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Navigate RTO Success with Expert Guidance from SKG Consulting

SKG Consulting empowering RTOs

In this article:

SKG Consulting and Empowering RTOs on Their Path to Success

An Exclusive Interview with RTO Consultant, Khushboo Gupta, Founder and Director of SKG Consulting

Khushboo Gupta

Allow us to introduce you to an exciting partnership that aims to bring meaningful solutions to the world of registered training organisations (RTOs). SKG Consulting and Compliant Learning Resources have joined forces, and at the helm of this collaboration is Khushboo Gupta, the driving force behind SKG Consulting, founded in 2017. Khushboo is a trailblazer in the industry, leveraging her decade-long expertise to empower RTOs with solutions and the necessary support to exceed the standards and deliver quality education.

In a candid Q&A, she provides an insider’s perspective on the evolving landscape of RTOs. She delves into the complexities of registration and the subtleties of compliance, shedding light on the shifting demands of RTO compliance requirements. With Khushboo’s expert consultancy support, your RTO won’t just survive; it will thrive.

Q: How does SKG Consulting typically support organisations navigating the process of becoming a registered training organisation (RTO)?

Khush Gupta: At SKG Consulting, we take a comprehensive approach to supporting organisations through the process of becoming a registered training organisation (RTO). Our expertise lies in providing tailored guidance and strategic insights to streamline the complex journey of RTO registration. We understand that every organisation is different, and if it were that easy to pick up off-the-shelf documents and get a registration, consultants would not be required in this industry. Understanding the intricacies and demands of the industry, we emphasise the importance of providing accurate information and personalised guidance to every client. We take great pride in steering each project that comes our way, establishing a deep connection with each client until we achieve a successful outcome. This commitment stems from our understanding of the complexity of requirements within the industry, making it essential to tailor our approach for the best results.

Q: What are the key steps involved in the new RTO registration process?

Khush Gupta: At SKG Consulting, we’ve derived a simplified acronym for our approach to the RTO registration process, which we refer to as CPR/AA: C for “Compliance Breakdown“, P for “Preparation and Planning“, R for “Resource requirements“, and A for both “Application Submission” and “Audit Preparation“. Our guiding principle is that if CPR goes well, the outcome will consistently be AA.

This approach may sound straightforward, and that’s precisely our intention. We strive to demystify and break down the complexities of the RTO registration journey. We recognise that newcomers may need to become more familiar with the standards and requirements from Day 1 of their decision to register. As professionals, it is our responsibility, serving as the intermediary link, to guide and navigate each applicant throughout the process and educate them on this transformative journey.

While CPR encapsulates the broad stages of the RTO registration process, it’s essential to emphasise that each stage involves multiple actions, all crucial to achieving a satisfactory outcome. Our goal is to streamline this intricate process, making it more accessible and manageable for organisations venturing into the realm of registered training organisations.

Q: Are new RTOs required to have Student Management Systems configured before submitting their RTO Application to ASQA?

Khush Gupta: We cannot emphasise enough how crucial it is to be 100% ready before application submission. Having a compliant Student Management System installed and configured is one of the most crucial components. We are moving away from the historic agreements and evidence of payments! In most of the recent audits, we have seen a major drift in the audit approach, focusing on the readiness of the organisation to commence operations the moment they get approval.

Q: Are new RTOs required to have all of their training resources licensed and in their possession before submitting their RTO Application to ASQA?

Khush Gupta: The foundation of any registered training organisation (RTO) lies in its resources. When advising colleges contemplating RTO registration, I am forthright about the importance of dedicating time to reviewing training resources before applying. I emphasise that neglecting this crucial step may result in post-registration challenges, as addressing gaps and non-compliances could prove time-consuming later.

Beyond meeting the requirements for the RTO application, understanding and engaging with training resources are fundamental commitments that prospective clients need to grasp before entering the industry. While some clients may prioritise logic, practicality, and a commercial approach, we do strongly advocate for the proactive licensing, purchasing, and contextualisation of all training resources for a favourable outcome.

In an era where industry and technology are progressing rapidly, audits now extend beyond verifying resource purchases. They aim to assess the applicant’s capability to promptly implement these resources. It is essential to note that this evaluation is not confined to mere sample units; it encompasses the readiness of the entire suite of resources for effective implementation.

Q: Have you noted any changes or evolutions in the RTO registration process?

Khush Gupta: As mentioned above, we have noted a shift in the overall approach for the initial application assessment process. An exclusive interview meeting is scheduled to discuss the application in detail and gain a deeper understanding of the organisation’s intended practices. Until 2022, we used to have validation meetings once the application was assessed. This shift from “validation meeting” to “applicant interview” is the key change in the process. Now, the focus is more on assessing the commitment/ involvement and readiness of the applicant instead of just validating the submitted evidence. This implies that in real-time scenarios, the applicant must show readiness and preparedness to be compliant before holding the registration certificate! This may include but is not limited to demonstrating access and understanding of the student management system, purchasing/ licensing, and contextualisation of training and assessment resources as well.

Q: What are the most common pitfalls you observe new RTOs encounter during the registration process?

Khush Gupta: Simply put, we don’t proceed with clients unless they are wholeheartedly committed to adhering to our guidance. Once they commit—we ensure they don’t stumble. However, some common and demanding areas within resource requirements often pose challenges when convincing clients. Two prominent ones are the contextualisation of resources before submission and the readiness to have files prepared for each trainer.

The common argument is that clients may not operate at full capacity from day one. However, our rationale is that even if they plan to scale gradually, having access to a specific number of trainers is important if you think from the regulator’s perspective. While some clients believe demonstrating the ability to identify and employ compliant trainers suffices, our perspective is that each trainer file should be ready at the time of submission. The reasoning behind this lies in the assumption regulators make about an RTO’s capacity. They anticipate that, upon approval, the RTO can promptly take up all enrollments, necessitating the organisation to be fully resourced and prepared to meet the requested capacity. Understandably, discussions around these points vary between auditors and clients, adding a layer of complexity to the overall process.

Q: Are there specific regulatory requirements or compliance issues that new RTOs often overlook, and if so, what are they?

Khush Gupta: New RTOs frequently neglect two critical compliance aspects: robust industry engagement and thorough resource reviews. Inadequate industry engagement can result in an ineffective training and assessment strategy, while neglecting resource reviews leaves the RTO reliant on external providers. We consistently emphasise to applicants that regardless of fault, the ultimate loss will be theirs if they don’t take ownership from day one. It’s a matter of ensuring proactive industry collaboration and maintaining control over the quality and suitability of resources to safeguard the success of the RTO.

Q: What advice do you have for organisations considering becoming an RTO?

Khush Gupta: Registering as an RTO demands more than a business mindset; it requires a genuine passion for education. It’s not just another venture—it’s a commitment that involves substantial resources, time, and a dedicated approach to consistently enhancing systems and processes in response to evolving requirements. I always stress to my clients that running an RTO isn’t for those seeking a relaxed life. Over my 17 years in this industry, there’s never been a dull moment. Owners must stay vigilant, keeping abreast of changes in the industry, legislation, training packages, and more. If tranquility is what you seek, this might not be the right path. Being an RTO owner means being alert, engaged, and ready for continuous adaptation.

Q: Are there any common misconceptions that you encounter?

Khush Gupta: People often wonder why the cost of setting up an RTO seems high even when you can buy standard Policies and Procedures and training and assessment strategies off the shelf at lower costs. The challenge here is explaining that the real work begins after gathering all documents. It’s like buying a recipe – you still need to cook the meal! The purchased documents are like a starting point; they need to be personalised and adjusted to fit the specific courses you want to offer for your chosen group of students perfectly. Customising and tailoring these materials to meet the unique needs of your educational offerings is where the actual work and costs come in. It’s not just about buying documents; it’s about the hands-on process of making them a perfect fit for your educational vision.

Q: Looking ahead, what trends or changes do you anticipate in the RTO landscape?

Khush Gupta: Increased use of technology in training and assessment methods, such as online learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and digital assessments. A continued emphasis on providing training that directly aligns with industry needs and demands, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for the workforce. Growing demand for flexible learning models, including blended learning approaches that combine online and face-to-face components, catering to diverse learner needs. Ongoing changes in regulatory requirements and a heightened focus on quality assurance prompt RTOs to adapt and continuously improve their systems and processes.

Q: Considering the evolving educational landscape, can you elaborate on some emerging trends or best practices that RTOs should be mindful of during the registration process?

Khush Gupta: Success in this industry, much like anywhere else, is fundamentally tied to hard work and unwavering dedication. Just applying doesn’t mark the end of the journey; continuous commitment throughout the registration process is crucial. It’s a misconception to believe that once the paperwork is done, one can simply wait for the audit. The key lies in staying actively engaged, consistently dedicating time to the project, and staying attuned to industry expectations and trends.

We emphasise to all our clients that their applications cannot remain static. The path to success involves a mindset of ongoing improvement. Self-assurance, effective governance, and a commitment to continuous enhancements are indispensable cultural elements in this industry. Creating and embedding this culture within the organisation is a gradual process that requires consistent effort from the very beginning. In essence, success is not a one-time achievement but a continuous journey achieved by ongoing commitment to improvement and adaptability.

Q: In your experience, what are the key elements that contribute to the success of an RTO in not just achieving registration but also thriving in the competitive education sector?

Khush Gupta: Completing tasks only for the sake of paperwork or compliance is not the approach we advocate. It’s crucial to understand the purpose and requirements behind legislation. Each clause in the standards is designed to achieve outcomes, whether it’s for the protection of learners or ensuring the delivery of high-quality education and training.

Understanding the purpose behind each clause ensures that the processes are correctly executed. Policies and forms are meticulously crafted to meet the standards, and if an RTO comprehends the purpose behind each requirement, the task of maintaining compliance becomes more manageable.

Compliance is not something to be achieved; it either exists or it doesn’t. Placing learners at the centre of the organisation is the key. Equipping, training, and educating staff to cater to learners for the best outcomes is a continuous process. The key personnel leading the RTO must be open to feedback, embrace change, and exhibit flexibility to operate effectively in this dynamic environment.

Entering the education sector is not a casual venture or a side investment. It demands significant time and resources. Jumping into it without the readiness to commit jeopardises the future of young learners. It’s a responsibility that requires dedication and a genuine investment in the betterment of education.

SKG Consulting stands as a beacon of expertise and guidance for organisations venturing into the realm of registered training organisations (RTOs). Through the invaluable insights shared by Khushboo Gupta, Founder and Director of SKG Consulting, in this exclusive Q&A session, it’s evident that SKG Consulting is committed to empowering RTOs on their path to success. If you’re seeking personalised guidance, strategic insights, and comprehensive support in navigating the complexities of RTO registration and compliance, look no further.

Reach out to SKG Consulting for expert assistance tailored to your organisation’s needs.

Partner with SKG Consulting today!

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