This article was first published in VET Express
Lauren Hollows is the founder and CEO of Understand TAE, an emerging company offering innovative advice and a growing range of simple-to-use tools designed to help RTOs develop their internal capacity. Having run RTOs from senior management positions for the better part of a decade, Lauren now uses her extensive knowledge and experience to deliver professional consultation and training to RTOs looking to develop their internal capacity — both from a regulatory and training view. We spoke to Lauren about what it takes to produce first-rate trainers in the VET industry in 2017.Read More
You have one trainer on annual leave and another has just called in sick and will be off for a few days. What do you do? Well, most RTOs will call on their contract trainers to step up to the plate and take some additional classes. For the contract trainer, there is a freedom of being able to set your own schedules and hedge your bets working across a range of RTOs. But there are also lots of questions, this article answers three big questions: how can trainers be paid, contract issues and how to manage trainer competency and currency.
How should trainers be paid?
There are a few methods which contract trainers work including hourly rates, day rates and by the unit. RTOs and trainers need to work out what's right for them however, a little advice based on experience.
Are contract trainers third parties that need to be referred to ASQA or noted in my state funding contract?
Short answer - No. ASQA has kindly explicitly addressed this on their website. "No, a contract of employment between an RTO and its employee is not a third party arrangement." However, a word of caution, if you are working with an organisation who is supplying you with trainers, that IS a third party agreement, the contract has to be directly with the trainer to be a contract of employment. Additionally, if a trainer is deriving all or the majority of their income from one organisation, then you need to be aware of your IR/HR requirements. For more information about this check with Fairwork.
How can we manage and who is responsible for professional development?
The biggest problem I speak about with both contract trainers and RTOs is who is responsible for managing the trainer currency and competency to meet Standard 1.13-1.16. Again, ASQA has been pretty clear on this. "Your RTO must demonstrate that you have developed and implemented a plan for professional development for ALL trainers and assessors (including new employees, long-term staff, subcontractors and third-party providers)." So the question isn't who is responsible but how this responsibility is managed. The below is more advice based on what I have seen work, rather than gospel or law and should be taken as such, there are many ways to make it work, but at the end of the day the Standards are what dictate what is required.
In summary, the more you can discuss and put to writing before you commence, the easier both sides will find it to come to a happy, healthy arrangement. Remember that trainers set the front facing standard of quality for any RTO, they are an investment, so invest and help them grow. As Simon Sinek puts it "When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute." Invest in your trainers and they will invest in you and more importantly, your students.
For more advice on managing your RTO, check out our website and for an innovative new solution for managing trainer competency and currency or your own professional development coming soon contact us today with the subject What is TMS?