Monday, August 9, 2010

Effective RPL - is it possible

I also listened to a great presentation by John Price on whether effective RPL is possible. As he says, sometimes RPL is referred to as RPHell...
There seem to be so many barriers to RPL and the question is - are there ways in which we can demystify the process and ensure that there are benefits for candidates?
There are barriers to the student in terms of the jargon we use - there are endless accronyms and references to units that are just meaningless to some students.
There is also a fear of endless paperwork as well as of a process that seems inflexible. Special needs don't seem to be catered for easily.
Students often don't feel supported and the costs can be high because the work is conducted on an individual, one-on-one basis.
The RTO itself is reluctant to get involved because of the extra time needed from staff and because of a lack of understanding about RPL.
Employers often don't understand why students want what is perceived as being 'a piece of paper' when they can get on perfectly well with their assigned tasks. They certainly question the value-add to the business.
So what can be done?
RTO's can work on streamlining the RPL process and this process in turn can be more adaptable to different circumstances:
1. Allow applicants to complete a user-friendly, plain English form.
2. Do some questions with the applicant in a conversational way - make sure that the questions relate to what the person does.
3. Let them do a practical demo if applicable or bring evidence
4. Get some 3rd party verification.
Adapt these steps based on the circumstances of each individual. Don't just go by unit - have a picture in mind of what a really competent person in the workplace looks like.
The key to RPL is that you do not know where the person was trained and how they were trained. So instead use the end as your starting point - and the end is a clear picture of a competent person.
You will then be able to map back to the units and to the critical pieces of evidence.

Changes to the AQTF

I recently listened to an excellent presentation by Margaret Willis, Director of VETAB.
She provided a very useful background to the history behind VETAB and reform in the VET system.
VETAB was established in 1991 because of the urgent reform needed in the vocational system through a co-operative federal set-up. ANTA was then established in 1992 and had as its role to establish a national training system. It did not however have a strong blueprint although it did know that there had to be a national register of competency standards, now NTIS and a meaningful way of collecting data through AVETMISS.
They also knew that providers had to be registered and in 1998 a framework began to appear that ensured mutual recognition of qualifications and it began a mindset for thinking about compliance.
These standards were however not strong enough and by 2002 the AQTF appeared. Providers did not all like the standards and in 2007 a new set of standards emerged that were more widely accepted.
The standards however worked from the assumption that all providers in the industry were about quality training. This assumption was however tested by providers who were not showing high levels of integrity and VETAB found itself drawn into ICAC investigations about the fraudulent issuing of qualifications.
VETAB was seen by ICAC as being too naive and trusting and so more changes are now introduced into the AQTF 2010 to ensure that the head of an RTO is a 'fit and proper person'.
There is more risk management and also far stronger tests on financial viability.
From April 2011 there will also be a national regulator and VETAB will disappear and hand over all responsibility to the national regulator.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Amazing Success with job-seekers!

We have been delivering a training program for a group of job-seekers who are seeking work in the field of marketing. What an incredible group of people!
Besides learning skills and new ways of applying these skills in work situations, they have achieved a remarkable turn-around in the way in which they market themselves in order to secure employment. They have all learnt how to do their own elevator pitch and how to 'sell' themselves into a role.
Here is an extract from an email from one of the participants where he thanks our MCI trainer Gavin and also Sally from a job network provider:

"Hi Gavin & Sally

Firstly to thank you both for all you have done.
Secondly to let you know how much the Diploma of Marketing Course helped
me, and I believe helped all the students.
As a result of the interactiveness of the marketing course, the students
got to know each other and it got us out of the rut that some of us had
slipped into.
Even though I have skills and experience, I was actually starting to
believe that I would never get another job again . . And whether there
was anybody or any job out there actually worth getting!
During the course, Tara as you know got a Product Development job and
Tracy a Sales/Marketing job.
Robbie got some work as a result of meeting an entrepreneur on the last
day of the course.
Warren got some work designing a website for the entrepreneur.
Kala appeared more confident.
Myself I was actually feeling more confident as a result of interacting
with the others, and from doing some of the presentations during the
Interacting with the others also highlighted to myself some of my
weaknesses and strengths.
If nothing else, the course made me feel more positive about myself and
perhaps that even contributed to me gaining employment as some of that
positive attitude has to come across when applying for jobs.
No doubt a lot of this was due to Gavin Wedel the marketing course
assessor and the interactive course format he designed.
I applied for 3 IT jobs yesterday and today did the Agent Interview, Job
Interview and within 1 hour the agent rang back and said I had the job.
Almost I don’t believe I actually have a job after such a long period of
I have not had 12 months of continuous employment since 2000 and now i
have 12 months guaranteed!
I am sure some of the students were a little bit unhappy that the course
finished as attending bonded many of the students.

The marketing course was the most positive thing that happened during my
period of unemployment and it happened at the right time and I recommend
it to all who have some interest in learning something new about marketing
and also about themselves.

Thanks again Gavin and Sally."

All the best to everyone on the program!! You set the standard for all job seekers!!

Here are some before and after photos of one of the participants who has sharpened his image to become more professional.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Playing for survival

This is a great blog written by my colleague in Canada, Jacquie Llyod Smith. A very useful insight into why play is so vitally important in creating the right climate for innovation and on-going creativity.

Playing for Survival

In his book “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul”, Stuart Brown, M.D., explains that not only have scientist proven that play is needed and used within the animal kingdom for survival, but that play allows the player to gain new insights, test new behaviours, and develop new strategies. John Byers, an animal play scholar speculates that during play our brain is actually making sense of itself though simulation and testing. In landmark research conducted by Marian Diamond in 1960, concluded that play has an important role in brain development, and it is not just the act of playing but the interaction of playing with ideas within an enriched environment, that term enriched environment speaks to the interplay between people and ideas.

Diamond discovered play is one of the most advanced methods that nature has developed for the complex brain to create itself. Within the business world, Strategic Play™ allows us the opportunity to imagine new possibilities and situations that never existed before, and most importantly can create to make the future better. This occurs during the process of play as the brain experiences rapid growth and neurons connect, disconnect and reconnect as the brain organizes information and learns. The process of play helps the brain to develop and prepare for the unexpected and create conscious and subconscious contingency plans that are agile and ready to adapt to the changing business landscape.

In today’s business world the idea of play for plays sake or for developing strategic thinking is not really acceptable. The game of golf, which is a stage of play called “games with rules”, has been referred to as the “green corporate board room” and this does seem to be an acceptable way for adult business people to play. After spending four hours together they can assess if their colleague cheats or embellishes and the players may emerge with a new sense of who the other player is based on their interpretation or respect for the rules.

But when we dig deeper into an element of play which is referred to as “making things” we can see many inventions that we use today actually came from the pure act of play. The airplane and the steam engine were first toys, and wind-up toys lead to the development of the clock. Fireworks came before the cannon and so we can see the act of playing with things for amusement has often lead to the development of useful things.

It is also clear the brain can not benefit from play when it’s faced with immediate danger and must react in order to survive. So it is also clear for Strategic Play™ to work and be of great benefit, organizations must build play and playful opportunities into their daily activities, systems and processes. And for Strategic Play to be of maximum benefit, scenarios must be tested randomly – there is no point for the manager to play out a situation that he has already experienced and has decided upon the answer or path forward. In fact the randomness of play is needed for full maximum learning and as such the Strategic Play™ facilitator leads the players through a process needed to fully maximize from the benefits of Strategic Play™.

These are some reasons why Lloyd Smith Solutions ( uses Strategic Play™ and why we see the value of play at work – this is the beginning of a play movement and we will continue to bring new ideas to this blog that we can all play with together.