Flexibility is inherent in the way training packages are constructed and should be a key feature in delivering to meet industry needs.
Three common ways of achieving flexibility are:
- Packaging units of competency to make up a program – whether full qualifications or skills clusters
- Contextualising units of competency to reflect industry or enterprise practices
- Integrating the delivery and/or assessment of some or all of the program.
These terms are being used in a specific way in this website but others may apply the terms and concepts in different ways.
Packaging for a qualification
Once you have chosen the most suitable qualification to meet the business need, you can choose the appropriate electives and imported units to package into the qualification.
Packaging means selecting units of competency within the qualification packaging rules to suit local clients and/or conditions. The qualification rules are an endorsed part of the training package and changes to the rules can only be made through full training package review or continuous review processes.
To award a qualification you must include all the core units listed in the packaging rules.
The electives and imported units are designed so that you can meet the business need, based on your business needs analysis and sustainability training needs analysis.
However, you do need to balance this with the intent of the qualification. If you are finding it difficult to package to meet the business needs you may need to look at other qualifications to see whether they are more suitable.
There are a number of things to balance when packaging units of competency, including:
- Maintaining the qualification’s relevance to sustainability – by choosing units that are in the banks of electives for that qualification or from other qualifications in the MSS Sustainability Training Package
- Ensuring you don’t duplicate the content of units within a qualification. While each unit aims to cover a unique competency, some units do have similar aspects.
- The choice of electives should have a clear rationale which is based on a detailed review of all sections of the units of competency and of the skill needs. This rationale is important information to capture in your Training and Assessment Strategy.
Any specific requirements or guidelines for choosing imported units will be outlined in the packaging rules for a qualification.
Importing units allows you to put together a qualification to suit a particular job role or skill need. In MSS some units from other Training Packages have already been brought into the banks of electives, so it is important to check there first.
Note that if a unit is listed in the banks of electives it is not considered an import; it is an elective.
Packaging additional units into a qualification
In some cases the business may require more than the minimum number of units that are required for a qualification. Or they may need a combination of units from more than one Training Package. The Training Package packaging rules defines the minimum requirements for achieving a qualification. They do not preclude a business or an RTO from delivering a program that includes additional requirements. However, any additional requirements that align to units of competency or accredited courses must be acknowledged in keeping with the current registration requirements for RTOs.
In the sustainability context the following Training Packages may offer relevant units of competency:
- AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management
- MEM05 Metal and Engineering
- PMA Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining
- MSM Manufacturing
- MSL Laboratory Operations.
Keep in mind that there may be differing requirements and differing interpretations between jurisdictions. For example, additional units may need to be listed on the certificate as “additional”, or they may need to be issued as a separate Statement of Attainment.
If you use additional units that form all or most of another qualification you may need to provide a strong rationale to the registering body for not delivering and awarding the whole qualification.
Examples of packaging for each qualification in the MSS Sustainability Training Package are available via:
- Sustainable Operations qualifications overview
- Environmental Monitoring and Technology qualifications overview.
Packaging for a skills cluster
A skills cluster refers to a group of units of competency that is packaged together as a discrete program but is not a full qualification. This sort of cluster of units does not have packaging rules. It has the flexibility to combine units across levels and can include units from different Training Packages.
Keep in mind that if you use a unit of competency that has a pre-requisite you do need to include the prerequisite unit/s in the cluster.
A skills cluster is similar to a Skill Set that is defined in a Training Package and it should meet a defined need. However it is at the discretion of an RTO to identify the need and package the units of competency.
A skills cluster should be used where the need is quite different from a whole qualification. That is where a job role does not align to a whole qualification (and never will) or where worker/s need to develop specific skills which are not the whole job (or qualification).
Examples of clustering using the Sustainable Operations units of competency are available using the menu on the right. They cover:
- Skills cluster for team sustainability improvements
- Skills cluster for reducing water, fuel or energy consumption
- Skills cluster for quantifying the carbon footprint
Note that no sample packaging for skills clusters are provided for the Environmental Monitoring and Technology qualifications; it is expected that these qualifications will align to complete job roles.
Contextualising usually refers to tailoring a unit of competency to reflect the way an industry or enterprise applies the competency.
In all cases of contextualisation the integrity of the outcome of the endorsed unit/s of competency must be maintained. This includes the portability requirements, including all legislative licensing and any other regulatory requirements.
Specifically you cannot:
- Remove the content of any of the elements and performance criteria
- Distort or narrow the competency outcomes and limit its use
- Diminish the breadth of application of the competency and reduce its portability.
Taking these requirements into account you can include additional information, modify or substitute text and provide detailed examples of generic statements in a unit.
Examples of contextualisation include:
- Substituting business specific requirements for generic terms in performance criteria e.g. replacing policies and procedures with specific names such as the Environmental management policy or Procedure for managing waste
- Adding to the range statement and adding enterprise specific requirements e.g. specific equipment such as spill kits or processes such as methods for measuring greenhouse gas emissions
- Identifying particular skills and knowledge required to perform the tasks in the workplace. This might mean adding to required skills and knowledge or making them more enterprise specific e.g. knowledge of the enterprise Environmental management policy or the reed bed process for treating waste water.
- Identifying the kinds of evidence that the learners generate in their daily routines e.g. workplace documentation or evidence of participation in sustainability audits
- Making modifications within to meet special needs of a target group for example providing for oral questioning of knowledge for workers with low writing skills – if this aligns to the literacy levels required to perform the competency.
You may be able to capture some or even most of this detail through the business needs analysis and sustainability skills analysis or other methods of consultation with industry.
In this context integrating refers to combining several parts of training or assessment that can logically be delivered as one item. The basis of the logic might vary. For example it might be commonality in the content, alignment to a job role, project or standard progression through a series of tasks in the workplace.
This is often done by combining whole units of competency together into modules, often because several units of competency relate to a set of tasks, work function or part of a job role.
Modules might bring occupational health and safety units together with technical units or combine several units that relate to risk management across different aspects of a business.
Combining the delivery and/or assessment of the Elements and/or Performance Criteria within a unit – rather than treating them as individual items – is sometimes referred to as integrated or holistic.
Another form of integration combines content that is common across several units of competency into learning objects.
Learning objects are similar to modules but are made up of sections of content material within units whereas modules (as described here) bring together whole units. Learning objects might cover areas such as measurement and calculation skills or knowledge of environmental compliance requirements.
With any of these options it is critical that you can demonstrate how you have covered all the requirements of the unit/s in your training and your assessment processes. This is often done through ‘mapping’.
There are no specific requirements for the layout and structure of this sort of mapping. Typically it uses a table layout showing the Performance Criteria of each unit of competency in columns and the related section of your training and assessments in the rows (or vice versa); often with a numbering or coding system to help manage and present the data.