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 If not you will need to provide a documented analysis e.g. mapping that demonstrates equivalence of superseded units and/or other credentials held and/or work history (industry knowledge and skills).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.
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RTOs are required to offer RPL to prospective students under Clause 1.12 in the SRTOs 2015 unless there is a regulatory or licensing reason prohibiting them from doing so. Many providers fail to resource RPL sufficiently and find it difficult to manage and organise. Here are some mistakes commonly made by RTOs that you should avoid if you want to save time and money and prevent non-compliances occurring in your RPL processes.
Not allocating sufficient resources to RPL:
A lot of RTOs see RPL as less of a priority than delivering training, relegating it to second best and not assigning dedicated and experienced RPL assessors. By allocating inexperienced assessors to RPL who lack confidence in their abilities to conduct this type of assessment it can impact negatively on your clients and RTO’s reputation. RTOs make the mistake of giving RPL to assessors who are already overloaded with excessive workloads and the expectation is they will do it in-between their other priorities or off the sides of their desks. The reality is assessors need to be given sufficient time to manage RPL caseloads. Assessors need to be adept at developing relationships with candidates and their employers. They need to be skilled at establishing rapport with their clients and supporting them throughout the process. A suitability qualified assessor will have expertise in understanding how to collect RPL evidence that meets the unit of competency requirements, principles of assessment and rules of evidence. RTOs can provide effective RPL services by having dedicated staff for this assessment process that provides consistent touch points for students so the experience is personalised for each individual candidate.
Ineffective and inefficient RPL systems:
Some providers fail to implement an effective process for assessment only pathways in their RTO and have insufficient frameworks in place to undertake RPL effectively. They don’t invest in RPL expertise and fail to provide adequate and on-going training for RPL assessors. RTO’s that don’t do RPL well don’t recognise it as a specialised skillset and neglect to allocate sufficient resources in managing it. Some even discourage students from seeking RPL as they don’t have appropriate mechanisms in place to provide the RPL pathway. They typically have not engaged industry in providing input into RPL resources and have lost many opportunities to upskill the workforces of industry clients. By not placing value on RPL as an assessment only pathway they have limited the services they can provide to employers and experienced student cohorts.
Inadequate RPL processes:
Some provider’s neglect to recognise that learner cohorts with existing knowledge and skills are ideal candidates for RPL and have not implemented processes in their organisation’s to identify these opportunities. When they receive enquiries about RPL they fail to provide sufficient information or advice to prospective students about their RPL processes. They may also not have clear instructions and resources that outline expectations for RPL candidates and their RPL assessment tools are dense or over complicated requiring students to interpret training package terminology. These providers may also lack systems for monitoring completion of RPL steps so as to keep the process moving and fail to track achievement of milestones of tasks and timeframes associated with RPL activity.
Poor client service:
Bad management of RPL services can result in slow responsiveness to client enquiries (or no response at all). RPL is done best when assessors engage with candidates from the beginning and throughout the process. RTOs need to understand that their RPL candidates are often working full-time in industry and need flexibility and support in the process, therefore, assessors need to accommodate candidates around 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.
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The ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group (SLG) held its third meeting on 23 November via national videoconference.
We have released a consultation paper on our draft ASQA Compliance Policy. The consultation paper contains 11 questions that we would like our stakeholders to respond to. One of the key processes we are seeking feedback on is ‘undertakings to remedy’.
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.
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.
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.