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The importance of industry currency in VET

June 11, 2021

Industry currency is important so that learners can gain industry-relevant, valuable skills to become job and future ready – improving the RTO’s relationship with industry and the reputation of VET. To deliver quality training and assessment, trainers and assessors need to also be industry specialists, making them dual professionals. RTOs must demonstrate to ASQA that their teachers have current knowledge and skills in vocational training and learning that informs their training and assessment[1]. 

What is industry currency?

Trainers and assessors need to maintain their industry currency by staying up to date with current industry knowledge, skills and practice. This enables trainers and assessors to deliver and assess vocational training relevant to industry. 

While there’s no specific method providers must use to record industry consultation evidence, the Standards outline some ways trainers and assessors can demonstrate industry currency: 

  • volunteering or working part-time in the industry area
  • undertaking accredited training relevant to the industry area
  • belonging to industry associations
  • engaging with industry (for example, through discussions with employers or attending industry networking events)
  • staying informed about changes to technology
  • keeping up to date with changes to legislation.

Why is industry currency important? 

Maintaining industry currency provides many benefits for the RTO and its learners. 

Learners want training that is relevant, based on real world examples and tailored to industry needs. When trainers and assessors maintain their industry currency, it allows them to modify their training to provide more relevant learning and assessment. This has flow-on effects of:

  • increased confidence in the VET course
  • improved reputation of the RTO among employers
  • enhanced industry relationships, including confidence and goodwill through being ‘seen’ in industry
  • improved industry ownership, valuing and understanding of training
  • improved confidence and an up‑to‑date and best practice image of trainers/assessors for learners, industry and peers
How RTOs can promote industry engagement 

RTOs are required to show how they have maintained the currency of their trainers’ industry skills and trainer/assessor competencies, in compliance with the Standards[2]. To do this, RTOs should:

  • support their trainers/assessors in meaningful industry engagement, such as participation in projects with industry
  • support their trainers’/assessors’ professional development in teaching and learning methods and in understanding the requirements of VET sector
  • foster a culture of critical evaluation and innovation.

According to ASQA[3], RTOs can use a number of different strategies for industry engagement, including:

  • partnering with local employers, regional/national businesses, relevant industry bodies, or enterprise RTOs
  • involving employers in industry advisory committees
  • embedding staff within enterprises
  • ongoing networking with industry organisations, peak bodies, or employers
  • developing networks of relevant employers and industry representatives to participate in assessment validation
  • exchanging knowledge, staff and resources with employers, networks and industry bodies.

Information obtained from this industry engagement is useful for RTOs to: 

  • design strategies for training and assessment
  • select suitable resources
  • seek feedback about how to provide training and assessment, and
  • confirm trainers and assessors have current industry skills.

By undertaking industry engagement, RTOs can ensure that the training and assessment they provide gives graduates industry-relevant skills and knowledge and are able to apply these in the workplace.

Industry currency is different for every RTO

Although industry currency is highly important, there isn’t much formal guidance available to help RTOs with their approach. Some RTOs rely on industry-specific guidance provided in training packages, but often this isn’t stated in training packages. This means many RTOs make their own individual currency decisions. 

Some examples of these individual decisions include currency periods and activities that contribute to maintaining industry currency. To determine a currency period, RTOs need to consider factors that are relevant to them, in consultation with industry, such as:

  • technological innovation
  • changing legislation and regulatory requirements
  • changes to industry practice
  • new and emerging skills and specialisations as work practices change
  • technical skill degradation through periods of non-use.

Similarly, there’s no single approach to determining the activities that contribute to maintaining industry currency. RTOs and assessors need to determine the right combination of activities to suit the kind of knowledge and skill they have to maintain. 

How a Student Management System can help with industry currency

Managing trainer competencies and evidence can be a laborious task, but with a good student management system (SMS), competency and evidence statuses can be viewed at a glance. With a Trainer Matrix, trainers are able to upload evidence such as professional development, currency and industry qualifications while mapping to a single unit of competency, or an entire qualification. Compliance Managers can then review evidence submissions, request more information from the trainer and validate the evidence. A great SMS can also trigger automatic notifications to trainers and key compliance staff prior to evidence expiring.

References

  1. Building capability and quality in VET teaching: opportunities and challenges
  2. How can I demonstrate that I have maintained the currency of my industry skills and my trainer/ assessor competencies?
  3. ASQA – What evidence do I need to demonstrate I have engaged with industry? What is meant by "range of strategies for industry engagement"? (Clauses 1.5 – 1.6)
  4. Clauses 1.13 to 1.16—Employ skilled trainers and assessors | Australian Skills Quality Authority
  5. Assessment in the VET sector

Want to know more? Check out these articles: 


If you’re ready to take your RTO’s business success to the next level, find out how aXcelerate can help here, or request a demo here.

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