So, you want to become a trainer. Before you embark on a new career as a trainer, it’s important to understand how job opportunities in the industry work. This article is designed to help you get a sense of what being a trainer is about and how to go about becoming one if that’s what you desire to do.
When we talk about trainers in this article, we are talking about trainers in the Australian Vocational and Educational Training (VET) sector who have put down their tools to teach. VET industry trainers develop and deliver training to students (usually adults) who are enrolled in a course and learning the skills they need to apply to a particular job. They also work to ensure that the qualifications people earn meet contractual and compliance requirements for earning those qualifications.
VET training can be formal (taking place at an educational institution such as a college or TAFE) or informal (such as private companies employing training staff to get new hires up to speed). Regardless of the setting, trainers are responsible for ensuring their courses are relevant, engaging and up-to-date so that students get the most out of it.
It goes without saying that to become a trainer, you must be competent in the area you’ll be training in. Unlike a school teacher, who studies to become a teacher and needs no prior knowledge before starting university, it’s a prerequisite to have vocational competency if you want to become a trainer. Imagine trying to teach hairdressing if you’ve never cut hair before! This said most people who become trainers already have a full industry-related career behind them and want to share their wealth of knowledge and skills with others.
Trainers are typically employed by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). RTOs are licensed to train and issue qualifications to students. Every RTO in Australia is listed on www.training.gov.au (TGA). To illustrate a listing, we have included a link to Fortress Learning on TGA here.
Trainers can also be employed by Enterprise RTOs. These are usually corporations whose main purpose isn’t necessarily all about training but who are large enough to require their own special training departments that are capable of issuing nationally recognised qualifications. McDonald’s is an example of an Enterprise RTO.
At the time of writing this article (November 2022), Seek had 6,808 job opportunities for trainers with forecasted job growth of 11.3 per cent.
Source Nov 2022: https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/role/trainer
Your day as a trainer can vary depending on the company you work for. In smaller organisations, the work is typically more diverse as everyone does a bit of everything. In larger organisations, such as TAFE, the work tends to focus on one particular area as there are enough people to have a singular specialty.
Nonetheless, here are the key components of being a trainer:
Preparation is an important part of being a fully-qualified VET trainer. Before you teach students, you’ll need to develop the lesson plan and anything that supports the classroom learning, such as Powerpoint presentations, games and activities, worksheets, audios and videos. The learning material you develop will depend on the cohort of learners and the delivery method (face-to-face or online).
The training itself can differ depending on who and what you train. Some training needs to be very hands-on and experiential, while others are more theoretical. As we touched on earlier, some training can happen in the workplace, in the classroom or online.
No matter where the training occurs though, it’s important to engage the students and ensure that everyone has a fair chance of successfully completing the training. It’s also important to be aware of any challenges that can affect students in successfully completing training, such as physical, mental and learning barriers.
A large part of the student VET journey is doing assessments that require marking by the assessor. Not every trainer assesses, and not every assessor trains, but in a small RTO, this is often the same person, so you may need to complete assessments.
Additional duties of a trainer include:
There are many career opportunities for trainers in the VET sector. Here are just some examples (bearing in mind that some of these would require additional education such as a Diploma level or higher qualification):
The amount trainers earn depends on several factors, including the award outlined in Awards – Fair Work, their experience (novice to expert), their education level (Certificate IV, Diploma or higher), the company they work for, and the specific role they work in.
Generally speaking, we find that entry roles start at around the $65,000 mark. Trainers’ average earnings are between $75,000 to $95,000, and managerial positions sit higher at anywhere between $90,000 and $150,000.