Interview with The VET Gurus - John Price, Angela McGregor, Kerri Butter

September 22, 2019

Response from John Price regarding VET Sector Newsletter.

 

John Price

 

John started his career in education and training over 40 years ago. He was the Head of the School of Printing and Graphic Arts, became a TAFE Queensland Professional Development Coordinator and mentored many new TAFE teachers through their Diploma in Technical and Further Education.

 

He left TAFE in 1987 and in conjunction with InPrint Limited, one of Australia’s finest printers, established Australia’s first high technology training centre in industry for printing and graphic arts in 1988.

 

Since then he has assisted hundreds of organisations to gain registration as an RTO against the training standards established in the 1990s through to today, and regularly assists RTOs to maintain compliance of their quality system through internal auditing and in-house professional development.

 

He currently presents nationally and internationally on a range of professional development topics to assist trainers and assessors to maintain their current skills and knowledge in vocational teaching and learning. These topics include: Systematic validation of assessment; developing assessment tools, internal auditing, trainer and assessor currency, engaging with learners; and developing efficient and effective RPL assessments.

 

 John is the owner of John Price & Associates Pty Ltd as well as a founder and partner of The VET Gurus.

 

Kerri Buttery

 

Kerri began her education career working in Queensland secondary schools as a business teacher in the late 1990s. This included teaching vocational education subjects and later became the RTO Manager for the school. Since then, Kerri has undertaken roles in the broader Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector such as trainer/assessor, RTO Compliance Manager and Senior Lead Auditor. She has extensive experience as a VET compliance consultant including the delivery of professional development services through workshops, webinars, online courses and conferences including as a keynote speaker.

 

In 2017-2018 Kerri undertook postgraduate studies in eLearning to further hone her skills in this area. She now specialises in the administration and development of eLearning courses within the Canvas LMS by Instructure.

 

In 2018 Kerri started her own consultancy company, VETNexus, and in 2019 became co-founder and partner of The VET Gurus, an organisation providing professional development services to the wider Australian VET sector.

 

Angela McGregor

 

Angela started her career in the VET sector as a trainer and assessor of hospitality qualifications and the Workplace Trainer category 2 qualification.  Angela went on to train the TAA and TAE qualifications and hold management roles before becoming a freelance consultant in June 1999.

 

Additional to having first hand experience as a trainer, working in management roles and operating her own consultancy, Angela set up and operated her own RTO (offering business qualifications and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment) for 9 years from 2003.  Angela sold her RTO in 2012.  Angela’s has been providing consulting services to new and existing RTOs.  Her extensive experience includes assistance in setting up new RTOs, assistance with compliance and rectification, auditing, professional development, accredited course development and assessment design, validation and review.

 

 

 

1. What is your experience of working in the vocational education and training sector?

 

We are a bit scared to add up our combined years in the sector!! The number will be quite large and show our age. Let’s just say that it is more than 20 years each.

John joined TAFE Queensland in 1976 as a teacher of printing and graphic arts, became Head of the School of Graphic Arts and left to set up in industry with one of Australia’s international award-winning printing companies to establish Intech Australia, a specialist in high technology training.

 

He has delivered and assessed the BSZ40198, TAA40104, and the TAE40110 and uses his complementary skills, knowledge and experience to develop and present a range of VET professional development programs including student engagement and leadership in a quality environment.

 

His specialist area is the development of RPL assessment kits but also enjoys conducting internal audits of RTOs as a proactive strategy for improvement rather than as a reactive strategy to regulatory compliance.

Kerri began her career with VET in Schools as a trainer and assessor and later became an RTO Manager. She moved on to become a Senior Lead Auditor in Queensland before moving on to become a TAA/TAE trainer and assessor.

 

Her vocational teaching background was in business and information technology which led to an interest in using technology in education. As well as working as a compliance consultant for the past 12 years Kerri has also undertaken formal qualifications in eLearning and now also specializes in this area.

 

Angela began as a hospitality trainer and later delivered the Workplace Trainer Category 2, BSZ40198, TAA40104 and TAE40110.  Before becoming an RTO consultant Angela held a range of management roles in RTOs, developing an all round understanding of the operations of RTOs.  Additional to operating a consultancy Angela set up and managed her own RTO for 9 years.

 

2. What is the purpose of The VET Gurus and how can training organisations benefit?

 

The VET Gurus was established to enable the key skills, knowledge and experiences of Kerri, Angela and John to combine into the opportunity to provide solutions to RTOs in the fields of Administration, Training and Assessment and Compliance monitoring.

 

RTOs benefit from a one-stop-shop approach to obtaining the comprehensive support they need whether it be for RTO compliance to the 2015 Standards, the ESOS National Code 2018 for CRICOS providers, eLearning and RTO administration.

 

3. How is The VET Gurus different from other professional development organisations in the training sector?

 

It allows us to focus on the features we offer as a team, i.e. not just three VET people who have been in the VET industry for almost 70 years, but rather the benefits of these 70 combined years as specialisations in specific RTO operations, a professional approach built on a reputation to provide practical solutions through our internal collaborative processes; and a dedication always in the back of our minds that relates to doing it right for the students.

 

4. What do you think are the main threats to training organisations in the current environment?

 

There will always be threats associated with competition between RTOs and funding but the main threat is focusing on compliance to the detriment of quality in processes, practices and outcomes. A favourite saying of John’s is “How can an auditor find a problem with our assessments and trainer and assessor qualifications when they  are not vocationally competent?”.

 

If we are not careful the focus on compliance is often mis-directed and RTO staff can become so close to what they do, particularly in the preparation of assessments as subject matter experts and the daily reflection on vocational currency, that they miss the obvious. Obvious to auditors, that is.

 

5. What are your views of how we can improve the vocational education and training sector in Australia?

 

The VET sector is still comparatively young, professionally. Education, health and other professional sectors have been around a long time and have profited from the wisdom of professional standards that direct and maintain competent workplace practice. I believe the focus of RTO standards in the future needs to include an emphasis on ensuring outcomes go beyond those of meeting the students’ needs and determine are they meeting the needs of the industry and community our students work and live in.

 

Questions to John Price

 

Sukh Sandhu: I have known you for about 20 years. We have worked together on a number of projects and frankly, you are truly one of my Gurus who taught me so much about the vocational education and training sector. Here are some questions I always wanted to ask but never had the opportunity to: 

 

6. You have been in the industry for over 40 years as a Head of Department at TAFE, mentor, facilitator of national workshops covering delivery and assessment, risk management, auditing, leadership and interpersonal skill development, ASQA auditor, keynote speaker at conventions and conferences, you have also assisted over 300 organisations in Australia to achieve quality certification to the range of National Training Standards,