If an RTO’s trainer is not currently working in the industry they are training in, is an RTO non-compliant?
This is a very important question.
Standard 1.13 states that trainers and assessors must have current industry skills and knowledge – the key word being current. Many RTOs have trainers and assessors with a lot of experience and the correct qualifications, but who may not have worked in their training sector for a number of years. The question for trainers and assessors in this position then becomes: ‘How can a trainer or assessor have current industry skills and knowledge if they are not currently working in the industry?’
The simple answer is that it would be difficult to demonstrate that they do.
It is the RTO’s responsibility to ensure that trainers and assessors in this position have the opportunity to be involved in industry workplaces and workplace tasks. Note it is the RTO’s responsibility – not the trainer or assessor’s.
RTOs should also be aware that delivering training and assessment at their RTO is NOT a way in which trainers and assessors can develop industry skills and knowledge. They are not working with peers and colleagues where a flow of expertise and best practice can occur – they are working with students where they are the lone expert in the room, and they are the only ones with any concept of what best practice should be.
ASQA gives a list of activities in which a trainer or assessor could participate in order to contribute to their current industry skills and knowledge.
The RTO could provide their trainers and assessors with a list of relevant industry associations. Trainers and assessors could find out when these associations are holding workshops, seminars, conferences or other activities and attend. Alternatively, RTOs could ask the associations to provide industry experts to run in-house PD sessions.
All industries run regular events, such as breakfasts, workplace health and safety meetings, and meetings with employers. These kinds of network activities are generally advertised in industry blogs and other internet sites.
RTOs should have a library on their premises that include industry journals that trainers and assessors can have access to. Lists of online industry material could also be created.
It is usually impractical for an assessor or trainer to undertake a full course of study when they are working, either because of a lack of time, or because their qualifications already meet the standards. However, there may be single units of competency that have recently been added to qualifications that could benefit.
Returning to work
In some cases, the only way to ensure compliance is to ask a trainer to return to work on a casual or part-time basis.
Something to think about…
One of the major issues is that some trainers, assessor and RTOs try to only reach the absolute minimum required. It is important to remember that VET requires a lot of technical and activity based skills that a trainer needs to train and an assessor needs to assess. If training is deficient because of a lack of currency, the students are being cheated – they will not be ready for the workforce and will find it difficult to get or keep a job.