Feature Article: FAQ’s about trainer and assessor competency and currency

Feature Article: FAQ’s about trainer and assessor competency and currency

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 If not you will need to provide a documented analysis e.g. mapping  that demonstrates equivalence of superseded units and/or other credentials held and/or work history (industry knowledge and skills).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.

Other feature articles:

Develop a professional development calendar for your RTO 

How to document trainer and assessor equivalence of vocational competency requirements that will pass audit

How to effectively deal with non-compliances in trainer and assessor files

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

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/standards/faqs/trainers-and-assessors

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/meeting-trainer-and-assessor-requirements

Feature Article: Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Providers with funding contracts in place for subsidised courses have additional compliance obligations to be aware of so as to ensure risks are effectively mitigated. Contract compliance cannot be overlooked as the consequences can be dire for your RTO and impact adversely on you business. Here is some advice to help you understand the important aspects of managing your funding arrangements.

Marketing:

RTOs need to ensure when promoting subsidised training courses that marketing materials (including websites and social media posts) comply with contract terms and conditions, funding body directives and policies related to marketing and advertising. Requirements around style guides to be used when promoting courses and the use of logos and government emblems must be adhered to so as to avoid a breach occuring. Other conditions can include restrictions on offering inducements or gifts to parties in return for enrolment in funded courses.  RTOs should have a process in place that ensures all marketing is reviewed for compliance before approval and publication when associated with a contract to mitigate any risk of a breach

Student recruitment:

When undertaking student recruitment activities particularly when in partnership with other parties such as job networks or recruitment agencies you must take care to ensure that you abide by the conditions of your funding agreement and you do not appear to be recruiting prospective students who are unsuitable for your courses. When you are dealing with disadvantaged candidates particularly you should ensure your recruitment processes are ethical and transparent to avoid breaching your contract terms and conditions. RTOs need to ensure that sales staff who are selling your courses are fully aware of the rules of the game!

Eligibility and enrolment: 

RTOs should have rigorous processes in place to ensure they can determine eligibility of prospective students that meet the requirements of the funding agreement criteria prior to enrolment. This may include developing checklists and interview questions that ensure appropriate checks are conducted before enrolling students. Having thorough mechanisms in place pre-enrolment to confirm eligibility will ensure your RTO in not penalised financially down the track when your funder identifies from your data that students were not eligible to received subsidised training places in specific courses.

Course viability and delivery models: 

RTOs should ensure course costings are reflective of the subsidy being provided and the actual expenses required to deliver the specific courses. The viability of the courses you deliver will be dependent on the most efficient delivery models you use and the level of subsidy your receive from the funding body. One of the most efficient delivery models that can be used is a hybrid one combining online learning with face to face practical delivery if required. You should consider your learner cohorts, their specific needs and training product/unit of competency requirements when determining how your courses need to be delivered.

Data quality and claiming payments:

Your AVETMISS submissions need to be error free to ensure you receive your funding payments without delay when your RTO is claiming. Implementing processes to validate your data and correct errors before submission will ensure no disruption to your income from funded training courses.

Contract compliance:

RTOs should consider developing a compliance plan for all funding contracts in place that confirms sufficient controls have been implemented so as to ensure no breach of terms and conditions occurs that could have significant financial and reputational impact on the business. Risks can be mitigated in numerous ways e.g. implementing organisational policies and procedures.

Reporting:

Funding agreements typically require RTOs to submit reports at regular intervals in addition to the data submissions required. These progress reports tend to be a requirement of contract terms and conditions and there can be penalties if they are not submitted in a timely fashion. RTOs should ensure they develop a reporting schedule and have appropriate management oversight of these requirements so as to ensure no breach occurs that affects your RTOs performance against the contract. Failure to report appropriately could affect your RTO securing future contracts in some cases.

Other feature articles:

Get ready for JobTrainer 

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

 

Feature Article: Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Seven tips for managing RTO funding contracts effectively

Providers with funding contracts in place for subsidised courses have additional compliance obligations to be aware of so as to ensure risks are effectively mitigated. Contract compliance cannot be overlooked as the consequences can be dire for your RTO and impact adversely on you business. Here is some advice to help you understand the important aspects of managing your funding arrangements.

Marketing:

RTOs need to ensure when promoting subsidised training courses that marketing materials (including websites and social media posts) comply with contract terms and conditions, funding body directives and policies related to marketing and advertising. Requirements around style guides to be used when promoting courses and the use of logos and government emblems must be adhered to so as to avoid a breach occuring. Other conditions can include restrictions on offering inducements or gifts to parties in return for enrolment in funded courses.  RTOs should have a process in place that ensures all marketing is reviewed for compliance before approval and publication when associated with a contract to mitigate any risk of a breach

Student recruitment:

When undertaking student recruitment activities particularly when in partnership with 

other parties such as job networks or recruitment agencies you must take care to ensure that you abide by the conditions of your funding agreement and you do not appear to be recruiting prospective students who are unsuitable for your courses. When you are dealing with disadvantaged candidates particularly you should ensure your recruitment processes are ethical and transparent to avoid breaching your contract terms and conditions. RTOs need to ensure that sales staff who are selling your courses are fully aware of the rules of the game!

Eligibility and enrolment: 

RTOs should have rigorous processes in place to ensure they can determine eligibility of prospective students that meet the requirements of the funding agreement criteria prior to enrolment. This may include developing checklists and interview questions that ensure appropriate checks are conducted before enrolling students. Having thorough mechanisms in place pre-enrolment to confirm eligibility will ensure your RTO in not penalised financially down the track when your funder identifies from your data that students were not eligible to received subsidised training places in specific courses.

Course viability and delivery models: 

RTOs should ensure course costings are reflective of the subsidy being provided and the actual expenses required to deliver the specific courses. The viability of the courses you deliver will be dependent on the most efficient delivery models you use and the level of subsidy your receive from the funding body. One of the most efficient delivery models that can be used is a hybrid one combining online learning with face to face practical delivery if required. You should consider your learner cohorts, their specific needs and training product/unit of competency requirements when determining how your courses need to be delivered.

Data quality and claiming payments:

Your AVETMISS submissions need to be error free to ensure you receive your funding payments without delay when your RTO is claiming. Implementing processes to validate your data and correct errors before submission will ensure no disruption to your income from funded training courses.

Contract compliance:

RTOs should consider developing a compliance plan for all funding contracts in place that confirms sufficient controls have been implemented so as to ensure no breach of terms and conditions occurs that could have significant financial and reputational impact on the business. Risks can be mitigated in numerous ways e.g. implementing organisational policies and procedures.

Reporting:

Funding agreements typically require RTOs to submit reports at regular intervals in addition to the data submissions required. These progress reports tend to be a requirement of contract terms and conditions and there can be penalties if they are not submitted in a timely fashion. RTOs should ensure they develop a reporting schedule and have appropriate management oversight of these requirements so as to ensure no breach occurs that affects your RTOs performance against the contract. Failure to report appropriately could affect your RTO securing future contracts in some cases.

Other feature articles:

Get ready for JobTrainer 

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Four key pieces of advice for RTO managers

Planning essentials for RTOs 

5 signs you need to hire an RTO consultant for your business

Critical steps in choosing the right RTO consultant to work with

References:

https://www.dese.gov.au/about-us/corporate-reporting/budget/budget-2020-21

https://www.employment.gov.au/vet-student-loans/vet-student-loans-applicants

https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/sas

https://www.csq.org.au/registered-training-organisations/

https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-training-providers

https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/providers/funding/Pages/serviceagree.aspx

https://providers.skills.sa.gov.au/Get-Started/Contracting

https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/vet-jswa

https://www.skills.tas.gov.au/providers/rto/funding_programs_for_endorsed_rtos

https://nt.gov.au/learning/adult-education-and-training/for-registered-training-organisations-rtos/introduction

https://www.skills.act.gov.au/registered-training-organisations

 

Feature Article: How to document trainer and assessor equivalence of vocational competency requirements that will pass audit

To meet the requirements of Clause 1.13 [a] of the Standards your RTO must ensure it has trainers and assessors who are vocationally competent to at least the level being delivered and assessed. They do not need to hold the exact units of competency they are delivering however unless specified by the relevant training package or assessment conditions within a unit of competency. To demonstrate that your trainers and assessors have equivalent vocational competencies where they don’t hold the exact units you must ensure you have sufficiently documented an analysis of their evidence against each unit of competency being delivered.

Demonstrating Vocational Competencies:

According to ASQA if a trainer or assessor holds the qualification they are delivering and has recent extensive industry experience, this may be sufficient to demonstrate they hold both current industry skills and vocational competencies. RTOs needs to take into account when recognising a trainer or assessors evidence of vocational competencies that it should be considered in the context of the specific industry sector with reference to the requirements of the relevant training package and/or the assessment conditions of the specific unit of competency. In the case of trainers or assessors who do not hold the exact units of competency that they are delivering but they have the appropriate industry experience your RTO would need to analyse the skills and knowledge they deliver and compare this to their industry skills and knowledge. ASQA would want to see a mapping of the evidence presented that shows equivalence to the units of competency being delivered.

Mapping Equivalence:

Your documented analysis of a trainer or assessors evidence should address the following key aspects:

  • Identify the skills and knowledge requirements for each unit of competency the trainer or assessor is delivering 
  • collect supporting documentation that demonstrates the equivalence
  • authenticate the documentation provided with issuers of credentials and employers
  • record the analysis of equivalence in a mapping document.

In analysing the skills and knowledge of the units of competency the trainer or assessor is delivering you are comparing it to the individual trainer or assessor’s industry experience and work history by establishing an equivalence relationship. 

Supporting Documentation: 

RTOs need to have a process in place to verify supporting documentation provided by trainers and assessors. This includes authenticating credentials submitted with the issuer to confirm they are genuine. Work history should also be verified by conducting referee checks at the time of recruitment to confirm relevant industry experience. RTOs should keep records in staff profiles showing how verification was conducted.

Other feature articles:

How to effectively deal with non compliances in trainer and assessor files

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

Five essential tips for evidencing trainers vocational currency

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/how-can-i-demonstrate-vocational-competency

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/be-considered-be-vocationally-competent-does-trainer-and-assessor-need-hold-qualification-and

Feature Article: Hints and tips for adding training products to your RTO’s scope of registration

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.

Application process:

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.

Evidence requirements:

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.

Other feature articles

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

Step by step guide to managing transition from superseded training products

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

Five steps to creating a compliant training and assessment strategy

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope-registration

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope-registration/add-items

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/change-scope/transition-items

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

Feature Article: Critical things for RTOs to do before an external audit

Feature Article Critical things for RTOs to do before an external audit

Dedicating the necessary time and resources to prepare your RTO for a regulatory or contract audit is a critical investment. Notification of external audits can come at short notice and RTOs must always be ready to respond effectively and quickly in such an event. An RTO who has implemented a robust system of self-assurance will always be adequately prepared and confident in responding to audit notifications. A proper risk management strategy for RTOs should include a well-defined plan for protecting your organisation against adverse regulatory action.

Identify your audit lead:

Designate a reliable individual within your RTO (preferably a senior manager) to take responsibility for planning and preparing your organisation’s audit response. The manager in consultation with the CEO should contact the auditor well in advance of the scheduled audit to clarify the responsibilities of both parties. The audit preparation phase is an important time to review your RTOs compliance risks and communicate management’s priorities for managing them appropriately. Communication from top management will have a dramatic effect on your organisation’s ability to prepare for an audit. The RTO leadership must discuss with staff the importance of the audit and what they can expect. Whether you engage an RTO consultant or your organisation internally handles preparation, the final responsibility for your response and the outcome lays with the CEO. Management must galvanise the whole organisation for audit, not just a select few to achieve a successful outcome.

Identify the scope of the audit:

It is essential that you review the audit notification correspondence carefully and thoroughly when received. Seek clarification from the auditor about any aspects you do not understand to gain a clear understanding of how the regulator or funding body intends to conduct the audit process. This understanding will ensure you are clear on what data and records to gather and what resources you need to address the requirements.

Identify records and data to be collated: 

Develop an approach for pulling the requested records together in a timely fashion. Set a deadline for staff to provide the documents needed so you have time to review them before finalising your submission. Ensure you do your own checks on the documentation collated so you can confirm they are complete and in an acceptable format. Your process should include retaining your own digital copies of the evidence provided to the auditor. Maintaining a list of what you have submitted to the auditor is essential in ensuring that your RTO can track your records movements. The ultimate in audit readiness is a well-documented system of internal controls that has been tested for effectiveness. While this level of organisation may be above and beyond your business as usual processes, it is a critical component of a well-functioning self-assurance system. When properly designed, a system of internal control can identify risks and provide a framework for discovering non-compliance before it potentially impacts on your products and services.

Prepare staff:

Management must discuss with staff the importance of the audit and what they can expect. Auditors may ask to speak with staff involved in different capacities in your RTO. Management should encourage staff to be honest and straightforward in their communication with the auditors without oversharing or volunteering unsolicited information. You can prepare them well in advance of the audit by familiarising them with typical questions an auditor may ask in an audit scenario. The entry meeting of an audit is typically the best time to clarify and understand the process to be used by the auditors as well as the expectations and anticipated timelines and outcomes. Confirming these details will assist your staff in ensuring a positive audit experience is felt by all involved. Arranging for adequate workspace and access to relevant staff, providing accurate records and data, assessing risks and exceptional organisation are all pieces of the preparation puzzle.

Identify resources: 

Determine staffing and space requirements, including whether the auditor will need internet access during the audit interviews; arrange for an appropriate space to accommodate the auditor on site and arrange your meeting room as required. You may want to give the auditor a tour of your premises so ensure that everything is as you want to present it. Don’t assume you can provide the auditors with refreshments or catering.  In most instances they are not permitted to accept hospitality in an audit scenario. Check with them beforehand what they require.

Other feature articles:

Free resources for RTO compliance practitioners

Why you need to get rid of paper based records in your RTO

Implementing systems for self-assurance 

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

Responding to an ASQA notice of intent to make a decision  

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/audit/how-to-prepare

https://www.asqa.gov.au/rto/renew-registration/how-we-assess

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/asqas-student-centred-audit-approach

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

Feature Article: Why you need to get rid of paper based records in your RTO

Why you need to get rid of paper based records in your RTO

Legislative changes came into force on 1 September 2020 that now means the National Regulator can request student records from RTOs in a specified electronic format. For providers who are still managing paper-based student records now is the time to develop a strategy to digitise these documents. ASQA are yet to advise RTOs of the information technology requirements for electronic student records but in planning now to transition your record keeping systems you can anticipate future needs. The following information provides RTOs with food for thought in relation to managing student records electronically.

Learning Management Systems:

Learning Management System, also referred to as LMS, in simple terms is a software application for managing e-Learning which helps in administration, documentation, tracking, and recording. Typically, a LMS provides the user with a way in which to create and deliver learning content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. Some systems may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussion, video conferencing, and discussion forums. An LMS enables automation of grading and reporting thus providing valuable data statistics. One of the advantages of an LMS is the functionality for easily adapting and reusing materials over time. This is because the system is a central repository for all the content housed within. 

Blended or hybrid learning is also made possible via an LMS. This delivery mode means having the opportunity to combine multiple forms of learning including eLearning, simulation-based learning, mobile learning and classroom-based learning. If you are moving from traditional, face-to-face classrooms or training, using an LMS can save you tremendous time and resources. RTOs can significantly reduce expenses such as facility hire, travel and printing costs while giving students the flexibility to learn at their own convenience from any location. It is important to note that the technology doesn’t replace the trainer/assessor, it is a powerful tool that can allow you to scale the delivery of your courses. Many RTO’s had to pivot to online training when COVID-19 happened and it has been realised by most that blended delivery models are here to stay to ensure continuity of business should a vaccine to end the pandemic not be available any time soon. 

In choosing an LMS platform RTOs should consider one that has the ability to integrate with its other IT systems preferably with features such as single sign on for accessibility.

Digital Skills:

Much has been said in recent times about us needing to rethink and digitise traditional learning pathways (PWC) and disrupt the modality of learning (DESE) due to the rapid and constant changes in technology in the workplace (NCVER). If COVID-19 has taught us anything by disrupting the VET sector it’s that our trainers and assessors need exceptional digital skills to use the technology we provide our learners with and to be able to train them in the digital skills they need for the future jobs emerging from the pandemic. RTO managers shouldn’t assume their staffs’ existing qualifications mean that they are also digitally literate and capable. For RTOs to be industry relevant and in order to compete with non-traditional training providers (EdTech) who are agile and quick to keep up with the pace of change, CEO’s should consider how you can ensure the digital skills of your RTO workforce is current and sufficient.

Digitisation of Records:

Digitising is defined as the process of converting any hardcopy, or paper-based records into digital format. Document scanning is essentially digitising paper documents. Through the use of a scanning device, hard copy documents are converted into electronic files for more efficient storage, security, and management. Digitisation benefits businesses as paper records are expensive to physically store, hard to track, easy to lose and time-consuming to create. Risks associated with managing your RTOs physical documents include theft, natural disasters, human error, lost records, and more. 

Using technology and processes to bring your records into the digital age is a benefit to your staff and customers. The advantages of getting rid of paper based records is increased productivity, reduced costs and stress, accessibility and data security. Both your administration and training staff’s productivity can be affected by the inability to access correct information because of outdated and manual systems. They are held back by information not being shared in a central place. CEOs of RTOs must consider what capability and capacity they have internally to implement a digitisation strategy and consider the external threats and opportunities of introducing such an initiative.

Other Feature Articles:

https://www.edministrate.com.au/5-signs-you-need-to-hire-an-rto-consultant-for-your-business/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/implementing-systems-for-self-assurance/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/critical-steps-in-choosing-the-right-rto-consultant-to-work-with/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/the-essential-guide-to-setting-up-a-qms-in-your-rto/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/feature-article-three-planning-resources-every-rto-manager-should-have-in-their-toolkit/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/feature-article-four-key-pieces-of-advice-for-rto-managers/

https://www.edministrate.com.au/feature-article-planning-essentials-for-rtos/

References: 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/distance-learning

https://www.asqa.gov.au/distance-learning/reporting-record-keeping

https://www.asqa.gov.au/distance-learning/sector-insights

https://www.asqa.gov.au/legislative-changes

https://www.northpass.com/learning-management-systems

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/

https://itbrief.com.au/story/lack-of-access-to-information-affecting-australian-productivity

https://www.pwc.com.au/important-problems/where-next-for-skills-business-led-upskilling-for-productivity-growth.html 

https://www.employment.gov.au/digital 

https://www.ncver.edu.au/news-and-events/podcasts/vocational-voices-podcast/transcripts/transcript-of-workforce-ready-challenges-and-opportunities-for-vet

Feature Article: How to effectively deal with non-compliances in trainer and assessor files

Employers adopting new models of learning to develop employees for the future of work

ASQA expects RTOs to be accountable for identifying and correcting non-compliant practices and behaviours, particularly those that have had a negative impact on learners. In an audit situation they require a provider to address non-compliance so that future learners will not be negatively affected and identify the impact non-compliance has had on past learners remediating any impacts had on students. The following advice will assist RTOs in identifying and addressing non-compliances found in records located in trainer or assessor files.

Does not have evidence of holding appropriate training and assessment credentials:

If you find you have trainers or assessors that do not have evidence on file of holding a relevant TAE qualification, skillset or recognised higher level qualification they should not be permitted to train and assess until you rectify the situation. This includes those trainers and/or assessors that may hold a TAE10 credential and need to provide evidence that they also have completed both upgrade units as required by Clause 1.14 in the SRTOs 2015. RTOs should not assume that trainers or assessors hold these credentials and must verify the documentation and maintain appropriate records. Should you determine some staff do not have sufficient evidence of holding appropriate training and assessment credentials a plan that identifies actions to rectify the issue must be implemented immediately for the individual. This plan could include details of required supervision and support to obtain the necessary credentials. 

Insufficient evidence to demonstrate vocational competencies:

Trainers or assessors that do not hold the relevant industry qualification and/or unit(s) of competency (or their equivalent) and cannot demonstrate equivalence through mapping relevant industry work experience, skills & knowledge should not be permitted to deliver training or conduct assessment until you can sufficiently evidence their vocational competence. Rectification includes removing them from your staffing matrixes in your training and assessment strategies (TAS’s). Where a trainer or assessor lacks sufficient evidence it may be a simple case of providing missing or incomplete records. However, if your trainer or assessor does not hold an industry qualification or cannot show equivalence of their work history to the units of competency being delivered then you need to develop a professional development plan that enables them to obtain relevant and sufficient industry experience.  The plan could identify return to industry for a specified period of time depending on how many units of competency they are delivering. ASQA advise that if a trainer/assessor have no vocational competence (experience) in the area they are teaching in or no formal training or assessment qualifications, training and assessment delivered by them may be inadequate and learners impacted therefore it is critical for RTOs to ensure vocational competence of staff is confirmed and sufficiently evidenced.

Does not hold mandatory vocational qualifications:

Specific training products require that trainers and/or assessors hold mandatory vocational qualifications, licences or accreditations which are typically identified in the assessment conditions of units of competency or can otherwise be located in training package companion volumes or implementation guides e.g. nursing, commercial cookery, fitness. If you determine your trainer does not have evidence of holding the specified vocational qualification it may be the case that they cannot assess the units of competency they are delivering until they can provide the required evidence. In other instances a training product will make reference to required industry experience in the assessment conditions of units of competency e.g. hospitality, hairdressing, fitness, civil construction therefore, you must have documented evidence that your assessors have a work history that meets these requirements. Assessors that do not have sufficient evidence of industry experience should not be permitted to assess and be placed on a professional development plan that includes return to industry so as to obtain the required experience. 

Insufficient evidence of maintaining industry currency: 

If you have trainers and/or assessors that are vocationally competent but they do not have evidence of maintaining their industry currency in the last 2 years for all or some of the units of competency they are delivering you need to ensure they have a professional development plan that details how they are going to obtain this evidence. The plan needs to identify appropriate currency activities for each unit of competency they are identified against on the staffing matrixes in your TAS’s. Ideally these activities should be completed prior to the next delivery of the specific units of competency needing additional evidence. Remember that industry currency activities should be endorsed by the relevant industry sector of the training products you deliver as appropriate.

Insufficient evidence of maintaining VET currency:

Trainers or assessors that have not undertaken any professional development in VET training and assessment in the last 12 months should complete relevant PD as soon as possible as determined by your RTO. They can be permitted to continue delivering training and conducting assessment, but should commit to further PD over the next 12 months as identified in a professional development plan

Monitoring Professional Development Plans:

Any professional development plans implemented to return trainers or assessors to a compliant status should be monitored regularly by RTO managers to ensure timeframes for completion are met and individual goals achieved. We recommend ensuring that this is addressed in regular performance conversations between management and staff.

Other feature articles:

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent 

Five essential tips for evidencing trainer’s vocational currency

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.13-to-1.16

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/training-assessment/clauses-1.17-to-1.20

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

https://www.asqa.gov.au/faqs/trainer-and-assessor-do-i-need-hold-unit-taelln411-address-adult-language-literacy-and-numeracy

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/faqs/individuals-working-under-supervision-trainer

https://www.asqa.gov.au/standards/faqs/trainers-and-assessors

Feature Article: Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

Easy ways to determine if a trainer or assessor is vocationally competent

The SRTOs 2015 require trainers and assessors to have vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed as referred to in Clause 1.13 b. Vocational competency means trainers have the particular skills and knowledge relevant to the industry area in which they are delivering. Training Packages may also stipulate specific vocational competency requirements for trainers and assessors. This can include relevant industry qualifications and/or industry experience. RTOs need to ensure these requirements are evidenced and appropriate records are maintained that demonstrate staff are vocationally competent both at the qualification and unit of competency level.

They hold the exact units of competency being delivered:

If your trainers and assessors hold the exact units of competency that they are delivering then that is sufficient evidence to demonstrate vocational competency (so long as they also have relevant industry experience). Additionally, some training packages or qualifications have specific requirements for assessors to hold vocational credentials so RTOs need to ensure that these requirements are identified and evidenced appropriately. For example, to deliver commercial cookery units from the SIT training package assessors must hold a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery. Another example is trainers and assessors who deliver TAE qualifications must hold either the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or the Diploma of Training Design and Development or a higher level qualification in adult education.

Demonstrating equivalence of competency:

RTOs 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) for trainers and assessors. This mapping should be at a minimum to the element level of each unit of competency being delivered. You need to ensure that supporting documentation that evidences credentials held and verifies claims of work history such as statements of services or references is also provided. Copies of vocational qualifications must be authenticated with the issuing organisation and records of verification retained on file.

Work history: 

Some training packages and / or units of competency have specific requirements regarding years of industry experience that assessors must have to deliver. These requirements must be evidenced in the trainers file for the training products they train and assess. If your trainer and assessor holds a vocational qualification without having relevant industry experience they will not be viewed as being credible and this can impact on student and industry outcomes for your RTO.  It is important that in addition to adhering to the training package requirements that you also seek industry feedback regarding what they view as the appropriate vocational qualifications and experience for your trainers and assessors as required in Clauses 1.5 & 1.6.  

Occupational licences and accreditation: 

For qualifications or units of competency with specific licensing or industry accreditation outcomes it may be a requirement that trainers and assessors hold a licence, ticket, professional body credential or registration relevant to the vocational area they are training and assessing. In this case it is important that RTOs ensure records of these credentials are regularly maintained and up to date in each file as they typically have expiry dates.

Other feature articles:

Five essential tips for evidencing trainer’s vocational currency

Four point checklist for compliant trainer and assessor profiles

Five questions you should ask before engaging contract trainers and assessors

Common compliance mistakes every RTO makes

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/how-can-i-demonstrate-vocational-competency

Feature Article: Implementing systems for self-assurance

Implementing systems for self-assurance

The definition of self-assurance according to the Oxford Dictionary is confidence in one’s own abilities or character. RTOs need systems in place to be able to confirm that they are compliant with the SRTOs 2015 and their students are meeting industry expectations. Implementing systems to ensure self-assurance will depend on the size of your RTO, the number of training products on scope and the risks associated with the training and assessment services you provide. Self-assurance is the process of RTOs accepting responsibility and accountability for their on-going performance and student outcomes. It is important to note that self-assurance is not self-regulation.  ASQA as the National Regulator will continue to ensure that RTOs meet their regulatory obligations and adhere to legislative requirements.

Annual declaration of compliance:

Part of the process of completing the annual declaration of compliance requires confirmation that your RTO is systematically monitoring compliance with the SRTOs 2015. To be able to do so you should include an analysis of data you have obtained from your RTOs internal audits, reviews or quality checks. One way to identify if you currently meet compliance obligations and have also done so in the past year is to utilize ASQA’s Self-Assessment Tool to assist in preparation of the annual declaration.  

Course reviews:

Using AVETMISS data such as completion rates and student outcomes when reviewing courses delivered can provide insight into how your RTO is performing. It is an effective way to determine what improvements your practices, systems and processes may require. Additionally, using feedback obtained from students and employers from sources such as your Quality Indicator Data enables RTOs to continuously improve services for clients. You can also refer to outcomes of validation activity and internal audits to determine if specific courses have areas of concern that need addressing.

Scope of registration: 

By reviewing the training products you have on scope at least annually you can determine if you continue to be sufficiently resourced and are managing your scope of registration appropriately in accordance with Clause 1.3. Your enrollment data should provide information on whether there is an on-going demand for the training products you are registered for and inform your decisions to change your RTOs scope of registration if necessary.

Internal audits: 

An effective internal audit programme will provide valuable data that identifies the risks in your training and assessment. Regular monitoring of your operations provides a CEO with assurance of the RTOs risk management, internal controls and governance processes. It also drives a regular cycle of continuous improvement within an organisation and accountability for meeting regulatory obligations and legislative requirements. Internal audits also identify areas where efficiencies or innovations need to be made.

Compliance Staff:

Whether you have dedicated compliance staff in-house or you outsource compliance experts like EDministrate when required it is critical that RTOs have the necessary expertise to quality assure it operations. The risk of non-compliance with regulatory obligations and legislative or contractual requirements is real and has severe consequences for your RTO that can lead to financial, legal and reputational impacts on your business. The role of compliance staff is vital in protecting your RTO from compliance risk and regulatory action. 

Other feature articles:

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

Cheat sheet for validating assessments prior to use

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

Preparing your ASQA CEO annual declaration response 

References:

https://www.asqa.gov.au/working-together/consultation-self-assurance

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/presentations/webinar-working-together-towards-effective-self-assurance

https://www.asqa.gov.au/resources/other/consultation-paper-working-together-towards-effective-self-assurance