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Dr Sabrina Pit

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.  

Dr Sabrina Pit has worked in the education, research and health sector for over 20 years and has a PhD in Health Behaviour. She currently Chairs Standards Australia Committee MB-027 Ageing Societies.      

How did you become involved in standards development? 

I was on a work visit in the Netherlands and Finland in 2013 to set up collaborations around sustainable employability with various Dutch organisations and experts. The Dutch NEN had just published a Dutch Standard on the topic and proposed to develop an International Standard. After meeting with NEN staff, the ISO TC260 Human Resources Management meeting appeared to be in Rotterdam so I joined and was the Australian expert on the ISO/TR 30406:2017 Human resource management — Sustainable employability management for organizations. Later on, I contributed to other HR standards, such as employee engagement, learning and development an ageing standards such as age inclusive workforces, dementia inclusive communities and digital economies.    

What role have standards played in your career?   

After years of drafting standards, I am now more focussed on promoting and implementing standards to make changes. I have done community consultations on standards and promote and explain the use and benefit of standards at conferences, hold webinars, workshops and trainings as we need to do more to get the message out there and explain what the benefits are of using standards, how to use them and how to make the world a better place through using standards.

I have started to use Human Resources Management standards and Ageing Societies standards in my research to assist in the translation and implementation of standards and build the evidence base. For example, I have measured the implementation of specific recommendations in the Sustainable Employability standard in hospitals.

On a global scale, in 2021 I have published with 21 co-authors from 15 countries, most of whom are my ‘standards buddies’, case studies on what those countries are doing or not doing to address the impact of COVID-19 on ageing workers. Global sharing of these solutions and knowledge among international, national and local governments and organizations, businesses, policy makers and experts will further combat ageism and build inclusive workplaces and societies.  

I am part of a Global Expert Network Human Capital Impact, born out of ISO work, also known as Raise The Tide 30414 that works on actively promoting the ISO 30414:2018, Human resource management — Guidelines for internal and external human capital reporting. Major works as volunteers happen behind the scenes to increase the uptake of these standard and increased transparency on human capital, which can serve as an example for other people that want to promote the uptake of their standards.

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

Without a doubt, being the convenor of the just published ISO 25550:2022, Ageing societies — General requirements and guidelines for an age-inclusive workforce. I highly recommend you read it and apply in your organisation because we will all be older one day!  

Representing Australia at the Strategic Advisory Group at ISO to set up the ISO Technical Committee Ageing Societies in 2018 was also an important global milestone. There is a dedicated group of international and Australian colleagues that led the way in making Ageing Societies count. I am also proud to have written the proposal to set up the Australian Mirror Committee for Ageing Societies.

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

I consult to international and Australian organisations in the area of sustainable employability, health program and training evaluations, digital skills and workforce solutions including rural and ageing workforces. Previously, I was the Workforce Research Stream Leader and Lead Academic, Clinical and Educational Research at the University Centre for Rural Health (University of Sydney and Western Sydney University). Specific highlights were winning the Vice Chancellors Teaching Excellent Award and winning an NHMRC Research Fellowship on “Ageing well and productivity: pathways to healthy workforce participation” and completing a PhD whilst having my children. I am teaching them about standards, they can’t escape me!

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

With a strong global push for ESG reporting and increased transparency for human capital reporting, International Standards play an essential role in harmonising the various reporting mechanisms across the globe. In the future, standards will be shorter, easier to understand, quicker to apply in business, and faster to implement and adopted in society. I also believe standards will have to become part of university teaching and curricula as standards represent best practice and global consensus on specialised fields where people seek to understand each other’s views. This globalised knowledge is gold and hard to find elsewhere.  

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 

Yes! As the Chair of MB-027 Ageing Societies, I wish Standards Australia a happy 100th birthday, and I am proud that Standards Australia is part of our Ageing Societies! We will have many more centenarians in the next few years. I would say, let’s say cheers to the next 100 years with many standards contributing to older people living a great productive life.