When we look at the RTO business environment we think of change. The end of the year is a time to look back at what has happened in the past 6 months to enable me to prepare for the new financial year. In the VET sector there has been many achievements by RTOs in the broad scale, as well as with the RTOs I work with and have mentored to compliance. Plus the RTO business sector is on the improve.
In the broader sense there is the fall-out of the VET-FEE-HELP program with changes happening, that appear to be good for the sector. Whilst in the short term this might impact on diligent RTOs to gain student funding, I believe it could rein in some of the wrong doings, and therefore bring back that great reputation the VET sector in Australia has held for so long.
Then there are the results of student reporting and being able to show how many students are actually being trained, as opposed to just seeing the funded students. I know personally from managing many RTOs that fee-for-service student numbers were high. So for me it is important to let the government know what is happening in the sector, so they can plan for it, and support it. looking through the reports and reading summaries my take on the funding is that private RTOs are delivering many of the core enter qualifications that industry require, especially at the Certificate III and IV level. So if you are considering setting up your RTO or adding to scope, consider researching some of these areas a bit further.
There were changes to the Industry Skills Councils and of course Training Packages with the latter creating extra work for many RTOs. Sometimes this has been viewed as a negative, however as I see it, it is a perfect time to double check everything that you are delivering and assessing and sharpen your saw, so to speak.
Personally I have seen many RTOs validating their assessment tools, and creating a better version following the review of student work. The process for many has been very cathartic, and bringing clarity to assessors and course developers. This in turn provides a better student experience, and for many returned business. Which of course is what we are trying to achieve (a sustainable business model).
The changes to the RTO Standards have brought about better practices, and as a consultant I am now seeing better information being presented to students, allowing them to make informed choices. There are some RTOs where an internal audit is an annual event, and it is so pleasing to see the changes made from the previous year. I am sure it brings about a better student experience.
The international sector has also had a focus, which means some increase in activity from the State and Territory governments. Great news to hear as Australia is well recognised as a place of choice to study, and the sector brings in an estimated $19 billion!
So that’s what comes to my mind just now; and I certainly am looking forward to continued work in the VET sector and being able to support RTOs with innovative solutions.