Terms such as goals, strategy and tactics, and strategic plans are often used to mean different things between sectors and businesses. Units of competency need to allow for this. At its broadest being ‘strategic’ involves making an informed decision about how to achieve the desired result (goal). It implies choosing from a number of options based on some criteria that are relevant to the long-term goal. ‘Tactics’ generally refers to the activities that will lead to achieving the goal; they are more immediate actions.
This unit uses the term strategy deployment which is similar to the lean concept of Hoshin Kanri. In this unit it is about aligning sustainability goals with the overarching goals of the business, then deciding what to focus on to achieve them. This gives the broad areas to focus on, the direction. Then it is a matter of deciding how to go about it; the specific projects to undertake to achieve the desired outcomes.
Being ‘strategic’ also applies to selecting/rejecting the options and monitoring that things are on track to deliver the desired results. So this includes examining how the various projects might interact, whether they can be integrated and how they might be improved. It also includes reviewing the strategy, projects and outcomes and making adjustments if needed.
As part of a Graduate Certificate (AQF 8 ) it is expected that the person can work independently and exercise judgement based on advanced knowledge and skills. Read more about AQF qualification levels…
For this unit they should be able to initiate, plan and implement strategic activities aligned to the enterprise goals and exercise judgement in selecting and reviewing improvement activities and monitoring the strategy.
The strategy should guide activities over time, so it needs to be documented in a way that allows it to be communicated and reviewed.
This unit does specify that economic, social and environmental factors need to be taken into account in developing the sustainability strategy. Note that the unit does not require improvements to be made across all of these areas; because in some sectors or businesses social sustainability issues, for example, may not be on the agenda (yet).
1 Develop sustainability strategy
This element is about developing a sustainability strategy and setting the strategic direction; but there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. The enterprise might have a sustainability strategy or there might be sustainability aspects within its general goals and strategy. Other businesses might be further along the way and this information can help to identify current best, or at least, good practice in sustainability. ‘Develop’ does not necessarily mean create from scratch. If there is an existing sustainability strategy it can be further ‘developed’ and improved in the context of this unit.
This can involve quite a lot of work, first in finding relevant information (internal and external). Then the information needs to be analysed to identify whether and how it is relevant to developing the sustainability strategy. This analysis could, but does not have to, draw on activities undertaken in other units of competency, for example, MSS17001 Analyse and determine organisational risk areas in sustainability.
Other people need to be involved. At this stage primarily to get the right information and to get engagement with the strategy, vision and goals.
2 Examine proposals for sustainability improvement
This moves into deciding the tactics to support the strategy. A number of project ideas should be available to choose from. These can come from anywhere. They could be identified from a strategic planning process or from a direct request for proposals. They might be generated from work done with other units of competency such as MSS15008 Develop strategic sustainability plans, MSS14002 Evaluate sustainability impact of work or process area or the sustainability audit units.
This unit takes a global view, so while the other units may come up with one or two proposals from ranked alternatives, this unit makes sure they fit the strategy and are compatible with each other. It also looks for how the proposals can be improved. In some cases there may be synergies which influence the relative costs/benefits of competing projects. This could arise where there are common inputs and the costs can be shared; or where the benefits from one project will enhance the benefits of another.
Examining leads to selecting this will be based on some criteria. One critical factor in this unit is how the proposal fits with the strategy that has been developed in Element 1 and by association the overall goals of the enterprise. Other criteria might come from the strategy and enterprise goals; but benefits/costs will typically be considered.
Once the details of the preferred projects are established the overall implementation plan is developed, including the necessary resources.
3 Facilitate implementation of selected proposals
This is essentially high-level project management or project coordination. It is about monitoring that the projects are planned and implemented to deliver the improvements. Depending on the roles and the business, the person might also be managing individual projects; but equally someone else may manage individual projects.
‘Capability development’ is used instead of ‘training’. Training is often interpreted as formal or even classroom activities. This is a broader view which may include structured training or may be mentoring or any number of other options to develop a person’s capability.
4 Lead periodic review of sustainability improvements
The strategy will be deployed over time, and the improvements should be sustained over time. But situations also change over time. So this is about reviewing and making adjustments to ensure that the strategy is still valid, the tactics are appropriate and that ongoing improvements are achieved.
5 Communicate as appropriate
This is not just about sending out information and, even though it is number 5, it doesn’t just happen at the end.
Strategy can’t be deployed just by writing up a document, or emailing a directive. It requires input and engagement from stakeholders; and communication is critical for this. In reality two-way communication is needed to support the development of the strategy and effective implementation of the activities.
The element is about identifying who needs to know what and when, and how best to convey it.
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 evidence requirements need to be decided by you the RTO.
For example, the unit does not specify a process or schedule for the periodic reviews. But there is some advice in the range statement. It is clear that acceptable evidence of periodic review might come from formal, informal, virtual or other processes using a variety of techniques.
Similarly the evidence of appropriate communications needs to be defined by you, to meet the context of the assessment, including the learner, the sector and the workplace. In a business that is implementing lean, the communications will be targeted to engaging the team in an iterative approach to strategy deployment. In a more traditional business, the communications might focus on engaging senior decision makers in structured strategic planning processes and operational teams in different strategic activities. The format of this evidence may also vary depending on the context. Emails, notes from meetings, formal documentation and observation of presentations could all be considered among other options.
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:
- a single project which provides sufficient evidence of the requirements of all the elements and performance criteria
- 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 a real project where the determination of the carbon footprint along a value chain or portion of a value chain occurs for 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 include:
- project coordination
- strategic planning.
You need to take these into consideration in planning your resources and delivery. You will need to determine whether 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 will need to customise your program and decide which units to package into the program and whether to group any units for delivery and assessment. You might want to cluster units or integrate the content into modules or learning objects.
How (and whether) to group the units will vary depending on the needs of the participant, the needs and goals of the business and how it operates.
Depending on the context, it might be useful to group this unit with one or more of:
- MSS17001 Analyse and determine organisational risk areas in sustainability
- MSS15008 Develop strategic sustainability plans
- MSS14002 Evaluate sustainability impact of work or process area
- MSS015010 Conduct a sustainable water use audit
- MSS015011 Conduct a sustainability energy audit
- MSS015012 Conduct an emissions audit
- MSS015013 Conduct a sustainability related transport audit