A National Training Needs Assessment (TNA) survey commenced in November 2021 to investigate the need in public universities to support the capacitation of professionals working in Student Services, Student Development and Support Services. The survey was conducted across all 26 institutions and found that 86% of the sample expressed keenness for the provision of a training intervention for professionals in these disciplines.

At a report-back meeting held for senior leaders in student support departments at public universities on 24 February, the participants warmly received the findings of this survey. Executive and senior directors, directors, deans and DVCs of Student Affairs, Support and Services attended the online workshop.

The sector’s need for support, training, and professionalisation appeared widespread, explicit and compelling. The survey responses showed a spectrum of needs from general leadership and management principles to skills-based wishes for training in digital communication and online engagement. There were also requests to accelerate the sectors’ goals of transformation, access, equity and diversity, to understand and respond to university specific issues, such as financing, risks, research and labour relations in universities.