If you have industry experience and have gained a Certificate IV in Training and Assessing through a TAE40116 course you may be forgiven for thinking that your own days of learning are over and your days of teaching and assessing other students learning have begun. However, professional development (PD) for all teachers, trainers and assessors, and instructors is a necessary component of a job at a registered training organisation (RTO) or a TAFE college.
RTOs are privately run vocational education training (VET) providers but must maintain set standards and compliance regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), which is the national body in charge of the VET sector. Part of maintaining compliance is the provision of professional development for VET trainers and assessors. What this means is that although you have already gained experience and skills in the trade sector you have been employed to provide training courses in, as well as the basic skills in training and assessing as provided by the TAE40116 course, this is not considered sufficient by ASQA.
The provision of VET courses is continually evolving and professional development aims to make trainers and assessors aware of any new developments such as course and assessment changes.
Professional development may be the responsibility of RTOs to provide but it is up to trainers and assessors working in the VET sector to make themselves available for PD sessions and continue to update their skills. Participation in PD is not just a “nice to have”; it is part of the job of being a trainer and assessor and every PD session successfully completed can be viewed as a complement to one’s CV and an important ingredient if you wish to advance your career in training and assessing.
Types of professional development
Research has indicated that one of the main reasons why people opt to complete the theTAE40116 course and become a VET trainer and assessor is that it provides greater job satisfaction than that provided by the original industry career by itself. In fact, one research survey into the relationship between PD and job satisfaction enjoyed by trainers and assessors indicated that a significant percentage of trainers were not motivated by a change in career or even more money but by the satisfaction from training itself.
However, VET trainers and assessors do have a pathway available to them out from training and assessing into management, course development, and administrative careers or out of VET altogether. Formal professional development opportunities can certainly improve the chances of following these pathways.
Professional development opportunities tend to fall into two main categories: formal PD and informal PD. Formal PD may lead to the opportunity to gain further credentials which may be necessary for career advancement as well as structured PD and on the job PD, which are better designed for trainers and assessors to improve their knowledge and skills of training and assessing rather than gaining further qualifications.
The TAE40116 course builds on an industry specialist’s skills by providing them with a certificate that allows them to get a job as a trainer and assessor in an RTO or TAFE college. However, every trainer and assessor should ensure they take part in professional development opportunities at their place of employment whether they have ambitions of career advancement or simply improve their skills as a trainer and assessor.