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Clauses 1.5 and 1.6—Engage with industry

Clause 1.5

The RTO’s training and assessment practices are relevant to the needs of industry and informed by industry engagement.

Clause 1.6

The RTO implements a range of strategies for industry engagement and systematically uses the outcome of that industry engagement to ensure the industry relevance of:

a) its training and assessment strategies, practices and resources
b) the current industry skills of its trainers and assessors.

What clauses 1.5 and 1.6 mean for your RTO

Industry expectations for the skills and knowledge of VET graduates are expressed in training packages and VET accredited courses. Engaging with industry stakeholders (such as employers and industry associations) is critical to ensuring training and assessment is aligned to current methods, technology, products and performance expectations for the workplace tasks specified in the training package or VET accredited course.

To provide training relevant to employers and to maximise students’ opportunities for employment, advancement or further education, your RTO must develop a range of strategies to engage with relevant industry stakeholders. You must engage with industry stakeholders to establish appropriate contexts, methods, resources and trainers and assessors to deliver training and to conduct assessment.

Ultimately this will ensure that employers, industry and students have confidence in the integrity, currency and value of the qualifications issued by your RTO.

Monitor the implementation of your strategies and your practices to ensure your RTO’s training continues to meet industry needs, particularly in areas where technology and/or techniques change rapidly:

  • Continue the engagement and seek feedback about how you have provided training and assessment, including feedback on the resources used for both training and assessment.
  • Confirm industry’s ongoing expectations for current industry skills and knowledge of trainers and assessors.

There is no specific method or approach you must use to conduct your industry engagement. However, you should document your RTO’s engagement strategies and activities to demonstrate the alignment between industry needs and your strategies, resources
and practices.

A guide to compliance

RTOs must be able to demonstrate that all strategies for training and assessment have been developed in response to information obtained through engaging with industry stakeholders. This engagement may involve seeking advice about:

  • the qualification, course or skill set that best meets the skill and knowledge needs of industry
  • the most relevant electives for the training (in accordance with any packaging rules for the training product)
  • the mode of study and the training and assessment methods to be used.

You must be able to demonstrate that industry representatives have had input into:

  • the skills and knowledge you require trainers and assessors to hold
  • the resources your RTO uses for training and assessment.

RTOs must consider specific industry needs when developing and implementing training and assessment strategies. For example, some industries or occupations may require a particular level of English proficiency—these occupations could include security officer, allied health professional, childcare educator or other job roles where it is important that graduates are able to communicate effectively in Australian workplaces. In such cases, it may not be appropriate to deliver a qualification entirely in a language other than English and may be appropriate to specify a minimum written and/or oral English level as an entry requirement.

How can my RTO demonstrate and provide evidence of compliant practice?

ASQA’s regulatory experience and successive strategic industry reviews show that RTOs frequently struggle to comply with clauses 1.5 and 1.6. Many are unable to demonstrate evidence of engaging with industry and employers to test that their training and assessment strategies and practices are relevant.

You must retain evidence that you have:

  • consulted relevant industry stakeholders
  • incorporated stakeholder feedback into the development and ongoing review of strategies.

Taking shortcuts—like developing a generic strategy from a template and asking an employer to ‘sign off’—will not be effective, and does not demonstrate that the strategy was informed by industry.

As industry engagement is an ongoing activity, retaining evidence of recent engagement as well as historic activity will demonstrate that your RTO has consistently carried out industry engagement activities.

Examples of evidence of your practice might include:

  • how you identified employers and industry for consultations, how you consulted with them (such as through surveys, interviews, advisory committees or workplace visits), and how often
  • what sort of information was sought from employers and industry—for example, information about:
    • regulations or laws governing the industry and/or standard operating procedures, equipment and machinery used at the enterprise level
    • aspects of the work environment (for example, shifts or seasonal changes to schedules) that will affect delivery and assessment
    • employer preferences about the way in which a program is delivered
    • facilities, equipment and supervision that will be available for work placements
    • how simulated work environments should be set up to reflect workplaces
    • advice on contextualising or adapting purchased assessment materials to suit workplace contexts.
  • revisions made to your practices as a result of the engagement with industry and employers. For example, this might be:
    • changes to training and assessment practices and resources based on advice from industry regulators about new regulatory requirements
    • implementation of workplace visits for trainers and assessors to ensure currency of understanding about workplace practices, based on advice from employers.

Guidance for applicants for initial registration

You must provide evidence that you have used a range of strategies to seek input from relevant industry stakeholders and incorporated this input into:
  • the development of your training and assessment strategies
  • determining the required industry skills of your trainers and assessors.

You must also provide evidence that you have developed strategies for ongoing engagement with relevant industry stakeholders.

Case study—Training tomorrow’s mariners

DEF Education delivers three qualifications from the Maritime Training Package. The RTO operates from a former workshop adjacent to a slipway and a number of marine repair businesses. The RTO has been approved by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for the delivery of maritime licensing qualifications.

Prior to commencing operations and applying for registration as an RTO, the organisation met with local AMSA officers to discuss industry needs. DEF Education identified that:

  • due to increases in marine tourism there is a shortage of workers with certain licence classes in the area
  • qualifications leading to licensing for Coxwain Grade 1 NC, Master (Inland Waters) and Marine Engine Driver Grade 3 NC would be suitable to deliver to new entrants to the industry.

While these qualifications have no formal entry requirements, many tasks in certain qualifications require the ability to operate in confined spaces, and in hot and noisy conditions. To ensure suitability of students, the strategy identifies that students must confirm that they have a reasonable level of physical agility and the ability to operate comfortably in confined spaces, and that they have passed the required eyesight test prior to their enrolment being accepted. As the expected outcomes for the identified client cohort (maritime licensees) require a ‘self-declaration of medical fitness’ prior to issue of a licence, potential students are required to complete this prior to enrolment to ensure they are able to achieve their desired outcomes.

DEF Education considered possibilities for training new entrants to the industry using vessels operating in the local marine tourism industry, but concluded that it was not practical for safety reasons.

After consultation with local employers, the RTO purchased two vessels that are representative of the type of vessel commonly used in the local area and more broadly in the marine tourism industry:

  • an eight-metre open boat powered by a 250 hp outboard engine, previously used for dive trips
  • a 15-metre boat powered by twin 220 kW diesel inboard engines and a small diesel-powered generator set, previously used for extended dive and cruising trips.

To provide access to a range of equipment and machinery for basic skill development, the RTO purchased a variety of engines and other mechanical and safety equipment. This equipment included electronic and other navigational equipment. The engines and equipment were set up in various simulations of on-board environments to allow students to familiarise themselves with relevant equipment and tasks safely.

The two vessels purchased are used by all students, who undertake various voyages during their training and assessment. These voyages enable students to undertake all required tasks and to complete the requirements of the AMSA Task Book (which documents the amount of sea service, tasks undertaken and the type of vessel the in which the voyage was undertaken).

In response to industry concerns that graduates of some RTOs didn’t have the full range of skills and experience required, DEF Education discusses the sequencing of training and assessment, as well as assessment methods, with local employers. The discussions aim to develop sequencing/assessment methods that will ensure students gain exposure to a wide range of contexts and scenarios.

The RTO also monitors emerging technology and regulatory requirements so that it is aware of any changes that would require strategies or practices to be amended in response to changes in industry requirements.

DEF Education retains records of formal meetings (through minutes) and of less formal engagement activities (through diary notes) to demonstrate how they have engaged with industry stakeholders. Version control of training and assessment strategies documents any changes that are made and the reason for the changes.

Case study—Delivering health care training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

An RTO, Brisbane Health Training, has added HLT40113 Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care to their scope of registration.

This qualification relates to the provision of non-clinical primary health care services to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities, including specific health care programs. The RTO’s target group is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people seeking employment in a primary health care service.

In order to engage with relevant industry representatives, Brisbane Health Training’s training manager establishes an Industry Advisory Committee. The committee’s membership includes staff from the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and representatives from Queensland Health.

The QAIHC is the local peak body representing the Community Controlled Health sector and has affiliation with and membership on the board of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). The Community Controlled Health Services and Queensland Health are the major employers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander primary health care workers.

Brisbane Health Training asks the Industry Advisory Committee to provide advice on the RTO’s intended delivery of HLT40113 Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care, specifically:

  • the choice of electives
  • the sequence of training
  • learning resources
  • trainers and assessors.

The Industry Advisory Committee advises that training will be best delivered:

  • at Brisbane Health Training’s training rooms in Brisbane
  • through six two-week intensive face-to-face blocks of training, over a twelve-month period.

After each block students return to their home to carry out individual study and assessment activities with continued support from the trainer and student support officer.

The Industry Advisory Committee advises that where possible training staff should be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; the learning should reflect the current issues affecting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people; and training needs to be flexible and as practical as possible. For example, it may be possible to include assessment methods such as activities, observations, and a portfolio of work or an oral demonstration of knowledge.

The training manager accessed the companion volume for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and other relevant information published on the website of SkillsIQ, the Skills Service Organisation responsible for qualifications in the community services and health sectors.

The companion volume advises:

  • 500 hours of work placement
  • additional requirements for assessors of HLTAHW units of competency
  • that skills should be demonstrated in the workplace.

The Industry Advisory Committee will meet every six months to review Brisbane Health Training’s training and assessment strategy; resources; practices; and the industry skills of their trainers and assessors to ensure that students are receiving training utilising the most current methods, resources, technology and workplace contexts.

Brisbane Health Training will retain evidence in the form of meeting minutes that shows consultation with relevant stakeholders and how their input has been incorporated into the development and ongoing review of strategies.