Feature Article: How to create a compliant training and assessment strategy (TAS)

Feature Article: How to create a compliant training and assessment strategy (TAS)

It is critical for RTO’s to have effective processes in place that ensure your training and assessment strategies meet the requirements of Clauses 1.1 to 1.4 in the SRTOs 2015.These mandatory compliance documents are likely to be tested by ASQA either when your submit them with an application to add a training product to scope or during a regulatory audit. The following advice provides suggestions for RTOs for creating TAS’s that are compliant with the standards.

Training and assessment strategy template:

Your RTO’s training and assessment strategy template should be designed to capture all of the requirements of Clauses 1.1 to 1.4.  The information contained in your TAS’s feeds your academic planning for all delivery related to training products on your scope of registration. ASQA suggests that a TAS may comprise of multiple documents but there must be consistency between these documents so that the overall strategy is clearly described. You may decide to have separate documents as addendums to your main document for lists such as your staffing matrix, physical resource list or learning and assessment resource list and this is ok.  If you do this you need to ensure that the addendums and their locations are clearly referenced in your main document.

At a minimum your RTO should use a TAS template that captures information for the following aspects:

  1. The training product is identified including the code and full title as per the National Register;
  2. Core and elective components for delivery of full qualifications are identified as per the packaging rules and for partial delivery of qualifications or stand-alone units the specific units of competency being offered are listed;
  3. Entry requirements are explained including mandatory requirements of the training product and any additional requirements as per your RTO policies;
  4. Pre-requisite and co-requisite units are identified;
  5. Sequencing of the delivery and assessment is explained;
  6. The student cohort/s and their characteristics are identified including any existing knowledge, skills and work experience.
  7. Mode of delivery is identified e.g. face-to-face, online, workplace training or mixed mode
  8. Duration and scheduling of your program is provided detailing your amount of training hours that are appropriate for the student cohort/s
  9. Assessment resources, methods and timing are identified including mandatory work placement arrangements
  10. Learning resources are identified
  11. Appropriately qualified trainers and assessors are identified for each unit of competency being offered
  12. Essential physical resources are identified for each unit of competency being offered including facilities such as workshops and labs, equipment and training aids

EDministrate has a Training and Assessment Strategy Template that RTO’s can use that has been designed to meet all the compliance requirements should you need to replace what you are currently using.

Training and assessment strategy checklist:

You can ensure you don’t miss the most critical and important steps when creating your TAS’s by using a well-designed, practical checklist as a guide when developing your training and assessment strategies. Checklists ensure self-accountability for the staff responsible for creating the documents and overall consistency in the process for your RTO. EDministrate has a useful TAS validation checklist available for free download should your staff want to utilise this tool in your RTO.

Developing training and assessment strategies: 

Sources such as the National Register; training package implementation guides; accredited course syllabuses and other RTO planning documents provide critical information needed to develop your training and assessment strategies. The quality of the information you use to create your TAS will impact on the compliance of your document and will only be as good as the reliability of the source. Ensuring that your RTO has well defined processes for creating TAS’s preferably documented in a procedure will guarantee compliance obligations are met.

Validating training and assessment strategies:

RTOs must comply with Clause 2.2 in the SRTOs 2015 which requires systematic monitoring of its training and assessment strategies and practices. This includes having processes in place to evaluate RTO products and services and using feedback to improve its strategies and practices. Therefore, RTO’s must have effective systems in place to validate compliance documents as part of the organisation’s self-assurance framework.  This should include reviews of TAS’s at regular intervals that determines their effectiveness and implementation in the organisation.  Having a documented schedule of checks undertaken on TAS’s provides valuable evidence and ensures your RTO is sufficiently prepared in the event of an ASQA audit.

Approving training and assessment strategies:

It is important that your RTO has an approval process in place before each TAS is implemented in your organisation. Management is accountable for ensuring the quality of training and assessment of a RTO’s course offerings, therefore, should ensure the documents are consistent with your RTO’s actual training and assessment strategies and practices by approving them before finalisation.

Other feature articles:

Why you need to conduct regular quality checks of your training and assessment strategies and practices

Ultimate training and assessment strategy validation checklist 

Five critical things you need to know about your TAS’s staff matrix

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

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

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/addressing-non-compliances-following-an-audit

https://www.asqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/fact_sheet_-_addressing_non-compliances_following_an_audit.pdf?v=1508383873

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.1-to-1.4-2.2

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

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/distance-learning/training-and-assessment

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/delivering-elective-units

Feature Article: Why you need to conduct regular quality checks of your training and assessment strategies and practices

Feature Article Why you need to conduct regular quality checks of your training and assessment strategies and practices

Clauses 1.1 to 1.4 and 2.2 of the SRTOs 2015 require RTOs to implement, monitor and evaluate training and assessment strategies and practices. Quality checking processes form an important part of your RTOs overall self-assessment system and can provide an early indicator of compliance risks ensuring your RTO delivers products and services that meet customers’ needs and expectations.

Course Review: 

Your RTO should have a process in place to review your RTO’s courses at least annually and analyse data from enrolments; surveys; feedback; complaints and validation so you are effectively monitoring the quality of your training and assessment. RTOs should ensure they retain evidence of reviewing training and assessment strategies and practices and including trainers and assessors in the process is an effective way of doing so. You may determine in your checks that you are performing well and don’t need to make any significant changes to processes and this is fine so long as you can provide evidence of having undertaken such a review. However, in most cases RTOs will find something that needs improving and this is perfectly normal and expected.

Monitoring Systems:

Your RTO should have strategies in place to monitor and evaluate training and assessment strategies and practices. This could include internal audits, quality reviews and health checks. Ideally, you should have a plan and schedule that identifies when you are going to carry out these activities so you can resource it appropriately. The outcomes of your checks will inform you as to what improvements and changes you need to make to RTO processes. Ensure you include a focus on high risk areas such as third party arrangements so you regularly monitor the quality and compliance of these services being provided by your partners.

Continuous Improvement:

RTOs should implement processes that ensure reviews at regular intervals of strategies for training and assessment so as to reflect changes in industry technology and techniques, legislation, and the training package itself. Your RTO should also update strategies when resources change e.g. staff so as to ensure they reflect current practice. It is important to ensure you maintain comprehensive records of your reviews and updates so you can evidence systematic improvements made to processes within your organisation.

Other feature articles:

Tips, tricks and tools for ensuring your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

Why you need a staffing matrix in your TAS’s

The role of internal audit in RTO self-assurance

Common non-compliances found in TAS’s and how to rectify them

Ultimate training and assessment strategy validation checklist

References: 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.1-to-1.4-2.2

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/compliance-governance/clauses-2.3-2.4-8.3

Feature Article: Secrets to implementing an effective RPL strategy in your RTO

Feature Article: Secrets to implementing an effective RPL strategy in your RTO

The SRTOs 2015 in Clause 1.12 requires RTOs to offer RPL to students unless there is a regulatory or licensing reason prohibiting them from doing so. Many providers struggle with resourcing RPL sufficiently in their organisations and assessors find it challenging to manage effectively. Here is some practical advice to guide you in saving time and money in your RPL processes and prevent non-compliances occurring in your RTO assessment system.

Allocating resources to RPL:

RTOs can provide effective RPL services by having dedicated staff for this assessment pathway that offers reliable touch points for candidates so the experience is personalised for each individual. RTOs should treat RPL with the same importance and urgency as other assessment pathways. In doing so ensure you assign dedicated and experienced RPL assessors to take care of your RPL clients. If you expect inexperienced assessors who lack confidence in their abilities to conduct this type of assessment it can impact negatively on your clients and RTO’s reputation. Additionally, be careful in assigning RPL to assessors who are already oversubscribed with students caseloads and avoid expecting them to do it in-between their primary responsibilities. Your chosen RPL assessors need to be given sufficient time to manage their caseloads and should be adept at developing relationships with RPL candidates and their employers. These specialists need to be capable at establishing rapport with RPL clients and supporting them throughout the process. RTOs need to ensure their RPL assessors have the expertise in collecting appropriate RPL evidence that meets the unit of competency requirements, principles of assessment and rules of evidence. 

RPL systems:

RTOs need to have RPL frameworks in place as part of their assessment system to undertake RPL effectively and implement effective processes for assessment only pathways. By investing in RPL expertise you can ensure you are providing adequate and on-going training for your RPL assessors. To do RPL well it must be recognised as a specialised skillset and sufficient resources allocated to managing it.  Students should not be discouraged from seeking RPL just because you don’t have appropriate mechanisms in place to provide the RPL pathway. Your RPL should ensure you engage industry in providing input into RPL resources so you don’t lose opportunities to upskill the workforces of industry clients.  By placing value on RPL as an assessment only pathway you can expand the services your RTO can provide to employers and experienced student cohorts. 

RPL processes: 

Your learner cohorts with existing knowledge and skills are ideal candidates for RPL and your RTO should implement processes to identify opportunities to upskill and reskill your clients using assessment only pathways. Ensure your RTO provides sufficient information or advice to prospective students about their RPL processes when they make enquiries. Other processes to consider include providing clear instructions and resources that outline expectations for RPL candidates. Your RPL assessment tools should not be too dense or over complicated requiring your candidates to interpret training package terminology. RTOs need systems for monitoring completion of RPL steps so as to keep the process moving and to be able to track achievement of milestones of tasks and timeframes associated with RPL activity. 

Client service: 

Good management of RPL services should ensure responsiveness to client enquiries and enable conversion to enrolment. RPL is done best when assessors engage with candidates from the beginning and throughout the process. RTOs should accommodate RPL candidates as they are often working full-time in industry and need flexibility and support in the process, therefore, assessors need to be flexible with candidates and their other commitments. RTOs should ensure contact with RPL candidates is maintained at regular intervals not just when the candidate initiates it due to lack of communication.

Other feature articles

How to identify non-compliances in your assessments

Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use 

Four ways to ensure your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

A quick way to deal with non-compliances in your assessments

Implementing systems for self-assurance

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

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.8-to-1.12 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/marketing-recruitment/clause-4.1

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/should-rtos-provide-recognition-prior-learning-rpl-or-training-and-assessment-highly-qualified

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/part-our-strategy-training-and-assessment-my-rto-clusters-assessment-units-competency-do-i-need

https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/exploring-the-recognition-of-prior-learning-in-australian-vet

Feature Article: How to identify non-compliances in your assessments

How to identify non-compliances in your assessments

RTOs should undertake quality checks of assessment tools before implementing them to confirm they are fit for purpose and meet the units of competency requirements, principles of assessment and rules of evidence. Validating your assessment resources as part of quality assurance processes in your resource development activities ensures your RTOs assessment system provides quality outcomes for students and industry. Here is some advice on how to quality check your assessment tools and identify non-compliances before using them.

Check that assessment tools meet unit of competency requirements:

Creating assessment mapping matrices when developing assessment tools is an effective way to confirm that your resources reflect the requirements of the relevant unit of competency. The mapping documents should identify if there are any gaps in the evidence being collected as you will be able to determine at a glance if the performance criteria; knowledge evidence; performance evidence and assessment conditions have all been covered in the assessment tasks provided. Ensure that your assessment tools are mapped to the dimensions of competence and foundation skills if required. Some common issues to look for include if you are assessing performance with written tasks or have all assessment conditions been addressed in your task instructions. If you have assessment resources that are not mapped start with this process and use an assessment mapping matrix template to determine if you have addressed all requirements of the unit of competency in your tools.

Check that assessments address the principles of assessment:

Conduct the following checks on your assessment tools to fix non-compliances:

  • Fairness – Are your assessment task instructions clear and do they provide guidance on the assessment process and advise of the appeal process and incorporate reasonable adjustment?
  • Flexibility – Are you using an appropriate range of assessment methods and is the evidence being gathered coming from a variety of sources reflecting the needs of learners. Are you providing options for RPL or alternative assessment only pathways?
  • Validity – Is the evidence being gathered by the tool addressing the requirements of the specific unit of competency including assessment conditions and reflects workplace practice
  • Reliability – Does the tool provide assessors with benchmark answers / marking criteria, so judgements are consistently made regardless of who is conducting the assessment.

Check that assessments gather evidence that meet the rules of evidence: 

Conduct the following checks on your assessment tools to fix non-compliances:

  • Validity – Does the evidence being collected from the learner confirm that they have the skills, knowledge and attributes as reflected in the specific unit of competency
  • Sufficiency – Is the evidence being collected from the learner enough to confirm that the assessor’s judgement of competence is sound
  • Authenticity – Is the evidence being collected from the learner being authenticated as their own work e.g. declaration and signature
  • Currency – Is the evidence being collected from the learner considered recent or from the present time

Other feature articles:

Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use 

Four ways to ensure your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

A quick way to deal with non-compliances in your assessments

Implementing systems for self-assurance

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

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

References: 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.8-to-1.12

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/conducting-validation

https://www.asqa.gov.au/distance-learning/training-and-assessment

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/using-other-parties-to-collect-assessment-evidence

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/guides/guide-developing-assessment-tools

Feature Article: Tips, tricks and tools for ensuring your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

Feature Article: Tips, tricks and tools for ensuring your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

Your RTOs assessment system must ensure that assessment judgements are routinely validated and consistently made on a sound basis. By introducing robust quality assurance measures in your RTO that focus on compliant assessment practices you will improve the quality of assessment and student and industry outcomes as a result of your self-assurance measures. The following advice provides suggestions for RTOs in meeting these compliance obligations.

Validating your assessors judgements:

The SRTOs 2015 in Clauses 1.9 – 1.11 require RTO’s to conduct validation of assessment practices and judgements. According to ASQA validation is the quality review of the assessment process. This means validation of assessment judgements is conducted post assessment on completed student work. This process involves checking that the assessment tool/s produce/s valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the requirements of the training package or VET accredited courses are met. It includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments and making recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process and/or outcomes and acting upon such recommendations. ASQA also suggests that validation helps ensure RTO’s training and assessment practices are relevant to the needs of industry.

 

RTO’s are required to validate the assessment practices and judgements from a sample of the units of competency within each training product on scope of registration. At least two units of competency should be sampled when validating a training product as suggested by ASQA. You can expand the number of units to be validated at any time during the validation process, particularly when validation outcomes indicate that assessment judgments are not valid and the risk level increases.

Moderating your assessment judgements

ASQA defines moderation as a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgements into alignment. Moderation is generally conducted after assessment and before the finalisation of student results as it ensures the same decisions are applied to all assessment results within the same unit of competency. RTOs may consider implementing moderation of assessment judgements for high risk delivery areas such as programs delivered by third parties or off-shore for example.

Conducting quality checks on student files:

Another self-assurance measure that ensures assessors are being consistent in their assessment practices is to undertake regular quality checks on student files that compliments validation activities and targets courses of concern or high risk areas. These checks should be focused on identified systemic issues or known areas of non-compliance including:

  • Version control of assessment tools used by assessors
  • Verification that learners have undertaken all required assessment tasks 
  • Confirmation of accurate record keeping by assessors
  • Marking has been done in line with benchmark answers and marking guides 
  • Correct recording and issuance of results

These quality checks are valuable in monitoring your RTO’s continuing compliance with the SRTOs 2015 and effectiveness of your self-assurance system. 

Professional development for assessors: 

You can determine from the outcomes of your validation, moderation and quality checks on student files if you have systemic issues relating to your assessors practices. This data provides information that you can use to  establish what professional development needs assessors may have and develop a targeted approach to providing professional development to build their capability. That data may be telling you for example that your RPL assessors need some additional coaching or mentoring in RPL processes, collection of sufficient RPL evidence and recording of their judgements appropriately.

Other feature articles:

Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use 

Four ways to ensure your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

A quick way to deal with non-compliances in your assessments

Implementing systems for self-assurance

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

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

References: 

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019C00503

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/conducting-validation

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

Feature Article: How to prepare for and conduct validation of assessor judgements activities

Feature Article: How to prepare for and conduct validation of assessor judgements activities

ASQA has defined validation as a quality review process that ensures your RTO’s assessment system can consistently produce valid assessment judgements. A valid assessment judgement is one that confirms you have collected sufficient evidence of a learner holding all of the knowledge and skills described in the relevant unit of competency. This activity is carried out post assessment on completed student work so you can confirm the validity of both assessment practices and judgements. The following practical advice assists RTO’s in preparing for post-delivery validation activities so as to simplify the process.

Identify the unit of competencies to be validated:

Your RTOs validation plan should identify the units of competency scheduled for validation. Units should be prioritised for validation according to their risk levels. Be sure to extract enrolment data from your Student Management System that confirms units actually delivered and results for the students selected. 

Nominate suitable validation leads:

Ensure that you have nominated qualified and/or experienced validation leads for your validation panels and advise them of their responsibilities. It is recommended that your validation leads hold the unit of competency TAEASS503 Lead assessment validation processes. It is also advisable to provide validation training or a refresher of your RTOs validation processes for those leads participating in your validation activities so you get the best possible outcome from the process.

Nominate validation panel members:

Once you have identified your validation lead/s you should confirm appropriately qualified validation panel members and advise them of their responsibilities. RTOs must ensure you have people on the panel who are vocationally competent and current for the units being validated and have appropriate training and assessment credentials and VET currency. If possible have someone from industry on your panel as well. Provide your panel members with appropriate validation training or a refresher of your validation processes as required.

Recordkeeping systems:

Documenting your validation outcomes is critical in ensuring an effective validation process is conducted and appropriate records kept. Ensure you accurately calculate your statistically valid student sample size and gather the student evidence required. Organise an electronic filing system and create folder structures to organise the records according to your process. Make sure you inform your validation panel of the availability of the records and where they are located. If you are accessing student records from within your Learning Management System ensure all of your validation panel has the required system access beforehand.

Know your unit of competency:

Read the unit of competency thoroughly as found on www.training.gov.au to familarise yourself with its requirements before you conduct the validation exercise.

Look at the assessment tool:

It is advisable you familiarise yourself with the unit’s tool before you look at the completed student work. Review assessment tasks and check the instructions provided. Check the version of the assessment tool for the unit of competency to be validated so you can compare it with the version administered by the assessor in the sample of completed student work being reviewed. Check the templates used and other supporting documentation to ensure they are the correct versions as required by your RTO’s assessment system.

Review the assessment mapping document: 

Check the assessment mapping document for the relevant unit of competency to confirm that the assessment tasks meet all the requirements so you know the evidence collected by the assessor is relevant and sufficient.

Locate the completed student work: 

Gather the assessment evidence collected by the assessors, student outcomes/records of results issued and feedback given post-delivery. All completed student assessments for the specific units of competency need to be collated for the validation. You are checking that the assessor has marked student’s assessments appropriately and according to benchmark answers and other marking criteria. You are also confirming they have documented their judgement appropriately and their recordkeeping is sufficient.

Complete your validation report:

Pre-populate your report with the details of the units of competency being validated. Be sure to identify required actions to be assigned to responsible officers in your report once the outcomes/findings have been determined. Store your completed validation records in your electronic filing system and other supporting documentation/evidence so they are easily located in one central place.

Other feature articles:

Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use 

Four ways to ensure your RTOs assessment practices are compliant

A quick way to deal with non-compliances in your assessments

Implementing systems for self-assurance

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

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes 

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/conducting-validation

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.8-to-1.12

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clause-1.25

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/i-am-only-trainerassessor-our-small-rto-how-do-i-meet-requirement-clause-111-which-states

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-difference-between-validation-and-moderation-clauses-19-111

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/i-work-small-rto-and-am-also-only-trainer-and-assessor-my-specific-industry-area-how-can-our

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/are-rtos-applying-add-tae-training-package-products-scope-required-provide-independent

Feature Article: How to simplify documenting evidence of industry engagement and consultation

Feature Article: How to simplify documenting evidence of industry engagement and consultation

RTO’s must comply with Clauses 1.5 & 1.6 in the SRTOs 2015 by retaining evidence that demonstrates feedback has been obtained from industry stakeholders relating to training and assessment strategies and practices. Records of outcomes of industry consultation and subsequent changes made to RTO processes as a result should be stored appropriately. Evidence of your formal and informal discussions with employers and how you used their input should be kept so you can ensure your delivery is industry relevant. The following advice provides suggestions of how your RTOs interactions with industry can be documented and maintained.

Record of conversation template:

By documenting the conversations you have with industry stakeholders in a template you will ensure your evidence is provided in a consistent format. Your template should include verification of the input provided from the industry representative by having them sign and date the record. A representative from your RTO should also sign and date the record to confirm its authenticity. The record of conversation template should require your RTO representative to ask appropriate questions of the industry stakeholder that address the requirements of Clauses 1.5 & 1.6 so the feedback captured from the representative is meaningful and specific to relevant training products.

Evidencing consultation with industry stakeholders:

The SRTOs 2015 require RTOs to gather feedback from industry on the choice of electives, contexts, methods, resources and current industry skills of trainers and assessors for all training products on scope of registration. The input gathered from industry should be reflected in training and assessment strategies and practices. Using an Industry Consultation Record is one data collection method that will ensure your RTO can effectively record the formal or informal discussions held with industry. Whether done in person, via email or by phone documenting your engagement and consultation with industry will ensure your RTO has recorded meaningful feedback and is able to use that information effectively in your strategies.

Recordkeeping:

Maintaining your industry consultation records in a centralised document management system ensures you can effectively evidence your ongoing industry engagement activities. The records kept should both include past and recent industry feedback relating to your RTOs training and assessment strategies and practices. It is critical to ensure that your organisation has an appropriate record keeping system in place for physical and/or digital records so they are easily retrieved in the event of an audit or information request.

Other feature articles:

Effective industry engagement strategies for your RTO

Practical guide to developing your RTO’s industry engagement plan

How to evidence industry engagement and consultation for your RTO

Tips for implementing effective industry engagement strategies in your RTO

How to create an effective industry engagement plan 

Tips for evidencing that your RTO has engaged with industry

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.5-1.6

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-evidence-do-i-need-demonstrate-i-have-engaged-industry-what-meant-range-strategies

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/do-i-need-engage-industry-outside-my-organisation-clauses-15-16

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-evidence-could-i-provide-show-trainers-and-assessors-have-current-industry-skills-clauses

https://www.aisc.net.au/content/industry-engagement-guide

Feature Article: Effective industry engagement strategies for your RTO

Feature Article: Effective industry engagement strategies for your RTO

Using a systematic approach to engage with industry stakeholders about your RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices will ensure you obtain appropriate input from employers and businesses about your courses and trainer/assessor currency requirements. Here are some of the key components that your organisation should consider when implementing industry engagement strategies that will meet the requirements of the SRTOs 2015 (1.5 & 1.6).

Steps for consulting with industry:

By developing a written procedure that outlines your RTOs approach to industry consultation you will ensure staff have clear processes for how to conduct industry engagement activities.  The steps you outline in your processes should guide staff in gathering evidence that demonstrates your training and assessment is industry current and relevant. The documented steps should also include the periodic review of training and assessment strategies and practices as part of your industry engagement and consultation so you can confirm your delivery meets expectations of employers and other industry stakeholders. 

Planning your industry engagement and consultation:

By developing an Industry Engagement Plan for your RTO or each individual academic team that identifies the activities your RTO undertakes to gather feedback from industry stakeholders you will ensure your approach is co-ordinated and systematic. A detailed and well thought out plan will ensure consistency in your strategy and identify appropriate activities that will result in meaningful feed being gathered from industry stakeholders. 

The practice of consulting with industry is an on-going process and contributes to continuous improvement including the utilisation of data gathered from your RTO’s formal and informal interactions with industry. Your interactions with employers and other industry stakeholders provide you with the opportunity to obtain feedback and input into your RTOs course offerings ensuring that your delivery meets the needs of your local employers.

Obtaining feedback: 

RTOs can utilise different methods to obtain feedback and input from industry stakeholders. Sources such as Employer Questionnaire data that RTOs are required to report annually to ASQA can be used to analyse feedback from industry on the relevance of the training your RTO provides. You can use this information to contribute to the continuous improvement of your programs. By standardising your industry engagement surveys you can ensure your RTO has a consistent mechanism to capture feedback from industry at scale that informs training and assessment strategies, course planning, funding and business decisions.  

Maintaining records:

Keeping good records of the discussions you have with industry is critical to be able to use it effectively. The feedback and advice received from employers and other stakeholders should be documented and used to ensure that the training and assessment your RTO provides is industry relevant. One way to document feedback from industry for your training and assessment strategies and practices is by using an Industry Consultation Record that details the input received from individuals contributing to meaningful industry engagement for your RTO.

Other feature articles:

Practical guide to developing your RTO’s industry engagement plan

How to evidence industry engagement and consultation for your RTO

Five key ways to evidence industry currency for trainers and assessors

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.5-1.6

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-evidence-do-i-need-demonstrate-i-have-engaged-industry-what-meant-range-strategies

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/7774/srto-evidence-guide.pdf

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/12012/sas-evidence-guide.pdf

Feature Article: Practical guide to developing your RTO’s industry engagement plan

Feature Article: Practical guide to developing your RTO’s industry engagement plan

The SRTOs 2015 (1.5 & 1.6) require RTO’s to consult with industry about training and assessment strategies and practices. Feedback gathered from employers and other industry stakeholders should be documented and used to ensure that your RTO’s delivery is relevant to their needs. Your RTO risks being non-compliant if you do not have a systematic approach in planning how you will engage and consult with industry. By developing an Industry Engagement Plan that outlines the activities your RTO will undertake to ensure an appropriate level of contact with industry is maintained you will ensure you have a managed and consistent approach to industry engagement across different sectors.

Industry engagement strategy:

Your strategy in engaging and consulting with industry stakeholders should ensure you are able to gather meaningful input from employers, businesses and communities relating to:

  • RTO training and assessment strategies and practices including validation processes
  • Trainers and assessors’ maintenance of industry currency within their relevant vocational areas
  • Understanding of your RTO’s clients and provide training that meets their needs

RTO’s can identify relevant industry advisory bodies for specific academic teams as part of their approach.  These could include industry committees, skills alliances, center’s of excellence and regional skills summits. Your plan should include regular contact with these groups/forums or attendance at meetings or via other methods of participation.

Industry Reference Groups:

RTOs can create industry reference groups to facilitate regular consultation with industry stakeholders. Academic teams can form industry reference groups made up of local employers or other interested stakeholders and meet regularly to ensure discussions and feedback from attendees is recorded and used to contribute to planning of courses. Other groups such as your local Chamber of Commerce is another way to develop relationships with local employers for the benefit of your programs

Informal Activities:

There are numerous informal methods of consulting with industry that don’t require RTO’s to always undertake formal consultation. Some ways to establish links with industry include identifying other forums or local networks in existence.  These could include:

  • Local industry or community groups or clubs
  • Large employers  
  • Conducting industry breakfasts

Industry Participation in Validation:

Inviting employers and other industry stakeholders to participate in your validation activities is a valuable exercise. Ensure you include these in your RTO’s Industry Engagement Plan so they are scheduled and co-ordinated strategically. By involving industry in these RTO processes you can also identify opportunities for your staff to visit workplaces to inspect new practices or equipment that may contribute to your RTOs resource planning. The interaction also develops and strengthens relationships with key industry representatives.

Monitoring Apprentices and Trainees:

If your RTO delivers apprenticeship or traineeship qualifications you can plan contact at regular intervals with employers to ensure you routinely gather input on your training and assessment strategies and practices while discussing student progress with employers.

Work Integrated Learning:

Your RTO should plan all of the Work Integrated Learning activities such as Vocational Placement, Work Experience, and Live Work in the Industry Engagement Plan and further document activities in training and assessment strategies that confirms industry stakeholders have been consulted regarding these arrangements. Gathering feedback from employers on these activities should be strategic and conducted on a regular basis.

Other feature articles:

How to evidence industry engagement and consultation for your RTO

Five key ways to evidence industry currency for trainers and assessors

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

Planning essentials for RTOs

Three planning resources every RTO manager should have in their toolkit   

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.5-1.6

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-evidence-do-i-need-demonstrate-i-have-engaged-industry-what-meant-range-strategies

https://www.tac.wa.gov.au/Pages/Industry-Engagement.aspx

Feature Article: How to evidence industry engagement and consultation for your RTO

How to evidence industry engagement and consultation for your RTO

ASQA do not prescribe how RTO’s should record evidence of consultation with industry stakeholders. When undertaking consultation with employers and industry representatives, RTOs should ensure that evidence is collected that verifies training and assessment provided is industry-relevant and graduates skills and knowledge are able to be applied in the workplace. Government funding agreements and other contracts can also require that feedback is gathered from industry for the delivery of government subsidised courses. The following advice will help you understand how your RTO should document industry engagement and consultation activities.

Strategies for industry engagement and consultation:

Your strategies to engage with employers and other relevant industry stakeholders should ensure you can confirm training and assessment provided is relevant and industry outcomes are satisfactory. RTOs must obtain input from industry on the appropriate contexts, methods, resources and trainers and assessors to deliver training products on your scope of registration. The feedback gathered should be used to inform training and assessment strategies; confirm resources are suitable; verify training and assessment provided is relevant to help design your strategies; seek feedback about how you provide training and assessment, and; confirm your trainers and assessors have current industry skills

Training package guidance and requirements:

Training packages or VET accredited courses have companion volumes or implementation guides that provide RTOs with guidance in relation to industry expectations for the skills and knowledge of VET graduates. These key documents should be referred to particularly when developing training and assessment strategies (TAS) to ensure the requirements are considered. Gathering input from employers and other industry stakeholders is critical in ensuring training and assessment is aligned to current methods, technology, products and performance expectations for the workplace tasks specified in the relevant training package or VET accredited course.

Collecting sufficient evidence:

The feedback that you gather from employers and other industry stakeholders should be used in the development and ongoing reviews of your TAS’s. ASQA advise against having industry representatives ‘sign off’ or tick and flick your generic TAS’s. This practice provides no value in improving your delivery. Using the input provided from industry to inform your TAS’s will ensure that you can sufficiently evidence that industry’s views were considered in your delivery.  By documenting an analysis and summary of the feedback given and actions taken by your RTO in the TAS you can confirm that you have undertaken industry engagement and consultation effectively.

Documenting engagement and consultation: 

Your discussions held with industry representatives whether informal or formal can be documented in a record of conversation template. By evidencing your discussions whether conducted in person, via email or by phone you can ensure you have captured the key points and feedback given effectively and use that information for your TAS.

Other feature articles:

How to document records of conversation with industry successfully

Tips for implementing effective industry engagement strategies in your RTO

Tips for evidencing that your RTO has engaged with industry

How to create an effective industry engagement plan

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.5-1.6

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/what-evidence-do-i-need-demonstrate-i-have-engaged-industry-what-meant-range-strategies

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/7774/srto-evidence-guide.pdf

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/12012/sas-evidence-guide.pdf

https://www.dese.gov.au/vet-student-loans/resources/vet-student-loans-manual-providers