Monday, March 26, 2007

AQTF 2007

I attended a presentation by VETAB on what the new changes are for RTO's in terms of their quality assurance. There are in fact substantial changes and the focus is going to be more strongly on learning and assessment. If a person is awarded a qualification, the person needs to be genuinely competent and at a level of competence acceptable to industry.
Because skills shortages have moved higher up on the national agenda, the vocational training area is under scrutiny to ensure that more people are qualified with high level skills.
COAG in Feb 2006 set a national commitment to reviewing and amending the AQTF standards and ensuring that it moved to an outcomes-based model to improve confidence in the national training system.
The changes to how RTO's will be audited are substantial and cover 3 standards. The other criteria are now covered in conditions of registration.
RTO's and auditors will need to get used to the new standards and the intention is to phase them in from July 2007.
As RTO's we will need to keep documentation of what impact our training is having on the learners and on the organisation. We will also need to keep records of what our students have achieved and changed in their skills levels and behaviour.
In addition to the new criteria, RTO's will also have the oppportunity to demonstrate excellence and to be either 'quality committed' or 'outstanding'. These new quality standards will be used for both internal and external assessment and will cover areas such as leadership in the RTO, people development, management systems and so on.
A final version of the new RTO standards will be on in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trainer development

I ran a session yesterday for a group of assessors in one of the public sector organisations.
A wonderful and dedicated group who participated fully in the day and had a refresher on some of their assessment skills, discussed challenges that are coming up for them in terms of the assessment they do and also spent some time validating their practices.
Some key learnings that came out of the session were:
1. The extent of a robust assessment system. If you take the time to draw who is involved in your assessment system and how many stakeholders there are, I think it is surprising how wide the net goes.
2. In validation, look at all aspects of an assessment system including all pillars in the temple of quality - policies around assessment; systems and processes; human and physical resources.
3. Communication issues came out as being a major hurdle to effective roll-out of assessment - involve the supervisor; give them a briefing on why assessment is so important and also de-brief them on the assessment result. Keep a constant stream of communication going as this adds to building a robust assessment system.
4. Remind ourselves of what it is like to be a candidate and have empathy for candidates - develop a strong code of conduct for assessors that includes confidentiality as well as providing support and being patient as candidates might not have English as a first language.
My hat off to this group of assessors - a true example of what assessors can achieve if they work as a team and support each other in the process.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Performance Appraisal

I listened in on a performance appraisal training session at a major insurance company.
Some notions that came to mind:

As an HR manager one should clarify what intention of the session is. It is essential to have a very clearly understanding of what is the outcome to be achieved. Is the intention to have managers and team members understand the appraisal document and process OR to ensure that people have the skills to deal with the appraisal session OR all of the above.

Performance appraisals are such a touchy topic – they touch on $’s. Get the organisation to state very clearly where remuneration fits in appraisal.
Try to ensure that there is someone internal to the organisation who is capturing the developing ideas and feedback from the session. So many suggestions that came out during the session were not heard and were not recorded therby lost to the organisation.
Be prepared for the questions. Spend time pre-empting all the types of possible and probable questions that could arise during the session. Receive input from a range of people in the organisation as to the types of questions that could arise. List these questions. Rehearse, replay and rehearse again answers to these questions. Get your wording right.
During the session get the questions out on the table. Rather raise the concerns in the room - this is far better than people leaving the room and setting off a range of grapevining amongst themselves. The more transparent the session, the less noise there will be afterwards.
Ask: "Your views please" and "What are the questions?” Not: “Are there any questions?”
Get team members to work in groups to come up with questions; list them on a flip chart. Call for people to comment and do not shy away from the questions – this creates the feeling that the organisation has a hidden agenda.
Make everything as visible as possible. Don’t just talk - use hand-outs, diagrams, posters, powerpoint slides. Say your key messages again and again. People hear what they want to hear. Offering the same message in different ways allows a better opportunity for the group to absorb the message.

I went to a luncheon with guest speaker, the Minister of Health, Tony Abbott. After telling him that he is the best looking Cabinet minister, I easily managed to have a photo taken with him. He certainly leads by example – when he talks about health and well-being he embodies his principles. He keeps his own fitness levels high and works with charities that support well-being.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Contact Centre Training

Yesterday we were at a planning session for the introduction of a Certificate 4 in Customer Contact into a call centre for a major logistics organisation.We developed an interesting way of implementing the qualification that will allow employees who are eligible for government funding as well as those who are not eligible, to participate in the program and to derive full benefits.The process for the roll-out of the program will include:An induction session - this will include information about the program and the what's in it for me factor.The Apprenticeship Centre will sign up those candidates who are eligible for state and/or federal funding.MCI will run a series of focus groups - the aim of these sessions is to uncover what the main pain points are; where the training should be directed and what key areas need addressing. We will also be gathering information about case studies and incidents that have occurred and that could have been dealt with more effectively.A training schedule is being established and here is where the difference lies. MCI charges the organisation per day of training and not per employee. This allows the non-eligible trainees to participate as the overall funding will cover the daily training rate and will be sufficient to incorporate all the needs of the business.Training and one on one assessment will get underway and we will keep you informed on progress.
Posted by Denise Meyerson at 12:54 AM

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Welcome to our new Blog

This is our very first entry. Stay tuned as we put up some great information relating to training & education.