If you have been following us this year you will know that we devoted quite a bit of time to writing our book ‘The Essential Guide to Building a Successful RTO’. The book is now available and we would love you to use it in your RTO.

So here are 3 good reasons why we believe you need to buy it right now!

1. Quality improvement and continuous improvement will soon be the buzz words across the sector and you need to find out what to do about it!

As you know, we constantly talk about quality, and the importance of taking a proactive approach to continuous improvement across all aspects of your RTO.

Of course, the quality of your products and services should always be high on your list of priorities and the need for quality management is actually in the Standards for RTOs 2015 – check out Standard 2. However, the focus on improvement appears to have slipped a little in recent years as the regulator adjusted its auditing focus and approach so you may have let this go a bit too!

If you are not operating with a proactive approach to quality and compliance management it is time to think about it now because it is definitely firmly back on the regulator’s agenda. ASQA, in their recently released Regulatory Strategy 2018-20 states that they:

‘will work with key stakeholders to explore additional strategies that recognise and support compliant providers and positive pathways in the VET sector.

This initiative aims to promote a partnership approach to the regulation of the VET sector, and will seek to:

  • raise providers’ awareness of opportunities for continuous performance improvement
  • motivate providers to strive to meet compliance requirements
  • provide pathways for providers to develop quality practice.

 

This initiative will expand the range of interventions and compliance processes available to ASQA. Expanding this range will encourage continuous quality improvement in the sector’.

This quality theme is no doubt a response to a publication from earlier this year called ‘All Eyes on Quality’. [1]  In this report the author suggests that

ASQA cannot mandate quality: As a regulator its role is to motivate RTOs to reflect on their performance, what they might do better and how they might go about improving their performance’.

Of course for most of you reading this, the notion of the regulator motivating an RTO to improve in any way other than an audit, is unusual if not unheard of! And indeed, the report identified that there were tensions between the regulator and the sector and recognised that there was work to be done to change perceptions and improve the way the key players work together.

These next statements from the report are what we believe you should focus on as you reflect on the issue of quality and improvement in your RTO:

the way ASQA should regulate for quality (as opposed to sufficiency) is to look at how well RTOs go about setting their own higher standards, checking if such standards are met, motivating through praise and encouragement and support when they have achieved improvement, and advising on options when they have not.’

and

‘Deepening VET professionalisation and the commitment of the teaching workforce to continuous improvement in the quality of teaching and learning are also imperative.’

How our book will help you with this!

In our book we talk about how to establish a compliance culture and the importance of using a cycle of review to ensure that you are always improving what you do. To successfully implement a compliance and quality management system that is good for your business you will need to have:

  • The right people working on the right tasks and everyone involved in continuous improvement
  • An embedded proactive approach to continuous improvement
  • Effective sharing of information across the organisation
  • An effective management cycle and endorsement of compliance by the board/ senior management team
  • The required monitoring reporting and recording systems in place
  • Clear accountability and real consequences for not complying with proactive improvement practices.

We have provided tools in a companion Workbook, designed to be used alongside our new book. One of the tools is a Continuous Improvement Schedule that will help you plan and implement a cycle of review. But of course before you jump in you should consider what your quality standards should be – what are you aiming for in terms of quality training and assessment and how will you achieve those standards?

Now for reason number 2…..

2. The end of the year is a time for reflection, review of your training and assessment practices and a time to implement change!

We know that all RTOs operate differently but regardless of your business model, the end of the year can be a good time to take a close look at the quality of your products and services and to ask your students whether or not they are satisfied. This is more effective if rather than sitting down with a few staff members to do a quick review, you take time to consider the need for change and improvement as mentioned above, and establish some quality criteria so that you have a framework to guide the review.

Obviously a great place to start is with the Standards for RTOs 2015, as they outline what is mandatory in terms of training and assessment requirements, marketing and enrolment processes and support for students. But is this enough? Remember enabling students to achieve their learning goals should always be central to the vision, mission and outcomes of educational institutions, in other words there should be a “student-centric” vision.  An RTO must ensure it delivers high quality training and assessment for the benefit of the individual student, the industry, the vocational education and training (VET) sector and the broader community.

So, we would recommend that you start with the student when talking about quality i.e. the student experience should be at the centre of your discussion. Consider what is required to enable every student who enrols in a course at your RTO to achieve success. You can then move forward with a discussion about quality standards across the various departments within your RTO and how you can achieve or even exceed these standards.

How our book will help you with this!

The second Section of our book is devoted to the student experience and everything you should know about providing a quality experience to all students. We talk about the risk based approach to auditing and why it is more important than ever for you to proactively manage quality and compliance. We also examine the student experience closely and emphasise the need for RTOs to provide a quality service for each individual student. We also talk through our philosophy for designing quality training and assessment processes and resources and the importance of getting assessment right!!  But we go further than this and provide a wide range of tips with tools and templates provided in our companion Workbook

3. It’s time to work with your team and look to the future

This final reason to buy our book relates to the first two reasons, in that your reflection and review should involve your staff. Including them in review processes gives them a voice within your business and gives you an opportunity to provide information to them about current and future challenges and opportunities.

It is also important to talk to your staff as individuals to help them set their work goals, plan professional development and consider areas for growth. Your RTO will only be a success if you have the right people in the right jobs and they are supported to do their jobs.

How our book will help you with this!

The third section of our book provides guidance on the leadership needed to build a strong team and some of the support strategies needed to ensure that your staff are equipped for the role. However one important aspect of the book and the companion Workbook is the inclusion of information, tips, tools and templates to help you recruit and build a strong RTO team. Sadly, the recruitment process is often not given a high priority in many RTOs and yet it is actually the first step you can take towards change and quality improvement in your business.

Are you convinced yet?

Perhaps you need a little more persuasion? Don’t forget Christmas is coming up soon! What RTO staff member would not want a copy to read over the holiday break?

But we do have a little more to offer you. Check out the special offers on our website:

‘The Essential Guide to Building a Successful RTO’ Print Book

‘The Essential Guide to Building a Successful RTO’ e book

‘The Essential Guide to Building a Successful RTO’ Companion Workbook

We also have great offers on both print and ebook bundles.

If you would like any assistance with your RTO you can contact us on info@thelearningcommunity.com.au.

We would also love to hear your views on the book after you and your staff have read it!! Include your comments and feedback below or send an email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gillian and Karen

 

 

[1] Valerie Braithwaite, All eyes on quality: Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 report, (Canberra: Australian Government, 2018)

 

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