Establishing the relationship
When you find a training provider you want to work with, take time to agree on your expectations and training outcomes.
Outcomes and details of training
Talk about what the training will achieve and how it will be delivered. Questions to ask include:
- What skills and knowledge will participants gain?
- Can we have a detailed timeline for training delivery and reporting?
- What costs and charges will we have to pay and when?
This checklist contains other questions you might ask.
Roles and responsibilities
Discuss the commitment you’ll each make to the training, including your respective roles and responsibilities.
Clarify the commitment of the training provider and trainers, such as:
- How often will trainers visit employees or students in the workplace?
- What does the training provider/trainer expect of the employees or students and how will they communicate this to them?
- How often will the provider communicate with your employees? What method will they use?
- What support does the training provider/trainer give to employees or students who are struggling?
Identify your roles and responsibilities as the employer/manager, such as:
- How much time off will you give employees for training and study?
- What kinds of work experiences will you provide to support their training?
- How will you supervise and mentor employees in the workplace?
- Who will be the workplace supervisor, and do they need training to do this?
- How will you ensure employees understand what’s expected of them for the training?
- What support will you give to help employees if needed?
Communication and conflict resolution
You’ll get the best training outcomes if you communicate regularly and effectively with the training provider.
Before training begins, we have discussions with RTOs about how we’ll communicate and how often. I like to be able to discuss progress and any issues we’re having. For example, we’ve had students on placement who we’ve identified will need more time for their training and we’ve discussed and negotiated that with the RTO. I’ve learnt that we need to invest in that relationship and that we can’t rely on students to let us know when they’re having issues.
(Aged Care Service Provider)
You could agree on some communication ground rules. For example:
- Establish how and how often you’ll communicate. You might like to set up regular meeting times or agree that the training provider will send regular email updates on employee progress.
- Clarify what kinds of issues you’d like to be told about, and how.
- Set up clear communication channels and appoint a single point of contact for your organisation and the training provider.
Our main communication is the feedback on our students, and we have really good communication. We will get an email if they haven’t turned up [for training] and haven’t notified the RTO, or if they’re lagging behind in any of their assessments, so that we can then support them as well. So it’s a two way street.
(Early childhood education and care provider)
If employers are thinking that something’s not working, or we’re not doing something right, or they’re not happy with something, or they are really impressed with something…whatever it is, keep those communication lines open.
(Registered Training Organisation)
Talk about how you’ll resolve conflicts:
- Discuss potential risks and how they’ll be managed.
- Explore factors that have hindered training in the past and how these can be avoided.
- Develop a clear process for resolving problems
(e.g. parties will meet face to face, put issues in writing and focus on solutions).
There are always issues and challenges but we can usually work through them with open communication. One time an employer called us to say that an employee wasn’t performing an aspect of their role safely. We visited on site to evaluate the situation and work out whether the student needed more training or whether there was a barrier to their learning. We brought the student back in to repeat training and they ended up excelling.
(Registered Training Organisation)
Formalising an agreement
You will find it helpful to have a formal agreement with the training provider, such as a memorandum of understanding.
This gives a touchstone to come back to if things go wrong. It can also be helpful when there’s a turnover of staff.
Here’s a Sample Partnership Agreement.
Make sure you both sign the agreement and keep a copy on file.