In a bid to improve the quality of training and delivery, numerous efforts have been dedicated to evaluating the performance of registered training organisations (RTOs). However, given the operational complexity of the vocational education and training (VET) sector and the diverse roles of RTOs, these efforts have largely been inconclusive.
A recent study from National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) presents a new perspective, investigating the motivations of high-performing RTOs and how these motivations are embedded in operations. The research reveals that for RTOs, high performance isn’t merely about quantifiable outcomes like completion rates. Instead, intangible, ‘intention-based’ activities play a vital role. These include the effort invested in building relationships with staff and employers, suggesting that relying solely on quantifiable measures may not offer a comprehensive assessment of RTO performance.
Altruism as the Driving Force of High-performing RTOs
Interestingly, the research identifies altruism as a significant motivator for these high-performing RTOs. These leaders view their organisations as not just businesses but entities deeply connected to their communities. Therefore, promoting an understanding of this community interconnectedness could inspire high performance in RTOs.
Adopting a ‘Bigger Picture’ Approach
High-performing RTOs prioritise student support, employer engagement, and leadership efforts over measurable metrics like completion rates. This approach has proved beneficial, eliminating the need for advertising as word-of-mouth amplifies their reputation, ensuring enrolment quotas.
The Role of Leadership in Embedding Motivations
Leadership style emerges as a key determinant of success. The RTO leaders aligned with transformational leadership, prioritising relationships and inspiring staff to align with organisational goals. Providing resources, guidance, and support could further encourage high performance.
An Alternative Perspective on RTO Performance
This research not only provides a fresh perspective on RTO performance but also emphasises how providers self-assess their performance. It offers an alternative approach to support and promote RTO performance, focusing on the altruistic motivations of RTO leaders and their beliefs about the role of RTOs in the community.