Feature Article: Three key skills needed for effective management of RTO contracts

The role of contract staff within RTO’s is becoming more and more important as providers are increasingly relying on the domestic student market and government funding agreements to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The ability of your staff to administer such contracts is dependent on their contract management skills. Contract management skills are important in order to ensure that your business is profitable. Some of the results of poor contract management can be RTOs losing important relationships, incurring financial penalties, costly litigations or sanctions against your business. Here are three key skills that staff managing your contracts need to have to ensure business success:

Digital Skills:

The ability for contract staff to understand and adapt technology is important in driving best practice in contract administration. RTOs need to train contract staff appropriately for the systems you use to automate and streamline your contract management processes. Digitisation of records can ensure constant improvement to contract processes and tasks. It also makes key contract information more accessible and readable. If you are using applications to track and monitor your agreements make sure staff have been trained appropriately to remove the risk of making human errors and save your business time and money.

Risk Management Skills:

At a basic level your contract staff should understand how to ensure responsible officers in your RTO are notified when contracts are expiring or key deliverables are due. Managers in charge of contacts should be adept at identifying, defining and outlining contract requirements that need to be mitigated and be able to resolve conflicts. If not handled correctly conflicts can result in legal action. Knowing how to prevent breaches and keep risk at a manageable level is an essential skill for contract staff. Managers should also know how to create risk management plans and conduct risk assessments and have the ability to interpret agreements, clauses and terms and mitigate contract risks before they develop into significant problems. Comprehension of operational and financial risks to protect your RTOs interests is essential. 

Attention to detail:

Having staff who are detail-orientated and understand your organisation intimately in order to implement the contract successfully is critical for your business. Contract staff should be particularly meticulous about deadlines and other concerns that might impact on your organisations ability to meet its contractual obligations. Contracts tend to contain a lot of complex legal terminology, and sometimes even seemingly minor details can have a major impact on contract performance. Therefore, contract staff must be intrinsically observant and have keen attention to detail. The ability to develop and implement processes and procedures for contract lifecycle management and amend them as appropriate is also important.

Other feature articles:

Quick guide for developing a compliance program for RTO contracts and agreements 

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Get ready for JobTrainer

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/enrolment/clauses-5.1-to-5.3

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/compliance-governance/clauses-8.1-8.2

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

Feature Article: Quick guide for developing a compliance program for RTO contracts and agreements

RTOs can save time, money and resources by implementing an effective contract compliance program. As a vendor by accepting a contract you have promised your client that you will perform so establishing a compliance program that ensures you meet expectations and get what you agreed to is critical. As your RTO grows you can also expect to enter into more business relationships bound by contractual arrangements. Knowing your responsibilities and implementing a robust compliance program will ensure that your business and staff meet contractual obligations satisfactorily.

Contract management:

By failing to invest in proper contract management RTOs risk losing a significant amount of the value of their funding agreements and/or statuses as approved providers of training services which could have significant reputational impact on your business. Transparency and effective communication is essential in preventing issues that can adversely impact on your organisation. In managing your contracts effectively you can address issues promptly. Poor visibility of your contractual arrangements can make them difficult to track and monitor.

Contract compliance:

RTOs should implement a contract compliance program that mitigates risks and remedies any breaches before they impact on your organisation adversely. An effective contract compliance program can save your business time and money. RTOs can significantly improve performance against contract KPI’s by creating a system and processes that prevents non-compliances or breaches. Your RTO should regularly train staff on compliance issues relevant to their roles and scope of work. They will be motivated to meet compliance goals if strong leadership from management is displayed by establishing contract compliance as a top priority.

Establish a compliance plan:

The process of establishing a compliance plan involves developing a matrix that identifies existing organisational controls in your RTO and determining if they are sufficient to manage all regulatory requirements and contractual obligations you must adhere to. In planning your RTO’s approach for managing it’s contractual obligations you can ensure management is able to devote sufficient resources to your compliance training program and track specific performance metrics critical to your organisation’s success.

Monitor contract performance:

RTOs should have processes in place that set and regularly review specific KPI’s as identified in contract terms and conditions. In doing so you can ensure quality, achievement of milestones and cost effectiveness. Many RTOs lack sufficient resources to monitor contract performance continuously ,underestimating the importance of regularly monitoring achievement of contract milestones.

Conduct reviews on contract compliance:

By conducting regular reviews of your compliance with contracts in place you can verify the effectiveness of your RTO’s internal processes and systems. Your findings will determine if your processes are working and if you are adhering to all requirements of your contracts. When conducted systematically your internal reviews will identify improvements needed in your RTO’s processes. It will also sufficiently prepare your RTO for any external audit that licensing authorities or funding bodies want to conduct.

Other feature articles:

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Get ready for JobTrainer

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/enrolment/clauses-5.1-to-5.3

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/compliance-governance/clauses-8.1-8.2

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

http://fundassist.flinders.edu.au/uploads/docs/Sample_Compliance_Matrix.pdf

Feature Article: FAQ’s about trainer and assessor competency and currency

Feature Article: FAQ’s about trainer and assessor competency and currency

Trainers and assessors are dual professionals in the industry sector they deliver specific training products for and VET. ASQA have found high levels of non-compliance with Clauses 1.13 – 1.16 in particular from the SRTOs 2015. Here are some commonly asked questions about meeting the requirements of the relevant clauses and how to address these issues.

What evidence do my trainers and assessors need to have to demonstrate current industry skills?:

Your trainers and assessors need to provide documentation that shows how they have maintained current industry skills and knowledge and how it relates to the training and assessment they are delivering. This could be in the form of a PD log or mapping document that shows activities undertaken for all units of competency they are delivering. Supporting documentation should also be provided that verifies the industry activities completed such as certificates of attendance, letters from employers or statements of service, payslips, job cards for example.

How can my trainers and assessors evidence vocational competencies?:

If your trainers and assessors hold the exact units of competency that they are training and/or assessing and have relevant industry experience then that is sufficient evidence to demonstrate vocational competencies. If not you will need to provide a documented analysis e.g. mapping  that demonstrates equivalence of superseded units and/or other credentials held and/or work history (industry knowledge and skills). 

Do my trainers and assessors need to hold the qualifications they are training and assessing?: 

In some instances certain training products require trainers and assessors to hold specific credentials. RTOs should refer to training package implementation guides or companion volumes for this information. Some units of competencies refer to specific assessor requirements in the assessment conditions that must be adhered to as well. Trainers and assessors who do not hold the exact units of competency they are training and assessing can demonstrate equivalence by mapping their knowledge, skills and work history to each unit of competency.

What do I need to do to verify my trainers and assessors credentials?: 

RTOs must have records in staff profiles that show how they authenticated trainer and assessor qualifications. This should be done at recruitment and each time staff gain a new qualification and provides your RTO with a copy for their files. This evidence can be a written confirmation by the issuing authority that verifies it is a genuine document. Some institutions provide an online service where you can verify authenticity using details provided by the trainer or assessor.  A print out or screen shot showing the results of the verification should be retained for the staff file as evidence of the authentication.

Other feature articles:

Develop a professional development calendar for your RTO 

How to document trainer and assessor equivalence of vocational competency requirements that will pass audit

How to effectively deal with non-compliances in trainer and assessor files

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.13-to-1.16

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/faqs/training-and-assessment

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/faqs/trainers-and-assessors

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/meeting-trainer-and-assessor-requirements

Feature Article: Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Providers with funding contracts in place for subsidised courses have additional compliance obligations to be aware of so as to ensure risks are effectively mitigated. Contract compliance cannot be overlooked as the consequences can be dire for your RTO and impact adversely on you business. Here is some advice to help you understand the important aspects of managing your funding arrangements.

Marketing:

RTOs need to ensure when promoting subsidised training courses that marketing materials (including websites and social media posts) comply with contract terms and conditions, funding body directives and policies related to marketing and advertising. Requirements around style guides to be used when promoting courses and the use of logos and government emblems must be adhered to so as to avoid a breach occuring. Other conditions can include restrictions on offering inducements or gifts to parties in return for enrolment in funded courses.  RTOs should have a process in place that ensures all marketing is reviewed for compliance before approval and publication when associated with a contract to mitigate any risk of a breach

Student recruitment:

When undertaking student recruitment activities particularly when in partnership with other parties such as job networks or recruitment agencies you must take care to ensure that you abide by the conditions of your funding agreement and you do not appear to be recruiting prospective students who are unsuitable for your courses. When you are dealing with disadvantaged candidates particularly you should ensure your recruitment processes are ethical and transparent to avoid breaching your contract terms and conditions. RTOs need to ensure that sales staff who are selling your courses are fully aware of the rules of the game!

Eligibility and enrolment: 

RTOs should have rigorous processes in place to ensure they can determine eligibility of prospective students that meet the requirements of the funding agreement criteria prior to enrolment. This may include developing checklists and interview questions that ensure appropriate checks are conducted before enrolling students. Having thorough mechanisms in place pre-enrolment to confirm eligibility will ensure your RTO in not penalised financially down the track when your funder identifies from your data that students were not eligible to received subsidised training places in specific courses.

Course viability and delivery models: 

RTOs should ensure course costings are reflective of the subsidy being provided and the actual expenses required to deliver the specific courses. The viability of the courses you deliver will be dependent on the most efficient delivery models you use and the level of subsidy your receive from the funding body. One of the most efficient delivery models that can be used is a hybrid one combining online learning with face to face practical delivery if required. You should consider your learner cohorts, their specific needs and training product/unit of competency requirements when determining how your courses need to be delivered.

Data quality and claiming payments:

Your AVETMISS submissions need to be error free to ensure you receive your funding payments without delay when your RTO is claiming. Implementing processes to validate your data and correct errors before submission will ensure no disruption to your income from funded training courses.

Contract compliance:

RTOs should consider developing a compliance plan for all funding contracts in place that confirms sufficient controls have been implemented so as to ensure no breach of terms and conditions occurs that could have significant financial and reputational impact on the business. Risks can be mitigated in numerous ways e.g. implementing organisational policies and procedures.

Reporting:

Funding agreements typically require RTOs to submit reports at regular intervals in addition to the data submissions required. These progress reports tend to be a requirement of contract terms and conditions and there can be penalties if they are not submitted in a timely fashion. RTOs should ensure they develop a reporting schedule and have appropriate management oversight of these requirements so as to ensure no breach occurs that affects your RTOs performance against the contract. Failure to report appropriately could affect your RTO securing future contracts in some cases.

Other feature articles:

Get ready for JobTrainer 

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

 

Feature Article: Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Providers with funding contracts in place for subsidised courses have additional compliance obligations to be aware of so as to ensure risks are effectively mitigated. Contract compliance cannot be overlooked as the consequences can be dire for your RTO and impact adversely on you business. Here is some advice to help you understand the important aspects of managing your funding arrangements.

Marketing:

RTOs need to ensure when promoting subsidised training courses that marketing materials (including websites and social media posts) comply with contract terms and conditions, funding body directives and policies related to marketing and advertising. Requirements around style guides to be used when promoting courses and the use of logos and government emblems must be adhered to so as to avoid a breach occuring. Other conditions can include restrictions on offering inducements or gifts to parties in return for enrolment in funded courses.  RTOs should have a process in place that ensures all marketing is reviewed for compliance before approval and publication when associated with a contract to mitigate any risk of a breach

Student recruitment:

When undertaking student recruitment activities particularly when in partnership with 

other parties such as job networks or recruitment agencies you must take care to ensure that you abide by the conditions of your funding agreement and you do not appear to be recruiting prospective students who are unsuitable for your courses. When you are dealing with disadvantaged candidates particularly you should ensure your recruitment processes are ethical and transparent to avoid breaching your contract terms and conditions. RTOs need to ensure that sales staff who are selling your courses are fully aware of the rules of the game!

Eligibility and enrolment: 

RTOs should have rigorous processes in place to ensure they can determine eligibility of prospective students that meet the requirements of the funding agreement criteria prior to enrolment. This may include developing checklists and interview questions that ensure appropriate checks are conducted before enrolling students. Having thorough mechanisms in place pre-enrolment to confirm eligibility will ensure your RTO in not penalised financially down the track when your funder identifies from your data that students were not eligible to received subsidised training places in specific courses.

Course viability and delivery models: 

RTOs should ensure course costings are reflective of the subsidy being provided and the actual expenses required to deliver the specific courses. The viability of the courses you deliver will be dependent on the most efficient delivery models you use and the level of subsidy your receive from the funding body. One of the most efficient delivery models that can be used is a hybrid one combining online learning with face to face practical delivery if required. You should consider your learner cohorts, their specific needs and training product/unit of competency requirements when determining how your courses need to be delivered.

Data quality and claiming payments:

Your AVETMISS submissions need to be error free to ensure you receive your funding payments without delay when your RTO is claiming. Implementing processes to validate your data and correct errors before submission will ensure no disruption to your income from funded training courses.

Contract compliance:

RTOs should consider developing a compliance plan for all funding contracts in place that confirms sufficient controls have been implemented so as to ensure no breach of terms and conditions occurs that could have significant financial and reputational impact on the business. Risks can be mitigated in numerous ways e.g. implementing organisational policies and procedures.

Reporting:

Funding agreements typically require RTOs to submit reports at regular intervals in addition to the data submissions required. These progress reports tend to be a requirement of contract terms and conditions and there can be penalties if they are not submitted in a timely fashion. RTOs should ensure they develop a reporting schedule and have appropriate management oversight of these requirements so as to ensure no breach occurs that affects your RTOs performance against the contract. Failure to report appropriately could affect your RTO securing future contracts in some cases.

Other feature articles:

Get ready for JobTrainer 

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

 

Feature Article: Three essential things all RTO’s should do at the end of the year

Feature Article: Three essential things all RTO’s should do at the end of the year

With the end of the year fast approaching it is important that RTO’s have processes in place that ensures housekeeping for key activities conducted in 2020 is completed. Have staff check these tasks off before they take their leave so they can return to work at the beginning of next year well prepared. We have created a free end of year checklist you can download here to help you wrap up this year effectively!

Review training and assessment strategies:

The end of the year is an ideal time to review your TAS’s and evaluate their effective implementation in 2020. The outcomes of your reviews will inform you as to what improvements and changes you need to make for next year and subsequent intakes of students. You should ensure you have a TAS in place for each training product on scope and unique student cohort. RTOs should consider any recent changes to specific training packages; industry technology and techniques or legislation when determining if a TAS needs updating. Your RTO should also update TAS’s at this point to reflect any staff changes e.g. matrix so they are reflective of what is planned to occur in the delivery for 2021. It is important for RTOs to ensure they maintain comprehensive records of reviews and appropriate version control of each TAS for self-assurance purposes.

Undertake course reviews:

RTOs should have processes in place to review courses at least annually and analyse data from enrolments; surveys; feedback; complaints and validation to effectively monitor the quality of your training and assessment. Involving trainers and assessors in your monitoring processes at the end of the year is an effective way of  reviewing training and assessment strategies and practices. Allowing staff to reflect on how courses were delivered in 2020 will help you determine how well your RTO performed and if you need to make any significant changes to processes for next year. Ensure that you use AVETMISS data such as completion rates and student outcomes to get an insight on how your RTO can improve practices, systems and processes. Also use feedback obtained from students and employers throughout the year to identify if you met their expectations. You can also refer to outcomes of validation activities and internal audits to determine if specific courses have areas of concern that need addressing.

Update trainer and assessor files: 

If trainers and assessors haven’t had the chance to update their staff profiles as they were undertaking currency activities during the year then it is critical they provide evidence for their files before going on leave. Managers should have a process in place for confirming trainer and assessor records are up to date and compliant at the end of each year.  

Other feature articles:

Key benefits of conducting regular quality checks of your training and assessment strategies and practices

The do’s and don’ts of creating an internal audit programme for your RTO

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/compliance-governance/clauses-2.1-8.4-to-8.6

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/faqs

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/meeting-trainer-and-assessor-requirements

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/amount-of-training

 

Feature Article: Tips and tricks for developing a professional development calendar for your RTO

Tips and tricks for developing a professional development calendar for your RTO

RTOs need to be able to evidence that trainers and assessors have met the requirements of Clause 1.16 in the Standards and have undertaken professional development in the knowledge and practice of vocational training learning and assessment and competency-based training and assessment. One of ASQA’s strategic initiatives in their Regulatory Strategy 2020 – 2022 is a focus on trainer and assessor capability. This regulatory concern highlights the importance for RTOs to invest in the professional development of staff to ensure consistency in the quality of training and assessment and student & industry outcomes.

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not to train them and keep them!” Zig Ziglar

What is a training calendar?:

Implementing a training calendar for your RTO is a powerful way to increase trainers and assessors ownership of maintaining their industry and VET currency and creates a culture of personal development. RTOs can use a training calendar to manage the upskilling of staff; plan onboarding activities for new staff; stay on top of compliance training requirements and establish a culture of lifelong learning in your organisation. There are many options available to RTOs in sourcing appropriate professional development opportunities for trainers and assessors. Most external providers such as VELG or VDC for example schedule their offerings months in advance so RTOs can incorporate these activities in their training calendars and just update it as required throughout the year. It can be as simple as creating a shared online calendar and providing staff with the links to the external offerings via that method.

Continuous professional development:

Staff who undertake regular learning activities are more able to adapt to the changing requirements of your business. Trainers who can put their learnings into practice can positively impact on student outcomes. Gathering feedback from trainers on their learning experiences will assist you in adjusting your plan along the way. The PD process enables your trainers and assessors to hone their strengths and needs and build their capability and understanding.

Training needs analysis: 

It is important for RTOs to analyse the learning needs of trainers and assessors. Start with information you have and identify areas of growth and success according to your data. What are your student and employer surveys telling you?  What are your validation outcomes telling you? What are your complaints and appeals outcomes telling you? What trends are you seeing in your course reviews? What can you see in this data that tells you about the performance of your trainers and assessors and the quality of their delivery? Do you collect feedback from your trainers and assessors? Identify their training needs by translating this information into goals and objectives that improves outcomes for your learners. 

Professional development days: 

RTOs can schedule professional development days to undertake those critical learning activities for trainers and assessors that ensures that they have access to important and relevant information essential for their jobs. Creating targeted themes for specific activities that improve professional practice and/or student learning enables them to reflect on their performance and make changes. Ongoing professional development keeps trainer and assessors up to date on training techniques, emerging technology tools for their classrooms, new resources and more. Trainer and assessor professional development is an essential element in an ongoing comprehensive RTO improvement plan and self-assurance. Trainer and assessor capability is one of the most important factors of success for an RTO. Things are continuing to change rapidly in the VET sector and RTOs need to help trainers and assessors stay abreast of these changes by providing on-going PD opportunities.

Other feature articles:

How to effectively deal with non-compliances in trainer and assessor files

Five essential tips for evidencing trainers’ vocational currency

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Key benefits of conducting regular quality checks of your training and assessment strategies and practices

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes 

Why you need to get rid of paper based records in your RTO

Implementing systems for self-assurance

 Free resources for RTO compliance practitioners

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.13-to-1.16

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/meeting-trainer-and-assessor-requirements

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-are-current-requirements-trainers-and-assessors-relation-qualifications-vocational-competencies-and-professional-development

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/how-can-i-demonstrate-i-have-maintained-currency-my-industry-skills-and-my-trainer-assessor

https://www.asqa.gov.au/about/how-we-regulate/regulatory-strategy/regulatory-strategy-2020-22/strategic-initiatives

https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/2854287/VET-teaching-paper_Guthrie_Jones.pdf

Feature Article: How to document trainer and assessor equivalence of vocational competency requirements that will pass audit

To meet the requirements of Clause 1.13 [a] of the Standards your RTO must ensure it has trainers and assessors who are vocationally competent to at least the level being delivered and assessed. They do not need to hold the exact units of competency they are delivering however unless specified by the relevant training package or assessment conditions within a unit of competency. To demonstrate that your trainers and assessors have equivalent vocational competencies where they don’t hold the exact units you must ensure you have sufficiently documented an analysis of their evidence against each unit of competency being delivered.

Demonstrating Vocational Competencies:

According to ASQA if a trainer or assessor holds the qualification they are delivering and has recent extensive industry experience, this may be sufficient to demonstrate they hold both current industry skills and vocational competencies. RTOs needs to take into account when recognising a trainer or assessors evidence of vocational competencies that it should be considered in the context of the specific industry sector with reference to the requirements of the relevant training package and/or the assessment conditions of the specific unit of competency. In the case of trainers or assessors who do not hold the exact units of competency that they are delivering but they have the appropriate industry experience your RTO would need to analyse the skills and knowledge they deliver and compare this to their industry skills and knowledge. ASQA would want to see a mapping of the evidence presented that shows equivalence to the units of competency being delivered.

Mapping Equivalence:

Your documented analysis of a trainer or assessors evidence should address the following key aspects:

  • Identify the skills and knowledge requirements for each unit of competency the trainer or assessor is delivering 
  • collect supporting documentation that demonstrates the equivalence
  • authenticate the documentation provided with issuers of credentials and employers
  • record the analysis of equivalence in a mapping document.

In analysing the skills and knowledge of the units of competency the trainer or assessor is delivering you are comparing it to the individual trainer or assessor’s industry experience and work history by establishing an equivalence relationship. 

Supporting Documentation: 

RTOs need to have a process in place to verify supporting documentation provided by trainers and assessors. This includes authenticating credentials submitted with the issuer to confirm they are genuine. Work history should also be verified by conducting referee checks at the time of recruitment to confirm relevant industry experience. RTOs should keep records in staff profiles showing how verification was conducted.

Other feature articles:

How to effectively deal with non compliances in trainer and assessor files

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

Five essential tips for evidencing trainers vocational currency

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.13-to-1.16

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/faqs/training-and-assessment

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/meeting-trainer-and-assessor-requirements

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/how-can-i-demonstrate-vocational-competency

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/be-considered-be-vocationally-competent-does-trainer-and-assessor-need-hold-qualification-and

Feature Article: Hints and tips for adding training products to your RTO’s scope of registration

Whether you are adding a training product to your RTO’s scope of registration to enter a new market or because a non-equivalent training product has replaced a superseded version on TGA, you need to ensure you have processes in place that confirm your documentation meets the requirements of the SRTOs 2015 so you don’t risk submitting non-compliant evidence to ASQA at application time.

Application process:

The evidence you need to upload when you apply to add training products to scope of registration using ASQAnet is dependent on the length of time your RTO has held registration for. RTOs who have been registered less than two years have to provide a competed self-assessment for RTO change of scope form and financial viability risk assessment tool in addition to the other documentation required by ASQA. If you have not held registration for at least two years you cannot apply to add TAE training products to your scope of registration. ASQA charge RTOs a fee to lodge each application therefore you should plan for these submissions carefully so you don’t end up having to apply and pay multiple times in the event you omit items from your submission.

Evidence requirements:

ASQA will return incomplete or incorrect applications if the evidence required is not attached to the submission, so it is important that you understand what documentation is necessary to have your application approved. Ensure you accurately identify in the application form the training products you are seeking to add to scope and the locations and states you are planning to deliver in. If you are adding TAE  training products to scope or your application is for an ELICOs course you will need to submit additional evidence. The required documentation for adding these specific training products is listed within ASQAnet in the evidence requirements section.

Documentation to prepare: 

In preparation to add training products to scope your RTO should ensure it has  all the physical, human, learning and assessment resources necessary to deliver the training and assessment as required by Clauses 1.3, and 1.8 in the SRTOs 2015. You must evidence this by developing a training and assessment strategy for the training products you are applying for where you need to outline what resources you have to deliver the courses.

What to do if ASQA request more evidence: 

You must be fully prepared to provide ASQA with compliant documentation such as your training and assessment strategies; trainer and assessor profiles or learning and assessment resources if they request it after you submit your application. This means when you apply to add a training product to scope you need to ensure you are fully resourced for the relevant training product and you can evidence this appropriately. A poorly prepared application with obvious non-compliances will result in further scrutiny from ASQA and in some cases potential regulatory action that could result in a cancellation or suspension of your RTOs registration.

Other feature articles

Quick guide for determining the right amount of training in your TAS’s

Step by step guide to managing transition from superseded training products

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

Five steps to creating a compliant training and assessment strategy

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope-registration

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope-registration/add-items

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope/transition-items

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/general-directions/resourcing-requirements-initial-registration-or-change-scope

Feature Article: Critical things for RTOs to do before an external audit

Feature Article Critical things for RTOs to do before an external audit

Dedicating the necessary time and resources to prepare your RTO for a regulatory or contract audit is a critical investment. Notification of external audits can come at short notice and RTOs must always be ready to respond effectively and quickly in such an event. An RTO who has implemented a robust system of self-assurance will always be adequately prepared and confident in responding to audit notifications. A proper risk management strategy for RTOs should include a well-defined plan for protecting your organisation against adverse regulatory action.

Identify your audit lead:

Designate a reliable individual within your RTO (preferably a senior manager) to take responsibility for planning and preparing your organisation’s audit response. The manager in consultation with the CEO should contact the auditor well in advance of the scheduled audit to clarify the responsibilities of both parties. The audit preparation phase is an important time to review your RTOs compliance risks and communicate management’s priorities for managing them appropriately. Communication from top management will have a dramatic effect on your organisation’s ability to prepare for an audit. The RTO leadership must discuss with staff the importance of the audit and what they can expect. Whether you engage an RTO consultant or your organisation internally handles preparation, the final responsibility for your response and the outcome lays with the CEO. Management must galvanise the whole organisation for audit, not just a select few to achieve a successful outcome.

Identify the scope of the audit:

It is essential that you review the audit notification correspondence carefully and thoroughly when received. Seek clarification from the auditor about any aspects you do not understand to gain a clear understanding of how the regulator or funding body intends to conduct the audit process. This understanding will ensure you are clear on what data and records to gather and what resources you need to address the requirements.

Identify records and data to be collated: 

Develop an approach for pulling the requested records together in a timely fashion. Set a deadline for staff to provide the documents needed so you have time to review them before finalising your submission. Ensure you do your own checks on the documentation collated so you can confirm they are complete and in an acceptable format. Your process should include retaining your own digital copies of the evidence provided to the auditor. Maintaining a list of what you have submitted to the auditor is essential in ensuring that your RTO can track your records movements. The ultimate in audit readiness is a well-documented system of internal controls that has been tested for effectiveness. While this level of organisation may be above and beyond your business as usual processes, it is a critical component of a well-functioning self-assurance system. When properly designed, a system of internal control can identify risks and provide a framework for discovering non-compliance before it potentially impacts on your products and services.

Prepare staff:

Management must discuss with staff the importance of the audit and what they can expect. Auditors may ask to speak with staff involved in different capacities in your RTO. Management should encourage staff to be honest and straightforward in their communication with the auditors without oversharing or volunteering unsolicited information. You can prepare them well in advance of the audit by familiarising them with typical questions an auditor may ask in an audit scenario. The entry meeting of an audit is typically the best time to clarify and understand the process to be used by the auditors as well as the expectations and anticipated timelines and outcomes. Confirming these details will assist your staff in ensuring a positive audit experience is felt by all involved. Arranging for adequate workspace and access to relevant staff, providing accurate records and data, assessing risks and exceptional organisation are all pieces of the preparation puzzle.

Identify resources: 

Determine staffing and space requirements, including whether the auditor will need internet access during the audit interviews; arrange for an appropriate space to accommodate the auditor on site and arrange your meeting room as required. You may want to give the auditor a tour of your premises so ensure that everything is as you want to present it. Don’t assume you can provide the auditors with refreshments or catering.  In most instances they are not permitted to accept hospitality in an audit scenario. Check with them beforehand what they require.

Other feature articles:

Free resources for RTO compliance practitioners

Why you need to get rid of paper based records in your RTO

Implementing systems for self-assurance 

The do’s and don’ts of creating an internal audit programme for your RTO

Responding to an ASQA notice of intent to make a decision  

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/audit/how-to-prepare

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/renew-registration/how-we-assess

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/videos/video-understanding-audits

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/asqas-student-centred-audit-approach

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas/audits