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Developing a system of sustainable assessment validation

Why ASQA’s new audit model should help improve VET

Is Training Relevant in a Morphing World?

Opportunities and challenges for investors

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ocational education and training professionals must respect their title and be responsible for their own learning if they expect respect from others. While this seems like common sense, many of our colleagues fail to challenge what they know and make little attempt to discover what they don’t. To be open to learning you must be open to learn As VET professionals, our objective is not only to foster employee learning but to become learners ourselves. As a profession, we must be the first to practice what we preach. If we don’t lead by example, then what are we good for? Our own professional development is absolutely essential if we want to instill learning within our organisations. My concern arose over a many conversations with trainers and VET practitioners around the requirements for currency and PD, under the Standards for RTOs 2015. Unfortunately, many cannot see the connection of compliance with the requirements, and the quality of training provided. Professional Development is an essential part of our system, is in fact our commitment to relevant, industry current learning. Again, being a learning professional is a significant responsibility. You must be a learner yourself, and more importantly, you must be a critical thinker. Learning is not a unidirectional process. Learning is an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and discovery of the unknown.

001 JUNIO 2017



Why ASQA’s new audit model should help improve VET PAGE 16-17

Opportunities and challenges for investors

Is Training Relevant in a Morphing World?

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Developing a system of sustainable assessment validation

Impact is created, it doesn’t ‘just happen’...


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Bridge the Gap Between E-Learning and Compliance




Opportunities and challenges for investors T

DR MO KADER Consultica Worldwide Management Consultants m.kader@consultica.com.au PO Box A1025 Sydney South NSW 1235 Australia 4 InVETMAGAZINE

he potential opportunities in investment in the Australian vocational education sector is an area of particular interest given the expanding nature of the sector and the recent signing of Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) between Australia and its Asian neighbours. This qualitative analysis seeks to describe the Australian vocational education sector and provide a view of its landscape to allow prospective investors the opportunity to better research and consider the sector as an investment option. The analysis also aims at providing a critical insight into the quality systems and processes that underpin the Australian vocational education system that interact with investment and operational decisions. The context of internationalisation for a modern vocational education system is one of significance to both the supply chain and the value chain. Students are increasingly mobile as a result of a desire for experiential learning overseas, increased globalisation of labour, and an aspirational drive that now links studying at a vocational education institution with more than just the home-based experience. It is this increase in international enrolments globally that has led to a diversification of vocational education offerings. The net result is a global increase in the number of private vocational education providers and a broadening of the types of vocational qualification offerings available to

international students. From a supply side perspective, the internationalisation of education has created an Australian vocational education market that is diverse. Students from a wide array of countries enrol in Australian vocational education institutions. The value chain of vocational education in Australia has also been affected by the internationalisation trend. Value creation from an educational context is now also more diverse, providing students with value ranging from institutional capacity to institutional links to industry. The Australian vocational education market is a mature and dynamic arena with Federal- and State-level controls of quality. The opportunity for local and international investors to become involved in the sector, by setting up private Vocational Education Providers (Registered Training Organisations or RTO’s), is dependent on the breadth and depth of the opportunities in the sector, the relationship between public and private education, the nature of the Australian vocational education industry and the regulatory environment in which institutions operate. This high level analysis provides insights into these areas of interest to prospective investors.

International Educational Trends The internationalisation of education is increasing in significance with a range of social and economic trends driving the

knowledge economy. The Australian vocational education sector continues to develop apace as institutions shift from a mere international recruitment drive to an integrated internationalisation strategy that incorporates joint ventures. Private RTO’s, while market – oriented, seem to lack the ability to engage in the broader strategic internationalisation agenda, focussing instead on localised, country-specific marketing efforts that drive student enrolments. This may be due to the smaller resource pool available to RTO’s and the nature of the supply and value chain considerations highlighted earlier. However, in both quantum and in growth patterns, it is clear that RTO’s in Australia are experiencing rapid, consistent growth in international student enrolments The global trend in vocational education enrolments by international students continues to rise reaching almost 5 million enrolments globally in 2014. The annual

increase in international student enrolments, globally, has been between 8 and 10% since 2005. The Australian vocational education market trends are aligned with these figures and are set to grow further in the next decade. This trend is likely to continue. While student destinations have remained stable over the last decade, market shifts are occurring with countries offering lifestyle choices, post-graduation medium-term employment opportunities and workplace internships, becoming more attractive. Australia ranks highly on student desirability lists given its weather conditions, the relatively low Australian dollar and the opportunity to live an educational and social lifestyle that is deemed attractive. The United States remains the most popular international student destination, followed by the United Kingdom and Australia, among the English speaking countries, while France and Germany are the most popular destinations in Europe. The average

market share of both Australia and Canada is increasing and this is leading to greater demand on RTO’s.

The Role of Private Vocational Education Providers The privatisation of education in the form of parallel private institutions established alongside public institutions is a global phenomenon that started in the early 1990’s. National governments are reluctant to take on the full spectrum of vocational education coverage, leaving private enterprise to develop commercial, yet (sometimes) educationally competent institutions to fill the void left by lower funding and increased demand for vocational education. Similar to the global trend, Australia has seen an increase in the investment, by private enterprise, in vocational education since the early 2000’s. New Zealand vocational education has followed a similar approach with an increase

in the presence of private vocational education providers. The European example has seen specialisation in private vocational education with focussed dedicated institutions working in niche segments such as airport management, IT research and the like. This has added to the value created by private educational institutions in the Eurozone.

Investment Opportunities The Australian vocational education segment, particularly in the area of private Vocational Education Providers (RTO’s) remains opportune. It is founded on strong quality standards, demand side drivers and supply side drivers that make the segment a productive and potentially well-performing element in the investment map of international firms. The challenges posed by the establishment effort are an indication of the quality of the sector and one of the reasons why Australia remains an international student destination. InVETMAGAZINE 5


Is Training Relevant in a Morphing World?


DR GAIL CROSSLEY-CRAVEN CC Education & Business Services, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (www.drcc.com.au) 6 InVETMAGAZINE

n a world where expectations are high and the pace is fast, training that is relevant can seem like the Holy Grail. Regardless of the industry, businesses and authorities are faced with predictions and decisions to ensure relevant training for the future. The urgency and necessity of the training can often mean that some skills fall by the way side or are assumed to be possessed without being taught explicitly. These assumed skills need to be addressed either as part of the specific VET training course or as extra post or pre VET training. If businesses and the relevant authorities can recognise this need, relevant training is certainly possible in our morphing world. Across the vocational education and training (VET) world, businesses and authorities are faced with accurately predicting and deciding what constitutes relevant training that is sustainable and applicable at the time of delivering the training and into the future. This is extremely challenging. According to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are recognised as providers of quality-assured and nationally recognised training and qualifications. It is a challenge for 5000 approximate RTOs to deliver relevant training in a timely manner to meet our morphing world. VET training is a vastly competitive market and particularly in the past two years we have observed some very aggressive entities move into the VET training sector which has made it increasingly difficult for the smaller RTOs. Even though

these two sectors of RTOs are very different, there is a common thread; VET training is a big business and very competitive. It is no surprise that in my practice I hear clients say that they feel like a number; they rarely talk to their trainer other than an occasional email so feel like they aren’t important. It seems like the individual and personal touch of feeling valued is disappearing to make room for the variety of courses offered and to reach student quotas. The urgency and necessity of the training in our changing world can often mean that some skills fall by the way side or are assumed to be possessed without being taught explicitly. In my business practice, I have found this especially true with school-based Certificate courses. Regardless of the chosen course, the school-based VET course needs to be completed within a given timeframe so that the student leaves the school with the course completed. This means that the student is work-ready which will assist them in securing meaningful work and of course, so that the school is deemed as being responsible and successful in their quest to educate students for the real-world. This ideal is an admirable and achievable educational goal and has consequences. There are significant consequences for the RTO. The pressure of time constraints on an RTO for the delivery of relevant training to students can sometimes promote practices that are different to the delivery method of the training that is stated and therefore, can sometimes appear to be questionable. One reason to explain this time

pressure is the drive to maximise profitability. Now I certainly understand that making a profit is the aim of any successful business and RTOs are no exception. I also understand that changing the delivery of training to comply with the time constraints of completing a course is not profitable in the long-term. Undertaking a course is not like signing up for a gym membership although some situations certainly seem similar. The consequences for VET students, whether they are school-based or not, can be demotivating. Upon completion of a VET course, it is assumed that the student possesses the specific skills that are outlined in the course and that the student is also competent in those specific skills. This means that the person can do the job required that encompasses those skills. In other words, they have these assumed skills. Unfortunately, this does not always occur. It seems to me there is a shortfall by some RTOs having worked with, and I am currently working with clients who are pressured by the time constraints and the lack of actual training deliverables in the manner that was stated in the course outline and the RTO overview. These assumed skills need to be addressed either as part of the specific VET training course or as extra pre or post VET training. If this occurs, training is relevant in our changing world. The consequences for employees can be devastating. Having assumed skills can result in employees who are not actually skilled in the specific skills stated in their qualification. This skill shortage can lead to their lack of

confidence in their work and even safety being compromised. The consequences for employers are that they are employing staff who really need to be trained in the area of their qualification in order to do the required job. This can be a costly and disappointing exercise that can deter employers from employing people with certain qualifications especially if the prospective employee has studied with a questionable RTO. VET is vital in delivering key skills Australia needs now and for the future and has proven itself as an adaptive and agile level of the

education sector. From my viewpoint, there are levels of relevance within training. There are levels of core skills within units of a VET course that are absolutely necessary to do the job required. Then there are skills that are softer and are not taught explicitly but are assumed the student possesses in order to do the course as well as the job that the course targets. These softer skills include all areas of communication. In my practice, I work with clients who present as demotivated, overwhelmed, mis-understood and not reaching their potential.

Communication is key and is part of the formula for relevant training in our changing world! These softer skills are vital in any job yet they are assumed by the majority and are absent in many VET courses. These assumed skills need to be addressed either as part of the specific VET training course or as extra post or pre VET training. Therefore, training needs to be delivered in a way that is stated and understood by the student in order for training to be relevant in changing times. Relevant training is NOT the Holy Grail but a real possibility in our morphing world. InVETMAGAZINE 7


Building an Organisational Needs Analysis in an Enterp


erforming a needs analaysis is critical if enterprise RTOs want to manage their learning and performance initiatives and it’s equally important when delivering Nationally Recognised Training. But it’s the quality of the needs analysis that will have an effect on compliance. Over the last 15 years working with a number of enterprise RTOs, I have seen many trainers, instructional designers, and managers, forced to prepare learning solutions without being given the resources—time, money, or access to data—to conduct real upfront analysis. Instead, they conduct a “small needs assessment” and fall into what I call “order-taker mode.” This means that develo-


pers must rely on information from the requester and take “on faith” the needs of the learners, such as “what content needs to be conveyed” or the proper “duration of the learning experience.” The above situation usually produces training products that don’t cover all endorsed components of the relevant units of competency, and are delivered and assessed in a timeframe that is not appropriate to allow learners to gain the required skills and knowledge, according to the relevant training package. Trainers and instructional designers need to conduct a systematic “needs analysis” that must uncover the actual organisational and individual learning needs, and contextualise (unpack) units of competency to the enterprise RTO’s needs. This process doesn’t have to be cumbersome or take too much

time, but a systematic approach is required to support consistency, quality and compliance. To perform a proper needs analysis and unpack the relevant units of competency, it’s absolutely critical to be consultative and ensure that recommended solutions produce the desired results. Ultimately, it’s the credibility of the Nationally Recognised Training that’s on the line. Not doing so will produce training services that will not solve any performance issues, will not support the enterprise to achieve business goals, and will not meet the compliance requirements of the Standards for RTOs 2015. Training professionals working in an enterprise RTO, need to build an organisational “appetite” for needs analysis. Trainers and instructional designers need to have the “right conversations”


Appetite for prise RTO with a client—whether internal or external—when they’re pressured to move quickly to create learning solutions without knowing all the facts. Aligning business and training objectives by unpacking units of competency with SMEs and other stakeholders within the enterprise RTO, is central to this process. When using the V-model during the needs analysis (and industry engagement) process, the enterprise RTO can achieve quality, compliance, and a positive ROI. ROI V ModelThe V-model is the tool with which business alignment becomes a visible process. It also shows the three points at which business alignment occurs: at the beginning during the training product design (A), during the training delivery and assessment (B), and during the follow up evaluation (C), to validate the alignment.

The V-model is based on the concept of levels, which have been used for centuries to express increased value at a higher level. For example, when something is said to be moved to “the next level,” it suggests the new level is more valuable than its predecessor. It’s best to think of the V-model and the evaluation side first. Evaluation of a particular training product, in an enterprise RTO, moves through different levels of measurement: n Reacting to the program (Level 1). n Learning skills and knowledge to make the program successful (Level 2). n Applying the skills and knowledge in the workplace (Level 3). n Applying effective measures linked to the program (Level 4). n Comparing ROI and the monetary benefits to the cost of the program (Level 5).

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here are currently 4,930 nationally registered VET organisations and 41 universities, operating across Australia1. Although the number of VET providers outweighs universties by 120%, Australian universities are offering 72% of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with VET trailing at 18%. While international learner completion results for university MOOCs are cited as being 6% - 38%2. This article reports on the preliminary findings from an action research study of learners enrolled in VET MOOCs, Small Private Online Courses and 10 InVETMAGAZINE

online courses, at the Canberra Institute of Technology. With learner analytics indicating VET MOOCs are achieving student completion rates of 63%, over two years.

Who are our students? VET MOOCs empower learners to develop practical and analytical skills to pursue alternative career choices and for job improvement. The typical MOOC student is an English speaking 25-34-year-old male who lives in America and has completed a 4-year Degree. When MOOC data between VET and university learners are compared, VET MOOCs show an increased number of females and students

with lower levels of education are frequenting these courses.

How are our learners motivated? To better characterise VET MOOC students, the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic pre-and post-course motivational experiences were analysed with insights into what motivates these students (figure 1).VET learners are intrinsically motivated by learning that promotes self-improvement and provides career development opportunities. Complementary to these, stimulating learning materials and instructor participation were external factors that enhanced the students learning

experience. Although, course completions are not necessarily a key influence in learner motivation3, certification was noted as a pre-course motivator for VET MOOC participants.

What course design strategies work best? Building quality MOOC content through effective instructional design techniques, improves student motivation and retention. The international following that comes from students who enrol into a free, no prerequisite, study anywhere, at any time course and is not bounded by monetary obligations, requires innovative delivery techniques to sustain the

interest of these learners. This research seeks to validate course design principles such as: Locating a suitable unit for global delivery. The MOOC content should be guided by the elements of an existing Unit of Competency (UoC) which is already on scope by the VET provider. The subject matter should be of significant interest to attract a world-wide audience and should not currently occupy the MOOC space. Sourcing internal provisions and funding. A quality MOOC can be developed on a shoe-string budget. Although, organisational support and approvals to expend internal resources on the MOOCs production is essential in achieving this. Funding, however, will still need to be acquired to finance the course development, when internal resources cannot be sourced. Developing learner pathways.

FIGURE 1: MOTIVATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF VET MOOC LEARNERS A pathway that leads from MOOC to UoC and then into a formal qualification, provides learners with further opportunities to study. Achieving competence against all elements is not always feasible or desirable in a MOOC. Therefore, successful MOOC completion provides the evidence that the

learner has developed a formative understanding of the subject matter. Formal achievement of the UoC can then be ascertained though a skills recognition assessment. Identifying a hosting platform. For many VET organisations, existing IT infrastructure is unsuitable in supporting large

numbers of online learners. Partnerships with experienced MOOC hosting platforms such as Canvas.net, can be invaluable as they facilitate and promote course enrolments, provide technical support, and work closely with the course developers to produce educationally sound web-based learning materials. Implementing MOOC design strategies. The design factors which contribute to strengthening learner retention in VET MOOCs are short course durations, manageable workloads, auto-graded assessments, alternative approaches to peer discussion, gaining industry involvement, certification and instructor visibility. Preliminary results indicate that VET MOOCs are performing admirably and learners are taking full advantage of global learning opportunities that provide practical skills acquisition.

1) ABS. (2017). Schools, Australia 2016: Summary of findings. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au. 2) Jordan, K. (2015). Massive open online course completion rates revisited. IRRODL, 16(3), 341-358. 3) Barak, M., Watted, A., & Haick, H. (2016). Motivation to learn in massive open online courses. Computers & Education, 94, 49-60.

www.jobready.com.au InVETMAGAZINE 11


TVET Qualifications for improving community resilience T Martin T.1 Hemstock S.H.2, Jacot Des Combes H.1, Pierce, C. 3, Maitava, K.2, Buliruarua L.-A.2, Kua N.1, Marawa T.1, Rabuatoka, T.1 1: The Pacific Centre of Environment and Sustainable Development, The University of the South Pacific, Laucala Bay, Suva, Fiji 2: Economic Development Division, The Pacific Community, SPC, Nabua, Suva, Fiji 3: EU PacTVET: Vanuatu


he small island states of the South Pacific have been described as a “global front line” in the struggle of developing countries to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change (Ferris, Cernea, & Petz, 2011). Without addressing climate change, sustainable development cannot be achieved. Education and training are at the heart of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and are considered essential for the success of all sustainable development (United Nations, 2016) . Findings from the needs and gap analyses of all 15 Pacific – African, Caribbean and Pacific (P-ACP) countries indicate that formal qualifications which account for local contexts are required to build national capacity to: accurately monitor and assess impacts of

climate change and natural hazards; identify solutions to reduce these risks; and plan, manage and implement risk reduction projects to reduce damage and losses (Martin, Hemstock, Jacot Des Combes, Buliruarua, Kua, & Satiki, 2015). The EU PacTVET project is addressing this issue and in 2015 partnered with the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) to develop Pacific regional TVET certificates 1 to 4 in Resilience aligned with the Pacific regional (Martin, Sanerivi, Prasad, Jacot Des Combes, & Hemstock, 2016). Responsive and accredited qualifications provide quality assurance and trust that in turn ensure interventions managed by those having qualifications in Resilience are really supporting sustainable development, thereby:

limiting the impacts of climate change and natural hazards; empowering locals to become involved actors in their own development; and limiting maladaptation and generation of new risks. Capacity development through TVET qualifications is a process of empowerment that comes with an understanding that practical skills can directly impact livelihoods, cultures and the environment. The EU PacTVET project has partnered with The Pacific Community (SPC) and the German aid agency (GIZ) Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Region (CCPIR) programme to support delivery in Vanuatu of the first nationally accredited TVET qualification in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) in the region (and world).


Vanuatu’s society, environment and economy are highly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks. A 2012 United Nations report assessed Vanuatu as one of the most highly exposed countries in the world to disaster risks. The devastating consequences of category 5 tropical cyclone Pam in March 2015, and the recent strongest ever out-of-season cyclone to hit the Southern Hemisphere (May 2017) highlight the country’s risk from natural hazards. Predicted increases in extreme weather from climate change means the country will face even greater impacts.

Certificate in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) The CCDRR course is currently being delivered to 29 students from the six provinces of Vanuatu. The course was advertised in December 2016 and a total of 95 applications were received. Selection of students was based on the criteria of island and location of residence, level of education, previous experience in the fields of disaster risk reduction and climate change, and opportunities to advance awareness of climate change and disaster issues in their local communities. There are 19 male and 10 female students participating in this course. All teaching and learning resources have been developed in both English and French with delivery in the common language of Bislama. The development partners (SPC-GIZ and EU PacTVET) agreed to a combined budget supporting a full scholarship for students for a period of five months for the full-time course in the first half of 2017. The students in this current course are gaining first-hand experience working with vulnerable communities through extensive fieldwork. An important aspect of the course is the recognition of traditional knowledge as a critical component in all areas for planning and implementing effective adaptation strategies. Another key feature is the focus on learner interaction and communication with, and support for local communities. The CCDRR course provides a

graduate profile for employment and/or community support. For example a graduate of the CCDRR course could be; a key contact for overseas development partners seeking local input to project/ programme design, an environment/conservation officer, lead community/provincial person advising government and NGOs on local climate change issues. The submission for the national accreditation of the CCDRR was completed by the Vanuatu Institute of Technology in late 2016. The Vanuatu Qualifications Authority (VQA) process of accreditation determines the appropriate certificate level. Currently national accreditation of this certificate course is pending endorsement by the VQA (Vanuatu Qualifications Authority, 2015) .

CONCLUSION The delivery of the nationally accredited Certificate 1 in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) is providing participants with skills and knowledge to assist communities in Vanuatu to address the impacts of climate change and natural hazards through effective adaptation strategies. Trust in the capabilities of trained personnel/graduates is enhanced through the quality assured certification of the training. Thus this nationally accredited certificate is a tool which is promoting skills development that directly impacts livelihoods, cultures and the environment. TVET is being used as a vehicle in the Pacific region to advance the aims of global, regional and national policies to enhance sustainable livelihoods and strengthen countries’ capabilities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change at national, provincial and local/community levels. BIBLIOGRAPHY. Ferris, E., Cernea, M. M., & Petz, D. (2011). On the Front Line of Climate Change and Displacement Learning from and with Pacific Island Countries. The Brookings Institution, School of Economics Project on Internal Displacement, London. Martin, T., Hemstock, S. H., Jacot Des Combes, H., Buliruarua, L.-A., Kua, N., & Satiki, V. (2015). P-ACP Training needs and gap analysis. Synthesis report. European Union Pacific Technical and Vocatonal Education and Training in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation project (EU PacTVET). The Pacific Community and The University of the South Pacific. Suva, FIji: Eu-PacTVET-FED/2014/347-438. Martin, T., Sanerivi, L., Prasad, R., Jacot Des Combes, H., & Hemstock, S. L. (2016). Climate Change for Quality Assured Regional Qualifications in the Pacific: An innovative collaboration (EU-PacTVET & EQAP). Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN). Nadi, Fiji. United Nations. (2016). Sustainable development goals. Retrieved 2017, from https://sustainable development.us.org/?menu=1300. Vanuatu Qualifications Authority. (2015). VQAF: Vanuatu Quality Assurance Framework. Retrieved from www.vqa.edu.vu.

, g in g n a h c is e r u t The fu . d in h e b t f le t don’t ge EasyTrainNow.Com InVETMAGAZINE 13



Why ASQA’s new audit model should help improve VET A

JAVIER AMARO CEO, MRWED Training and Assessment - www.mrwed.edu.au


SQA went through a significant transformation of its regulatory approach during 2016, and it is fair to say that the changes are promising. The dimensions of the VFH debacle, embarrassed the whole system, and certainly opened a debate about the ROI on the regulator’s performance during its first five years of existence. So far, ASQA hasn’t been the catalyst expected for the VET sector. To be fair with the regulator’s team, the structure of the VET sector has not supported ASQA to achieve its mandate. Perhaps the first mistake was to assume the market could sort out product quality issues, but the reality has shown that the market hasn’t been able to decipher a training sector where both “good” and “dodgy” providers operate under the same label of Nationally Recognised Training (NRT). At the age of five, ASQA now knows our sector, and the current approach seems to have a strong basis on that knowledge. I refuse to call our system a failure, that would be an untruthful diagnosis and unfair, as many RTOs provide high-quality work. The vocational education and training sector generates hundreds of thousands of good stories every year, stories about individuals developing talent and opening the doors to employment and social inclusion for many. What are the system’s issues then? Dysfunction. A couple of years ago, a Minister referred to the VET sector as “convoluted and

dysfunctional”, a very accurate diagnosis. n Vocational Education and Training requires: n Funding n Industry relevant training n Educational pathways for learners n Regulation of RTOs n Evaluation. There is no strategic vision for the VET sector, no connection among the five areas listed above. Funding is not connected with industry or learners’ needs. The government only buys seats and not outcomes, there is no ROI study available for any funding model, or training package; what we have are cost analyses. But a cost analysis cannot connect resources used with outcomes, and cannot be used to evaluate results later. Relevance of training outcomes are not connected to industry. The government has mandated SSOs with the creation of training packages, but SSOs don’t participate either in the regulation of training delivery, or the evaluation of outcomes. Today nobody is accountable for the effectiveness of training packages; we only have entities accountable for writing training packages. Until we fix these dysfunctional issues, we are not going to get an effective, efficient, and high-quality VET sector, and these incongruences will continue to depreciate the NRT brand.

Why ASQA’s new audit model can help us to improve the situation Firstly, the regulator is now

better integrating the principles of quality audits into its own approach. It is difficult to perform an audit against the Standards for RTOs 2015 and apply the principles of outcome focus, simply because the Standards have a rather procedural focus, and the whole VET Quality Framework lacks benchmarks for training outcomes. In fact, the Standards for RTOs 2015, are more suitable for an accreditation system, and not to manage the operations of RTOs. But ASQA is trying to do the best with what it has available by: Looking at the application of Standards from the “students’ experience” perspective, and Collecting evidence from different sources. The different phases of the student experience will help the regulator to confirm whether certain outcomes have been achieved. For example, by asking students whether they received the information and support needed to make an informed decision prior to commencing training, the regulator will gather relevant evidence about the outcome of the RTO’s marketing and enrolment process. Asking students and trainers whether they think the amount of training was about right, ASQA will collect relevant information about the suitability of the amount of training from the key stakeholders: trainers and students. The Standards for RTOs define requirements for some core functions that training providers must execute, but these functions are organised and listed by content

domain, and not in the order they are performed. Basically, every Standard for Quality Management Systems, including ISO 9001, are written the same way. The effect that ASQA’s new approach should have is primarily moving the focus of regulatory audits away from paperwork and towards outcomes. This approach will allow those hundreds of high-quality RTOs, to maintain compliance without increasing administrative costs in useless paperwork, and concentrate on quality training delivery and assessment. In other words there is a better alignment with compliance and quality. Secondly, ASQA’s next important step is collecting evidence from different sources; initially this will be fundamentally from students and trainers.

Conclusions I honestly think ASQA’s new approach will help to maximise

benefits from current regulations and arrangements, and I would like to make a few recommendations: Publish all audit reports. By publishing audit reports, the regulator will promote transparency. This will help to moderate audit criteria, promote accountability within the sector, and constitute great reference and educational material. Regulate number of students per RTO. ASQA should regulate the number of students enrolled for a period. RTOs should have, as part of their registration, an approval for a specific number of students and they should only be allowed to increase this number if they can demonstrate access to the resources required. This will provide assurance that RTOs have the resources, and not only the strategies, to deliver the courses to the students enrolled. Include industry representatives in audits. Current arrangements keep training packages and training

delivery on parallel paths, totally isolated from each other. SSOs and IRCs do not always have direct representation from those who set industry standards. Therefore, their potential contribution to measuring whether students have met occupational industry standards is unlikely. ASQA needs to identify industry representatives that can support auditors to measure outcomes in relation to meeting occupational industry standards. Regulate employers. ASQA should regulate employers for the delivery of apprenticeships and traineeships. The on-the-job supervision of apprentices is a critical component of their training, but employers are not properly audited against their responsibilities as per the apprenticeship contract. This will help to improve the training received on-the-job. Reform (improve) the VET Quality Framework and Training Packages. But that is a topic for another article.

Funding is not connected with industry or learners’ needs. The government only buys seats and not outcomes, there is no ROI study



Impact is created, it doesn’t ‘just happen’... LAURIE KELLY

Mindworks Australasia

In the 2016 Australian Federal Election, remember the flack that one political party received from using what the pubic perceived as a ‘fake Tradie’ in their advertisement? He was a real ‘Tradie’ as it turns out, but his dress/delivery made us question his authenticity. 18 InVETMAGAZINE


earning is a natural, inquisitive state, which everyone has naturally engaged in from the moment they were born. It is inbuilt and instinctual. Unfortunately, workplace Learning is not always designed to tap into this natural inquisitiveness, but rather seen as time-consuming, compliance-driven and a tick and flick, legal process. This can be boring and non-productive. Real behavioural change can run a poor second to administrative concerns and ‘ticking the box’. When a learning program is designed with the Brain in mind,

it is easy to stimulate this natural inquisitive state, even with the most mundane of topics. Start by focusing on the Energy: Make your introduction up-beat, positive and motivational, with a really good example of what the benefit to the learner will be. You must have people engaged and to be actively involved in the learning. Get them curious and keen to see what it’s all about. Make them WANT to learn! (N.B: This is not done through a boring list of learning objectives printed up on the screen) W.I.I.F.M. - Be clear in your own Thinking: Ask yourself : What benefits will there be to the employee if they take on board the

learning in your module? One would hope that there will be benefits to the organisation arising from the training as well, of course; BUT, if you want the individual to fully take the learning on board and improve their behaviours, then there has to be some really tangible benefits to them in their lives as well. (W.I.I.F.M. – What’s In It For theM?).. This should stimulate compelling personal goals, ensuring the RAS (Reticular Activation System of the Brain) keeps the neo-cortex switched on, engaged and seeking the benefits of learning! Respect the Learner: Most people have been through different learning experiences, both at school and throughout life,

Enjoy the freedom and convenience of the

Education Copyright Licence With an Education Copyright Licence, all RTOs and Colleges have the freedom to legally share knowledge and information with their students and colleagues. Phone 1800 066 844 or 02 9394 7600 Email sattar@copyright.com.au Web www.copyright.com.au

including learning at work. Some of these have been great and some, well, not so good. The most important thing to realise is that every learner is unique in the way they learn, and they all want to be respected for that. It is our job to ensure that respect is covered via a ‘learning styles’ based delivery. Keep the Training Real and Relevant: Use practical examples that relate to your audiences’ lives and goals. Use pictures and slides they can relate to (that make sense to your audience). In the 2016 Australian Federal Election, remember the flack that one political party received from using what the pubic perceived as a ‘fake Tradie’ in their advertisement? He was a real ‘Tradie’ as it turns out, but his dress/delivery made us question his authenticity. Can you use pictures from their worksite or interviews with people they know to anchor them to the learning content and make the experience more real for them? Use a Multisensory Approach: Stimulate the whole brain in the

learning, utilizing both left and right brain hemispheres with things like colour, pictures, real life examples. Draw them in through interaction using quizzes and tests that build a sense of challenge, success and achievement in the learner. A series of small victories throughout a learning program keeps learners challenging themselves to greater heights. Get your people DOING, not just ‘consuming’ information. As learning designers and teachers we are often asked to fill the module with lots of information. This information will only be fixed in the brain long term IF the brain has to do something with this information. What task can you get them to do, using the information they have been given, to help embed the learning? For good learning and transfer to happen in the workplace it is vital that our delivery and design activates the Brains natural desire to learn. Stimulate their inquisitiveness, don’t numb them with boredom! InVETMAGAZINE 19


Immersive learning


ocational education is about people “doing” something in the workplace. Is about employment readiness. I have participated in numerous discussions with RTOs and employers about the chasm in business between people knowing what to do and actually doing it. Although there are many factors that can influence “doing”, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on instances when the issue is related to training and not to other organisational barrier. Learning design for doing is much different than designing for knowing. In the continuum of the knowledge acquisition to behavior change, the majority of learning experiences focus on the left-most portion of the continuum – concept presentation, knowledge check, recall practice activities, and perhaps scenario-based application questions, repeated until there is an assessment to prove knowledge acquisition. This cycle is typical for elearning, and for most training organisations where the


concept of competency-based training is not yet understood and where knowing is how success is measured. Yet, what do these assessments results really tell us about how well someone can do something? Once someone has proven what they know, the next step is for them to participate applying their knowledge in context. The right side of the continuum focuses on learning by doing, which is applied practice with the feedback in the context that allows learners to hone their skills and performance in authentic environments. This can be achieved in an apprenticeship situation, on-the-job training, during structured work placement, or at least using relevant workplace simulations.

Realistic Practice This is also the area of the continuum where immersive learning experiences fall: where simulation, games, and virtual learning environments can provide learners with realistic practice. This allows them to

learn through application but without the real risks of learning in context: loss of sales, customers, reputation, and sometimes even safety. When the barrier to behavior change is a lack of experience doing things correctly in context, immersive learning provides an opportunity to bridge the knowing-doing gap. Some times trainers assume the problem is “what people don’t know” and the solution is to give them content. Unfortunately for trainers and RTOs this is only one part of the problem. The problem is also “what people don’t know how to do”, sometimes even “what people are not motivated to do”. As vocational trainers and practitioners, we have to be armed with the right tools to address the problem at hand. Is it a knowledge problem? If so, an elearning module might do the trick. But for context-driven performance issues, or decision making performance issues, you need to create a learning environment that allows learners to practice, fail, and learn.


Where to next for VET - after the fall-out


t a time when the VET sector is undergoing scrutiny and public barrage, it is important that we come together. The VET sector is comprised of many very genuine, committed individuals, who stand out when it comes to their dedication to the students they serve. This is to be applauded. Unfortunately, there have also been those who have misled students and capitalised on the financial benefits available to them through government loans systems. We are still seeing the closure of RTOs as the outplay of the government crackdown on misleading and deceptive practices and the misuse of government funds. These RTOs have most definitely abused the right afforded by the government to government funds, which were intended to support students to study and therefore to attain a qualification to enter into a career. The clean up has been most needed. Post the clean-up, it is time to take a fresh look at the VET sector and re-establish our foundation. We stand for quality in education and training, and the part we play in Australia’s education system is a very important one indeed. VET is focused on producing job-ready graduates. The value of this to industry, when the education is provided properly, is great. Quality graduates mean quality workers. Quality workers mean quality industry output, and all of this affects and adds to Australia’s economic performance as a whole. So, on the back of the clean-up (which is continuing) let those of us who truly care about quality in education, re-found our purpose in being in the VET

sector and make our focus on quality and quality only. The clean-out of those who use VET for self-serving ends is needed, even if it is being witnessed with quite a dramatic effect. VET will go on and take its rightful place in the Australian education sector. Internationally, in some areas, VET is renowned as being of enormous value, even higher than higher education in some places, because of its direct focus on industry and producing graduates who are ready for industry. The Australian VET sector has much to offer, and there are those of us in the sector


Serryn O’Regan Serryn O’Regan is Executive Manager Governance and General Counsel at Evolve College. She is also a founding member and director of IQVET – Institute for Quality Vocational Education and Training, which is open to membership (by RTOs, trainers/ assessors, CEOs, compliance managers and any stakeholder in VET who wants to be part of an institute that represents us all – and quality in VET). For more information on IQVET please email hello@iqvet.com.au.

Transform your ideology on COMPLIANCE and ASSESSMENT Evidence Management




Keep on Top of Your Future Business direction for the indirect focus areas (i.e. tools and business development) I can readjust. The primary focus, of course, is earning, so I allocate three days out of five for this focus (this is the direct focus part). It’s pretty simple, but I wanted to keep it simple, shareable and easy to remember because at this time of the year we really should be planning a good six to twelve months in advance.

1. Use lists and calendars to plan ahead


CEO Kreative Kaizen Group PTY LTD 22 InVETMAGAZINE

ne of the most important areas for a business to work on - their own development and forward planning - is the first to get tossed aside when a business gets busy. But this is one of the most crucial areas to keep as a high priority.  You know how it goes: you’ve hopped into to bed Friday night, looking forward to the weekend and feel confident that you’ve got everything scheduled in for the week ahead.  You get up Monday, ready to tackle the week, stroll into the office and suddenly realise you’ve got your business development meeting on Tuesday and you’ve got

nothing prepared. Eek! You were supposed to write a summary document to hand out to the team last week but because it wasn’t scheduled in, neither you nor your PA remembered to do it.  What to do??? Never fear, it’s time to learn about In Balance Scheduling!  First things first. 

I use a very simple system. Indirect and direct focus is the aim of the game. So, in order to ensure I have my time balanced, I use a 2-3 focus. I divide my hours each week like so: If I feel that the hours in my week are swaying too far in one

Now there are some really cool folk around the world who have what is called a didactic memory. They can read/see something once and then recite it or recall it in exceptional and freaky detail. Lists just annoy them. They probably have a memory like an elephant and can recall dates like their lives depend on it! That’s great for them. But the rest of us might just need to rely on lists and clever scheduling tools to keep us in tune with our responsibilities and our goals. There are probably a million articles on the web that tout the very best list/ calendar systems so I am not going to belabour the point suffice to say that for me, a combination of pen, paper and digital calendars keeps my life, at work and at home, in check.  When I am super busy, I add reminders to the calendar events on Google Calendar for the most important things. For everyday tasks, I don’t bother, because it just becomes annoying to have all those things going off at me all the time! And my memory isn’t quite that bad, yet. Oh, and red is always for things

deep breaths and regroup. If you’ve planned well, you’ll have to adjust, but it won’t be as frantic or chaotic as if you hadn’t planned a thing.

5. Schedule in quality personal time to keep your head clear

that are urgent! That way at a glance, I can see where the fire is burning.

be scheduled in just as much as writing the report.

2. Keep a bird’s eye view over the month

4. Be flexible and adjust schedule as necessary

What I mean by this statement is that the birds eye view is looking at the overall schedule, seeing the whole picture. You can use a monthly calendar to do this, or one of those wall calendars to keep it all clearly visible. By allocating a little time each month to check if things are flowing well, you can see what is coming up, and if need be,  make adjustments accordingly. If a staff member takes leave unexpectedly, you’ll know that you can adjust the schedule to compensate without it rocking the boat too much.

Stuff happens. Like I mentioned before you may have a staff member who needs to take leave unexpectedly. Or a client may bring the date for a project review forward, shifting your carefully laid out plans by weeks or even months. In cases like this, the important point is to be flexible, take loads of

3. Take a line-by-line look weekly to stay on track The line by line view is about looking at the details. A friend of mine does line by line edits when she is working on written text and this means checking every single word, line by line. My suggestion is that you look at the hours allocated to the following tasks and make sure they have a healthy balance.  The other reason for doing a weekly review is that it reminds you of smaller tasks that need to be completed along the way. That report I mentioned at the beginning? You’ll need to gather data to support your plans and that has to

Look, there are people who don’t feel that their personal time impacts their ability to do their job well but I for one know that when the quality of my personal time is questionable, it influences a number of things, such as my energy, motivation and ability to focus on complex tasks. Research is proving daily that we need to create a balance, and starting with the most important area of our lives is the first step to creating a balance that will make room for all the challenging stuff we take on!

Challenge Don’t get stuck in the ‘I’ll do that when I have time’ mindset. Seriously - if you are thinking like this now, you can’t afford to wait any longer. If your time is so cluttered today, think what it’s going to be when you land that big contract you’re sweating on?

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Simple to navigate, highlight, bookmark or search & add written, video or audio notes. From $15 per eBook learner guide! Trainer support material is available. For more information: please visit www.aspirelr.com.au or call 03 9820 1300 Purchasing our resources helps fund the Aspire Foundation

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InVETMAGAZINE 23 29/3/17 1:09 pm


Developing a system of sustainable assessment validation


ssessment Validation is a critical aspect in operating a successful RTO. Aside from being an important compliance issue, it offers organisations significant insight into what works and what doesn’t with an RTO’s Assessment system and provides guidance around the expectations of industry. This will ultimately support RTOs in building better systems, practices and tools. However, many RTOs are paralysed by the compliance dimension of assessment validation and are concerned with ticking boxes, rather than developing sustainable practices and meaningful dialogue with key stakeholders. This article seeks to provide 5 steps to help RTOs develop a sustainable system of assessment validation and will provide some tips on how to create meaningful exchanges with validation partners/stakeholders.

MARC RATCLIFFE CEO, MRWED Training and Assessment - www.mrwed.edu.au 24 InVETMAGAZINE 24 InVETMAGAZINE

What is Validation? Validation is a quality review process that confirms your RTO’s

assessment system can consistently produce valid assessment judgements. A valid assessment judgement is one that confirms a learner holds all of the knowledge and skills described in a training product (such as a unit of competency from a national training package or VET accredited course.) Validation activities are generally conducted after assessment is complete—so that an RTO can consider the validity of both assessment practices and judgements. In simple terms, validation is checking whether we asked the right questions and collected the right evidence from candidates.

What does the regulator say? When developing your plan for validation, remember that: Each training product on your RTO’s scope of registration must undergo validation at least once every five years. You must ensure your plan allows for validation of at least 50% of the training products in the first three years of that cycle.

You may need to validate certain training products more often where specific risks have been identified.

Validators should also consider whether the assessment tools: Comply with the assessment requirements of the relevant training product. Ensure the principles of fairness, flexibility, validity and reliability are adhered to. Have been designed to produce valid, sufficient, authentic and current evidence. Are appropriate to the contexts and conditions of assessment. Provide sufficient instruction/ guidance for both assessors and candidates. Outline appropriate reasonable adjustments that could be made to the gathering of assessment evidence.

5 Steps in developing a sustainable system of assessment validation Focused with a schedule of

validation activities. The devil is in the detail. Success in assessment validation is underpinned by a plan which outlines when each training product is to be examined, who is responsible and how the findings are to be reported. This document should be widely shared and integrated with other organisational calendars. This signals to staff that assessment validation is important and helps to identify any clashes that may impact on completing the process in a timely fashion. Someone is responsible for it. If validation is everyone’s responsibility, it is nobody’s responsibly. Ensure that it sits squarely in someone’s job description and give them the tools and authority to follow the plans through.

There are systems to support it. Search for user-friendly ways to capture the outcomes of assessment validation. This may include everything from sophisticated e-collaboration tools to

simple templates to track and report validation activities.

Activities and actions are documented. Having a plan and following the schedule is one thing. But the reporting and recording of findings will support the next steps. From a compliance perspective, this documentation proves that the organisation is meeting its obligations. From a business perspective, it may provide affirmation that your systems are working or specific advice on how to improve and extend assessment practice.

It’s a part of business, not apart from business. Remember, we don’t do assessment validation to make the regulator happy. We do it to create a robust and sustainable assessment system with outcomes we and our students can rely upon. Some technology that can be used to assist in Assessment Validation. Google Hangout (collaborate, screen sharing, chat room,

whiteboards). Atlassian’s Hip Chat (Video calling, screen sharing, file sharing, notifications/reminders). Base Camp (Project Management tool which offers file storage and collaboration and works across any connected device) Calendar Reminders (iCal, outlook etc.).

Email Panel. Compliance is part of the picture, but not the only goal. Developing assessment that meets the needs of learners, expectations of employers and requirements of the training product need to be considered with equal measure. There is no magic bullet to making this work. However, if RTOs focus on wider involvement from relevant stakeholders, using flexible tools to capture their interactions and ask questions that seek to improve and extend practices, their assessment validation journey will be a more rewarding one. InVETMAGAZINE 25

Bridge the Gap Between E-Learning and Compliance


ompliance training, in too many training organisations, is dangerously close to an oxymoron. No matter how rigorous and compelling our Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) may be, compliance related training programs, especially in e-learning, are routinely boring, stale, and lacking in any real impact. For any compliance related training, we build the courses because we have to, and our learners watch them because they have to. But no one pays any more attention than the absolute minimum required. This second-rate status is only natural. Unlike the majority of vocational training programs, which are born directly from an industry need or opportunity, compliance-training programs are foisted upon us without any perceived need from within. Even if we see the importance of the subject—as most of us would on issues like workplace health and safety, first aid, business ethics, and industry standards — the broad mandates of compliance training often make it difficult to see where any real, individual learning will occur. Instead, students throw up their hands, check the boxes, and move on as quickly as possible. Such compromises are understandable. In real life, compliance training had become a commodity for training organisations with seemingly infinite demand. It is time for the VET industry, including the regulators, to shift a little more love toward compliance. And I am not talking to have more


compliance requirements for compliance training, I am talking about more meaning, results, and value. The need is certainly there. After years of hasty compromises, many learning programs are lost in a sea of lip-service compliance tutorials that barely even pretend to carry any real meaning. Their dead weight is a burden to designer and learner alike, posing a serious threat to the long-term health of our VET industry. If we can’t bridge the gap now between compliance and learning, we may soon discover that we’ve failed at both.

training initiatives for all employees can be almost impossible to achieve. The only place where we’re guaranteed to have all eyes focused on us is our compliance training programs, where laws or policies have already taken care of the mandate for us. The question is, what do we do when all those eyes are watching? If we can find a way to meet the letter of the law and hit the real learning needs, compliance training could become a critical tool for achieving our desired learning and development outcomes.

We Are Undermining Our Role as Trusted Training Providers

The arbiters of many policies and laws are getting wise to the myth of compliance learning. We may see in the near future demands not just for training, but “rigorous and effective” training. Training must be measured for its effectiveness, what are participants’ skills and knowledge before and after training? How well and often are students applying those skills and knowledge in their workplace? What has changed/ improved in the workplace as consequence of the training? This is a high, somewhat intimidating bar to hit. And if we don’t change our approach soon, it’s likely only to get higher. We must be accountable for the value of our training programs beyond the learning objectives, and measure application and impact. There are proven methodologies used elsewhere for years, such as the ROI Methodology, that help training professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of training.

Those organisations that spend most of time ticking regulatory requirements boxes, and don’t incorporate the applications of their training objectives into their instructional design, are hitting our learners over the head with compliance training that doesn’t apply to their needs. Learners, and industry in general, will gradually lose faith in the Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) as a brand, and begin to view our offerings with skepticism instead of trust. That vantage, if it sets in, makes teaching and learning almost impossible. This is a great risk that regulators and policy makers should address immediately.

Are We Wasting Valuable Opportunities for Real Learning? In many industries, mandatory

We Might Not Be Complying at All


Internal Audit Service An internal audit is essential to identify non-compliances or gaps in your RTO’s performance, which can put your RTO’s registration or funding contracts at risk. Internal audits are also a valuable tool to identify areas for continuous improvement. Insources has developed an audit process that ensures a high quality result in a time effective manner. The basic process we follow is below:







Initial Planning Meeting. Teleconference/online meeting prior to the site visit. During this meeting, we will request some information that can include documented samples of training and assessment strategies and assessment tools.

Comprehensive Audit Report And Action Plan. Detailed report including all findings and list of recovery actions prioritising noncompliances and opportunities for improvement (issued within 14 days of on-site visit).

Desk Audit. Our consultant reviews the selected material prior to the site visit.

Post Audit Meeting/Training. Our consultant will present the report and explain alternatives, best practices, and critical concepts required to successfully complete the action plan.

On-Site Visit. The audit takes 1-2 days (this may vary according to factors such as scope or registration, number of students, locations and funding arrangements) and includes opening and closing meetings to meet the Regulator’s Standards. All relevant Standards are audited.


Audits always take a lot of energy and are quite taxing, however, our entire team agreed that working with Insources was a very positive experience. Their approach and service was exactly what we were looking for. We look forward to partnering with Javier and the team at Insources for our RTO requirements and are confident that this will support our RTO to grow and flourish in the years ahead.” Jan Hurn, CEO Wesley Health Management

Free Training. You receive free registration to five professional development webinars for your staff.

We recently engaged Insources to perform quality auditing for our organisatoin. Their level of knowledge of the VET quality framework is superb, as is their ability to communicate what is needed in a practical sense to fix problems. They demonstrated an ability to quickly understand the various disciplines we operate in and were able to offer really practical advice on how to improve our training and assessment practices.” Damian McKenzie-McHarg, Manager, Quality & Risk TAFE NSW Riverina Institute

T: 1300 208 774 info@insources.com.au www.insources.com.au

Insources specialises in improving performance. The business was established in Australia in 2004 and since then, it has grown to become a leader in vocational education and training, talent development and training evaluation. WE HAVE HELPED MORE THAN 20,000 INDIVIDUALS FROM MORE THAN 500 ORGANISATIONS TO: l Develop policy Manage quality and compliance l Develop competency-based systems Implement professional development programs, Train the Trainers, and l Evaluate training and assess return on investment. l


Our clients benefit from our commitment to quality and positive ROI. We have supported public and private organisations to develop internal capabilities and align training with industry needs, deliver quality, industry relevant training, and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.


l Consulting Education and training, and Resources development.

T: 1300 208 774 - info@insources.com.au - www.insources.com.au

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InVET Magazine No 1  

Jan 13, 2018

InVET Magazine No 1  

Jan 13, 2018

Profile for insources