It's hard not to notice all the bad press out there at the moment, and if we let ourselves get too overwhelmed by it all, then it would be easy to believe there are no quality RTOs out there. It's not true though. Most RTOs are out there trying to do the right thing as are the staff that work for them. Want to know how it's done? Keep reading...
The most successful RTOs and businesses, are run by people who believe in what they do. Training creates opportunities, opens doors and builds strong industry. The best RTOs I know are built on the foundation of more than just making profits. They were built to support, encourage and broaden their industry by contributing. It's about the output and what you produce, not about what is taken in.
Under the new standards RTO owners, CEOs and senior management staff are legally and financially responsible and liable for decisions made within the business. So an understanding of the standards, the VET environment and the broad requirements of any funding contracts is essential. While this will need to be tempered with specialists as your business grows, knowing broadly how the different aspects of your business come together is important. I encourage every owner/CEO to spend time in the classroom, in administration and with clients & students on the sales front from time to time.
VET is ever changing, learning to ask & listen in proportion to directing and managing means you & your business remain informed and current. Listen to staff at all levels, spend time understanding the needs of your clients & get feedback from students. Be open to what you do well and where you can improve.
Funding models will change, so don't put all your eggs in one basket. A lot of providers have made papers lately because they took advantage of a short term opportunity. Here's something that will never change though, there will always be a need for students to learn, there will always be a need for companies to upskill staff and there will always be students who want to do better, who yearn for something more, and they will choose the path of education, the path of VET. It's not a piece of paper, or an employer incentive they are after, but quality training. Funding models will change, build your RTO on quality training and people will see the value.
This is one of my favourite quotes and a personal mantra. Change is inevitable in life as it is in business, and even more so in VET. It can be difficult for those that build an empire to accept that the ways things worked before, may need to change to keep working moving forward. If you accept from the beginning that the best businesses are adaptive (google, virgin, apple anyone?), then 'your' way becomes less about set procedures and more of a philosophy.
It takes more than an individual to run a company, therefore, the quality of your company will be dictated by the quality of your people. People take time to develop, therefore the more time you can invest, the better output you will achieve (as long as you actually manage them see here for more on that). High turnover will decrease your productivity and quality of product so appreciate your staff, listen to them, and support their development.
Overall, running a quality RTO boils down to this, be open to and always strive for knowledge. Whether it's building your own knowledge and skills, developing staff or training students, good RTO's embody the spirit of the initial teachers like Yeats & Socrates. "Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of fire."
May your fire burn brightly and spark the kindling of all those you touch.