This is not a highly technical unit. It can be achieved using simple techniques for identifying sustainability issues in the selected area, working out the cause of the sustainability impact, evaluating the options for improvements and recommending improvements to the appropriate decision makers.
It requires detailed knowledge of the process or work area being evaluated so that the breadth of sustainability issues can be identified and so that realistic solutions can be recommended.
As part of an AQF 4 qualification it is assumed that the learner will ’… apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, judgement and limited responsibility in known or changing contexts and within established parameters‘. Read more about AQF qualification levels…
Defining the scope of the process or work area needs to take this into account. It needs to find a balance so that it:
- falls within the autonomy, judgement and responsibility of the AQF 4 level
- encompasses a number sustainability issues and enables comparative analysis and recommendations to be made.
The scope focuses within the organisation and this helps to keep it manageable. The scope will also depend on the size and complexity of the business. In a large and complex organisation it could be applied to one part of the organisation only, whereas for a small organisation it may need to be applied to all or most of the organisation.
This unit differs from MSS014001 Improve sustainability through readily implementable change which focuses on changes which do not require significant costs or high level approvals. MSS014002 Evaluate sustainability impact of a work or process area should be used where there are likely to be significant costs associated with the recommended actions.
The unit includes determining the resources needed for the recommendations in terms of budget, people, procedures, plant and equipment, and raw materials. However, the unit does not progress beyond recommending a solution because the learner at this level typically will not have the authority to allocate significant resources or approve significant changes.
1 Evaluate the work or process area
This is about defining the area to be analysed and what happens inside that area; the process steps. This could be a simple process map or could be a list of steps. The learner will be able to apply their knowledge of the process steps and sustainability to identify the ‘sustainability interactions’. In effect, they will answer the question ‘how does this step interact with the environment?’
This unit can be applied in a range of industry sectors so the process steps, changes and sustainability interactions will vary. The sustainability interactions might include taking water or releasing it, using energy, burning waste or releasing greenhouse gas (GHG) or other emissions. Sometimes the interactions with the environment are not obvious. Focusing on the change at each step helps to identify them.
If the unit is applied in an office where orders are entered into a database, one change in the process would be from written information into electronic data. The information might change from being locally available to being available nationally or ‘in the cloud’. The hard copy order forms might change from critical documents into used paper.
Looking at this small part of a process, the sustainability interactions would be energy use for computers, other IT infrastructure, lighting and heating, as well as generation of paper waste.
In textiles production the unit could include ‘wet processes’, such as desizing and dyeing the fabric. These processes would highlight the sustainability issues around water heating and rate of consumption and the potential for chemicals and toxins in discharge water.
2 Determine sustainability issues for the work or process area
Sustainability also relates to issues beyond the process steps and how they interact with the environment. The context of the business goals and values and characteristics of the local area can affect the relative importance of many sustainability issues. There might be a history of community concerns at any step in the process. Or the issue of water consumption might become critical during a drought.
The business may have set its sustainability goals to focus on energy and resource efficiency. Or if it has had a series of leaks and complaints this is likely to be the priority focus area.
This element is about evaluating the sustainability interactions in context of these sensitivities; in order to make a short list of the high priority issues.
The items on the short list should be ranked. Again this will depend on the business context and sensitivities. The criteria used in the ranking system and relative weight of the criteria should fit the context. It could factor in issues, such as:
- profile, impact and urgency of the issue
- feasibility, costs and benefits of making changes
- alignment to goals, values and key performance indicators (KPIs).
3 Analyse sustainability issues for the work or process area
Each of the short listed issues should be analysed. In some cases the ‘short’ list might need to be shortened further to make this manageable. The aim is to work out the underlying cause of the issue so that the recommendations will have the maximum impact on the issue.
The unit refers to identifying the ‘root cause’. But a formal ‘root cause analysis (RCA)’ process is not necessarily required. The business might have its own root cause or problem solving methods and these can be used. Keep in mind that the real or absolute root case might not be knowable or might be outside the organisation. In these cases the focus could be on part of the causal tree that can be influenced and that will make a difference.
The possible solutions should come from the issues and causes that have been identified. These are going to become recommendations so they might be:
- simple changes that can be made within the team
- projects that require budget and approvals from management
- ideas that need to be developed by maintenance, engineering or other sections of the business.
Again depending on the issue and the identified causes, the solutions might focus on:
- changing the inputs; to be less hazardous or to use recycled materials
- changing the process; to reduce consumption, reduce waste or reduce emissions
- protective mechanisms or activities to mitigate the impact on the environment.
As an RTO your assessment must cover all of the requirements of the unit of competency, including Elements, Performance Criteria, Range Conditions and the new Assessment Requirements. While the Assessment Requirements can be downloaded (training.gov.au) as a separate document they are part of the complete unit of competency.
The Assessment Requirements comprise Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions. The Performance Evidence and Knowledge Evidence sections are self-explanatory and go some way to defining the evidence that you need collect.
However, they do not specify the format or structure that evidence should take. The specific evidence requirements need to be decided by you the RTO, for example, how the process steps should be identified or presented.
This enables you to identify how these activities are typically undertaken in a sector or business and use these within your assessment processes and evidence collection.
For example, depending on the workplace, the process steps identified in this unit could be:
- listed in a spreadsheet
- hand drawn by an individual
- a visual map generated in standard office software or specialist visual or mapping software
- drawn on a whiteboard in a team session (and photographed for evidence).
In some businesses the protocol for making recommendations might be a written report. However, in some workplaces it might be acceptable to present the recommendations in a meeting based on hand written notes. Both of these could generate evidence that the learner has made recommendations that meet the requirements of the unit.
The Assessment Conditions define the conditions that must apply to the assessment process, for example:
- The collection of performance evidence is best done from a report and/or folio of evidence drawn from multiple smaller projects which together provide sufficient evidence of the requirements of all the elements and performance criteria.
- A third party report, or similar, may be needed to testify to the work done by the individual, particularly when the project has been done as part of a project team.
- Assessment should use real projects where opportunities for sustainability improvements are identified and their implementation occurs in an operational workplace.
They also provide outline how the assessor can meet the requirements for vocational competency and currency:
- Technical competence can be demonstrated through:
- relevant VET or other qualification/Statement of Attainment AND/OR
- relevant workplace experience
- Currency can be demonstrated through:
- performing the competency being assessed as part of current employment OR
having consulted with an organisation providing relevant environmental monitoring, management or technology services about performing the competency being assessed within the last twelve months.
Most units of competency require some skills that are ‘embedded’ or assumed. These are required within the unit but are not spelled out in the elements or performance criteria or range statement.
In this unit they are:
- simple root cause analysis/problem solving
- costing/estimating resource requirements.
You need to take these into consideration in planning your resources and delivery. You will need to determine whether your participants already have these skills or whether you need to cover them in your training and skills development activities and your resource materials.
Assessment of the embedded skills is a given; they must be assessed because they form part of the unit. In other words, if the unit is assessed correctly it will automatically include an assessment of these embedded skills.
If the embedded skills can not be demonstrated additional training, mentoring or other skills development activities might be required. In some cases these might align to other units of competency.
In developing a training and assessment strategy you need to customise a program and decide which units to package into your program and whether to group any units for delivery and assessment. You might want to cluster units; or you might want to integrate the content into modules or learning objects.
How (and whether) you group the units will vary depending on the needs of the participant, the needs and goals of the business and how it operates. For example, in a product-focused context this unit could be clustered with LMFFDT4003A Assess and record the lifecycle of a product and/or LMTGN4016A Contribute to the development of products or processes.
MSS014002 Evaluate sustainability impact of a work or process area could be clustered or integrated with another core unit, for example, MSS014001 Improve sustainability through readily implementable change.
These units appear similar but they do have a different focus. There can be some overlap in identifying sustainability issues and drivers. And the processes for short listing and ranking may be similar. By definition the ‘low hanging fruit’ do not require big budgets or high level approvals; so MSS014001 Improve sustainability through readily implementable change proceeds with implementing the changes. MSS014002 Evaluate sustainability impact of a work or process area focuses on the more complex and ‘big ticket’ items.