Accountability: It's A Two Way Street

What does it mean to be accountable?

Here is the definition for “accountability” in the Business dictionary: “The obligation of an individual or organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”

Here at Fortress, we pride ourselves on being accountable. However, the thing about accountability is it takes two.

Below are a few scenarios we deal with from time to time, which demonstrate how we are accountable to our students, and how our students are accountable to us.

Scenario #1: Phone tag

Tammy from Student Support calls Cert IV TAE student, David, to check-in and see how everything is going with his course.

David doesn’t answer. Tammy leaves a voicemail message and then sends David a follow-up email letting him know she tried to call.

David checks his voicemail as he is leaving work at 5 pm. He tries to call back but then remembers the Fortress Learning office shuts at 5 pm. David leaves a voicemail message that he would like to book an appointment with his Trainer sometime next week.

Tammy listens to David’s voicemail when she arrives at work the next morning. She calls David back but it once again goes to his voicemail. Tammy leaves David a voicemail message:

“Good morning, David. This is Tammy from Fortress Learning. I’m calling in regards to the voicemail message you left yesterday. You mentioned you would like to book an appointment with your Trainer, Deb, for sometime next week. So that we can book you in for an exact day and time, please give us a call or send us an email and let us know what days and times suit you. I will also send you an email that will include the link to Deb’s online calendar where you can book yourself in for an appointment if that works for you. Thanks, David. Our number is 1300 141 994. Have a good day.”

Phone tag is simply a fact of life. Here is how we are both held accountable in this situation:

How we are accountable to you.

  • Being here to support you.
  • Getting back to you. If you contact us, we will get back to you promptly.
  • If we cannot get hold of one another, we are accountable for providing you with avenues so that you can keep moving forward. After every phone call, we send a follow-up email. We give our students access to their Trainer’s calendar so that they can book an appointment themselves online, should they be too busy to call or email us during our business hours.

How you are accountable to us.

  • Responding to our offers of support.
  • Seeking our assistance promptly when you need it.
  • Using the systems we have in place, such as the YouCanBookMe link available in your Dashboard and your trainer’s signature bar.
  • When booking appointments via email, let us know when you are available.
  • Progressing through your course (while we are here to help and support you, we cannot do the course for you).

Scenario #2: When we are wrong

Cert IV TAE student, Disha, logs onto her Dashboard and notices that there are 11 units, even though she is sure her course only requires her to complete 10 units. She calls the Fortress Learning office, and it is discovered that an extra unit was uploaded to her Dashboard by accident. The extra unit is immediately removed.

How we are accountable to you.

  • We are accountable for being correct and thorough in our processes. However, there are sometimes instances when human error occurs. When we are wrong, we will be transparent with you and make it right.

How you are accountable to us.

  • Contact us promptly if you notice an error.

Scenario #3: When assessment doesn’t go the way you planned

Diploma of VET student, Rosemary, submitted her final piece of assessment on the End Date of her enrolment. She later received an email notification that her submission was marked as Incomplete as she had not given enough evidence. Rosemary was not able to access the assessment document on her Dashboard as her enrolment had expired.  Since Rosemary left it until the last minute, she now has to pay for an extension to make changes and re-submit her assessment in order to complete her Diploma.

How we are accountable to you.

  • Marking and returning submissions within 4 business days.
  • Providing you with the details of your enrolment period and opportunities to extend.
  • Contacting you throughout the whole of your enrolment period to help keep you ‘on track’.
  • Meeting ASQA’s Standards for RTOs, and holding you to those standards.

How you are accountable to us.

  • Managing your time so that submissions may be marked, returned and revisions made within your enrolment duration if you wish to avoid an extension period.
  • Knowing the details of your enrolment period.
  • Communicating with us before your End Date if you foresee any difficulties in completing your qualification within the designated enrolment duration so that we can discuss options with you.

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