RTOs are obligated under the SRTOs 2015 (1.5 & 1.6) to engage with industry stakeholders relating to training and assessment strategies and practices. The information you gather from your industry engagement activities should be documented and used to ensure that the training and assessment your RTO provides is industry relevant. This can seem challenging if your RTO does not have a systematic approach in planning how these interactions are to be carried out. The three main reasons RTOs need to seek input from industry are:
- To inform RTO training and assessment strategies and practices including validation processes
- To assist trainers and assessors to maintain currency within their vocational areas
- To enable RTOs to understand their clients and provide training that meets their needs
Your training and assessment strategy (TAS) should identify any workplace partnerships you have with employers to deliver training and assessment on-site. Documenting these types of arrangements is invaluable for delivering industry relevant courses with input from the employer relating to electives chosen; learning, assessment & physical resources being used and the current industry skills of trainers & assessors. If you are delivering mandatory work placement as part of a specific qualification your arrangements for ensuring that students are exposed to a workplace to achieve the required hours should be explained in your TAS. Gathering feedback from employers on these placement outcomes and your RTOs co-ordination of the arrangements will contribute to your industry engagement evidence.
RTOs can formalize communication channels by creating industry reference groups or other forums in which industry representatives can regularly provide advice and guidance in relation to your RTO resources including:
- RTO equipment and infrastructure for delivery of vocational specific training and assessment
- Trialling or testing of learning and assessment resources to confirm their appropriateness for specific industries or groups of learners
Ongoing networking with industry organisations, peak bodies, or employer groups can provide effective means for gathering input from industry on RTO operations. Suggested activities could include:
- Developing networks of relevant employers and industry representatives to participate in assessment validation and/or exchange knowledge, staff and resources with employers, networks and industry bodies.
- Participate in local engagement group e.g. Chambers of Commerce
- Conduct industry events e.g. supplier breakfasts
- Apprenticeship and traineeship engagement relating to workplace verification and student progression and monitoring
Keeping records of industry engagement activities:
RTOs should implement a managed and consistent approach to industry engagement that includes development of an Industry Engagement Plan outlining the activities that will be undertaken by staff to maintain an appropriate level of contact with industry representatives in specific vocational areas. Documenting feedback from industry in relation to training and assessment strategies and practices by using an Industry Consultation Record will ensure appropriate records are maintain that evidences meaningful industry engagement.