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