Our RTO world is changing, is it for the better or worse? This week I have been undertaking professional development and attended the 2018 Training Providers Forum in WA. As always, it was a valuable conference and this year there was a focus on the future of VET and the disruption era we live in. Each year in the VET sector is another year of change; there is certainly nothing that seems to stand still in our sector.
Having said that we live in change, there always seems to be the stable of hearing from amazing students who are doing some fantastic things in their communities. Students who have won National and international awards for their contribution and continue to inspire others. It is these stories that allow me to feel proud I am in the sector, even after many years of change.
Some of the stories that came out of the plenary sessions:
- The most important asset we have in our RTOs is the trainer, so we need to look after them
- There will be 50,000 new jobs in the next 3 years in WA
- We need to skill the workforce now
- This means having training that will support the growth
- Growth areas include:
- Disability sector
- Aged care
- Hospitality – in fact there is a need right now for quality trained staff in this sector.
- Training needs to be affordable for all
- RTO need to be flexible and nimble enough to keep up with the rapid change happening in our sector
So all of this got me thinking about how you can be supported to move forward with a successful RTO. Here are my ideas to help you.
Maintain your Focus for the Long Term.
The new auditing changes to being student centred, the Standards that came in 2015, the steady changes to Training Packages, and a downturn in mining, has given us some uncertain times. Focusing on the students is a positive and much can be achieved by listening to what they want.
This information will provide you with a long term strategy – what courses they want, how they want them, and when. Yes we sure do need to buckle up and get ready for the ride, seize the moment and transform it into an opportunity — an opportunity to sharpen the focus of your RTOs vision and long-term goals. You might be pleasantly surprised what the students have to say.
Maintaining Your Focus on Service Quality.
Service quality continues with the student focus. Establish systems that provide service, and continue to provide what the client wants. Maybe it is time to change them up and amend those training and assessment strategies and internal processes to deliver the greatest value to your customers and clients. My best advice is to listen to your clients and they will tell you how you can improve.
Students no longer want to be sat in a classroom where they are talked at for hours on end – so consider ways to support them and their learning. This may be supported by innovative ideas such as points 3 and 4.
Keeping up with Innovation.
One of the key aspects of the current environment is the innovation that is out there to support the students and the trainers. It seems there is an app or online tool for everything, and so many that can be used to provide a better student experience. Whether they are used to create and share lessons on your tablet, flipping classrooms, creating your own animated videos or allowing students to imagine, write, illustrate and share their own stories.
Then of course there are the many social media platforms where students/ trainers can bring together content and share in various ways.
Perhaps now is the time to start researching those apps, and maybe implementing one or two into your training delivery model. The RTOs who can harness the power of digital data, and keep compliance will be the big winners. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (remember your continuous improvement). Be bold, think big and learn along the way.
IPads and mobiles are used for everything now a days. If your students are head down looking at them, then use them to your advantage. Write them into the training & better still incorporate them into your assessments solutions. Having the capacity to keep digital images for evidence means you are one step ahead of compliance and validation.