We are very much looking forward to sharing our new book with you.  ‘The Essential Guide to Building A Successful RTO’ will be available at the end of this month and is ready for pre- order on websites including Amazon. As we prepare for the launch we have been thinking back on why we wrote the book and its predecessor back in 2014.

Firstly, the RTO world is full of jargon. Setting up and managing an RTO requires careful navigation of the legislation and standards. Also, the bureaucracy surrounding the RTO business can be overwhelming, not just to newcomers but also for veterans. We can help you navigate this world of complexity!

Our second purpose in writing a book was to be helpful! Our main purpose in The Learning Community is to be helpful to you and to the VET industry in general.  We like to come along side RTO owners, managers and trainers to help solve problems, initiate new ideas and spark enthusiasm for proactive compliance management. But we can’t be everywhere all the time! Our approach has always been to help build capability within organisations so that they can build their skill base. So, writing a book was a way of providing some of our knowledge and experience to share with RTO teams as they grow and improve their practice.

In 2014 when we published our first book our focus was on building a compliant business. ‘The Essential Guide to RTO Compliance: What Every Registered Training Organisation Should Know About Compliance to Build a Better Business, 2014’ is still relevant and important for RTO professionals, but as you know our sector is constantly changing so we felt it was time to update! In doing this we have also wanted to broaden our focus to include discussion about the student experience, risk based auditing, building quality training and assessment programs and building a great team for your RTO.

In the lead up to the release of the new edition we plan to publish some small excerpts in our social media and here on our blog page. We hope to whet your appetite so you will want to buy the whole book to use in your RTO. The excerpt from Chapter 5 below is really a summary of the approach we would take if we were to work side by side with you to build your capability.

CHAPTER 5 Developing a Compliance Culture

Successful implementation of your compliance management system is only possible when the CEO and management commit to developing a compliance culture. To implement this culture, equip your staff for their roles. People perform at their best when they trust their co- workers, when they feel supported and when they understand their purpose in the organisation. We believe there are 5 key focus areas that will help you build a successful RTO with a compliance culture. These areas in summary are:

Strategy: Ensure your strategy and goals embed compliance management as being integral to your success.

Leadership: A focus on compliance now and into the future.

Teams: Effective team work.

Support Services: Building effective ways of supporting your people to become competent with compliance.

Documentation: The practices that support effective policy and procedures, planning and marketing.

Your strategy

Build a vision and strategy that focuses on the future of your RTO and align the development goals of the staff with the goals of the organisation. Compliance management must be integral to this strategy because an RTO must always comply with relevant legislation!

Your leadership culture

How would people describe the culture of leadership across your RTO? Even if you have not intentionally built the culture, your organisation will have one. Think about what type of leadership culture your RTO needs to be compliant and support success. In our experience, a distributed leadership model is effective in an RTO. This is a form of interdependent leadership and requires a level of trust that enables all staff to take responsibility within their role. Encourage staff to take part in decision making across the organisation and provide feedback on all aspects of the RTO’s operations. Is this the culture you are fostering in your RTO to encourage compliance?

Your team

Compliance management is best done as a ‘whole-of-organisation’ activity. To achieve this, align compliance resourcing and RTO recruitment strategies. Build compliance responsibilities into job descriptions of all staff across the RTO, ranging from senior management and board members to the support staff of the organisation. All staff must undergo training in compliance and participate in compliance activities. The requirement to continually update compliance knowledge should be incorporated into the professional development policy. Success is possible when there is collaboration across the RTO. Sharing of information across work functions leads to enhanced efficiency and client responsiveness. Your RTO comprises many teams including: student services, teaching, administration etc. Remember, these teams cannot work effectively if they work in isolation.

Your support services

An RTO has many internal and external stakeholders and it is essential that you provide the support for all these stakeholder groups. To develop a culture to support compliance, ensure that you support all staff, not just the trainers or the managers. Provide training to RTO staff as part of an ongoing commitment to compliance management.

Your documentation

We are not just talking about the routine compliance documentation here. This is an essential part of daily operations. But to be compliant, and look strategically to the future, you need to document your plans and development activities. Provide staff with access to both strategic and operational goals so that they can keep track of progress towards achieving goals. So often in RTOs it is only the owner or the senior staff who are aware of the goals of the RTO. We have worked in RTOs where managers don’t share all the training documentation with staff, preferring to control operations information flow. This is not conducive to building trust and it does not help to create team or a compliant culture!

The Chapter continues with the Steps for Implementation. We hope you will want to read more and talk to us about the areas of your RTO that may need improvement.

If you would like to know more about Developing a Culture of Compliance you can contact us on info@thelearningcommunity.com.au.

Don’t forget you can pre-order either the e book or a print copy of our book from Amazon here

Gillian and Karen


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