Nathan Layton

What is your career/background?

I have spent 18.5 years in Defence (Air Force). I spent 13 years working with ADF Information Communications Technology (ICT) systems and 5 years in Training and Education. The learning domain is where my passion and interest in the continuous improvement of our training systems through evaluative practice initiated.

Are you currently working and what is your role?

My current position is the evaluation consultant for over 300 programs of training managed by Headquarters Air Force Training Group. The programs range from initial entry to the Air Force to specialist programs in flying, air combat, mechanical, intelligence and IT systems (to name a few) in support of the diverse range of employment opportunities supported by an Air Force career.

What inspired you to enrol in the Master of Evaluation?

There were a number of reasons why I enrolled in the Master of Evaluation. Firstly, I saw the benefit in professional development; I was new to my position and wanted some robust training to provide me with the skills to be able to make a difference. Secondly, after being assigned some initial programs to evaluate, I developed an interest and I wanted to explore this curiosity further. Thirdly, a work colleague recommended the program after he himself had undertaken study with the University of Melbourne.

What have you gained from this course?

I’ve gained the skills to be able to flexibly apply a range of evaluative practices to meet the diversity of training and learning applications in the ADF.

How are you juggling work and study?

I have two young children as well as a full-time position so I acknowledge the difficulty of fully meeting the commitments. However, the staff at the Centre for Program Evaluation (CPE) at the University of Melbourne have been incredibly understanding. I have been able to intermittently enrol between an online delivery format and on campus dependant on my competing priorities.

What do you find most challenging about the course?

I just wish there were more hours in the day!

What’s been the most valuable aspect of the course?

The professional knowledge to be able to apply a range of theories in a pragmatic and practical fashion. The course content isn’t centred on a single employment sector, and allows the learner the opportunity to flexibly relate the content to their own professional environment. The learning has been able to afford a range of further professional development opportunities both within, and external to my own organisation.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing this course?

It’s a great professional opportunity! It has really opened my eyes to a much broader appreciation of my own environment – not just in my evaluative processes, but the ability to utilise evaluative theory in more diverse approaches to my workplace responsibilities.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Retrospectively, before starting the Master of Evaluation I didn’t realise how much I didn’t know and how diverse the profession of evaluation really is. Whilst I certainly acknowledge I have much more to learn, the learning and resources provide the opportunity to foster further development where I can engage with a range of materials to support my continued curiosity for evaluation.