Feature Article: Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Feature Article: Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Trainers and assessors are dual professionals who must be both industry qualified and hold credentials in vocational education and training. RTOs must ensure records of trainers and assessor’s qualifications, vocational competencies and current industry skills are verified and sufficiently evidenced. Maintaining appropriate record keeping systems to routinely manage trainer and assessor profiles is a critical compliance consideration for VET providers. 

Vocational Competence:

If your trainers and assessors hold the exact units of competency that they are delivering training and assessing for then that is sufficient evidence to demonstrate vocational competency. If not you will need to provide a documented analysis e.g. mapping  that demonstrates equivalence of superseded units held and/or other credentials held and/or work history (industry knowledge and skills). This mapping should be at a minimum to the element level of each unit of competency being delivered. Other evidence to be provided could include occupational licences and/or accreditations as required by specific training packages. Supporting documentation that evidences credentials held and verifies claims of work history such as statements of services or references should also be on file. Copies of vocational qualifications must be authenticated with the issuing organisation and records of verification retained on file.

Vocational Currency:

Evidencing concurrent employment in industry for a job role relevant to what trainers and assessors are delivering is an effective way to demonstrate current industry skills.  Supporting documentation such as an employment contract or statement of service should be supplied to verify claims of work history. Other evidence that can demonstrate vocational currency include: 

  • Records of undertaking professional development such as workshops; conferences, forums etc. relevant to the specific industry and units of competency. 
  • Records of active participation in professional associations or memberships / subscriptions relevant to the specific industry and units of competency
  • Evidence of professional readings directly related to the units of competency currently training and/or assessing 

Training and assessing in the workplace does not provide sufficient evidence of vocational currency.

Training and Assessment Competence: 

Trainer and assessor credential requirements in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (SRTOs) 2015 specify they must hold the minimum training and assessment credential TAE40116 or TAE40110 with TAELLN411/TAELLN401A and TAEASS502/TAEASS502A/TAEASS503B or; hold a diploma or higher qualification in adult education. This evidence must be authenticated with the issuing organisation and records of verification retained on file.

Training and Assessment Currency: 

To evidence current knowledge and skills in VET, trainers and assessors should undertake professional development such as training courses; events; conferences; webinars; or workshops relevant to vocational training, learning and assessment specifically competency based training and assessment (CBT). 

While the SRTOs 2015 do not state how frequent this must occur it is generally accepted that to be considered current it should have been undertaken in the last 1 – 2 years. RTOs should also ensure they have consulted with industry to confirm their expectations in relation to maintenance of trainer and assessor industry and VET currency.

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/be-considered-be-vocationally-competent-does-trainer-and-assessor-need-hold-qualification-and

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

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

People don’t do what you expect; they do what you inspect! 

Quality checking processes can provide early indicators of problems and ensure your RTO delivers products and services that meet customers’ needs and expectations..

Course Review: 

If you do not have a process in place to review your RTO’s courses at least annually and analyse data from enrolments; surveys; feedback; complaints and validation you are not effectively monitoring the quality of your training and assessment. RTOs should ensure they retain evidence of reviewing training and assessment strategies and practices and an effective way of doing this is to include trainers and assessors in the process. 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.

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

Changes to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act

Changes to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act
From 1 July 2020, key changes to the requirements for RTOs include: more opportunity to provide ASQA with a remedy for non-compliance and in turn, ASQA will consult with the sector on their approach to undertakings to remedy; ASQA may request information to be provided by RTOs by email or in a particular electronic file format; ASQA can now cancel a VET qualification or statement of attainment without first directing the RTO to do so; ASQA can now instruct that VET student records be provided in a specified electronic format by RTOs.

 

Feature Article: Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Feature Article: Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

RTOs when hiring contract trainers and assessors should ensure systems are in place to retain and verify evidence that shows they can demonstrate appropriate competency, currency and professional development. Even if they are going to be employed by your RTO for a short period of time you need to ensure your recordkeeping of their credentials and supporting documentation is sufficient so as to minimise any risk of creating non-compliances. 

Do you have a current trainer profile that evidences your competency and currency:

If the contract trainer and/or assessor you want to employ doesn’t have a current profile and has recently been working for other RTOs that should raise concerns as it could mean they don’t have an awareness of their obligation to maintain their currency and it may end up costing your RTO time and money to develop them to the standard required by your organisation.  Some may also have learned poor practices in other RTOs that you will need to retrain them in to ensure your processes are adhered to. Recruiting unqualified or inexperienced trainers and/or assessors is a risk to your business and bad hiring decisions can have serious consequences for your RTO.

Does your work history relate to employment outcomes of the training products we want you to deliver:

Let’s face it you don’t want to employ a trainer and/or assessor that has never worked in a job role relevant to the qualifications you are asking them to train and assess in. If they don’t have relevant industry experience they will not been seen as a credible source of information by both students and employers. While you may come across trainers and/or assessors who hold the qualifications you want them to train in, if they don’t also have work experience in the industry behind them it is questionable how they achieved their credentials. Make sure you seek industry feedback as to what credentials and experience are considered appropriate from the trainers and/or assessors you employ. 

What have you done in the last 2 years to stay current in industry:

If the trainer and/or assessor you want to employ has not had a recent position in industry or does not currently have secondary employment in the sector they need to have been undertaking other activities to ensure they have been maintaining their industry currency. You should verify prior to employing them that they have records of relevant activities for each unit of competency they are training and assessing. Remember that your RTO should be consulting with industry to identify which activities your trainers and assessors should undertake and how often. Depending on the industry the frequency may need to be more often to stay on top of rapid changes in specific sectors e.g. IT. Your trainers and assessors records should reflect these requirements.

What professional development have you done in the last 12 months to maintain your knowledge and skills in vocational training and learning:

Many RTOs neglect to ensure that their trainers and/or assessors are undertaking regular professional development to maintain their VET currency. If they have undertaken PD in the last year to upgrade their TAE credentials then generally their VET knowledge and skills are still current.  Your RTO should have a planned approach to professional development in vocational training and learning so as to ensure that all of your trainers and assessors are continuing to develop their knowledge and skill in the VET environment at least on an annual basis. Investing in having highly skilled and competent staff benefits your students and organisation and promotes quality education.

Are your occupational licences and/or industry accreditations current:

Often we see RTOs with expired records of trainers and/or assessors licences on file because they do not have a system of monitoring when these need to be renewed. No one prompts the trainer and/or assessor to provide a new record of their updated licence or industry accreditation. Before engaging a contract trainer and assessor you need to ensure you have their current records of licences and accreditations and you are able to verify they are on top of renewing these credentials else it may become a compliance issue for you. Having a system that identifies records needing to be updated before they lapse ensures you avoid non-compliance with the SRTOs 2015.

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

Feature Article: Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use

Feature Article: Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use

Validating your RTO’s assessment materials pre-use ensures the tools are fit for purpose and meet the requirements of the specific units of competencies and the evidence collected from students meets the principles of assessment and rules of evidence.

Validation before assessment: 

The process of validating your assessment tools before implementation should involve assessors and other parties such as members of your quality team or staff such as literacy and numeracy specialists working collaboratively to focus on the following aspects:

  • Interpreting the unit/s of competency
  • Determining what a competent person would ‘look like’ and the standard to be achieved 
  • Designing the assessment process including identifying what evidence needs to be collected, how it needs to be collected and how many times 
  • Developing the assessment tools using your RTO’s approved templates which includes all student assessment tasks and assessors’ documents including evidence guides
  • Consulting with industry and seeking feedback on the assessment process required

Assessment Mapping:

A mapping document should be developed with your assessment materials for each unit of competency that shows where unit of competency requirements have been addressed in the assessment tasks. A mapping evidences that you have checked the validity of the assessment tool when created and confirms its compliance. It is a useful document to refer to when validating assessment tools before implementation. 

Common non-compliances to look for when validating assessments:

  1. Assessment tools do not meet all the requirements of the relevant unit of competency resulting in the evidence to be collected not being adequate or sufficient.
  2. Practical assessment tasks do not contain sufficient benchmarks for each skill / behaviour to be demonstrated as required by the unit of competency’s performance evidence
  3. Practical assessment tasks have insufficient instructions for assessors and students in conducting role plays / scenarios to ensure consistency in assessment conditions
  4. Assessment tool instructions do not sufficiently detail performance benchmarks to be demonstrated or reflect required observable behaviours 
  5. Assessors have not been provided with clear instructions to ensure evidence collected of each student’s performance is sufficient
  6. Assessment tools do not make provision for the assessors recording of judgement of competency

References: 

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

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

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

https://www.tac.wa.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/2018-13795.pdf

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

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

If you want to achieve quality rather than just ensuring that your RTO meets its regulatory and contractual requirements, then putting the effort into effective internal auditing is essential.

Do:

Develop a proper risk-based audit programme

You audit programme should reflect risks identified in your management systems. Your RTO should not be auditing everything at the same frequency else you will be reviewing some areas too much and others not enough. You should apply risk ratings to areas of concern that determines their priority in the schedule. Ultimately, it’s just a poor use of your resources if not done correctly and you are just auditing for the sake of it and ticking some boxes!

Clearly define audit objectives

Your RTO’s audit objectives define why the audit is being done and what it’s purpose is.  You need to carefully consider why your auditors are actually conducting their reviews; what is the value of them and what outcomes do you want from them? Some objectives to consider are:

  • To check if organisational controls are being adhered to and are in alignment and fit for purpose
  • To determine if staff have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities
  • To identify areas for improvement
  • To determine levels of consistency across processes and departments

Clearly define audit scope

Your RTO’s audit scope should define the extent and boundaries of the proposed audit. These considerations include:

  • The size of the audit?
  • What breadth does it cover?
  • What teams; processes; locations are included?

It is important to be specific with your scope and not make vague references such as “all processes”. A well written scope will clearly define the boundaries of the audit for both auditors and auditees.

Clearly define the audit criteria

Your audit criteria is what the audit is checking against; for RTO’s generally this is likely to be the SNR’s from the SRTO’s 2015 or clauses from funding agreements or other contracts. Similar to the scope the audit criteria helps keep the auditors on track and is used to determine whether evidence complies or does not comply against the audit criteria stated. Your auditors need to be familiar with the requirements of the audit criteria. Audit findings are only valid when referenced back to the criteria, not auditors opinions. 

Use auditors with the right vocational background

Even if your auditors have appropriate qualifications in auditing they still need to know what they are looking at and have knowledge of the VET sector.  Ideally your auditors should be dual qualified / experienced in auditing and training and assessment to ensure they have a broad understanding of what they are auditing.

Don’t:

Use inexperienced or unqualified auditors

Your auditors whether internal staff or external contractors need to be appropriately trained. Training ensures that the auditors do their job correctly; that they use a consistent approach, and that they are skilled in communicating well with auditees. Experienced auditors understand how to conduct effective opening and closing meetings and how to gather and review evidence. They also provide feedback and audit reports that are brief, concise and factual. They do the job right. 

Audit the same things repeatedly: 

It is pointless continuing to audit the same areas and raising more non-compliances when the underlaying causes are not being addressed. There is no value in reviewing areas you know you are going to find the same issues as you did in previous audits.  Your RTO needs to ensure you are following up on outstanding rectifications from previous audits to ensure actions have been taken. This could also mean systemic issues previously identified have been addressed to prevent recurrence.

References: 

https://www.iia.org.au/technical-resources

https://www.pwc.com.au/assurance/internal-audit-profession.html

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

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

Fake beauty college fined

Fake beauty college fined
A dishonest businesswoman who used bogus qualifications to offer hairdressing, cosmetic tattoo and other beauty courses has been ordered to pay almost $700,000 in penalties and costs. Donna Amanda Harrison, also known as Donna Amanda Hawthorn, was last year found to have contravened the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 134 times between January 2015 and July 2016.