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Photo of RMIT Online learners at ARC, a Sydney based creative agency

Case Study: How a Sydney-based business used down time during COVID-19 to upskill staff

ARC is a creative communications agency based in Sydney

According to recent research, Australian businesses spend $7 billion on recruiting new workers, but only $4 billion on developing their team’s skills—even though the cost of replacing a bad hiring decision within 6 months is 2.5 x the worker’s annual salary.

Post COVID-19, Australia’s future economic opportunities are underpinned by having a workforce with the right skills to meet it. When approaching skills shortages within the workplace, companies that invest in reskilling and upskilling their existing employees are saving costs, building business resilience and nurturing morale within their workforce.

Like so many businesses, COVID-19 saw a dramatic pivot on every day operations within Sydney based creative agency, ARC. For a number of months, the team worked remotely and with reduced hours, and team manager Rose Pengelly wanted to use the opportunity to upskill and motivate her team.

ARC's clients range from venture-backed start-ups to socially responsible multinational clothing companies.  Their suite of services covers everything from communication strategy and positioning, creative direction, media relations, influencer marketing, SEO content and experiential events.

The team at ARC completed RMIT Online's 6 week course in Digital Marketing Strategy, followed by Implementing Digital Marketing Campaigns, with Rose acknowledging the programs “complemented our skills in the PR, creative & content marketing space.” Since completing the study, Rose has said the team have “already started applying some of our learnings to client work.” 


See the full testimonials from the team below.


Rose Pengelly's testimonial as a Team Manager


Rose Pengelly, Team Manager:


Why did you decide to send the team through the digital marketing courses?


Whilst the team was working remotely at home, we wanted to use this opportunity to skill up and motivate our team. More importantly, I felt that it was important for us to collaborate together and share mutual experiences. In a way, it was a team building activity.


What were the benefits of studying as a team?


It was great for us to be able to experience it together, we could discuss topics that we weren’t sure of, share what we found interesting or useful tools to help us with our work. Doing it together is like working with the best study group you wish you had at uni, everyone has different sets of skills but are likeminded and there’s no awkward ice-breaker moments.


What did you like best about the course?


Mentored & taught by working professionals. Real world experience is paramount.


Why did you choose RMIT Online to do this training?


It’s a world renowned institute, the courses were practical and applicable, the course length was manageable and the fee was right.


What were the main outcomes of the workplace training for your team?


We applied some of our learnings immediately to client work which improved their digital ecosystem and I can see the team continuing to apply the skills they’ve learnt.


Would you recommend this type of learning to other people?


Absolutely, since joining the course, our clients, other PR peers and friends have signed up!



Zoe Anstee's testimonial as a Team Member


ARC Factory Team Responses


What is it like studying online? 


Bridie, Team Member

Working online was great – I enjoyed being able to choose when studying worked best for me, while the deadlines helped me stay motivated. 

Crimson, Team Member

I enjoyed the ease and accessibility of studying online, especially during lockdown. Having the ability to log on and pick up where I left off when it suited me was helpful when balancing work and study.  

Ashley, Team Member

The online experience was very seamless and easy to get the hang of. As the course was also about digital marketing, it seemed like an easy fit to be completing and working on it entirely digitally.


What is the course content like?


Bridie, Team Member

The content is broken up into weekly blocks that take anywhere between 45 mins to 4 hours to complete. RMIT provides a great framework to keep you on track. 

Crimson, Team Member

Both Introduction to Digital Marketing and Implementing Digital Marketing Strategy included a diverse mix of engaging content that made learning interesting. The bite sized video content was particularly helpful when working through the more complex processes and programs.

Ashley, Team Member

The content was fairly varied and the inclusion of images and video really helped the learning process to visualise some of the tricker aspects of some topics.


How did you find balancing studying with working full time?


Bridie, Team Member

I’m currently working 3 days a week so it was a great way to stay productive on my days off. 

Crimson, Team Member

I was working three days a week and studying for two which made the workload manageable.

Ashley, Team Member      

We luckily completed this course in the exact time when we were working from home, so it was ideal in terms of fitting this into a schedule. I also liked that you could go ahead in the modules and complete additional pieces, so when you had more time you can get more completed to compensate for when you might be time poor.


What made you want to upskill?


Bridie, Team Member

I wanted to upskill to both have a better understanding of my client’s needs and grow new areas of our current agency offering. 

Crimson, Team Member      

Upskilling in the digital side of marketing allowed me to grow and diversify my skillset, which is always beneficial. As a business, it has given the team the ability to explore and pursue areas that may not have been possible before. 

Ashley, Team Member

Our media industry is constantly changing, and with so many publications moving to more online stories, plus new digital publications popping up, it made so much more sense to be able to apply all these new areas to the work we do for our clients. It also really helped us understand different aspects of our clients approaches to what their goals were.


Why would you recommend this course?


Bridie, Team Member

Doing this course with RMIT gave me both practical skills and a broader scope of understanding, learnings that I’ve already started implementing with my clients.

Crimson, Team Member

I’ve acquired a range of beneficial skills that can be applied to my job on a daily basis. The 6-week time frame made it really manageable and the course work was engaging and easy to digest! I would recommend to anyone wanting a more in depth understanding of digital marketing, from SEO and Google ad words to data privacy.

Ashley, Team Member

Certainly! As someone adverse to tertiary education prior, I really found this very seamless and easy to pickup and get into the headspace for.

Crimson Dunstan's testimonial as a Team Member


ARC discovered that, during their time with RMIT Online, upskilling didn’t have to be complicated, monotonous or particularly time-consuming. “Both Digital Marketing Strategy and Implementing Digital Marketing Campaigns included a diverse mix of engaging content that made learning interesting,” says team member, Crimson Dunstan. “The bite-sized video content was particularly helpful when working through the more complex processes, and I’ve already got a range of beneficial skills that can be applied in my job on a day-to-day basis.” 


For more information on upskilling opportunities for your business, check out check out how RMIT Online is working to transform businesses. Or check out all of our short courses here.

This article was originally published on 13 October 2020