Chief Learning Officer – LearningElite 2013

Chief Learning Officer Magazine today released the final results of its LearningElite Awards for 2013

So today I want to congratulate my team and all of the people involved in our securing a spot as one of the 45 finalists this year for a field of more than 200 organisations.  Here is the press release from CLO Magazine;




UnitingCare Community Recognized as a LearningElite Organization

Chief Learning Officer magazine’s LearningElite and Editor’s Choice Awards Presented at Gala

Austin, Texas — UnitingCare Community was presented with a 2013 LearningElite award from Chief Learning Officer magazine at a gala dinner held at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. UnitingCare Community was ranked No. 41 in the competition from a field of more than 200 companies.

Developed under the guidance of chief learning officers and senior workforce development practitioners, the CLO LearningElite is the only peer-based benchmarking initiative in the industry. This pioneering program utilizes best practices in evaluation to objectively assess both the scope and the value of the learning and development services that companies provide. It recognizes excellence in five key L&D performance indicators: learning strategy, learning impact, leadership commitment, learning execution and business performance results.

“In our third year of benchmarking workforce learning and development practices, competition was intense. The organizations that achieved LearningElite status stood out as true innovators in enterprise education — noteworthy for their unswerving commitment to deploying elite L&D practices that deliver measurable business value,” said Sarah Kimmel, director of research and advisory services for the Human Capital Media Advisory Group, a component of the magazine’s publisher, MediaTec Publishing.

“The LearningElite’s incisive analysis yields solid data that validates the impact these organizations’ learning initiatives have on productivity, engagement, innovation and, ultimately, business results.”

“Chief Learning Officer is proud to recognize organizations such as UnitingCare Community that make learning and development a key part of their business strategy as well as their culture,“ said Norm Kamikow, president and editor in chief of MediaTec and its Human Capital Media Group. “This level of commitment is what enables enterprises to build and maintain high-performing workforces with the competencies, capabilities and leadership skills to carry out the company’s mission and achieve its goals.”

For more information about the LearningElite, visit

So we came in number 41 out of the field, which I think is fantastic, why, well, 18 months ago the organisation didn’t have a formal learning and development unit and we would not have been even able to articulate a response to the questions which form the basis of the awards.

What the organisation did have was a vision and a commitment, and this is something I am truly grateful for, almost absolute and unwavering faith in myself and my team.  In the 18 months since I cam on board and the team was formed we have moved forward in leaps and bounds and come a long, long way.  There is still a heap of work to be done however as we are not there yet, but we have the organisational commitment to Learning and a team of people who really are set to shine into the future.

So again I want to congratulate my team and most of all say thank.

You all deserve it.

NSSC Position Paper on a New VET System – Part 2 The Standards

So on Tuesday I started to look at the position paper just released by the NSSC

today I want to start looking more closely at the Standards Framework which the NSSC have put forward, starting with the standards around Training and Assessment.

Standard 1 – Training and assessment strategies and practice give effect to AQF qualifications defined in the Training Package or accredited course

All of this looks great on paper,  and these comments go equally for Standard 2 as well,  but I have some issues, yet again it seems the focus is on assessment and assessment strategies, could for once actually look at how the training is delivered and the content that is being delivered.  It is not enough to say that it needs to meet AQF standards etc and then only look at the assessment tools, strategies and the qualifications of the trainers.  In reality that is not where the problem is, the problem is in what is actually being delivered to participants and how it is being delivered, until the government and the regulators actually step up to the plate and actually look at the content itself and how it is delivered and who knows and here is a radical suggestion, Auditors could actually sit in on a class or two to see what really is happening, and what the content and delivery methodologies are, instead of just looking at pieces of paper and going yep well you have ticked all of those boxes so what you deliver in to participants must be fine.

It is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion that we are supposed to have a system that regulates training providers, but which doesn’t actually look at the training that they provide.  The problem is that until we actually start doing this the system will still have the problems that currently exist.

The real kicker in this standard though and one which I and I know a large number of people involved at all levels of VET will support fully, again if properly implemented is this little gem;

Trainer/teacher and assessors delivering the minimum training and assessment qualification set by the NSSC hold at least the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training;

and all I have to say is it is about time.  It is and has always been a ludicrous situation, where someone with no training background, could  obtain the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and the very next be training other people in the Qualification.  It made no sense and has caused no end of issues within the industry and as the NSSC paper goes on to comment in the explanation of the standards ;

a strong theme arising from consultations to date is concern with the quality of delivery of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, which in turn has a significant impact on the capability of vocational education and training trainers/teachers and assessors to implement quality training and assessment practices and

require a trainer/teacher delivering the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to hold at least the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training 

This just makes sense, but again only if they hold RTO’s accountable for what they actually deliver and how they deliver it.

Standard 2 – AQF qualifications or statements of attainment are issued to learners assessed as meeting the competency requirements defined in the Training Package or accredited course.

My comments here are exactly the same as those above, everything talks about assessment and there is not mention of the actual training, unless we start to look at what is actually being delivered and not just the assessment tools, you know the content not just the outcome we will still have poorly trained graduates who are not actually ready for a job role in the vocation they are supposed to have been trained in.

Standard 3 – An LTO has an Accountable Education Officer, who is registered with the AVQS regulator and responsible for all training and assessment undertaken by the LTO.

I am in full support of this standard.  I know that there has been some discussion that it may add an extra layer of cost to the operations of LTO’s but I am less certain as I would suggest that most providers would currently have someone operating in that kind of role anyway, and if they don’t they probably should.  In our instance I can see that it would make no real change to our day-to-day business processes etc.  My only caveat to this is that if the Accountable Education Officer role, was a role that could not be held by someone like the CEO, Executive Officer, RTO Manager etc of the LTO.  If it is required to be a separate role, then I would be far less supportive of it as it would increase the costs without any real benefit flowing form the cost increase.

Standard 4 – LTO is accountable for and systematically monitors all training and assessment services, whether undertaken by itself or through a partnering arrangement, to ensure the achievement of quality training and assessment outcomes and compliance with all the standards.

Again from my point of view this one if a no-brainer, again as I have said before, if when they talk about training they put into place actual process and regulations around the content and delivery of training and not just of assessments   I know I sound like a broken record on this one but it really needs to happen if we are going to have a VET system we can be proud of and which provides us with the outcomes we require.

So there are my thought on the first four of the standards.  I will post some more of my views around the rest of the standards tomorrow.

NSSC Position Paper – The Case for a New Vocational Education and Training System – Part One

The National Skills Standards Council today released their position paper on

‘Improving Vocational Education and Training – The case for a new system’

and it makes some interesting reading across the board.  I am going to take some time to look at various aspects of the position and offer some commentary.  the position paper recognises that “Damage to the reputation of Australian vocational education and training and national recognised qualifications represents a significant threat to Australia’s prosperity and growth‘ and that this problem has 3 contributing factors:

  • Inconsistent quality of training and assessment of RTOs, undermining the integrity and value of vocational qualifications held by all individual learners and employees.
  • Lack of comparable and reliable publicly available information regarding an RTO and its performance upon which learners, employers and governments can make decisions regarding training.
  • Significant diversification, growth and change in the provision of vocational education and training evolving and reacting to a changing economy and market. In particular the regulatory framework needs to be updated to reduce unnecessary regulation and reflect the move towards various forms of learning entitlements or subsidies and extensive and growing competition across the diverse provider cohort. 

In response to the problem and the factors contributing to it the NSSC considered 3 options, namely;

  1. retaining the status quo
  2. making minimal change by realigning the AQTF with the NVR Quality Framework
  3. reforming the system with stronger, clearer, and targeted standards. 

The first option ‘retaining the status quo, is seen and I believe correctly as an unsustainable option, having multiple regulators and standards brings only inconsistency and confusion, not only to the industry, but to consumers both individual and organisational. The other issue and one which I have been banging the drum about for a while, is that without robust regulation around the quality of training that is being delivered and assessed confidence in the system is eroded, RTO’s providing quality training (with longer timeframes to achieve competence) will be forced out of the industry as a result of weekend wonder courses, which are done on a much cheaper basis both in money and time.  It will also increase the cost to employers who rather than being about to trust that new staff with a particular qualification will have a certain level of knowledge, will need to test and retrain staff just to get them to a basic level of competence.

Under Option 2, the AQTF would be amended to align with the NVR legislative instruments. This would involve: minor changes to the wording of the AQTF; and the separation of the AQTF into different standards documents that directly align to the NVR legislative instruments.  This option as with option one, and again I agree with the NSSC paper, seems not to provide any of the certainty that the industry needs in order to be able to flourish and to ensure that there is confidence in student outcomes, both for individuals and organisations and that quality of training is maintained.  The other issue with this option, which is raised by the paper, is that it is likely to increase operating costs for RTO’s  without providing any real benefits.

Option 3: Australian Vocational Qualification System – NSSC’s recommended option.  Before we go any further and start to look at the option itself and what it contains, I for one agree that there needs to be substantive change to the current system and that there needs to be a realignment of the way we think about training and the organisations that deliver it.  Now lets look at what is being suggested.  I think from a position point of view the following statement from the council sets the scene nicely for what comes after,

The Council believes that all training providers that issue nationally recognised vocational qualifications must perform to high standards. The Council acknowledges that while many RTOs not only comply with the current standards but exceed them, there are too many examples of RTOs that issue nationally recognised vocational qualifications that are not consistently meeting the standards and are not valued by employers. For example, it was these practices that led the Productivity Commission, researching into the delivery of the Certificate IV in Aged Care to conclude that there are some registered training organisations that are not delivering accredited courses to the standard required. 

The New Australian Vocational Qualification System

Licensed Training Organisations – the NSSC proposes that training organisations which issue vocational qualifications be called ‘Licensed Training Organisations’, and through regulation be awarded a licence to issue vocational qualifications for up to five years. This shift from registration recognises that providers are afforded the right and privilege of issuing vocational qualifications that are nationally recognised and which are essentially developed for and the property of all Ministers responsible for skills and employment, on behalf of all Australians.Regardless of the form, purpose or ownership structure of the provider, all LTOs issued a licence under the new AVQS must comply with the regulatory standards hereafter called the ‘AVQS Quality Framework’. As defined below, the standards applied under the new system will set a higher bar for providers issuing vocational qualifications, raising the quality of training and assessment and better ensuring the integrity of the qualifications issued to individuals. 

I am not sure what changing the name actually achieves here, but the concept behind it, that of it being a right and a privilege to issue vocational qualification is right headed.  For too long it has seems like this industry (or at least significant parts of it and I know there are plenty of people out there for whom this in not the major driver, but as an industry we need to be clear about the purpose) is driven by money, mostly government funding.  One thing that I think will have a significant impact on this vision and how it plays out is the recommendation for a single set of standards, which makes no differentiation between RTO’s applying for registration and those already registered.

The existing standards for providers are currently split into standards for initial registration and standards for continuing registration; with the AQTF further split between conditions and standards. The NSSC proposes that a single set of standards, with no conditions, applying to providers that have been registered for a period of time as well as new entrants to the training system. This means that the ‘bar’ for entry is equally as high for a new LTO as for a practising one, with every learner able to expect quality learning regardless of how long their LTO has been licensed.

I really like this idea and have never understood why there was a difference between registration and re-registration and a single set of standards Australia wide, applied to all RTO’s no matter whether they are public, private, or enterprise or whatever WILL make running and administering and RTO much simpler in the long run.  Clarity around standards will make a difference.

So I am going to leave it here for today, tomorrow I am going to look at the first four of the actual standards that the NSSC have produced, those relating to training and assessment, some of which worry me a little, but most of which I think are long overdue.

When L&D forgets about the end game

This is a great post by Sukh. It points out that often what L&D is talking about and what the business are talking about are two entirely different things.

Thinking About Learning

Hello, I’m Sukh and I’m here to find out more about what learning and development happens in your part of organisation.

Sure, we send people on courses.

And what about social learning?

Informal learning?

Experiential learning?

It’s a familiar conversation, right?

You know who cares about these things? Us L&Ders.

You know who doesn’t care about these things? The people we’re working with.

It’s all a lot of good useful academic debate and classification and codifying and intelligent thought. But it doesn’t matter to the people who need to learn. They just want to learn. If that comes through a webinar, a podcast, a flipped classroom, a MOOC, or face to face solution, then that’s what we provide.

There’s been a lot of good discussion in the L&D world about all sorts of fascinating things. How do we get inside the learner’s head? What should we worried…

View original post 212 more words

The value of Coaching for an Organisation

What is the Value to an Organisation for having an embedded coaching program?

I and a number of my colleagues have been involved over the past 10 months or so in a coaching accreditation program designed to provide us with the skill and competencies to be good or better coaches.   It has involved us being coach/mentored while coaching other staff members and has been an interested experience for both us and the staff we are coaching.  More importantly perhaps it has made us look at the place that coaching has within the organisation and what is  and where does the value in a program like this sit.

Interestingly I think that perhaps when we considered this kind of program we saw the value sitting with those people being coached.  So in providing an opportunity for the staff being coached to grow and develop and become better, more fully engaged and capable members of the organisation.  This thinking has shifted, and while it is still the case that there is value and significant value sometimes for the people being coached, it seems that there is far greater value in the process of coaching and becoming a coach.  So the real value that exists is that by becoming coaches, coaching staff members and being mentored to be a better coach, we have significantly improved the capacity of our senior management cohort as well as its ability to link and communicate with our staff, which to my mind is much more substantial win than we had expected.  The value we are seeing is such that we are seriously considering ‘encouraging’ all of our senior management to become involved in the process of being a coach and being mentored through the process.

I would love to hear other people’s experience of organisational coaching, its effects and where you think the value lies.

Effective training builds revenue

I found this post this morning and thought It was really worthwhile sharing with you all.

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