Frequently Asked Questions about the Fortress Learning Dip VET/TDD Program
WHO IS THIS PARTICULAR COURSE FOR?
The Fortress Learning TAE Diploma program is intentionally developed for people who are committed to their own professional roles within the VET sector; people who understand that the best way to demonstrate their quality is by showing that it has been recognised with a qualification from an RTO with a reputation for quality.
It is ideally suited to people who possess the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training & Assessment (or its successor) as well as a couple of years relevant experience within the training sector. Even if you are not seeking Recognition of Prior Learning, that experience will make the Coursework much more worthwhile.
HOW DO I ENROL?
We have an online enrolment form on our detailed course pages that you can complete at any time.
But, before that, we would like to have a conversation with you to discover more about your particular situation and what you are looking for. Experience tells us that this is a great introduction and a worthwhile starting point for making an informed decision.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I ENROL?
The first thing we do is some planning. By taking the time to plan at the beginning, we find we can save hours of unnecessary work later by finding and removing those hoops through which you need not jump.
To do this, you complete a Personal Learning Plan Survey, which will allow us to formalise many of the things we spoke about in our initial conversation. It will essentially tell you three things:
- Where you might be eligible for RPL
- Where you will need to provide evidence and third party reports
- Which tasks you could do to fulfil any remaining course requirements
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE PERSONAL LEARNING PLAN
No two people are the same.
For us, making you jump through the same hoops as everyone else just doesn’t make sense.
That’s why we collect a bit more information from you before you start, and use it to tailor your own Personal Learning Plan.
Quite simply, every student who enrols has a course put together just for them.
Your Personal Learning Plan becomes your unique roadmap for how you can make your way through the course. It reflects your unique set of knowledge and skills and helps make sure that we have just the right hoops in the right order for you to accomplish your goals.
It will tell you how to approach each unit in your program, in what order and over what timeframe in order to meet your particular goals.
Because you will probably be working while studying, we expect it to evolve as we move ahead to reflect any new skills, knowledge or activities that you might encounter.
You are welcome to complete the Survey and send it in if you would like us to provide some guidance on what your program will likely involve. You can find the link : YOUR PERSONAL LEARNING PLAN SURVEY
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH GAPS? CAN WE DO COURSEWORK FOR PARTS OF IT?
We know that most of our students can align many parts of many units to many parts of the work that they have done, and our program is designed to accommodate that. If you are unable to fully meet the evidence requirements by RPL, we will work with you to find ways to address them. In some cases, it will be about switching to the Coursework for that part of the unit. In other cases, it will be working with you to leverage on something that is happening at work. Whatever is needed, we will work it out together.
For larger or multiple gaps, or where you simply would prefer to do the Coursework, we will prescribe additional assessment tasks. In this situation, the assessment tasks will be based upon the online Resource Space that we provide and, for some, the text Professional Training & Assessment, by Dan Hill, Lee Perlitz and Terry Hill. Students requiring this option will be required to purchase – or otherwise obtain – a copy of this text. (It seems about 10% of students end up needing the textbook, and most already have access to it.)
I AM VERY EXPERIENCED. WILL I BE TREATED THE SAME WAY AS SOMEONE WHO IS NOT?
To ensure that you do not get bogged down in doing things that are not necessary, we like to keep communication open through your time with us. We know that things change in students’ work lives; new information comes to hand, and sometimes it is best to change our plan to adapt to this.
We will never allow someone to graduate who has not authentically demonstrated that they are competent. But, we will always consider ways to enable each individual student to show their competency in ways that are most suited to them.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE?
You can choose between 6 or 12 months from your Commencement Date to complete the program, although experience tells us that most experienced professionals usually take about 6 months to complete their personal program of blended RPL and Coursework Assessments. These people are usually working full-time and juggling families, pets, holidays and all the other things that seem to complicate our lives; they would usually take a night or two to work on their program during the week, and the occasional Saturday or Sunday……the lucky ones also get some time to do it at work!
This graph shows the percentage of our graduates who took different lengths of time to complete. The median duration sits between 5 and 6 months. Most people enrol for 6 months and then pay per month after that to complete – that way you are only paying for the time you use…and remember: you don’t need additional time just to allow for us to take months to mark your stuff – we’ll get it done within 4 days.
Those without substantial prior experience in delivery and assessment will likely require longer to fulfil all course requirements.
As part of the Personal Learning Plan process, we will ask how long you would ideally like to take to complete and provide guidance about what you would need to do and when in order to complete the course in that timeframe.
We’ll also ask if you would like to split your graduation to allow you to exit with the Dip VET as soon as possible, and then continue with the Dip TDD more leisurely. We can do that for you.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSE TIMES?
Our goal for review of submissions is within 4 business days, although over 80% are returned within 48 hours. For phone calls that are missed, we aim for replies within 4 hours. If your trainer is not available when you call, you are encouraged to make an appointment to avoid ‘phone tennis’. You will have direct access to your Trainer’s calendar to make appointments.
For emails, you can expect a reply within 8 business hours.
CAN ANYONE ENROL?
This program is not for everybody, and we need to make sure that there is a good ‘fit’. We don’t want to waste anybody’s time – yours or ours – and are focused on delivering this service to people who are truly committed to succeeding. To help you with that, you are welcome to complete a Personal Learning Plan Survey, and we will be able to tell you what your program with us will likely involve.
We will probably then have a conversation, and during that conversation, we will work out together if there is a good fit. From our point of view, a good fit usually exists if the person is not seeking to get the piece of paper without earning it, and has access to the environment and resources needed to succeed.
Also, if we are at risk of not meeting our service standards, then we will slow new enrolments until we are back up to speed. For example, we say that we will have marking done within 4 days. That’s the external measure. If we don’t get 80% done within 2 days for more than a couple of weeks, then we see that we might soon have trouble meeting the 4-day standard. What do we do? We slow enrolments.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO IN THIS COURSE?
That really depends on your particular balance of RPL and Coursework.
For Coursework, being a self-paced program that is delivered via distance learning, you may need to complete a combination of short-response tasks (that assess your knowledge) and projects (that assess your skills). Many of these questions and projects will allow you to use your own workplace.
For RPL, being an individualised program means we do not have an RPL Kit for you to wade through. Instead, we will work out where you are likely to gain RPL and advise you on the evidence to provide. Students tell us this avoids the “hit and miss” approach of RPL that is commonly used, saves them many hours and, perhaps most importantly, gives them the chance to engage in a structured program of professional reflection.
As outlined above, we start this process by developing what we call a Personal Learning Plan.
CAN I GET RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING? DO I GET A DISCOUNT?
All students are eligible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and information about this is provided during our pre-enrolment conversation as well as once you have enrolled. Most of our students will be gaining recognition for many parts of many units; the key is for us to tease out just where those bits are. Because so many students do not actually know what they could include for RPL, we can talk about this before you enrol and look at this for you in more detail as a part of developing your Personal Learning Plan.
There is no reduction in fees for an RPL Pathway, nor is there an additional fee for undertaking Coursework. Our program includes whatever you need for your situation. Actually, many of our students soon find that the usual distinction between RPL and Coursework assessment blurs, as we focus not on those terms, but on meeting the Rules of Evidence.
DO I NEED TO HOLD THE TAE CERTIFICATE IV IN TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT?
It is preferred that you do hold the Certificate IV in Training & Assessment. This is because the Diploma program presumes that you do possess some knowledge of Australia’s VET sector and training industry. Having said that, the Training Package does not insist on you holding it if you have relevant equivalent experience.
However, we know that without the Certificate IV and/or relevant experience, the chance of success in the program is quite low. Why? People in that situation usually won’t have had the exposure to the necessary opportunities to gain and demonstrate the knowledge and skills that the Diplomas require.
If you are unsure, this is something we can talk about during our initial Conversation.
DO I NEED TO BE WORKING IN A TRAINING ROLE?
No. But it will be very difficult to complete many aspects of the program if you are not. For example, one of the Diploma of Vocational Education & Training’s core units requires that you conduct 100 hours of group facilitation. If you are unable to demonstrate that via RPL and are not in a position to do this during the period of your enrolment, then this program will not be suitable for you at this time.
That’s just one example. There are lots of others, and most seem not to be an issue for most people.
At the risk of appearing to be pushing the Personal Learning Plan Survey, perhaps the best way to work out if you need to be currently in a training role is to take a look at the questions in the Personal Learning Plan Survey since they will point you to what the requirements of the units are.
HOW DO YOU CATER FOR MY OWN SITUATION?
The way people go about doing the course should not be the same. We do not require people to all jump through a series of hoops in the same order and at the same time. Instead, we bring the course to people so that you are able to connect its skills and knowledge with your own world – that’s what your Personal Learning Plan is about. In short, our focus is working out what you need to achieve your success.
And, because learning requires taking someone from ‘here’ to ‘there’, we like to spend some time working out where you are at now. The reason we start with a Conversation and the Personal Learning Plan Survey is to make sure that your program will balance your particular situation with the requirements of the Training Package. We understand that most people seeking these qualifications already have a wealth of relevant experience, and perform roles where they live and breathe much of what the two Diploma courses involve.
However, it seems that there are as many ways of doing these things as there are training organisations. For that reason, we prefer to address each student more holistically so that we can identify where their professional activities have – and do – overlap with parts of the course. With that information, experience has shown that we can devise highly targeted programs that blend RPL and Coursework in a way that saves many hours of unnecessary hoop-jumping.
Through the program, we expect things will evolve to match your changing circumstances. For some people, this will be to switch between Coursework and RPL, for others, it could be about changing the evidence to submit to match work being done for an upcoming audit. For everyone, it is about us being receptive to you and ensuring that communication channels remain open.
For professionals already struggling to balance the many demands of work and life, we believe this approach is simply about showing respect.
It also works.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
Our immediate families depend on our success as a business. So do the people who choose to work with us, and their families. Being a part of the Australian training industry, it is important that we contribute to a general move toward better quality.
Our Diploma program is specifically crafted to allow us to:
- demonstrate our own quality
- model this quality for other training professionals
- engage with other professionals in critical conversations about quality
- through the above, make a contribution to the ongoing quality of the Australian VET sector
At a time when the Australian training industry appears under attack for a lack of quality, we believe it is up to training organisations and the professionals they employ to stand firm. If we can assist you to better support the quality of the system that feeds us all, then that is a benefit to not only the students whom we serve but the nation whom we ultimately serve by training those students.
It might be a bit pie-in-the-sky for some, but that is the reality of it.
WHAT IF I NEED LONGER TO DO THE COURSE? OR NEED TO TAKE A BREAK?
Just let us know about your circumstances and we will do what we can to accommodate your needs. We understand that your studies with us will be just one of many commitments in your life. Instead of adding to the pressure of all that you do, we would prefer to work with you when you are ready and give you the freedom to do the many other things that you need to do when you have to. In short, if you need to take time out, then we have a deferment process for that. We will be here when you return. Likewise, if you need some extra time, then it is quite possible that that can be accommodated. As always, the earlier we talk about these things during your program, the better it is for us to be able to provide the support that will give you the greatest assistance.
To learn more or request further information, complete our contact form, or give us a call on 1300 141 994.