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Three ways to nurture new trainers and build your business… III


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Three ways to nurture new trainers and build your business… III

  1. 1. 2 Three ways to nurture new trainers and build your business… By Lauren Hollows
  2. 2. RTO Success November 2014 3RTO Success November 2014 3 1 2 Working in an industry whose primary purpose is training, RTO representatives, owners and consultants are often called on to establish a culture of training within an organisation. Yet sadly, with the focus so often on students or other corporations, many RTOs fail to implement the same training programs for their own business that they set up for other organisations. This is especially true of trainers and training staff, despite having standards that require constant updates to both industry and VET knowledge and skills, this often leads to training headaches for managers and CEO’s come audit time when trainers fail to meet currency standards. Where this can have the biggest impact on your organisation is with new trainers, who easily struggle with understanding all the requirements, a potential mountain of paperwork and diverse student bases that need to be catered to. Thankfully, with a few easy steps you can support these key staff members and in the process, take a positive step toward future proofing your organisation. This article aims to provide a few simple suggestions, along with timeframes, links to resources and a few simple goals to get your organisation started. Each point can be applied individually, although for the best effect of course, I recommend you apply all points, even if only through a pilot program to test your ROI. Review current competencies As part of gathering the initial paperwork on your new trainer, completing a training matrix should be high on the list of priorities. This mapping exercise provides an opportunity to review where your trainer’s strengths and weaknesses may lie in regards to currency and can provide a broad roadmap of professional development for the upcoming year. Ask your trainers to complete their matrix, and identify the five areas where they feel they can provide leadership and/or guidance and five areas where they would like to build their knowledge; this list can then be used to identify professional development, training or areas for mentoring with more senior staff. This exercise also allows you to see areas of strength that can be used to support other trainer & assessors and staff within the organisation. ASQA provides a basic template for trainer matrices, there are also a range of consultants that offer templates for purchase or you may want to check with your current student management system as many have inbuilt functions to link trainer capabilities to units of competency and you can print reports from this function. Top tips: • Where possible, allow the trainer to lead the process, this minimises your time and allows the trainer to take some control and ownership over the process • Try to avoid phrases such as‘where do you see your weaknesses’or‘what areas are you lacking evidence’, this type of language forces the trainer into a position to justify themselves and works against the goals of the exercise, keep the focus on professional development and the terminology positive. A little praise in the beginning goes a long way… • Many trainers can be overwhelmed completing a matrix for the first time, where possible, try to have admin staff pre-populate or pull from other trainers matrices so that new trainers don’t have to spend too much time inserting units of competency and basic elements. Timeframe: Trainer: 1+ hours (depending on the number of units they need to deliver and how much can be pre- populated) Management 30-45 minutes review with trainer Develop a professional development plan Once you have identified areas of development for your trainer your aim should be to identify opportunities internal and external to the organisation. Ideally, you want to aim for 2-3 external and 1-2 internal professional development sessions a year, covering both industry and VET development. This will vary depending on the number and breadth of qualifications and units that your trainers are training. While there are few trainers able to successfully work and maintain competency and currency over a few training packages, it is rare, the requirements are becoming more stringent and both students and organisations are becoming more savvy in their expectations, so I would recommend that you focus trainers to one training package with a limit of one to two industry areas within that package, with a focus on developing industry specialists. Next year will see some of the largest changes to VET that have occurred in over ten years new standards for RTO’s and Regulators, a new model for the development of training packages and the introduction of the Australian Apprenticeships Support Network to replace current Australian Apprenticeship Centres. The positive side to this is that the government, both Nationally through ASQA, and locally through State Training Authorities, are hosting a range of professional development for RTO’s at no cost. Ideally, you should allocate individual members of staff to attend (as places are limited for some events) and have those staff present to all relevant employees later that week or the next on the key outcomes. Many presenters are happy to release their presentations to attendees and even those that aren’t will generally be able to provide some information in the form of handouts. Outside of the current raft of VET Reforms, VELG offers company memberships for a reasonable price and hold an extensive range of events and workshops, at least weekly webinars and from 2015 will be offering Mentoring Mondays which target RTO Managers, Administrators and Trainer and Assessors. If all else fails and time is not on your side, programs like this cover most of your basis for you.
  3. 3. 4 3 If you are looking for industry currency, start with your local Industry Skills Council (or whatever body/ies may or may not replace them) and Industry Training Council as both of these bodies offers regular meetings to discuss important industry updates. In addition, you can sign up for local and national industry body newsletters which should keep your trainers notified of changes to industry and industry events. I recommend these for sales and business development staff also as they provide great opportunities for networking with potential clients and understanding upcoming industry trends. Again, if you are looking for a good template to structure your professional development plans there are a range of small business support organisations and government bodies which provide free templates which you can access, the Victorian Education department has quite a few good resources in this area, and there are some fantastic blogs which also provide free resources. Top Tips: • Don’t stretch staff over too many units or qualifications, everyone wants to learn from the master, and jack of all trades generally means master of none. • Invest in company memberships, in addition to reducing cost, it demonstrates your organisations commitment to quality, training and professional development and what employee doesn’t want that? • Utilise the wide range of free professional development being offered, do I need to say more? Timeframe: Training Manager: 2 days (approximately 6-8 staff) 30 minutes- 1 hour (per staff member) to identify 6-7 professional development activities, 8 hours for planning and costing, 1 hour for presenting and review with management Follow through This is by far the hardest step in the plan because it requires action from the trainer, support staff and management. It’s also generally accepted that the demands posed by training and the continuous reform often absorb a bulk of trainer and RTOs' energy, thought, and attention. In order to ensure follow through, value has to be placed on professional development both by staff and management. There are three key points which can help you build this into your organisation. Include professional development as part of both management and staffs KPIs. This can be used as an effective motivator both for staff and management, building attendance to professional development for staff and then linking professional development planning into more senior KPIs demonstrates an organisations commitment to establishing the culture of quality. In addition, it allows for clear targets and measurable goals which can be reviewed. Build professional development into your calendars. Whether its annual reviews, large scale internal professional development or simply ensuring that course schedules allow for trainer down time, it’s important to set time for goals set within the professional development plans to be undertaken, achieved and reviewed. If you aren’t allocating dates and timeframes to goals and actions, they are far less likely to occur. Take your program public. Let’s be honest, when considering investing in a business, wouldn’t you rather invest in someone who can practice what they preach? Putting your professional development programs in the spotlight forces your organisation to be more accountable, and has the added benefits of attracting staff who are more likely to actively participate in such a program. Finally, it demonstrates to potential and current clients and students an increased capability to deliver high quality services and a genuine interest and passion for training over tender. Top Tips: • Build professional development goals into KPIs • Set timeframes, schedules and deadlines for goals and professional development into corporate and personal calendars • Take your program public, start with a company intranet and once you have a strong pilot program, go public with your organisations commitment to quality training