Embarking on a skills program where it is not needed or one that does not deliver the skills needed by your client will be serious a business risk to your RTO. To meet your client’s needs and sustain your business relationships you have to know what the client needs are – at the business level and at the skill level.
Using a consultancy approach can help you to focus on your client’s business goals and on helping them find the support they need to achieve those goals. It also recognises that you might play a role in providing advice to clients about the range of available options and the best solutions.
The consultancy approach helps to:
- Identify the unique needs and specific aims of an enterprise and client group
- Decide whether training and skills solutions are appropriate for the client (and when)
- Identify the most appropriate services and options for the client
- Contextualise program development, delivery and assessment
- Align the skill program/s to business goals
- Support compliance in developing training and assessment strategies and consulting with industry.
There are many different models for consulting. Typically they cover two key elements – identifying needs and identifying options to meet those needs.
Identifying the client’s needs
The consultancy approach acknowledges that your RTO will perform different roles with different clients based on how they understand sustainability, what they want to achieve and what they are already doing.
A business may not have any goals or strategies for their sustainability efforts or may not even have a general business plan. A client might see your RTO as the expert and look to you to advise them on the best options for skills development and qualifications. Or they may look to you to bring them up to industry standards and compliance requirements for sustainability.
Another client might have sustainability strategies in place but want to expand their workforce skills profile to ensure successful implementation and long term improvements.
Others might have a strong technical skill base but want to apply sustainability across all of their operations. This might require management skills programs, a social sustainability focus or other services such as business strategy and/or sustainability strategy development.
Other clients might have unrealistic expectations. For example they might expect your skills programs to fix problems – which may or may not be related to skills – or to take the place of planning and resourcing sustainability activities throughout the business. Or they may think that by sending one or two operations staff to a training course they will achieve the knowledge and skills to make sustainability happen throughout the business.
Identifying options to meet client needs
Doing a business needs analysis and sustainability skills analysis will help you decide whether a sustainability skills program is right for your client. It will also help you to know what other services might assist them. You may decide that the business needs a combination of things such as:
- Sustainability skills and/or qualifications
- Technical skills and qualifications
- Management skills and/or qualifications
- Business advice or support services – for example, strategic planning and goal setting for sustainability.
Your RTO may or may not have the capacity to meet all of these differing needs and it is ethical – and therefore sustainable – to recognise your capacity and limitations. However, you can look at alternatives for meeting the diverse needs of clients. In some cases partnering with other organisations that can complement your services will help to provide the right option for a client. In other cases you might be able to work with the client’s technical expertise and use these as a resource for training and assessment.
Whatever the scenario, your RTO will need to understand the range of options for sustainability skills, including the breadth of sustainability skills that are needed across a business and the range of qualifications and units of competency that can support skills development.
Using structured processes
A business needs analysis will help you to understand what the business goals are and what the business already has in place to support those goals. This is the basis for identifying what the business needs and whether these are skills related. [Read more…]
A sustainability skills analysis can be useful if skills are identified as an issue in the business needs analysis. This process aims to identify which skills are needed to support the business goals, who needs the skills and what skills are already in the workforce. [Read more…]