government funded program.

To help small businesses weathering the COVID-19 storm, Switch Tasmania is offering its digital solutions program for free to the state’s entrepreneurs, waiving the usual $55 fees.

Take advantage of their online workshops and webinars, which cover topics such as selling online, digital marketing, and designing graphics on Canva. Webinars run in April and May.

Once small business owners are registered for the digital solutions program, they also get access to a free two-hour coaching session with a digital coach.

For small businesses that haven’t traded online before, the coaches can help them ensure their accounts are safe and that various digital factors are planned for appropriately.

Eligible ventures must be for-profit, have an ABN, and employ 19 or fewer employees.

Register for the program online via Switch Tasmania’s website, or email admin@switchtasmania.com.au.


5. TAFE NSW short courses


In conjunction with the NSW Government, TAFE NSW has recently opened up some short courses for eligible people to enrol in for free.

The courses enable participants to pick up practical skills and experiences in numerous industries.

Check out the TAFE website for the full list, but they currently cover topics like accounting, websites, leadership, business skills, digital literacy, and writing and presentation skills.

Eligibility requirements for the fully-subsidised places differ between courses.

For most, you have to live or work in NSW, be aged over 17 years, be a citizen or permanent resident, and have left school.

Another TAFE NSW and NSW Government program is the Women in Business offering.

It’s a fully-subsidised online program for women already operating a business or those looking to establish a micro or small business.

Participants hear from some of the top female entrepreneurs in Australia, who come from a variety of industries. This list includes Boost Juice founder Janine Allis.

Enrol in the course, and you’ll also learn about helpful upcoming events and services.

Eligibility criteria include having a valid ABN, being registered or trading in NSW, and having 0-199 employees, amongst other things.


6. Go with Tourism NZ


In New Zealand, Go with Tourism launched in 2019 as a job connector to address an increasing skills shortage in the country’s tourism sector.

The initiative was developed by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), to build New Zealand’s workforce.

Now the project has launched a new service to provide free, personalised support to tourism industry businesses impacted by COVID-19 (and industry workers, too).

Go with Tourism aims to guide entrepreneurs needing assistance, via one-on-one interactions on video or phone calls.

There’s also an online Knowledge Hub people can access, plus curated innovation sessions.

Head to the initiative’s website to utilise the new platform and upskill yourself with its free online courses and other educational pathways.


7. MYOB Academy


Did you know MYOB have a range of training resources available on all their key offerings?

Better yet, the online accounting brand has recently made all of these MYOB Academy modules free for customers.

Now’s a great time to upskill your staff on their accounting and business financial software. Learning more about MYOB’s product will also help you build in efficiencies into your business.

MYOB Academy contains plenty of tips and tricks you may not already be aware of, as well as webinars covering topics like accessing JobKeeper stimulus from your accounting software.

The above listings are just a sample of free learning opportunities available right now. Keep an eye out online, on social media sites, and via your local business groups and government departments for information about other programs and events as they become available.