Compliance in RTOs is getting harder and harder. Especially when we provide what the industry wants. Still today there are RTOs that are able to make short work of something that should take time and effort. I continually read articles by frustrated RTO compliance people who see it happening in front of them. They are totally over the incongruence that is being shown to the public (on the outside). We don’t all know what is really happening, so sometimes, it could be an iceberg effect where there actually is the work being applied. In others, and I see it often when working with RTOs, it is not so deep and rather a quick fix.
BUT in defence to those RTOs that I work with, there is always the same statement – “it is what the industry wants!”
What do people really want?
If we were to ask them, would you find what you’re looking for?
I think we are starting to see a few trends (well they have been obvious for a while) …Students want something different to what compliance means. Students are after short courses. Industry wants short courses – quick enough so they can get back to their job. So why don’t we have smaller qualifications, or use skill sets or short courses to provide learning in key units relevant to job roles?
Using skill sets would be great but what happens is unfortunately industry knows the names of qualifications and they want them. So what other solution is there – well we could all go to our SSO and advise them the qualifications are too big – give us smaller ones. You that the units themselves are too big and don’t meet the needs of industry.
Would this help? I recall not so long ago I managed an Enterprise RTO who was in the Transport and Logistics space. At the time they had a stepped approach to their qualifications. You started at certificate I, completed the units, then you could move to certificate II, and then certificate III and in our case we move our students through to Certificate IV. This approach worked very well with their job roles, and it was connected to their EBA. At that time the Training Package was flexible enough to select units that were actually relevant to the job role.
This meant if they had completed certificate I then could undertake entry-level roles in the organisation. As they progressed through their learning, and building on their skills, they were paid more and greater responsibility. Throughout the time they were supported by mentors and their trainers. This process took them from 2 to 3 years to complete. It worked well.
Then the Training Packages all had to conform to new changes, and units became bigger, qualifications became less flexible and people had to find ways to short-circuit the lengthy process of training them.
I work across many industries and see so many frustrated RTOs having to work with units that are huge. And mostly they just want to teach someone to make a sandwich (for example)! But to meet the unit they have to make roasts, and stuff that this person will never use. (Example used for the purpose of description only).
Education is a process
When we train someone we shouldn’t be expecting they can jump straight in and do the job – they need time to reflect on what they have learnt, time to practice and time to consolidate. People work at different rates to combine existing information and concepts into new ways of doing. The blanket, one-size-fits-all training is no longer adequate to meet the unique needs of learners. The way to get confidence, is by doing the work. That is why the step-by-step model works.
We need to start at the foundations
• talk to industry
• ask them what they want
• keep it simple
• adjust the Training Packages to suit.
Then compliance will be easier to manage. Will there still be people who try to short cut – probably, but at least the feat is more achievable for others.