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2. Professional Development – Up to date? Or, out the door!

I have been trying to work out what the next most important thing that an RTO should be doing to ensure its own compliance, and to ensure that its contractors – both trainers and assessors – can keep their jobs; and, that the RTO can pass its compliance audits and stay in business.

And, I feel that, while the RTO still has a mountain of things that need to be reviewed/updated/added/modified/reported, one of the things that is can cause your RTO considerable grief, and should be one of the things that is the easiest prove, is the issue of the trainer and assessor professional development.

This is what the Standards say …

1.16.  The RTO ensures that all trainers and assessors undertake professional development in the fields of the knowledge and practice of vocational training, learning and assessment including competency-based training and assessment.

Yes, ‘all trainers and assessors undertake professional development’. All trainers and assessors keep themselves up to date with what is happening in the area in which they are training and assessing; plus, they are keeping up to date with developments training and assessing itself.

When we had our audit in January, we were asked to provide our register of professional development for all our trainers and assessors. This register did not have be in any particular format, or contain any particular information, but it did have to show that all our trainers and assessors had undertaken some kind of professional development activities, in both their vocational training area, and for their training and assessment qualification (TAE) during the past year.

So, as an RTO, as long as we had a resume and some reasonably current references for all our new trainers and assessors, that covered everyone who had started in the last few months (say, 6 months.) Everyone else needed to have a working document that clearly showed what they had been doing to add to their professional development.

So, this is what we do.

1. Every staff member, not just the trainers and assessors, has to set up a spreadsheet on their computer (at work or at home, it doesn’t really matter), for each course that they teach, and for their TAE.

If they are teaching dogging, basic scaffolding, and basic rigging, they will need four (4) spreadsheets – one for each of their vocational qualifications, and one for TAE. If they are teaching in business, or hospitality, they will only need two (2) one for business and TAE, or one for hospitality and TAE.

This can start to become a little complicated when you add short vocational courses like chainsaw, first aid or confined space training, but the basic rule of thumb is:

“if you are intending to be paid to train in it over the next six (6) months, you should make sure that you are up to date in it (and can prove that you are up to date)”.

Your spreadsheet columns should include:

– date

– item – event, newsletter, email, conference, tradeshow, (anything else you can think of)

– from

– brief summary of content

– attachments

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2. Every staff member has to subscribe to a range of email subscription news lists – one set for their vocational area, and one set for their TAE.

The TAE set is relatively easy. You need to subscribe to all of the following:

  • ASQA – the national RTO regulator
  • IBSA – the Industry Skills Council (ISC) who has responsibility for TAE and who provides updates about its practise and resources for trainers
  • The ISC newsletter for your main training course. This covers you for both your TAE listing and your vocational listing, as the ISC will provide you with vocational guidance about your course changes as well as changes to training practise and resources).
  • HaloNT newsletter (comes out at least quarterly and has links to some important happenings in the training (TAE) world in the last quarter. You can subscribe to cialis pas cher the HaloNT newsletter directly from this page.

The vocational set is not quite as easy, but with a bit of searching, you will find a few sites that give you good information, and they will have links to other sites that help you to build your evidence listing.

If you are working in construction, mining, trades you will need to get updates via newsletter from:

  • your principle contractor,
  • your principle registration board (electrical, plumbing, cranes etc)
  • your state Workplace Health and Safety regulator
  • the Industry Skills Council who covers your vocational training area

If your vocational training area is anything technical, you should find the principle suppliers in the industry and get onto their mailing lists.

You will need to explore a little bit, and be a bit creative in your searching approach, but you will end up with a number of newsletter and email lists that send you information regularly.

3. Every staff member has to set up a rule on their mail application to catch all of these newsletter and industry emails, to make sure that they are all able to be used for their professional development.

4. Every staff member has to print out the first page only of every newsletter that they receive into that email folder, and put it into a manila folder or file on their desk. I encourage everyone to have a PURPLE lever arch folder or similar (purple is not a common colour for folders, and all the purple folders in our RTO are for compliance activity – audits, feedback, complaints, currency, etc).

Some people prefer to just do listings, (and I certainly do not print out everything I get) but make sure that there are some documents in your file as evidence that you have received, and actioned, some of this information.

5. Go to the spreadsheet you set up in step one, and fill it in as best you can for every vocational and TAE email that you have received for that quarter. You can make a note in your diary to go to the email folder on your email application where you catch all of these emails and review them once a week/month/quarter, but make sure that you update your listing regularly. Print out the spreadsheet monthly/quarterly and attach it to all the printouts of the emails that you have received.

6. Relax.

This is just one step that you can use to ensure that you have something to show the auditors, or your supervising RTO, when they ask you about currency. Make sure you have TWO folders, because you will need one for each of your vocational area and your TAE – and, these groups are separate, and they are different.

During the year, your should also try to attend one of the following:

  • a tradeshow for your industry – keep your entry pass, and the guidebook that you received on entry;
  • an industry update (this might be a meeting for an industry association, or a demonstration day at Bunnings)
  • a conference
  • a refresher course or update training. Many of you will have completed your TAELLN411 unit to update your TAE in line with the forthcoming requirements – this certainly is a professional development activity that should be noted as you will receive a new Statement of Attainment (or an upgraded Cert IV in TAE if you did it through HaloNT), and a formal training course can probably carry you through for two or more quarters on its own.

The process is about habit. Get into the habit of printing one page of those annoying email that you get sent, and add that printed copy to your folder each time. You may even read something, open a link and learn something!

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