Message from the CEO (25 April 2022)

Message from the CEO


We welcome you to our April edition of the VET sector magazine.

We are pleased to announce that we will be releasing a new version of our flagship product, CAQA Labs in May. This product will be made available as a standalone software solution and also as part of our Information Technology/ Information Systems training and assessment package.

We hope that you will find this collection of articles including an interview with Forensic Auditor and CEO of VETPrep Australia – Alex Schroder informative and useful. We believe that vocational education and training is an important part of preparing people for the workforce, and we are committed to supporting your work. Thank you again for all that you do!

Please contact us via email if you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered, news to be shared or if you have any questions, you’d want to be answered.

Sincerely,

CAQA Analysis on NCVER’s Research Report – The four features of high-quality VET delivery.

It is widely accepted that high-quality vocational education and training (VET) is essential for achieving positive outcomes for both individuals and industry. However, there is still much debate about what factors make up a high-quality VET offering.

In this article, we explore some of the key factors that registered training organisations (RTOs) should consider when delivering high-quality VET. In order to deliver high-quality VET, RTOs need to focus on four key areas: student engagement, student success, stakeholder needs, and continuous improvement.

Firstly, it is important to ensure that the VET offering is transformational, enabling students to engage, learn and achieve their goals. Transformational VET programs inspire students to see themselves in new roles, with new skills and knowledge that can help them succeed in their chosen field. Student engagement is critical to ensuring that students are motivated and inspired to learn. RTOs need to create an environment where students feel supported and able to achieve their goals.

Secondly, the VET offering must be student-centred, meeting the needs and goals of diverse learners. This means that programs must be designed to meet the specific needs of each student, taking into account their prior learning, experiences and aspirations. Student success is essential to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed in their studies. RTOs need to provide support and guidance to help students overcome any challenges they may face.

Thirdly, VET offerings must be fit-for-purpose, adapting to the changing needs of businesses and industry. RTOs need to continually review and update their programs to ensure they are meeting the ever-changing demands of the workplace. Stakeholder needs must be met in order for RTOs to be fit-for-purpose. RTOs need to understand the needs of their stakeholders and adapt their offerings to meet those needs.

Finally, VET offerings must be evolutionary, continually improving to meet the needs of students and businesses. RTOs should always be looking for ways to improve their programs, making sure they are delivering the best possible outcomes for all involved. Continuous improvement is essential to ensuring that RTOs are always striving to improve their offerings. RTOs need to review their practices and make changes where necessary to ensure they are providing the best possible service to their students.

If you are an RTO looking to deliver high-quality VET, then consider these key factors to ensure you are providing the best possible learning experience for your students.

You can read more information at ncver.edu.au

The Australian VET system is eroding, fragmenting, and dysfunctional.

New research is showing that Australia’s VET system displays indicators of erosion, fragmentation, and dysfunction.

According to the findings of the study, conducted by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, profound and long-standing flaws with Australia’s vocational education and training system have not been remedied – and in some cases, have deteriorated.

A senior economist at the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, Alison Pennington, said that the continued decline in enrolments, coupled with an eight-year trend of declining apprenticeship completion rates, “makes it abundantly clear that Australia’s domestic skills pipeline is in disarray.”

“Deep failures in vocational education and training policy reflect broader failures in Australian economic policy to encourage long-term investments of any kind in the economy, whether in physical capital, innovation, or skills,” Pennington said.

“Employers who hire apprentices and trainees receive financial incentives from the government under COVID-era skills initiatives, but the training system remains in need of repair. The skills pipeline has not been either protected or replenished as a result of the present VET policy, according to the findings.

The analysis also discovered that non-accredited training accounted for all of the growth in VET enrollments between 2015 and 2020, increasing by almost 70,000 enrolments, while enrollments in fully controlled, accredited programmes decreased by more than 500,000.

Pennington stated that enrolment in accredited programmes, traineeships and apprenticeships in feminised industries with the most severe labour shortages, continues to be low in these industries.

“Men accounted for three out of every five of the new apprentices and trainees in training throughout the course of the year to June 2021. ‘Once again, the jobs and demands of women have been devalued in favour of the optics of high-visibility photo opportunities,’ she lamented.

It is imperative that Australia commit to reclaiming the TAFE system’s leadership position in trustworthy vocational education – the national skills policy infrastructure that can help the country regain its long-term investment strategy in its people, skills, and innovative sustainable sectors.

You can read the full report at apo.org.au

Message from the CEO (23 March 2022)

Message from the CEO


We welcome you to our March edition of the VET sector magazine.

In this edition, there are articles discussing the NCVER submission, CEO declaration of Compliance, transition planning and much more.

We thank you for taking the time to read this publication and we hope it provides you with useful information. So keep up with us throughout 2022 by either visiting our websites www.caqa.com.au and www.vetsector.com.au or like us on our social media profiles and pages.

Please contact us via email if you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered or if you have any questions you’d want to be answered.

Regards,

How to ensure your training organisation is compliant with government regulations

If you’re running a vocational education and training organisation in Australia, you need to ensure that your organisation is compliant with government regulations. This article will outline some of the regulations that you need to be aware of, and provide tips on how to ensure compliance.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulatory body for vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. They work according to set regulatory standards for quality education and training and their role is to ensure training organisations meet these standards. ASQA is the regulatory body for vocational education and training in the following states and territories:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania

These jurisdictions are referred to as referring states and territories since they delegated their regulatory authority to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) in 2011-12. Victoria and Western Australia are referred to as non-referring states because they have not yet delegated their regulatory authority to the federal government. ASQA is also in charge of regulating all Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that provide courses to international students studying in Australia on student visas, regardless of where the RTO is based.

ASQA is responsible for regulating the quality of vocational education and training. ASQA audits training organisations to ensure they are complying with the VET Quality Framework and can take enforcement action if they find any non-compliance.

It governs RTOs in accordance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and approved courses in accordance with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012.

For more information, please visit About us | Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA)

In Victoria, the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the regulatory body for vocational education and training (VET), and it is in charge of the following:

  • Training organisations that only provide training to domestic students in victoria.
  • Accrediting courses, but only if the course is operated by the Victorian government or if the course owner is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that has been registered with VRQA.

VRQA regulates RTOs in accordance with The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) – Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration and the VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers, and it regulates courses in accordance with The Australian Quality Training Framework AQTF 2007 Standards for Accredited Courses.

For more information, please visit VRQA

Training Accreditation Council – Western Australia

In Western Australia, the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) is the regulatory body for vocational education and training (VET), and it is in charge of the following:

  • Training organisations that only provide training to domestic students in Western Australia.
  • Accrediting courses, but only if the course is operated by the Western Australian government or if the course owner is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that has been registered with TAC.

TAC regulates RTOs in accordance with Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, and it regulates courses in accordance with The Australian Quality Training Framework AQTF 2007 Standards for Accredited Courses.

For more information, please visit Training Accreditation Council

Non-compliance with the regulatory standards and guidelines

If your organisation is non- compliant with the applicable standards and regulations, you could face penalties, such as fines or being shut down. Here are some important tips on how to stay compliant:

1. Make sure you’re registered with the appropriate regulatory body

The first step is to make sure your organisation is registered with the appropriate regulatory body. This means your organisation has met the minimum standards required to be registered and can offer courses that are nationally recognised.

If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to offer any nationally recognised courses and you will also face penalties if you are caught doing this.

2. Follow the General Directions, fact sheets, guides and tools

The regulatory bodies release a set of guidelines that organisations must follow in order to stay compliant. The General Directions, fact sheets, guides and tools cover everything from governance and management to teaching and assessment practices.

Make sure you’re familiar with the General Directions, fact sheets, guides and tools and are following their instructions and guidelines closely. This will help ensure your organisation meets the standards set by the regulatory bodies.

For more information, please visit Resources for providers | Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

3. Keep your records up to date

One of the most important things you can do to stay compliant is to keep your records up to date. This includes keeping track of your student’s progress, as well as your organisation’s administration, reporting, finances and governance.

The regulatory body may request to see your records at any time, so it’s important that they’re accurate and up to date. Failing to provide requested records or providing inaccurate records can lead to penalties.

4. Meet all quality assurance requirements

To make sure your organisation is delivering quality education and training, you need to meet all quality assurance requirements. This includes having systems in place to monitor and improve the quality of your courses.

You should also conduct regular reviews of your courses and make sure they’re being delivered effectively. If the regulatory body finds that your organisation isn’t meeting quality assurance requirements, you could face penalties or adverse consequences.

You must have structured audit and compliance processes in place to ensure you stay compliant with all regulatory requirements and guidelines. Having access to an independent auditor is always beneficial from a compliance perspective.

For more information, please visit Registered Training Organisation | TEQSA Standard Resources | CAQA

5. Respond to the audits

The regulatory body may audit your organisation at any time to make sure your orgnisation is compliant with all applicable guidelines and regulations. During an audit, they’ll request to see your records and talk to your staff. They may also observe your training and assessment practices and resources.

It’s important to cooperate with the regulatory body during an audit and provide them with everything they need. Failing to do so could lead to penalties.

For quality training and assessment resources, please visit CAQA Resources

6. Compliance calendars and registers

Keep compliance calendars and registers that provide you information related to:

  • When to conduct training and administration activities
  • Meeting ongoing auditing and regulatory compliance
  • Information related to meetings with different team members and departments such as enrollment, marketing, training and so on.

7. Understand the quality framework that you operate under

Familiarise yourself with the VET Quality Framework and other applicable standards and guidelines to make sure your organisation meets all the standards.

Note: Your RTO must comply with all legislation and regulations it operates under such as (but not limited to):

  • The Work Health and Safety act
  • The Discrimination Act
  • The Equal Opportunity Act 2010
  • The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001
  • The Working with Children Act 2005
  • National Police Check
  • The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • The Student Identifiers Act 2014
  • The Copyright Act 1968
  • The Public Records Act 1973

For more information, please visit Complying with legislation | Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

8. Focus on personal and professional development

Focussing on personal and professional development is key to keeping your organisation compliant. Employees need to be able to constantly update their skillset, and be confident in their ability to carry out their roles. Training is a vital part of this process and should be tailored specifically to your workforce.

9. Follow what you say you are doing or going to do

Once you have a good understanding of the National Standards, you need to develop policies and procedures that ensure your organisation meets these standards. Your policies and procedures should be tailored to your specific organisation and should be reviewed and updated regularly. It is also important to keep up to date with any changes to the legislation. ASQA’s website is a great resource for information on any changes to the National Standards. By staying informed of any changes, you can ensure that your policies and procedures are always up to date and compliant.

10. Communicate the requirements to all staff members

It is critical that all staff members are aware of the requirements set by the government. This includes understanding what is required of them in terms of their behaviour and responsibilities.
If staff members are not adequately informed about the requirements, it can lead to your organisation being non-compliant. This can have serious consequences, such as heavy fines or even the loss of your licence to operate.

Communicate the requirements to all staff members on a regular basis and make sure that new staff members are given this information as soon as they start working for your organisation.
Following these strategies will help to ensure that your training organisation is compliant.

Transition planning and requirements

The training packages are updated on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to meet industry and regulatory requirements. Training organisations are expected to perform a significant amount of maintenance work when there is a transition to a new package. The failure to manage transition planning can have negative consequences for your training organisation, students, and regulatory status.

VET stakeholders benefit when learners are trained, assessed, and awarded AQF certification documentation in the currently endorsed or accredited training product unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

When planning the transition from a superseded training product to a current one, you will need information such as:

  • The person/s responsible for managing the transition.
  • Is the scope updated automatically or does the new training product need to be added to scope.
  • Dates to make internal/version changes to updated/new training products and resources.
  • The teach-out period for students in the current training product.
  • Date for moving/transitioning current students to the new training product and the last date for enrolling students in the superseded training product.
  • The last date for issuing a qualification or statement of attainment for the superseded product.
  • When to stop marketing the superseded, deleted and removed training products.

Always remember the responsibility for compliance sits with the training organisation at all times.

Compliance requirements

The compliance requirements according to SRTOs 2015 – Clauses 1.26 to 1.27—Manage transition from superseded training products state that:

Clause 1.26

Subject to clause 1.27 and unless otherwise approved by the VET Regulator, the RTO ensures that:

where a training product on its scope of registration is superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation is issued or learners are transferred into its replacement, within a period of one year from the date the replacement training product was released on the national register

where an AQF qualification is no longer current and has not been superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation issued within a period of two years from the date the AQF qualification was removed or deleted from the national register

where a skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course or module is no longer current and has not been superseded, all learners’ training and assessment is completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation issued within a period of one year from the date the skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course or module was removed or deleted from the national register
a new learner does not commence training and assessment in a training product that has been removed or deleted from the national register.

Clause 1.27

The requirements specified in clause 1.26 (a) do not apply where a training package requires the delivery of a superseded unit of competency.

Interpretation:

The interpretation of the compliance requirements are:

  • The learners (best interests) and regulatory requirements should be the main focus when planning the transition from one training product to another.
  • Within 12 months all learners’ training and assessment should be completed and the relevant AQF certification documentation issued where a training product on RTO’s scope gets superseded.
  • Or learners should be transferred into its replacement within the same time period.
  • In certain extraordinary circumstances or at the regulatory body’s decision, the time period of 12 months can be extended.
  • This requirement does not apply where the training product is required to be delivered and assessed as part of a training package.
  • Where the AQF qualification is removed or deleted from the national register, the training organisations have two years to complete and the relevant AQF certification documentation to be issued.
  • Where the skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course or module is removed or deleted from the national register, the training organisations have one year to complete and the relevant AQF certification documentation to be issued.
  • A new learner should not commence training and assessment in the training product that has been removed or deleted.

Terms and definitions

You should know the terminology and definitions used in transition management. Some of these terms are:

Release date/date endorsed: The date when a training product is released and/or updated on the training register.

Replaced/Expired/Deleted: Where a training product has been removed from the national register.

Superseded: When a new training product replaces an existing training product the existing training product is referred to as superseded.

Training Product: AQF qualification, skill set, unit of competency, accredited short course and module.

Transition: When a training product is superseded, removed, or deleted from the National Register, the allowable time frame within which the student’s training, assessment, and AQF certification issuance must be completed, or, in the case of a superseded training product, the allowable time frame within which the student is transitioned into the replacement training product.

Teach out: Describes the timeframe in which a learner’s training, assessment, and AQF certification documentation issuance must be completed once a training product has been superseded, removed, or deleted from the National Register and any transition period has elapsed.

Transition management

You must follow the guidelines and general directions published by the regulatory body when managing the transition.

The first criteria you must consider is – Do you need to apply the training product to your scope or not. If the training product has been deemed equivalent and superseded they are usually added to your scope without separate application. Where a training product is deemed not equivalent the training organisation is required to apply to add the training product to their scope.

You must know that the process for accredited courses is different as they are not automatically updated on RTO’s scope.

You will be now required to:

  • Download the new training product – Download information from the national register related to the training product.
  • Review qualification packaging rules – Understand the changes being made in the new training product, packaging rules for core and elective units and how they can be selected or grouped together.
  • Mapping of units of competency – Analyse the changes being made and how the changes will affect your learner cohorts.
  • Have gaps assessment completed – You must conduct gap analysis and gap assessments if you are transitioning students from superseded training product to the current one.
  • Have a comprehensive planning tool available to plan the transitioning
  • Create an action plan – This can be part of the comprehensive planning tool. You should include scope and teach out decisions, training and assessment document changes, trainer and assessor requirements and changes, operational changes, budget allocation, student management changes, learning management changes, communication and management issues
  • Do professional development – It is important for all staff members including administration to know the changes and how they may affect the systems, processes and students.
  • Update the policies and procedures – The policy framework and RTO documentation should be updated to reflect the changes.
  • When transiting students, analyse the student data and make decisions based on what is in the best interest of your students.
  • Analyse how you are going to fill gaps in the assessments and learner resources or invest in compliant RTO training and assessment resources from organisations such as CAQA Resources.
  • Update the training and assessment strategies against the new qualifications, taking into account the qualification packaging rules, learner cohort, delivery mode, industry needs and requirements and regulatory standards and guidelines.
  • Ensure the training organisation has revised and updated trainer and assessor matrixes and validated the currency of trainers and assessors to train and assess the new training products.
  • Wherever required, trainers and assessors to provide documentation of how they can fill the gaps in terms of TAE qualification, VET currency/qualifications that trainers are assessing and training, industry currency and professional development in competency-based systems and practices.
  • Understand and ensure your organisation has all the equipment, resources and facilities available according to the training package requirements
  • Identify the date when transition will be communicated to the students and other stakeholders
  • All third-party documentation must be updated to reflect the changes
  • Maintain documentation in safe place as the regulatory body can request you to demonstrate compliance

Learning and assessment resources

You must review your existing learning and assessment resources to understand how the content matches the requirements of the new training product. Wherever you identify gaps you are required to fill them with gap assessments, new training and assessment resources if transiting the students to the new course. If you decide that it is in the best interests for enrolled students to complete their studies in the superseded course, and regulatory requirements allow you, you will not be required to make these changes.

You should customise the content to the needs and requirements of your learner cohort and delivery mode and must also pre-validate the training and assessment resources before you implement them in practice.

Hypothetical scenarios

Let’s go through some of the hypothetical scenarios now to understand what should be done or not in certain circumstances.

Scenario 1

An organisation would like to become an RTO and deliver a few training products that have been recently superseded. The organisational representatives have been preparing the application over the last two years and can not wait any longer.

Outcome:

The regulatory body, in our experience, has always asked for the current training products as the organisations can not register as an RTO to deliver superseded, removed or deleted training products.

Scenario 2

A unit of competency has been superseded by a new unit. The RTO has noticed the change but when they check training.gov.au they realise that the unit has not been updated in the qualification they are delivering and have decided not to replace the superseded unit of competency with the new unit.

Outcome:

The regulatory body has in writing suggested that RTOs should follow the qualification package rules and training package guidelines (Clause 1.27) at all times. If a unit of competency is part of a training package then the RTO cannot change it when it gets superseded.

You can read more information regarding the training products with current transition extensions at Training products with current transition extensions | Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Some helpful strategies related to transition management

  • Register and get updates from the national register. https://training.gov.au/Account/SignIn?returnUrl=/Home/Tga
  • Always include transition management as a set meeting agenda item
  • Conduct audits at regular intervals to assess how you are performing.
  • Update/prepare marketing materials (including website and social media) and pre-enrolment and admission documents to reflect any changes
  • Ensure certificates and all other print materials have the current and correct information.
  • Ensure the organisation follows credit and RPL processes when transiting students
  • Prepare and/or update validation plans and schedules to reflect the changes
  • Ensure your trainers and assessors have currency in their TAE qualification, the VET qualifications they are assessing and training, industry currency and professional development in competency-based systems and practices.

If you need help with transition planning and management, do not hesitate to approach us at info@caqa.com.au.

Requirements to enrol learners in your courses

There are specific prerequisites that must be met prior to student enrolment or the beginning of training and assessment, whichever occurs first. In addition, the RTO should advise the prospective learner on the training product that will best meet his or her needs while taking into consideration the individual’s existing skills and competencies.

So what are the compliance requirements related to enrolling learners to the courses on your RTO’s scope:

Compliance requirements

Clause 5.1

Prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, the RTO provides advice to the prospective learner about the training product appropriate to meeting the learner’s needs, taking into account the individual’s existing skills and competencies.

Clause 5.2

Prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, the RTO provides, in print or through referral to an electronic copy, current and accurate information that enables the learner to make informed decisions about undertaking training with the RTO and at a minimum includes the following content:

  • the code, title and currency of the training product to which the learner is to be enrolled, as published on the national register
  • the training and assessment, and related educational and support services the RTO will provide to the learner including the:
    • estimated duration
    • expected locations at which it will be provided
    • expected modes of delivery
    • name and contact details of any third party that will provide training and/or assessment, and related educational and support services to the learner on the RTO’s behalf
    • any work placement arrangements.
  • the RTO’s obligations to the learner, including that the RTO is responsible for the quality of the training and assessment in compliance with these Standards, and for the issuance of the AQF [Australian Qualifications Framework] certification documentation
  • the learner’s rights, including:
    • details of the RTO’s complaints and appeals process required by Standard 6
    • if the RTO, or a third party delivering training and assessment on its behalf, closes or ceases to deliver any part of the training product that the learner is enrolled in.
  • the learner’s obligations:
    • in relation to the repayment of any debt to be incurred under the VET [Vocational Education and Training] FEE-HELP scheme arising from the provision of services
    • any requirements the RTO requires the learner to meet to enter and successfully complete their chosen training product
    • any materials and equipment that the learner must provide
    • information on the implications for the learner of government training entitlements and subsidy arrangements in relation to the delivery of the services.

Interpretation:

The interpretation of the compliance requirements are:

  • The training organisation should always provide relevant and correct information to all students prior to they enrol to make informed decisions and choices.
  • The training organisation must always provide the following information to all prospective learners related to the course they are enrolling:
    • Code, title and currency of the training product
    • Training and assessment and related educational and support services including:
      • Duration of the training
      • Expected locations where the training will take place
      • Expected delivery mode
      • Name and contact details of any third-party that is involved in training, assessment or providing support services
      • Work placement arrangements, as applicable
      • Holidays, as applicable
  • The training organisation’s obligations to learners including but are not limited to responsibility for the quality of the training and assessment in compliance with SRTOs 2015 and for the issuance of the AQF certification documentation.
  • The rights of the learners including:
    • Complaints and appeals processes
    • If the training organisation or third-party ceases or closes to deliver any part of the training product
  • The learner’s obligations:
    • Requirements and conditions for enrolment and completion of the training product such as:
      • Minimum English language requirements
      • Minimum educational qualification requirements
      • Minimum work experience requirements
      • Course credits and RPL requirements
      • Compulsory online and/or work-based training, placements, other community-based learning requirements
      • Reasonable adjustments
    • Any materials and equipment learners must provide and
    • Information on the implications for the learner of government training entitlements and subsidy arrangements
    • Cooling off period, if one applies
  • Information related to all fees and charges including:
    • Fees paid to the training organisation
    • Non-tuition fees
    • Terms and conditions
    • Refunds
  • For international students, training organisations are also required to, but not limited to:
    • Grounds on which enrolment may be deferred, suspended or cancelled
    • The ESOS framework, including appropriate official Australian Government material or links
    • Accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements
  • Information about the unique student identifier (USI)

Message from the CEO (20 Feb 2022)

Message from the CEO


To know that the regulating body is revising its past practises in order to put more emphasis on positive things in the future such as working in collaboration with industry is a wonderful feeling.

We’ve included some articles on topics such as the metaverse, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence in this edition of the newsletter, as well as the most up-to-date news related to the vocational education and training industry.

Any requests for articles for our newsletter or magazine, please send an email to info@caqa.com.au with the subject line “Request for Article.”

Sukh Sandhu
CEO

Reasonable adjustments in the learning environment

What is a reasonable adjustment?

In vocational education and training (VET), the term reasonable adjustment refers to adjusting the learning environment or making adjustments to the training or assessments offered. This is to provide a student with additional needs and/or requirements the same learning opportunities as a student with no barriers to learning.

Simple changes such as installing a specific sort of software on a computer for a person with vision impairment can qualify as a reasonable adjustment.

How can you make reasonable adjustments in the learning environment?

Keep a list of your student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Every student is different. Some students are great at certain subjects or tasks, but not so great or struggling with others. For example, some students learn best by listening to something explained to them, while other students learn better when they read about it for themselves. By making the correct reasonable adjustments in the learning environment, trainers can help their students reach their maximum potential no matter what kind of learner they are.

If a student struggles with reading comprehension and needs more time on assessments, there are many different ways you can make changes to allow that student to be as successful as possible.

Firstly, the length of the assessment should be reduced and divided into separate individual assessments so as not to overwhelm the student with too much information at once. Secondly, handwritten notes on top of all assessments can help shed light on confusing concepts, or at least allow the student to remember what’s important.

Finally, allowing students to use their notes during tests is another great way to ensure the understanding of the facts. Of course, for some nursing and healthcare students and a few other industries, you will not be able to allow open-book assessments, depending on the legislative, regulatory and requirements set by the training organisations.

If a student needs more auditory learning in order to grasp concepts, then hearing things explained through someone else might be helpful. Having that student sit near the trainer so they can follow along and ask questions will shortly clear up any confusion. Allowing students the opportunity to read the material for themselves will also strengthen their comprehension because reading forces readers to think critically about what they are reading.

Other strategies include the following:

  • Identifying whether they prefer lectures or small group activities if they are visual learners or if they are auditory learners do they learn through reading or listening etc.
  • Giving feedback on how well the student is learning and what they need in order to improve their skill sets.
  • Creating a learning plan that will allow them to reach their goals while also meeting other students’ needs.
  • Adjusting the training/teaching style
  • Providing more opportunities for students to practice skills outside of class
  • Introducing new content on a regular basis

Use technology as a tool for engagement

In today’s world, technology has become an integral part of our lives. We use it in our personal and professional lives every day – whether we are listening to music or watching movies or reading articles online. In order to learn effectively, educators must use this technology as a tool for engagement rather than focusing on teaching methods that are outdated and ineffective.

We all know how difficult it is to maintain the balance between learning and engagement. A student who is engaged in the learning process will be more likely to retain what they have learned.
There are many ways that you can use technology to help you engage your students while improving their learning experience. From using gamification software to building a platform for student-led discussions, there are many ways that you can use technology in your classroom.

One of the most effective methods for engaging students is by using gamification software like Duolingo or Quizlet. This allows students to practice their skills in a fun way and helps them improve their retention rate!

Create opportunities for collaboration

Collaboration is a key to success in the learning environment. One way to create opportunities for collaboration is by providing learners with a space where they can work together.

Collaboration is important for learning and development, but it often gets overlooked. Learning can be more collaborative when learners have opportunities to work together and share ideas.

In order to create opportunities for collaboration, make sure that you have a variety of learning tools in place. This includes tools such as whiteboards and flipcharts that can be used for brainstorming ideas, presentations, and group work.

CAQA Online forums, CAQA Info for maintaining your compliance and regulatory knowledge

CAQA Online forums provide information for RTO professionals. The purpose of the forums is to support compliance and regulatory knowledge with the help of other professionals in the field.

Some of the benefits of subscribing to our online forums are that it provides access to knowledge sharing and networking opportunities among peers in the vocational education and training industry. You can also get information on what’s new in the industry through the online community.

The following is an example of how discussions in CAQA online forums can help:

When you are looking for answers to questions on topics like compliance, regulation, red tape etc., you can search for them on online forums or look at similar threads on different platforms. The best part is that all these discussions are available to a number of VET experts so you will get answers from real people rather than bots or system-generated answers!

The other benefits include:

  • Receive timely notifications when important information is posted.
  • Get access to exclusive content and offers from the sponsors and members of the forum.
  • Post comments and create discussions with other members in order to build your knowledge base and stay current with current trends in the industry.

So, again, why not subscribe? Online forums provide an opportunity for you to stay up-to-date with the latest compliance and regulatory news. It also ensures that you make use of your knowledge by discussing different topics with other professionals in real-time.

To access CAQA Online Forums, please visit http://www.caqa.info

Even if the border is fully reopened, the country will continue to experience a national skills shortage – how VET sector is the solution?

A large number of Australians are now in trades, the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic. A record number of students are also attending universities, but experts believe more must be done to boost skills training possibilities that are focused on the future of employment.

The number of young Australians enrolled in university has increased to nearly 50%, the highest cohort on record, according to industry and researchers, who claim that a growing preference for higher education is diverting talented young people away from emerging industries that can be accessed through vocational education and training.

It is their opinion that, in the face of a national skills shortage, the government should do more to promote options in vocational education and training that are tailored towards developing industries.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, more people have rushed into higher education, with Productivity Commission data revealing that 47.8 per cent of those under the age of 25 are currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree programme. A recent analysis of financial results has revealed that many students would benefit from pursuing vocations rather than simply going to school for a degree.

Young Australians with low ATARs who choose to go to university are expected to earn less during their lifetimes, according to a Grattan Institute study that looked at historical incomes and education records.

An urgent need for skilled labour has arisen in the wake of the pandemic, which has been compounded by two years of border closures and the exodus of foreigners.

According to analysts, the increase in vocational training is insufficient to fulfil the demands of the future of employment….

‘Industry 4.0,’ according to Peter Nolan, chief executive of industry training organisation PEER, represents a growing realisation that the future generation of employment, which he refers to as “Industry 4.0,” offers a plethora of new prospects outside of university qualifications.

According to Nolan, “There is a big portion of the fascinating difficulties with automation and artificial intelligence that require tradespeople to design, operate, and maintain the technology that delivers automation and advancements in robotics.”

Similar to Hurley, Peter Hurley, a higher education researcher from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University, believes that policymakers must develop better vocational education and training (VET) courses to provide young people with more options outside of traditional apprenticeships and university education.

The minister noted that while record numbers of young people are attending university and completing apprenticeships, “there is a need for more high-quality options,” pointing to jobs in business, hospitality and elderly care, as well as in childcare and childcare assistant.

Industry leaders have been reporting for years that private upskilling programmes have gained popularity in the tech sector, which has also struggled to find talent in a limited local pool. This has been attributed to a lack of government-funded training programmes geared specifically towards the sector, they say.

In an interview with Business Insider Australia, Lambros Photios, the founder of Sydney-based software development Station Five, stated that many major corporations are losing out as a result of their fixation on hiring university-trained employees.

With their existing operating methods, universities are unable to generate courses quickly enough, he claims, because the time required for them to create a course would already render the technology obsolete.

Vocational training should be promoted.

Vocational education and training enrolled 3.9 million people last year, according to data from the National Center for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Some 2.4 million of those were enrolled in short courses like first aid and construction safety rather than in extensive vocational training.

Furthermore, while national numbers show an uptick in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships in trades being taken up and completed in the June quarter of 2021, this was not enough to make up for significant declines in recent years.

Despite an increase in training and completion statistics between the June 2020 quarter and June 2021 quarter, Labor leader Chris Minns stated that fewer students were completing training in NSW.

In the previous year, “the fall has hit across all sectors with a 12 per cent decrease in building trades workers, an 18.9 per cent decrease in food trades workers, and a 20.2 per cent decrease in skilled animal and horticultural workers,” Minns explained.

However, Alister Henskens, the NSW Minister for Skills and Training, has stated that the state’s free apprenticeships and traineeships have resulted in 40 per cent more students starting an apprenticeship or traineeship in 2021 than in 2019 before the epidemic started.

Federal Skills Minister Stuart Robert said the soaring numbers were confirmation that government programmes like as JobTrainer, as well as a $2.7 billion boost to apprenticeship start-ups, were successful in getting young people into jobs and keeping them there.

In the first half of 2022, there will be nearly half a million job-ready Australians who will be skilling up or upgrading their skills, thanks to more than 270,000 JobTrainer enrolments and the biggest number of trade apprentices ever enrolled, according to Robert.

These gains in the apprenticeship pipeline, on the other hand, may not be sufficient.

Several huge infrastructure projects currently under construction around the country, according to a newly released analysis by Infrastructure Australia, will see their investment more than quadruple over the next three years.

As a result, the infrastructure sector alone might face a shortage of over 100,000 competent personnel.

Car-makers welcome electric vehicle technology certification offered through vocational training institutions in Australia.

An initiative to raise the level of certification in electric vehicle technology offered by vocational training institutions in Australia has been hailed by a number of automotive manufacturers. Despite the fact that all of the companies have extensive internal training programs of their own, they recognise the importance of equipping technicians to service, diagnose, and repair battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their components across the country, regardless of their location.

Earlier this year, PwC’s Skills for Australia proposed the introduction of a new qualification – the Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology – as well as the addition of two new units of competency, following extensive consultation with employers, industry representatives, employees, trainers and assessors, students, and other stakeholders.

PwC’s Skills for Australia’s proposed training product (which is ostensibly intended to address a skills gap in the diagnosis and repair of electric vehicle powertrains) was reviewed and approved by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee in October 2021, and it was subsequently referred to the Skills Ministers for their endorsement.

To name a few of the local automobile manufacturers who had engaged PwC to consult on the potential introduction of a new certification – the Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology (EVT) – during the previous year, Toyota, Hyundai and BMW were prominent among those who did so.

A spokesperson for Toyota Australia, the market leader and dominant force in the petrol-electric segment, told GoAuto that the company “fully supports the inclusion of formal qualifications to address current and future electrification technology.” Toyota Australia is the world’s largest producer of hybrid and electric vehicles.

“It is critical to guarantee that there are consistent industry standards that are applicable across all states and territories,” the authors said.

The consulting firm PwC has asked for our input on a variety of issues, and we have enthusiastically supported each consultation session.

A spokeswoman from MG Motor Australia and New Zealand welcomed the Cert III training as “a wonderful start” and stated that the firm was looking forwards to a statewide rollout of comparable training and education programmes in the future.

In a statement, Volvo Car Australia stated that the new qualification “will provide a uniform standard that will allow apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge while also being provided with a new and relevant qualification that most manufacturers and dealers will seek when recruiting in the future.”

As a Volvo spokesperson told GoAuto, “This will benefit Australian dealers who may (otherwise) look to overseas markets for suitably qualified candidates and will keep careers in the Australian automotive industry relevant in an ever-changing consumer-goods market.”

“At this time, EV training modules are optional modules for third-year apprentices, but are required modules for fourth-year apprentices,” the authors wrote in their statement.

In the new certification level, aspects of this training should be included at a much earlier stage, according to the author.

According to BMW Group Australia, the development of a formal qualification as a fundamental, generic certificate was “a strong and positive start” that would lay the groundwork for providing an understanding of high voltage technology.

Participating in the PwC consultation, the company outlined the qualifications required of technicians who work with high-voltage systems and batteries, as well as the repairs that were performed on these systems and batteries by the technicians.

In terms of increasing the public knowledge base on electric vehicles, BMW stated that automotive organisations may assist in this area by establishing curricula for schools in order to increase student involvement.

A spokesperson for the BMW Group told GoAuto that “electric vehicles will be a significant part of their lives in the future” and that “starting the process of educating them at that point would not only assist their understanding, but it might also inspire them to get involved in the automotive industry.”

A senior member of Hyundai’s technical training organisation serves on the industry reference committee for the light vehicle sector, which collaborates with PwC to develop and review training packages. Hyundai also worked with PwC on the project.

Its dedication to building EV knowledge throughout its whole workforce includes a high-voltage (HV) training module for all retail employees, independent or their specific jobs, and training programmes were devised to guarantee that technicians at all levels were exposed to HV themes.

According to a Mercedes-Benz representative, “Future industry initiatives in this arena are welcomed, with the goal of ensuring that each state is working to the same regulations as the others.”
The proposed national Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology demonstrated that demand for combined expertise in internal combustion engines and electric vehicles was increasing, according to Volvo Car Australia. “It should be integral to the qualification programmes for anyone hoping to work on both types of drivetrains,” the company said.

As stated by MG, the qualification may practically be considered “necessary” for training future technicians in the company’s opinion.

“It is not simply about electric and internal combustion engine technology; the combination of the two is equally crucial. Being able to combine both skill sets is critical for future-proofing the next generation of technicians, according to an MG spokeswoman.

BMW Group Australia, on the other hand, stated that it “totally supports the concept of training on ICE, PHEV, and BEV vehicles from the outset.”

Developing youthful talent at an early age will help them develop into well-rounded professionals who will be ready to take on new challenges in their careers.

Message from the CEO (31 Jan 2022)

Message from the CEO (31 Jan 2022)


Welcome to our January edition of the VET sector magazine.

In this edition, there are articles discussing the latest news from the Department of Home Affairs on changes being made, and an article explaining how online courses can help develop a skilled workforce and much more.

We thank you for taking the time to read this publication and we hope it provides you with useful information. So keep up with us throughout 2022 by either visiting our websites www.caqa.com.au and www.vetsector.com.au or like us on our social media profiles and pages.

Please contact us via email if you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered or if you have any questions you’d want answered.

 

Regards,

 

The top problems that the Australian VET sector is facing

The VET sector in Australia is growing in scale and sophistication every year.

The Australian VET sector is facing several problems that are likely to have a significant impact on its future. These include things like an aging workforce, the rising cost of education and a decline in students enrolling in VET qualifications.

The most significant problems that the Australian VET sector is facing are:


The lack of skilled staff to meet the demand of employers

The VET sector is struggling to meet the demand of employers. The lack of skilled staff has created a major problem for the sector.

The shortage of qualified and experienced people is one of the most significant problems that are faced by the Australian economy today. This problem has been intensifying over time.

The Australian government needs to take steps towards increasing the VET workforce by investing more into training programs and job opportunities that can improve staff skill sets.

Limited resources available for vocational education and training (VET) providers

The limited resources available for vocational education and training (VET) providers are affecting their ability to deliver quality services.

Solutions include increasing the funding for VET providers and supporting them with more resources so that they can offer more services.

To address this issue, many providers are using innovative strategies such as partnering with other institutions and using online learning platforms.

The lack of funding for vocational education and training (VET) providers means there are limited opportunities to create new businesses or grow existing ones due to the lack of capital.

Income and expenses

The lock-owns over the last two years meant that RTOs were left with declining income, rental facilities that could not be used, having to invest in online training options, and huge changes in many training packages requiring re-development of training and assessment resources. All this happened at the same time as international students were unable to travel to and study in Australia due to COVID which caused a decline in cash flow and income for many CRICOS registered RTOs.

Low staff retention rates

The Australian VET sector has been struggling with recruitment and with retaining enough qualified staff members for future growth. Providers are having a difficult time finding qualified applicants for vacancies and having problems keeping up with the technological advancements and skills of the workforce needed to stay competitive.

Quality of education and training

Despite the fact that the VET Quality Framework places obligations on trainers and RTOs to satisfy specific compliance and regulatory requirements in training, there are well-known inconsistencies in the training that is being offered.

Within RTOs, there might be discrepancies in quality. The VET Quality Framework requires that everyone fulfil the same training criteria; yet, there is some variation within the system as a whole. Students who acquire certification from two separate RTOs may not have the same degree of ability simply because the training methods used by the two organisations are different. One may be more theoretical in nature, whereas the other may be more hands-on in nature, and this will have an impact on the learner’s ability to complete the necessary activities on a job site.

Curriculum design and development

While RTOs already have a curriculum in place that they are actively following, developing a new curriculum or improving an existing curriculum is a time-consuming and costly process.

As technology changes at a rapid pace in the workplace, a curriculum that was once regarded as useful can suddenly become outdated and no longer be effective.

When only a small number of organisations provide this curriculum, the RTOs are left to shoulder the majority of the responsibility.

Digital literacy among students and trainers

Digital literacy among students and trainers is one of the barriers for the Australian VET sector. This can impact the students’ ability to learn new skills, understand new technologies, and the trainers to teach skills.

Digital literacy levels among students and trainers affect the quality of their learning experience. Students who are not digitally literate will struggle to find jobs after graduation, while trainers will find it difficult to provide quality training.

Digital literacy courses should be designed to help trainers, as well as students, understand how they can use technology effectively in their learning environment.

Plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating

In the Australian VET sector, plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating are some of the most common problems.

Plagiarism affects the reputation of a student and the RTO. It is a problem that can not be taken lightly.

Collusion is when two or more students collaborate on their assignments to gain competency.

Contract cheating is when students change their answers on the assignment sheet after they have handed it in and submitted it.

These three problems are serious and can have huge consequences for students who are caught up in this mess. In order to prevent these from happening, it is important for employers and educators to take strategies into account that will help them avoid these issues before they arise.

The need to update VET qualifications to align with current industry needs

Many VET qualifications are becoming irrelevant in the workforce, as industries are changing and new technologies are being introduced.

Industry needs are changing rapidly, and education providers need to be able to adapt and provide students with relevant skills. The current system is not flexible enough for this, which is why there is a need for updates of the qualifications.

When vocational education and training qualifications are changing it makes it difficult for RTOs and students to keep up to date and a costly exercise to update training and assessment material.

The need to improve access to VET courses for students

There are many barriers that students face when they try to enter a VET education, such as cost, location, and lack of information about available options.

Some students are not given the opportunity to access quality education and training opportunities because they do not meet certain criteria for entry into tertiary education institutions and vocational training programs.

References:

Vocational education and training in Australian schools: Issues for practitioners – Click Here

Current directions in Australia’s vocational education and training system – Click Here

Fortress learning – Click Here

Rethinking Skills in Vocational Education and Training: From Competencies to Capabilities – Click Here

Acute skills shortages in VET

Coming out of lockdown and re-opening RTOs have revealed one big problem. The VET sector has huge skills shortages, and there are nearly hundreds of vacant VET positions advertised in SEEK this week across Australia.

There are many factors that have contributed to this shortage, and it did not happen overnight. A big contributor has been the casualisation of the workforce and RTOs pushing for staff to become contractors.

Working as a casual or contractor can be alright for some time, but over a longer period of time, most people want to know that they have ongoing employment where sick leave, annual leave and superannuation will be paid.

Also, there are problems with regards to getting a loan when a person doesn’t have secure employment. The COVID lockdowns meant that many lost their jobs and started looking for other opportunities, and the ones remaining were ill-prepared for the online training environment.

Another problem is the requirements of current industry skills and current VET knowledge. There is nothing wrong with this, but when this is delegated back to the trainers to complete in their own time and without any remuneration, it does become a problem. There is also the constant changes of Cert VI TAE and the training packages.

Many qualified trainers have now gone back to the industry they came from and work under better conditions than the ones the VET sector provides. In the traditional apprenticeship areas, experienced tradespeople are often paid double or more than what they would be paid working as trainers and with no after-hours work marking assessments and no lesson planning. Boomers are also now retiring in huge numbers.

The skills shortage and lack of management-level people who can understand and implement the requirements of a compliant RTO are also at an all-time low. Many have left, tired of the constant changes and updates that have not led to any substantial improvement in the outcomes for students. If anything, they have contributed to lowering the skills level of graduates and added a massive burden on administration.

Have we got any trainers left in the VET sector that can actually teach? I do need to ask the question. When you are faced with statements like, and I quote:

“How can I teach this unit of competency when I don’t have the marking guide for the assessment?”

“We are starting the delivery of training today, and we need the assessment and marking guide for the trainer.”

“I didn’t take the position because all they wanted me to do as a trainer was tell the students the right answers to the questions.”

When did training delivery stop being just that, and when was training reduced to giving the students the answers to the questions? I wonder if some of the trainers currently working in the VET sector could actually complete an assessment themselves without a marking guide and with no access to Mr Google.

How are the students graduating from this type of “training” going to cope in the workplace? No wonder many employers say that it makes no difference if a person comes with or without a VET qualification because they need to be trained from basics anyway.

Edu Learning – Your door to professional development opportunities

We would love to have you join our professional development retainer agreement services or individual professional development opportunities through Edu Learning. Our organisation works with the aim to help you grow your skills in a fun and interactive way. The benefits of joining our organisation are numerous, from getting tips from VET experts and industry leaders to building a network of peers, who can help you move forward in your career.

Intellectually stimulating and engaging content is what we excel at. We offer training programs that will provide your staff with the practical skills and strategies that they need to be successful in their careers in this competitive market – whether it’s in marketing, finance or RTO operations.

The benefits of being part of our professional development group include:

– Developing a better understanding of the role of a VET professional
– Getting in-depth training in different RTO sector skill sets that meet your and your organisation’s needs and requirements.


In partnership with Edu Learning and CAQA Skills, CAQA provides a variety of professional and personal development opportunities. We may also tailor the training to meet your specific requirements and skill level as well. For additional details, please contact us right away at info@caqa.com.au.


 

Message from General Manager (14 Dec 2021)

Message from General Manager


All of life’s pleasures are just temporary, so make use of them while you can. The best memories will endure a lifetime, and if you do not experience the joy in the moments, just regrets will be left behind. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and that you will continue to support us in 2022 as you make thousands of awesome beautiful Christmas memories.

In this last newsletter for 2021 we have asked 3 leading VET professionals to share their perspectives and experiences. Thank you John, Anna-Louise and Macik for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.

To our subscribers – A big thank you for your comments, emails, phone calls, and attendance at professional development sessions. We have really enjoyed hearing from you.

All of us at The VET Sector, CAQA Resources, CAQA Recruitment, EduLearning and Online Media Solutions wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Anna Haranas
General Manager

Interview with John Molenaar, Quality and Compliance Auditor

John Molenaar is an education professional who started his career in teaching with positions as a primary and secondary teacher. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, he held roles in education organisation management as Executive Director of the Gould League of Victoria and the John Gardiner Centre.

In the mid 1990’s John started his career in VET, initially as National Project Manager with the TCF Industry Training Board managing the development of the suite of TCF Training Packages and Exec Director of the Process Manufacturing Training Board, working with the plastics and chemical industries. During this time, he was also involved in community education as a Council Member and Chair of the ACFE – Eastern Region. He also was a lecturer in VET practice at one of Victoria’s Universities.

In 2007 John commenced quality and compliance auditing, as a contractor with the VRQA and also had a contract with ASQA during the initial four years of ASQA’s establishment. He has also audited Chemical and Petroleum training and assessment, overseas in Qatar for three years.

He is currently the Executive Director of Manufacturing Learning Victoria and continues to audit with the VRQA and works with individual RTOs to establish ‘good practice’ training and assessment approaches and to assist them to continue to meet compliance requirements. He has conducted professional develop for trainers/assessors, delivery the WELL program, and was involved in the development, review and implementation of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and conducted a number of research projects funded through the NCVER, related to language, literacy and numeracy skill development.


Here is a copy of John Molenaar’s interview conducted by Sukh Sandhu.

Sukh Sandhu: You are one of the most experienced auditors and consultants in Australia, and it is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to speak with you today. So the questions prepared by The VET Sector experts for you are:

Q1: Why did you decide to work in the vocational education and training sector, and how has your overall experience been?

Work in VET came later in my career, after working in primary and secondary teaching, University lecturing and community education. I initially developed competencies and learning resources for the laundry and dry-cleaning industries nationally.

With the introduction of training packages, this progressed to the development of training packages for the broader textile, clothing, and footwear industries. I found the work with relevant enterprises across Australia and facilitation of industry focus groups challenging and rewarding through the development of accredited training for many industries who were not able to access industry qualifications previously by providing them with career pathways and work conditions commensurate with industry awards. This work led to managing industry training boards and providing advice to Government of the training priorities and needs of numerous VET industry sectors.

I found the work in VET very rewarding as compared to other education and training sectors. VET was the least developed in terms of arrangements, resources and recognition within education portfolios. It was great to be able to make a difference in supporting the development of coordinated approaches to skills development for many of our industry sectors where workers had not previously been able to access industry qualifications or have the many years of industry skill and experience recognised.

Recognising the importance of quality and compliance to developing and maintaining a rigorous VET system, commensurate with other education and training sectors, I commenced quality auditing with the VRQA. Initially this was as a Training Recognition Consultant, prior to taking on a tender with the VRQA in 2007 which largely involved the audit of CRICOS providers. I was successful in obtaining a tender with ASQA as a founding contract auditor with ASQA in 2011 when it came into being and continued to audit with ASQA for five years. I have been fortunate in obtaining tenders with the VRQA to continue to audit Victorian RTOs, as well as continuing to provide consultancy support to ASQA registered RTOs.

Q2: I have worked with you on a number of projects and have also witnessed a number of organisations go out of business within a few months or years, after having been registered. What do you believe are the primary causes for an organisation to become non-compliant or fail within VET?

Through my audit work I have witnessed many individuals identifying opportunities to start a business in training, particularly in international education. Though many have established RTOs with good intensions, many have also not understood the requirements associated with VET education and the rigorous outcomes required for learners to be truly competent in their areas of industry qualifications. I believe that many organisations who failed, did not intentionally operate in non-compliant ways, but did so in being naive of the compliance requirements. However naivety is not a defence for not effectively meeting the compliance requirements of the quality standards.

Though regulators may have been harsh in closing non-performing RTOs, it is the role of the regulator to address concerns where students are not able access sufficient rigorous outcomes for them to work safely and effectively within an industry.

Q3:What are the current issues affecting the training and education industry, and how can Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) overcome them?

Training organisations continue to be challenged by the ongoing changes in legislation, employer requirements, training products and client expectations. An RTO is required to invest adequate resources to remain current and effective and to maintain skilled working professionals who remain committed to quality outcomes.

The competitive nature of attracting learners in a diverse RTO market impacts the bottom line and fee structures of organisations. This financial pressure reduces their ability to remain viable and deliver quality services.

Training Providers can overcome these challenges by initially investing in the development of effective quality management systems and skilled professionals. A sound and effective quality management system provides a platform on which our VET professionals can work creatively and delivery quality training outcomes, allowing them to meet the organisations quality requirements through transparent processes, quality resources and effective record management.

Now many may say this sounds like good rhetoric but how can this be achieved? It is the responsibility of the RTO’s Management to do the research and invest the required resources to develop a sound understand of what an effective quality management system is and how to achieve this for their organisation.

A sustainable training organisation achieves its business through reputation – the reputation for delivering quality training to support industry skill needs, who supports its learners in flexible and focused ways.

Q4: What are your thoughts on regulations that are constantly being modified and updated?

Do you believe that the changes that have occurred in Vocational Education and Training, over the past century from a system based primarily on knowledge based rote learning to one based on competency outcomes and continuous improvement, with a key focus on compliance and governance and financial standards, have been positive and progressive?

Training packages and related qualifications have served industry well over the past few decades, providing for consistent and relevant skill development, and has been recognised internationally as a sound system across a range of industries. For example, textile and clothing industry skill development in South Africa and hydrocarbon and oil refining in the Middle East have adopted the Australian model.

Competency based training, in contrast to knowledge-based training, has contributed significantly to the skill acquisition of our workforces. The combination of both methods of learning (knowledge and skill development) is imperative to the worker understanding the ‘what how and why’ which aids their ability to perform work safely and to required quality standards.

The challenge has been to ensure that that training remains current and supports the changing needs of industry to provide the skills to address industry evolving skill needs. Training packages, over time, have been not responsive to the rapidly changing skill requirements of many industries. The timeliness in developing new qualifications, skill sets and microskills have been impacted by bureaucratic processes and lack of flexibility to address skill shortages in a timely way.

The pace of changes to technology, the requirements for just in time production, sustainable resource management and environment practices, global acquisition and related economics, invariable impacts on changes to regulations, standards and requirements, including changes to training packages. To support industries to address skills needs it is important that training providers have systems in place to accommodate the changes related to maintaining currency to address evolving skills skill needs.

Yes, maintaining currency and keeping up with regular changes is challenging but imperative to maintaining a dynamic system of training in response to industry needs.
The development and maintenance of a sound Quality Management System becomes even more essential for effectively managing this increasing change.

Q5: What types of services do you provide as part of your quality and compliance services?

Quality and compliance services include:

Auditing of Registered Training organisations and Group Training Organisations for the VRQA,

  • High Risk Work licence assessment of Registered Training Organisations delivering licencing units,
  • Quality reviews of learning and assessment resources for the Victorian Skills Commission and training organisations,
  • Professional development in the areas of quality and compliance for VET professionals.

Q6:What advice would you provide to those who are now employed in the sector, those who aspire to pursue a career in the field, and those who wish to establish their own RTO?

Put simply, I would advise all VET practitioners to consider what it takes to work as a professional in the VET sector including:

  • maintaining currency of industry and VET qualifications,
  • ongoing professional development to further develop educational practice and industry skills,
  • seek out critical professional friends who can assist you to reflect on you practice and
  • carefully scrutinise who you work for and ensure that your employer implements ethical practices and has sound Quality Management Systems.

Professional development session by Edu Learning and CAQA Skills – Transcript – Trainers and Assessors requirements

Sukh Sandhu:

– Hello, everyone. Welcome to another professional development session brought to you by Compliance and Quality Assurance, CAQA, Edu Learning, CAQA Skills, The VET Sector and Career Calling International. We would like to pay our respects to traditional owners of the land and to their elders, past and present. Let me remind you that this webinar is not sponsored or affiliated with the Australian Skills Quality Authority, ASQA or any other regulatory body. We are only sharing our experiences from the many audits we have attended. A substantial amount of information will be included into this professional development session. You can contact us at info@caqa.com.au if you would like us to conduct a professional development session for you and your staff members. We hope that the information presented today will be relevant to you and your organisation. It is based on questions that have been sent through to us and also the questions that we have encountered in audits. My name is Sukh Sandhu, and many of you are familiar with me from my work in the compliance and quality industry, audit, regulatory, risk management, corporate governance fields. I am an ISO 9001 lead auditor and have been working in the education and training industry for over 25 years. I have worked as a National Compliance and Quality Assurance Manager with the Australian Catholic University, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer for a number of training providers. I have also worked with Australian Skills Quality Authority as their business systems project official back in 2011/2012. My qualifications include two MBAs, three Masters in IT and systems, a Graduate Diploma of management learning, Diploma in training design and development, Diploma in vocational education and training, Diploma of work health and safety, Diploma of quality auditing, Advanced Diploma of management, Advanced Diploma in marketing, human resources, information technology, and a number of other courses and qualifications. I have been working as a lecturer and as a trainer and assessor since 1998. I have been a vocal advocate of audit reforms and system centered auditing practices rather than auditor centered auditing practices for many years. And today I’m joined by my colleague, Anna Haranas, who is our General Manager. Anna has over 35 years of management experience in education and training, early childhood education and care, hospitality, retail management and allied health industries. During this time, she has had extensive experience in the management of RTOs and apprenticeship services, participating in several Federal and State regulatory audits. Anna, in her roles, has been responsible for planning, directing, leading and managing strategic and long-term goals. Her qualifications include two Bachelor degrees in hospitality and tourism, Graduate Certificate in adult language literacy and numeracy support, Diploma of quality auditing and Certificate four in training and assessment. All questions that we have received before this webinar will be answered by me and Anna. and if we will have time, then all questions asked during the session will be answered at the end of the session. Remember that you can always email us if you need to have something clarified. Some of the questions and answers in this session may appear to be basic but we have a diverse group of people attending this session. Some of them are just starting out in the sector and others are very experienced and we have tried to make the content relevant to everyone. So let’s get started with today’s session. Anna, over to you now.

Anna Haranas:

– So thank you for that introduction, Sukh. I’m very excited to have everyone here. One of the questions that keep on coming up, and I would say that it comes from industry and for people who want to enter training and assessment is what is the difference and what is a trainer and what is an assessor? So maybe you can answer that, Sukh?

Sukh Sandhu:

– So a trainer is someone who teaches. They are more of a facilitator than an assessor who is more of an evaluator. Trainers are responsible for the development of the people they are training, usually in a formal setting. Trainers provide feedback to their students on what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. Trainers also keep track of the progress of their students, evaluate them, and make sure that they are staying on course with the set objectives. A trainer’s job in the VET sector is not only to teach people new skills but also to help them apply those skills. This means that they are not just providing information on how something works but they are teaching their students how to use that knowledge in a workplace. Assessors evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. This can be based on work samples, projects, portfolios, or presentations or observations in the workplace. So when assessment starts and then assessor comes in, he or she doesn’t usually provide any training on how to do something, but instead will offer feedback on what the student can do. The trainer and assessor can be the same person or different people.

Anna Haranas:

– Thank you, Sukh, for clarifying that. And I think this leads into the next question and the next topic that we have encountered which is, what is the role of a good trainer or assessor? And that question needs to be asked and answered because what we have found in feedback is that some training organisations seem to think that trainers are only there to give the students answers to the assessment questions. And I’d like to think that a trainer is much more than that. So, Sukh, do you want to talk about the good trainers and assessors?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Absolutely, Anna. And I agree with you, some of the RTOs, they do think that the trainer is just there to support students, telling them the answers to their assessments. But trainers don’t just train, they listen, they learn, they plan, they adapt, they help, they sooth, they challenge, and they tolerate. Students expect all this and often more besides. But for a trainer to be effective at training, they must be very clear about what is most important. The role of the trainer is to design and facilitate the implementation of training. Trainers in an education context are educators who plan and carry out the process of instruction. The role of the assessor is to evaluate the effectiveness, applicability and efficiency of the training. Assessors in an education context are educators who will judge and determine the degree to which a student has met the requirements for, or has achieved a particular educational goal. A good trainer and assessor, they design and facilitate the implementation of training. They understand and support learner needs. They contextualise and customise the training and assessment resources. They participate in the validation sessions. They help amplify positive behavior, taking care of good relation between learners and other stakeholders. They act as a moderator and presenter. They support learning.

Anna Haranas:

– Great, and I think if we think back, I think everyone that’s in this session today has been educated at some stage. I’m assuming that everyone’s gone to school at whatever level or come through some education. I think we can all remember the educators that were inspirational and could make the most boring subject come alive. But also the other side of the coin, the teachers or the educators who we just thought, well, they act basically like a sleeping pill. So, Sukh, for those people who want to become qualified trainers and assessors, how do you become a qualified trainer and assessor in Australia?

Sukh Sandhu:

– To be a qualified trainer or assessor, you must ensure you meet a number of criteria such as having an appropriate TAE qualification to show the trainers have current knowledge and skills in vocational education and training; have vocational competencies to what they are delivering and assessing; having current industry skills directly relevant to training and assessment; having current knowledge of vocational education and training that informs training and assessment practices; and undertaking relevant professional development. So a number of these criteria is applicable to be a qualified trainer and assessor in Australia.

Anna Haranas:

– So, Sukh, I know that there are probably very few people in this country that can beat you on understanding the legislation and regulations, because you know that I come to you and ask you these questions. But what I wanted to ask you is, what does the legislation regulation and guidelines say about trainers and assessors? What clauses it applies?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Sure absolutely, Anna. So the trainers and assessors must comply with the requirements mentioned in Clauses 1.13 to Clauses 1.16 of SRTOs 2015. The fact sheet released by ASQA also states that you must retain sufficient evidence for each trainer or assessor to demonstrate they are competent, current and undergoing professional development training. You must verify and keep records of all information your trainers and assessors present to you by contacting the providers who issue the academic qualifications. You must do referee checks at the time of employment. Trainers and assessors delivering any qualification or skill set from TAE Training Package other than Certificate IV Training and Assessment or any assessor skill set must hold a TAE training product or at least to the level being delivered. The current industry skills held by trainers and assessors need to be consistent with the requirements of any training package or accredited courses they are delivering; need to be consistent with the required skills for trainers and assessors that your RTO has identified through industry engagement. A number of these points, we will discuss later on as well. So that’s why I’m not going into details at this stage but we will talk about these points later on.

Anna Haranas:

– Okay. So when you say TAE, what are the competencies that must be met by the trainers? TAE, for those who are new, means Training and Assessment.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So there are a number of competencies. Having an appropriate TAE qualification to show that trainers have current knowledge and skills in vocational education and training, is the first criteria. As of 1st July, 2019, only a person who holds one of the following credentials, such as TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, or TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment plus the TAELLN411, that is a Language Literacy and Numeracy unit, and TAEASS502, that is a assessment design unit, or there are superseded units of competency. So if it is TAELLN411, either that unit, current one, or TAELLN401A. If it is a TAEASS502, then it could be either that current unit or TAEASS502A or TAEASS502B or a diploma or higher level qualification in adult education. Assessment may be undertaken by a person who holds one of the credentials, those we have already discussed, or TAESS00011, that is assessor skill set or both the TAESS00001 assessor skill set and TAESS502, design and develop assessment tools. And then the next criteria is having vocational competencies to what they are delivering and assessing. It’s all about industry qualification or equivalent. The definition of vocational competencies. Vocational competency in a particular industry consists of broad industry knowledge and experience, usually combined with a relevant industry qualification. A person who has vocational competency will be familiar with the content of the vocation and will have relevant current experience in the industry. Vocational competencies must be considered on an industry by industry basis. And with the reference to the guidance provided in the assessment guidelines of the relevant training package. In all the audits that we have been part of, the regulatory body has asked the exact units of competency, not a superseded unit, to demonstrate vocational competence. Auditors expect you to map your industry skills and currency to each performance criteria if you do not hold the same unit of competency. Equivalence can be demonstrated through workplace documents. Your past training experience, professional development activities, portfolios, validation and moderation, simulations, work release, in-service training. A number of tools you can use to track your knowledge and skills in industry areas, such as e-portfolios, spreadsheet and calendar, visual organiser, and a number of other tools. And I will add information related to current industry skills requirements for trainers and assessors now. Anna, over to you.

Anna Haranas:

– Thank you, Sukh. So current industry skills are directly relevant to training and assessment. What does that actually mean? This is what you do to demonstrate that the knowledge, skills and practice of a trainer and assessor reflects the current industry practice and is directly relevant to the training and assessment being delivered and assessed. In some industries, there is very little change. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing something, but the industry is still doing the same things. In other industries, and there are many of them, this actually changes and all we have to do is think about the IT industry to realise that as soon as we learn something, it’s basically obsolete and they’re off to the next step. So the definition is that industry currency and professional obsolescence, so that obsolescence means that something is gone, refers to the competence of an individual to perform their role. The knowledge required in occupation does not remain static, we know that. So workers need to continuously update their skills. As vocational education and training VET practitioners, you train the individuals to enter this occupation. So it is important to ensure that your industry knowledge and skills are current, because what you don’t want is to train students, have them graduate, then come out in industry, they apply for work and the employer turns around and says, “Oh, we don’t do that any longer.” Because it means that they also will not recommend you for the future or any students. The training product should be delivered by a trainer and assessor who is compliant, up-to-date and current with the following. The trainer needs to know about content. So they have to know how to do the job of delivering and assessing the qualification. There has to be a context. So does this information clearly show the relationship between what you are delivering and what you have experience in? Currency, how do you know if something has changed in your industry area and that you are up-to-date with current work practices? This can be determined on an industry by industry basis with reference to assessment guidelines or the relevant training packaging qualification. And according to our experience, most of the ASQA auditors consider only two years as the criteria to evaluate industry currencies. So what is relevant for your trainers and assessors is what they’ve done in the last two years. And like I said, in some industries, not much changes. In others, a lot changes. So the training and assessment can only be delivered by people who have a clear and verified relationship between the train- Where there is a clear and verified relationship between the trainers’ and assessors’ current industry skills and knowledge and the qualification or the units of competency that they are delivering and assessing. How do you stay up-to-date in terms of the industry currency? Well, there are many ways. A few of them can be done through attend your industry’s trade events, workshops, conferences, events like that. Some industries have technical seminars and other industrial events. You might be reading industry magazines and journals. So you have a subscription and you could show some kind of evidence that you have actually read those magazines and articles. You can undertake online research. Again, having the logs to say that “I looked at my industry and I researched this on this day. This was what I was finding. This is how I updated my industry knowledge.” A good way is obviously to engage in industry and networks. That’s a fantastic way. Because at the same time as you are getting your currency up, you’re also basically, if you’re lucky, you’re doing business development. You can participate in LinkedIn groups and all kinds of other social media type of events. Sukh will discuss the VET currency now. So over to you, Sukh.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Thank you, Anna. So having current knowledge of VET that informs training and assessment practices. It is to demonstrate that trainers and assessors are staying up-to-date with VET theory and practice, and evidence of how the knowledge improved their training and assessment. The definition of VET currencies, that it refers to the competence of an individual to work in the vocational education and training sector. VET current trainer/assessor must develop knowledge and practice of vocational training and assessment, including competency-based training and assessment competencies through continual professional development; undertake professional development that contributes to the demonstration of vocational training and learning requirements. Undertaking relevant professional development requirements that we discussed moments ago. Let’s elaborate that a little bit. So trainers and assessors must develop a PD plan, a professional development plan, and include all the professional development activities they are going to do in the next 6 to 12 months period. They must also meet legislative and regulatory requirements. Training and assessment should only be delivered by individuals who have current industry skills directly relevant to training and assessment being provided and skills that reflect current industry practice directly relevant. So, for example, if we talk about requirements for assessors, some of the training packages, they have very clear instructions mentioned in them that what kind of requirements are there to be an assessor for that particular unit of competency or for that particular training package or training product such as qualification. So in order to deliver the qualification, take example of CPC08 Construction, Plumbing and Service Training Package, you would see that the very clear guidelines are mentioned there, that the trainers must meet minimum competency, recognition and experience in term of formal recognition of competency, at least to the level being delivered. They must have relevant industry experience, that is, workplace experience within the last two years in the competency area being delivered. They must have relevant occupational registration or licensing in areas where there is a regulatory requirement to practice in the jurisdiction where the qualification is being assessed. And there are a lot of other requirements mentioned if you search CPC08 Construction, Plumping and Service Training Package, or other training packages where the guidelines are related to assessors and trainers are mentioned there. So, Anna, over to you now.

Anna Haranas:

– So, I was thinking that, and Sukh’s not going to be happy with me but we have a couple of questions from Ann Marie, so I thought we might break it up a little bit with them. ‘Cause Ann Marie has asked, “What about when there are skills in the training package that are out of date and the industry no longer asks workers to perform? Good question. It actually happens a lot. And it also happens that the training package will say the students or that the auditor has to provide equipment and train students on that type of equipment but actually industry is no longer using it. So, Sukh, you have experienced this. Do you want to answer Ann Marie?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Yes, so thank you so much, Ann Marie. And thank you, Anna. Well, according to our experience, you need to provide the feedback to ASQA, to basically also the training package developers as well. And they would let you know that when they are updating the training package.

Anna Haranas:

– Yep. And sometimes it takes a little bit of time, but I think the most important part of it is actually to inform. Same thing happens if you are going through qualification and you are up-to-date with your industry skills and knowledge, and you discover there is something included in a unit of competency that doesn’t apply any longer or is just simply wrong, you need to notify ASQA and you need to notify the package developers. So that the next time the update comes out, it’s actually been fixed. Ann Marie has also said the HLT, which is the health training package, tells you a specific number of hours that assessors must work in the industry. And her comment is that this becomes very difficult for full-time assessors. Yes, whatever the training package says and specifies is what we have to do. We all know. Like Ann Marie has just commented and said, “There needs to be more flexibility in training packages or just can deliver what the industry is asking for.” We all agree. It’s just a very slow process at the moment. But we can try and change it, maybe, in my lifetime. So, Sukh, did you want to clarify again what the difference is between training and assessment?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Thank you, Anna. So training is the process of acquiring new skills, and assessment is the process of evaluating those skills that you have acquired. Training is all about giving employees or students the skills they need to do their job. And assessment is all about determining if the employees or students can do that particular job. Training is all about preparing someone or something for future use, and assessment, on the other hand, is all about judging, measuring, estimating or evaluating someone or something. The main difference between assessing and teaching is that assessors don’t pass knowledge and skills onto their learners. They focus on asking questions, evaluating, judging the knowledge and skills the learners have gained.

Anna Haranas:

– So the next question I wanted to bring up is, what qualifications can I train and deliver? And I think that previously there’s been some misunderstandings about this because there has been occasions where students have completed a certificate for training and assessment and whoever they did the qualification with has told them that, “Oh yeah, now you can go and train and assess in any industry,” which is simply not true, is it Sukh?

Sukh Sandhu:

– No, it’s not. You should either have the qualification that you are training and assessing, or you should demonstrate the equivalence. You will always need Certificate IV TAE or diploma or higher level qualification in adult education. But there have been so many cases where people basically, they send us questions that, “Okay, I have a Certificate IV TAE. Can I just go and train in IT or management or in other areas?” Well, yes, you need to have Certificate IV TAE or diploma or higher level qualification in adult education. But with that, you also need to have that particular training product as well that you are going to deliver and assess. Anna, over to you now.

Anna Haranas:

– Okay, another question that keeps popping up is that, if I don’t have the same electives in my qualifications as the one I’m asked to train and assess, what happens then? And as you all know, the electives can vary quite a lot. And I believe, Sukh, that there is an ASQA response to this question. So do you want to clarify that?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Yes, so, this is the ASQA response related to that, that if you do not have that elective in that qualification that you are training and assessing, then what you need to do? So what ASQA’s response is that under the Standards, each trainer and assessor is required to have vocational competencies, at least to the level being assessed. This doesn’t mean the trainer and assessor is required to hold that exact qualification or any specific unit of competency that is specified in the training package. In some cases, people may have significant industry experience, but not hold any formal qualifications. In such cases, an RTO would need to analyse the skills and knowledge that trainer and assessor delivers and compare it to the trainer and assessor’s actual industry skills and knowledge. Consider all units of competency including electives in this analysis to ensure that requirements for trainers and assessors specified in the training package or accredited course are met. So they have given one example here about SISFFIT310A, Plan and Deliver Water-based Fitness Activities that is a part of SIS30313, Certificate III in Fitness. And if the trainer doesn’t have this unit of competency, SISFFIT310A, then what they need to do, they need to consider the specific skills and knowledge of a person who can competently plan and deliver water-based fitness activities should hold. The person would need the knowledge and skills required to plan, deliver, and evaluate water-based fitness activities for mainstream clients. They would be able to effectively apply aquatic instructional techniques and hydrodynamic principles on muscles, joints, and cardiorespiratory systems to ensure safe and effective fitness outcomes for clients. All this information is only part of the unit descriptor of the unit so far. And then if you believe that a trainer/assessor’s skills and knowledge match that description of a competent person in that unit, your RTO may be able to demonstrate that the trainer and assessor is vocationally competent. The RTO may choose to create a mapping tool to describe all of the requirements of the unit. So what they say, all of the requirements of a unit, including performance criteria, elements, your performance evidence, your knowledge evidence, everything, and give it documented analysis of how the trainer and assessor has the required skills and knowledge. As always, consider the currency of the knowledge and skills acquired as well. So if you go by what ASQA has clearly put in their frequently asked question section here, then if you do not have a unit of competency, say SISFFIT310A Plan and Deliver Water-based Fitness Activities, a part of Certificate III in Fitness, so you need to make sure that you comply with each and every component of the training package. And their third dot point is that RTO may choose. Well in our experience, you will be required to demonstrate that, okay, you do not have this particular unit of competency, show us that how you meet the requirement. So you need to have, you must have a mapping tool at that stage.

Anna Haranas:

– Well thank you, Sukh. In other words, seeing that you don’t like swimming, you’re not gonna apply for RPL for this one, are you?

Sukh Sandhu:

– No, I’m not going to do it.

Anna Haranas:

– Another question that keeps on popping up and has been popping up for as long as I’ve been in this industry. And some people get quite upset about it is, say that, if I have a higher qualification, I might have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, can I still train in vocational education and training? It’s the million dollar question! Over to you, Sukh. Oh, I’m sorry.

Sukh Sandhu:

– I think you should answer this, Anna.

Anna Haranas:

– Okay. It’s a grey area. It is a really grey area because different auditors have interpreted differently. So our advice is always to try and stay in the black and white as much as you can. And if someone has a higher qualification and they have industry experience, if you want to stay black and white, you have them go and do an RPL for the units of competency that they’re going to train and deliver. I know that in some industries, this makes absolutely no sense at all. And the reason being that there are some industries where, say that you enrol for a Bachelor’s degree, after your second year, you can work at the same level as a diploma-qualified student. But that’s industry. What the vocational education and training sector says is quite different. And sometimes we find in some industries that when you have a higher qualification, it’s more research based whereas the vocational qualifications are exactly that, practical skills. So, yes, a contentious area and I don’t think it’s been quite sorted as yet because people have different opinions.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Yes, so Anna, I’ll also ask basically a relevant question to what you just described. What are the higher qualifications or degrees that ASQA may consider relevant in adult education?

Anna Haranas:

– In adult education? Well, according to ASQA, they have given some examples where it gives the knowledge required to train adults can be assessed. So a diploma-high qualification in adult education can include examples such as an Associate Degree in vocational education and training, Bachelor of adult and vocational education, Graduate Diploma in adult vocational education and training. My qualification, Graduate Diploma of adult language, literacy and numeracy. That’s a good one. Master’s of education degree with adult education focus. So not your Master’s degree that’s gonna allow you to go and teach primary school. Then there’s a few odd ones that Sukh brought up, which I raised my eyebrows at which is CASR Part 61 flight or simulator instructor. God only knows why. Or if you’re an army recruit instructor. That’s a higher adult education too. What if I have a higher education, Sukh? So say that I have a diploma, can I train at Certificate III level?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Well, if you can demonstrate your equivalence to each of those units of competency training product in the lower levels, so then you can train at the lower level, then yes. Our suggestion is, as Anna said, always stay black and white. So it is good if you have the same unit of competency that you are training and assessing. Because we can discuss so many, so many, so many examples here, but this one example is coming into my mind right now. So, we were in one escrow audit a few months ago, and this particular trainer had Certificate III individual support, a Certificate IV Disability, Certificate IV Aging Support, a Diploma of Community Services and Advanced Diploma Community Services as well, Community Sector. And then there were a lot of higher education qualifications as well. But the audit scope was Certificate III individual Support. And the qualification that this trainer had, there were some superseded units of competency mentioned in them. And one unit of competency that ASQA selected was from those superseded units of competency. So everything was going well. Audit was scheduled for two days. At the end of the first day, the auditor said that, “Okay, we have completed everything and we are satisfied with everything. So, we will probably finish today. We just have to go through this last trainer file.” And so as they started looking into that trainer file, they identified that particular unit of competency. Then they checked some performance criteria. There were some performance criteria. Those were new in the current unit of competency, they were not part of the superseded unit of competency. And they said that this is non-compliance. They can’t see any mapping tool where those particular performance criteria have been addressed. There were mapping tools to address element level information, but ASQA auditor wanted to see a performance criteria that is in a new unit of competency, not part of the superseded unit of competency. So that time, we had to sit down, we had to go through each and every unit of competency that particular trainer has completed. And then wherever those performance criteria has been addressed in vocational competency to demonstrate compliance with Clause 1.13a, then we somehow put them together and then show that to ASQA. So the short answer is that if you do not have a particular unit of competency, then you should get it. If you have a higher VET qualification, you want to train at a lower level. If you cannot demonstrate equivalence, then we would suggest you have those units of competency at a lower level. So, Anna, my next question to you is, my qualification has been superseded. Do I need to get a new one?

Anna Haranas:

– Well, you’ve sort of already answered that one, Sukh, I think. Always best to have the current qualification or units of competency that you’re training and assess in. And that way, nothing bad can happen to you or the training organisation that you’re engaged by.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Oh this is another question that we received through emails, Anna. What does currency mean? VET currency and industry currency. Do I have to go back and work in the industry I train in?

Anna Haranas:

– Well, that depends on the training package because we know that there are some packages of qualifications where it actually stipulates that the assessor must be currently working in industry. But if we’re generalising, most of them aren’t that specific. And currency is usually evaluated on what you’ve done in the industry over the last two years, which is quite upsetting especially for old people like me, because we always come back and say, “Well, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, you know?” And ASQA, an auditor will only look at what you’ve done in the last two years. The VET currency, as we have discussed, can refer to how many VET sector pay days you’ve attended, validation sessions that you participated in, the forums where you posted your responses or questions, webinars, workshops you have attended. What else you’ve done in the VET sector to keep yourself updated? The industry currency. That’s, you know, how have you maintained your skills, knowledge and competencies with regards to current technology and best practice that’s now applied in the industry? How up-to-date are you with the industry terms and trends and everything else that’s part of the industry that you train in and assess in?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Anna, the next question I’ll ask you, Anna, that we received through our social media, as a manager, how can I make sure that my trainers have currency?

Anna Haranas:

– Well, you have to keep them on a tightrope. No, I’m only joking. As a manager, you do have to make sure that your trainers have access to all the SRTO and VET newsletters that keep coming along. So make sure that you subscribe to those. Because there’s many consultants such as us that are writing and publishing them, you know, including the ones that we do which is the CAQA newsletter and the VET Sector newsletter. It’s really good if your trainers and assessors can attend regular professional development sessions from different types of organisations that might be VELG or ITECA or Edu Learning or the VET Gurus or Take Another Look, or the ones we run, CAQA Skills. ASQA has been doing excellent professional development sessions lately. And, you know, keep up-to-date with the Department of Education and Training and subscribe to it. And what I would say is that if you yourself participate in professional development or learning like you’re doing today, when you get your trainer team together, you can discuss the things that you have learned or observed while you were doing your professional development. Make sure that there is always one person in your organisation that rates and attends this type of things, but they can, like I said, then run their own. You can run your own internal professional development sessions, and have attendance and someone keeps notes on what was discussed and what was shared and what was learned. You should ask your trainers and assessors to subscribe to industry-based magazines and newsletters and forums. And give them time and opportunities to work in the industry, even if it’s volunteer work. That’s how you do it. So the next question, Sukh, is the evidence that I need to collect for my trainers to prove that they are current.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So you need to make sure that you have evidence of what they have completed in the industry or related to the industry according to the units of competency they are training and assessing, and how the information gathered from the industry contributed to their work and training and assessment they are doing. So their practices, the evidence, whatever information they gather, how that actually contributed to their training and assessment practices. And this is also an answer to Sharon as well, that how do you know that the subscriptions, webinars, et cetera, that you are participating in, meet the requirements to be compliant as a trainer and assessor? So really, really good question. So there are so many things, basically. If you look into Clause 1.13a, it talks about vocational competency. So you need to make sure that whatever units of competency or training product you are delivering and assessing, you need to make sure that whenever you participate, such as in validation sessions, you participate in forums, you participate through like, you know, you have some kind of subscription of newsletters or even discussion like email exchange with ASQA or other bodies such as consultants like us, wherever you have any doubt regarding any question related to RTO sector, you have evidence of that. That is your vocational competency. Then we go to 13b, it is all about your industry currency. So as Anna mentioned, all those things like, you know, workshops, webinars, if you cannot get into the workplace because you are either full-time or for some other reasons, you need to stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and technology, whatever that is happening in the sector. So that is very, very critical. And then 13.c, that is all about vocational, your RTO currency. So you need to basically make sure that you participate in RTO. And my apologies here, 13a is your vocational competency. You need to have either that unit of competency or training product, or you need to demonstrate equivalence. And if you demonstrate equivalence, then you meet all those requirements that are part of that training package. So Anna, the next question that I have is, how often does the trainer matrix and resume needs to be updated?

Anna Haranas:

– Okay! If I put on my training manager’s hat, I can tell you that if you don’t get the trainer’s matrices and resumes updated once a year, it gets out of control. And the day you have your audit, you will be a very miserable person. So best practice is to do this on an annual basis. Or, of course, if a training product as a qualification or skill set or unit of competency changes, then you need to do it too.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So, yeah?

Anna Haranas:

– Yeah? That’s the answer to the question.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Thank you, Anna. So this next question we received through email. One of our trainers has started working with a competitor RTO. This person has copied all of our training and assessment material and is using this now in the new workplace. What can I do, and how can I stop this from happening in the future? Anna, to you.

Anna Haranas:

– It happens, what can I say? But there are a number of things you can do. I mean, when it’s already happened, and if you’re really upset, you need to speak to a solicitor who is good with copywriting, and we use Margaret Ryan from IP By Margaret. So we’ve been using her since 2017. You can send a legal notice to the other RTO and the content will depend upon what the solicitor suggests that you should be saying. You can register your copyright. Another really good way of keeping track of this is to digitally watermark your resources. So that involves inserting a hidden message into the fonts that you want to protect, because then if someone shares them or takes them with them, you’ll have the evidence to say that this actually is copyrighted and belongs to us. But to stop this from happening in the future, I think that your contract with your trainer should clearly state what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. And once you have that signature on the contract, legally, you have the right, and you need to explain what constitutes criminal activities. And you have to add a disclaimer and a copyright notice. And you may use Grammarly or turn it into another software to identify copyrighted material. Because it’s just as bad if you’re an RTO and one of your trainers who has worked somewhere else and starts using the other RTO’s material. That will not be very good for you either.

Sukh Sandhu:

– A really good explanation, Anna. So let’s move to the next question that we received through email. Does a trainer need to let their current employer know if they take on additional hours with another RTO? What do you think, that is it a necessity for a trainer to let their current employer know?

Anna Haranas:

– I think it’s good practice. Because if you are gonna go and work with the competitors, it’s really important that the RTO where you’re currently employed knows about it. In a number of the audits that we’ve attended, the auditors calculate the hours the trainers spend at each place, and look at the copies of contracts and invoices as well. So, yeah. You might also want to include that in your employment agreement.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So the next question is- Before I go to the next question, Andrea has put some really good comments there, that copyright, this is intellectual property. So therefore, without copyright, you can still engage a lawyer. Uh, without copyright use, you can still engage a lawyer to act on your behalf to seize and persist in using these resources. Yes, you can. And you have a really good question there. How can you update your resume if you have been- This is a question from Colleen. How can you update your resume if you have been in the same job for the last three years? Anna, do you want to answer this?

Anna Haranas:

– Yeah, you just do it! Make sure that when you do it, you sign and date it with this year’s date. If nothing else has changed, you just update it and you put a new version in. That’s what you do. ‘Cause that’s what we want to say.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So Nathan, regarding your question, how can you register to receive a Certificate of Attendance for this PD session? Everyone, those who are attending this PD session, they will get a Certificate of Attendance signed by Anna Haranas and me. So we will send that to you.

Anna Haranas:

– And you can click for the late, that’s up to you.

Sukh Sandhu:

– And I hope Sharon and everyone else that you have all the answers to your questions. If you still have any follow-up questions, please feel free to ask. We still have a few minutes to go. So, Anna, I’ll continue with the questions that we have received through email. So what are my obligations if I use contract trainers? Do I still need to provide them professional development opportunities? Anna, to you now.

Anna Haranas:

– Do I need to? Well, you know, yes. Well they need to as much as anyone else. So it’s probably a good idea to provide professional development training for your trainers, regardless of how you have engaged them to ensure that they’re confident in all areas, they have the industry competence, currency and vocational competency and all the rest. Because you don’t want to go to an audit and put your whole business at risk because you had a contract trainer who didn’t participate in your professional development training. That’s not a great idea.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So the next question that we have received through email is do I need to pay trainers when they attend staff meetings and other training sessions?

Anna Haranas:

– On a serious note, at the moment, I can say that in the last two years, there have been a lot of very good industry trainers who have left vocational education and training. I think that it’s a trend. It was a trickle, now it’s become a wave. And it partially got to do with how we employ trainers and assessors and how we treat them when they’re working for us. Because if you are really a good industry trainer, more than likely over a period of time, you will start looking for job security and you want your superannuation and all the rest of it. So in many industries and particularly in your traditional apprenticeship type qualifications, these industry professionals, whether they’re electricians, carpenters, plumbers, they go back in industry and they make twice as much money as they are doing when they are training and assessing. They also don’t need to do marking, lesson preparations and, you know, spend time when they’re not getting paid. So that’s something to keep in mind. I personally would always pay trainers to attend staff meetings and other training because, you know, it’s like the old saying, what happens if I train a person and they leave versus what happens if I train a person and they stay? The long and short of it is that a trainer who’s not got currency can bring your whole RTO down. And, you know, that’s gonna cost a lot of money, probably more than what you paid your trainers to attend the staff meeting. So, Sukh, I’ve heard that the Certificate IV TAE is getting changed again. Will I need to update my current TAE?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Thank you, Anna. The new TAE will have a number of new units of competency and substantial changes to existing units. So most probably it will be non-equivalent. At the moment, it looks like everyone will be required to do the new TAE once it is released. So, Anna, I have another question for you. How can I get a job as a trainer and assessor in Australia? Where can I find new staff members? Can you discuss this, please?

Anna Haranas:

– Yes, yes, I can discuss this. Because in the period of time that Sukh and I and our colleagues have been working when we’ve been visiting RTOs and dealing with people in the VET sector, we always get asked, you know, “Where can I find a person? I need a compliance manager. I need this, that and the other.” And we’ve come to a point where we’ve used up all our contacts that we have basically with regards to recommending people or looking, recruiting or others. So we have now launched CAQA Recruitment, where you can put yourself as an applicant if you are looking for work. I mean there’s also Seek and Indeed where you can put yourself down looking for work. The platform that we have put together now is specifically for the VET sector. I mean there’s also social media platforms where you can apply and post job opportunities, as you know. And you can register with recruitment-based groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media platforms. And I know for instance that there is a big group of Early Childhood trainers that are quite active. And we would publish our job vacancies on a regular basis. If there’s anyone that’s participating today that is in an RTO that is delivering Certificate IV in training and assessment, I would encourage your graduates to put themselves down on CAQA Recruitment as applicants looking for work when they are coming close to graduating. And like I said, the RTOs that are looking for new staff can come to CAQA Recruitment and search for new staff as well as post their vacancies. All right, have we got any more time left, Sukh? How are we going here?

Sukh Sandhu:

– So, we are on overtime now. But I think there are some questions in the chat box as well. And some questions that we have received through emails as well. So I think we should probably discuss those questions as well.

– Okay, which ones should we do first?

Sukh Sandhu:

– So I think, before we move to the chat box question, let’s discuss, what should be there in a trainer’s CV? So this is a question that has been asked by so many people in the last few days. So do you want to discuss this, Anna? Or you want me to address this?

Anna Haranas:

– No, you can go.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So an RTO must hold valid files for all trainers and assessors. This includes files for contractors and employees. CV basically should be the current copy of the trainer/assessor’s CV. So in the CV, the RTO’s name needs to be there. The position title needs to be there. The description of the job-role needs to be there. Details about the vocational competencies the trainer and assessor holds, such as Certificate IV TAE and then any diplomas or certificates in the vocational area, that needs to go there. Then information about industry currency and skills, that information needs to go there in the CV. List of VET professional development activities that an individual has attended, all that information needs to go there. Confirmation, the individual should also mention that this is a true and most up-to-date copy of their CV. This declaration needs to go there with their initials and a date. So usually people basically this is a practice that they initial on each page of the CV to confirm the accuracy of the information provided in that CV. And the signature and date of the last update, that must be there on the CV. So it is also recommended that all CVs are verified for currency and authenticity through undertaking of reference checks as well. So this is something that RTOs must do.

Anna Haranas:

– And a very important step actually, and make sure that you have the record to prove that you have achieved reference check, who you spoke to, what day/time and what was discussed. So the trainer files, Sukh. Our experience when we’ve been doing audits, the trainer files are always an area where we can find problems. Let’s clarify what we actually need in the trainer files.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So an RTO must hold valid files for all trainers and assessors, as we discussed before, including their contractors and employees. And trainer file usually start with a compliance checklist. So there is a trainer file checklist in the file that basically says what evidence is acceptable or accepted. The employment contract needs to go there, signed and updated copy of this contract and offer letter and signed copy of position description. A CV, we have already addressed that. That needs to be the current copy. Qualifications, licenses and checks. So evidence of vocational competency, evidence of industry currency, evidence of VET currency, training and assessment qualification, vocational licenses, any vocational tickets or cards, national police clearance check, working with children check, all this information needs to go in the trainer file. Then information related to performance management, such as staff key performance indicators and appraisals that you have conducted. That needs to go there, at least on an annual basis. Trainer observation forms, trainer feedback forms. Information related to how you have conducted induction, such as induction checklist, staff induction session, staff handbook. If you don’t want to put the complete staff handbook, at least put a signature page that the trainer has read, understood and agreed with all the information that you have provided in the staff handbook or trainer handbook, whatever you call it. The direct supervision. Documentation, if you have someone basically who is working under supervision, so then you need to have a comprehensive supervision plan and documentation. HR, payroll, leave forms. So all the personal details form with bank details, tax file declaration, superannuation details, business name confirmation for contractors, ABN and GST information for contractors, and insurance copy. Copy of professional indemnity insurance should also be there.

Anna Haranas:

– Okay. So the professional indemnity insurance probably more applies to when your trainers are working as contractors, because your RTO should have professional indemnity insurance for their staff. Some trainers and assessors do, however, get around.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So let’s discuss that Compliant Trainer Matrix, Anna. What should be the main components of a valid trainer matrix, according to you?

Anna Haranas:

– In the world according to Anna, the trainer matrix should have the following information. You need to list all the training products delivered and assessed by this particular trainer, and mapping to the compliance and regulatory standards. You need to include PD on industry currency in the past 12 months. You’ll need to map the employment history, positions held, employers, dates of employment. Relevant industry experience and training. Current appointments, memberships, and professional industry associations. Professional development planned. And you need to have a declaration and verification check placed.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So let’s discuss the most-

Anna Haranas:

– There’s a lot of information too, Sukh, so I was thinking that if anyone wants a clarification, we could actually send out some kind of spreadsheets or lists.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Definitely.

Anna Haranas:

– Click links you can go through and you can look at your trainer matrices and make sure that they’ve got everything in them. I mean, I don’t know how you can operate if you don’t have a checklist for the trainer files because of all the stuff that needs to go in there and so forth and so on, but we’re happy to spread the love around and give you that information.

Sukh Sandhu:

– So let’s discuss the most common mistakes, Anna, and non-compliance that we have noticed based on the trainer files. Over to you, Anna.

Anna Haranas:

– Where RTOs end up in trouble is where the trainers don’t have the vocation education and training qualifications that they are delivering. That’s a big problem. Or they don’t have industry currency. Or they don’t have VET currency. Quite often, they will have one or not the other. Don’t know why, but anyway. They don’t have signed copies of the employment contract and they don’t have a position description. That’s a big problem. Or the CVs that they have, have not been updated with their RTO’s details saying that this is the current position that they’re holding. The CV is from when they applied for the job, which might be five years ago. The original qualifications have not been cited or verified copies are not in the file. They might have been cited and they might be copied but it’s not verified. And the qualifications and experience has not been verified. And/or the reference checks has not been conducted. And even if the reference check was conducted, it doesn’t actually say who spoke to what person at what date and what was discussed. There’s many auditors that have got a trainer file checklist but when you compare what’s been ticked on the checklist with what’s actually in the file, somehow a few bits and pieces seem to have gone walkabout and they are not in there. Or the other good one is, the RTO not following their own policy and procedures with regards to developing and maintaining and updating trainer files. Because that’s a favorite from the auditor, I found. This is your policy. This is your procedure. This is the file. Please explain. And that there are no staff appraisals or evaluations or anything like that. So maybe we should discuss the latest regulatory practices, Sukh.

Sukh Sandhu:

– Sure, Anna. So this is a new one. In audits we have seen that the RTO, if they basically go to industry representatives for industry engagement, and there has only been some questions being asked there in industry consultation form such as, what are the trainers and assessor skills to train or assess a particular unit of competency or training product, that was deemed okay. But in the last few audits, we have seen that now ASQA auditors, they want to see that if the actual credentials, the trainer qualifications, that they have been validated by industry representatives and they confirm that, yes, these are the most current credentials to train and assess a particular training product in the industry. So that is a massive change. So, to demonstrate compliance with Clause 1.6 here, you need to make sure that your RTO is using your details and going to industry representatives and asking them if these are the most up-to-date and current credentials to train and assess a qualification. This is the latest regulatory practice. So ASQA auditors, on record, they said that they have identified that not many training organisations are doing this. And so that’s why they will get more onto it to find out who is not doing it. So let’s answer the questions that we have received through the chat box now.

Anna Haranas:

– It’s actually more feedback. People are saying, “Thank you.” So that’s a good sign. So what I was gonna say, rounding off a little bit here ’cause it’s Friday afternoon and I’m sure that everyone’s dying to go back to work, is that if you have any more questions or anything is unclear, you just approach us. Email us info@caq.com.au. We will try and send out some spreadsheets and forms. And yeah, have a great weekend everyone. We will have a very good weekend after 6:00 p.m. tonight when we are let loose and we can finally go shopping! Sukh?

Sukh Sandhu:

– Thank you so much, everyone. Thanks.

Anna Haranas:

– All right, take care. And maybe we’ll see you next month. Last Friday of the month at the same time. Have a fantastic weekend. Bye!

Message from the CEO (1 Nov 2021)

Message from the CEO


Welcome to the next edition of The VET Sector newsletter.

This edition is jam-packed with useful information, informative articles, practical to-do suggestions, our professional experiences, and much more

As always, we are inviting you to email us your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions for topics to be included in our next newsletters and e-magazines.

We are searching for contributors to the next edition of our newsletter, The VET Sector, which will be published in November. Specifically, we are looking for articles that need to be updated in light of impending events or new developments in the compliance and quality, government laws and legislative changes, as well as training and education industries.

Contact us via email if you have a topic you want to see included or questions you need answering.

Regards,
Sukh Sandhu