Questions To Ask Of An RTO For Defence Industry Partnering

People within my network often ask me, “We are looking at becoming a registered training organisation; what’s it like?” My advice has been resounding and reverberating don’t do it!

Although Klepper Pty Ltd owns its own RTO, which grows legs by the day, it has not been an easy (nor cheap) process to get The Klepper Training Academy off the ground. There are other options for businesses who want to get training bedded into the organisation without looking into the governance-intensive activity that is regulated and accredited training.

The ideal from multiple parties is a cooperative agreement with an existing and experienced RTO. This method of engagement would see a business that sells a product or service (and wants to commercialise the training of this) team up with an RTO. The key benefit of this arrangement is keeping recurring costs low. This is due to building the package together, but ongoing costs are only the maintenance of learning plans and materials and any costs associated with student enrolment.

Before stepping into a relationship of this nature, there are a few things the prospective Defence partner should request of the RTO:

  • Defence Industry Security Program Membership. The first question I would ask a prospective RTO is whether or not they are DISP members. If you are doing any work with Defence in either above or below-the-line capacity, then assurance of all elements of your offering is critical. This is no longer the gold standard in supply chain assurance; this is now the baseline. The same goes for your training and trainers.
  • Trainer Competency and Proficiency. As a savvy business, you should be asking to see copies of the RTO trainer proficiencies, including Training and Assessment qualifications, Continuing Professional Development Plans, previous ASQA Audit reports and checking their status as an RTO (this is done through this link and searching for the RTO / organisation.
  • Defence Experience. This may seem like a no-brainer, but what is the RTO’s experience with Defence? How current are they with where your product or service fits into the operating concept? What have they done previously in a below-the-line engagement that saw success for the operator and the business they were teamed with?
  • Student / Learner Management System. All RTOs will have two fundamental systems to function in a competitive and evolving environment. The first is a student management system (SMS). This tool gathers and retains student data for mandatory reporting purposes and qualification management. The second is a Learner Management System (LMS). This system is used to conduct learning (eLearning or coordinate in-person courses). The prospective Defence client should ask about the RTOs SMS and LMS and even request guest access to preview existing courses and materials. For example, The Klepper Training Academy utilises the Klepper Online Learning Environment (KOLE). This is based on the platform aXcelerate and allows us to manage students, trainers, resources, classrooms, marketing, billing and many more services.
  • Previous Experience in Defence Learning methodologies. Defence is an evolving entity that always reviews its processes and procedures. Whether it is the current (but being reviewed) Systems Approach to Defence Learning (SADL) model of Analyse, Design, Implementation, and Evaluation or the previous Defence Learning Framework or others. It is important that the RTO is experienced in these structures to build your training out. If not, you will just have to redo any effort you have if/when Defence wants to adopt your learning packages.

Hopefully, this has given a quick snippet of some of the considerations of teaming with an RTO for the Defence business. There are innumerable opportunities now, and moving into the future, business leaders responsible for teaming arrangements and strategy must stay informed.