When Fortress was first established, we acknowledged that there would be difficult times and difficult decisions.
The current environment presents many challenges, and raised many questions. We knew we would not know of many of those questions, let alone many of the answers.
And so it is with reference to the above question that we asked some of our students what they believe we ought to do in the face of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it is bringing.
The response was surprisingly simple, and is perhaps best captured in this comment from a current student who is facing redundancy if this situation does not improve quickly:
Don’t change. Actually, the best thing you can do is just keep doing what you do.
There’s already enough things changing. We just need to know you will be there when we need you to be. We always knew you cared, so just keep doing that.
And so, Fortress Learning’s response to COVID-19 is to do the following:
continue providing the service that we promised we would.
If you’d like to talk about anything, you are welcome to get in touch.
Meanwhile, we wish everyone the strength and fortitude that such situations demand.
Amy (Weeks) & Bryan (West)
19 March 2020
Challenges facing VET is a response to what has become a difficult landscape for all training professionals. There is much to discuss, digest and directions to determine.
As an industry, it is critical that we do this together. Our strength lies in our ability to take the best ideas from each other and nurture from those ideas greater ideas. Read more…
What is learner discomfort?
“When a learner becomes conscious of their own performance – or lack of – that then can lead to them becoming anxious, which is an uncomfortable place to be.
So by “learner discomfort”, I guess I am talking about feelings of anxiety, worry or concern. A lack of confidence in the learner’s ability to participate in any meaningful way; to progress in any meaningful way.” – Dr Bryan West, Fortress Learning Diploma Trainer.
Now that we know what it is, how do we overcome it?
The four episodes below are from Fortress Learning’s series on teaching microskills called The Small Stuff.
In each episode, Bryan offers some strategies that you can implement in the classroom to make learning a much more comfortable, and therefore more productive, experience.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison.
Sometimes at Fortress Learning, our students get an assessment submission marked as Not Yet Satisfactory. This can cause disappointment, anxiety, sadness, and even anger!
The reality is, being marked as Not Yet Satisfactory is not the end of the world. It just means you get to have another shot at fulfilling the requirements of the task.
I sat down with Diploma Trainer and Managing Director of Fortress Learning, Dr Bryan West, to pick his brain about what it means to be marked as Not Yet Satisfactory.
Here at Fortress, we believe that by focusing on performance, compliance should follow.
It’s easy to get so caught up in ticking boxes and complying that we forget why we are doing it in the first place.
Ask yourself: are you simply complying, or are you performing?
With the VET sector’s changing landscape, compliance is paramount to an RTO’s success and longevity.
This is why Fortress Learning is pleased to share our free Your Monthly Compliance Strategy with you.
Your Monthly Compliance Strategy provides a structured approach to evaluating your organisation’s compliance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (2015).
Here is what Fortress Learning Managing Director, Dr Bryan West, had to say about the importance of staying compliant as an RTO.
“Compliance now is top of mind for people. Performance really should take precedence over compliance because if you’re performing properly and adequately then you will be complying.
However, the change in the landscape over the last couple of years, especially with a shift in the regulatory landscape, means that compliance is something now that people are really focusing on.
Part of the reason for that is because the goalposts appear to have been moved, but no one’s really sure where they’ve been put. And that’s why it’s important that during those times of uncertainty that we do fall back upon the basics that we know work, and one of those basics is having a clearly defined structure that does address all of the requirements of a fundamental document such as the Standards for RTOs 2015.
The framework we are providing to people is the same one that we use, it’s the same structure, the same questions that we are being asked and the same questions that we answer. It’s the same one that has been through our own audit process (this is for re-registration) and has been found to be compliant.
At a time when people are lacking confidence generally, it’s a way that people can know where the boundaries are in terms of compliance, and by having the big picture in front of them and broken down into smaller monthly chunks, they personally can be confident that they are doing what it is they need to be doing.”
Your Monthly Compliance Strategy mirrors the five phases of the student journey which form the basis of ASQA’s new audit model which can be seen in the image below:
Clicking HERE will allow you to download the complete Strategy, with 12 months of actionable items to ensure you are performing in line with the Standards.
Because many people ask for it in bite-sized chunks, we can also send to you each month a separate email with just that month’s compliance activities, along with a video to explain what to do in that month. To receive Your Monthly Compliance Strategy on the first Monday of each month, simply click the image below.
This Compliance Strategy is the same approach that we use at Fortress Learning, and we are happy to share it with you.
We hope it assists.
Here is what Tracey said:
After initial confusion of which dashboard I should be working through for my Dual Dips and getting my head around the process required, I found access to be easy.
Staff supportive and feedback useful. Assistance with extension was seamless.
The couple of not so positive points were that not realizing the extent of support and input needed from my colleagues was much more than expected (thinking it would be along similar lines as previous TAFE courses completed).
My other point would be that although this is an online course, I would have preferred the option to be able to print the course notebooks as well as view them on screens.
Why did this particular testimonial catch our attention?
Tracey made 4 points in her testimonial that we would like to expand on:
Learner engagement: sounds easy enough, but in reality, sometimes engaging a class can prove to be an uphill battle.
Whether you have just started your lesson, just resumed class after a break, or if things are starting to get out of control, you need to have some strategies in place to get things back on track.
One way to do this could be to play a fun game.
While I call them games, Bryan doesn’t like them to be called games as they are “serious”. He prefers to use the term higher level engagement strategies.
Every now and then, a Cert IV TAE student writes a Review that we believe really captures what Fortress Learning tries do. Instead of them ending up hidden among the others, we will share them with you, and try to explain why we think they are so appropriate.
Wendy – what did she say?
When it came to the training bit, I knew I had years of experience and didn’t find it difficult at all. But when it came to the assessments piece – I was a wreck . Luckily I reached out to my trainer Emma, who guided me and supported me in the right manner. She could see I was getting stressed and motivated me to help calm my nerves. It’s a very practical training session. The staff is always ready to help you. It requires focus and time. Overall I had a wonderful experience with Fortress. I’ve been recommending it to all my trainer friends in Dubai.