Business Coach

Internal Audit I RTO Compliance Audit

RTO Mentor provides a range of RTO internal audit compliance services to Australian RTOs to help you prepare for and pass your next regulatory audit.

We want to help you find any weak points before the regulator auditors do. Internal audits can be once off, or regular internal compliance audits to maintain your ongoing RTO compliance, or have an experienced RTO consultant on site during your audit to help you through the audit process.

It doesn’t matter if you are registered under ASQA or TAC WA, the audits are against the Standards for RTOs.

  • Do you have a pending re-registration audit and not sure if you are compliant?
  • Are you on top of your game, yet wish to have an independent eye look over your RTO?
  • Do you need a “practice run” audit to familiarise yourself and your team with the audit process, before the real thing?
  • Has it been a while since you reviewed your organisation against the standards?

An RTO internal Audit is what you require. It is core to our function, and should be core to yours. An internal audit is a valuable insight and tool to provide you with details of where you are not meeting the mark, and guidelines on how to meet compliance. An independent internal audit will ensure your RTO remains fully compliant and you can show continuous improvement.  RTO Mentor provides audit compliance solutions to assist you with your RTO business. They have years of experience, and auditing qualifications that can save you much anguish of when the Regulator auditor arrives. It isn’t just about managing compliance it is about improving your business systems and therefore your compliance.

Work directly with one of our team on your RTO compliance.

RTO Internal Audit - How RTO Mentor can help

Audit Strategy planning

We help training businesses to meet compliance, time and time again through conducting internal audits and providing solutions just for you. At RTO Mentor we know we’re good at what we do. Clients pass Regulatory audits following our visits and they love the way we present information for them to follow. That is what makes us stand out from the crowd of RTO consultants. For many we have become a trusted solution. We have a team of highly skilled auditors who can help your organisation find better solutions and improve your existing processes.

full regulatory audit

The audit is conducted against the Standards your RTO operates under.  It happens over 3 days, with one being in your office. We identify two training products and two units to be audited.

remote internal audit

RTO Mentors experienced RTO audit team will assist your team to gather evidence, to review your systems and processes against the Standards for RTOs. All conducted via desktop review. 

single process such as assessment

Often an audit of a single process within your RTO is what you need. They can be remotely conducted or onsite. Single process audits are just that – looking at a snapshot of your RTO processes and auditing that.

Full regulatory internal audit

The audit is conducted against the Standards your RTO operates under.  It happens over 3 days, with one being in your office. We identify two training products and two units to be audited.

The Audit includes:

  • Pre-preparation off site– review of training and assessment strategies, your website and other marketing tools available such as social media, review of assessment tools and student information.


  • On site– one day. Whilst much of the review work has been done there are often many questions to ask, and suggestions to make. We look at your business, your students, talk to trainers (if available) and discuss business improvement processes.  The audit is conducted to meet the regulator’s standards. This is your opportunity to learn and grow under the guidance of an experienced auditor.


  • Comprehensive audit report, including all findings against the Standards.


  • Recommended Action plan. Following the audit the next important step is to have an action plan. A comprehensive list of actions to meet non-compliances and opportunities for improvement is developed and presented within the next few days of the audit.


Remote Internal RTO Compliance Audit

Sometimes it is not possible to have someone visit your site. A remote internal compliance audit of your Registered Training Organisation’s systems and processes can still be conducted. RTO Mentors experienced RTO audit team will assist your team to gather evidence, to review your systems and processes against the Standards for RTOs. Depending on the focus of the audit it could include policies and procedures, student information, website review, compliance documents, trainer profiles and training and assessment strategies and tools. Once the internal RTO audit is completed you will receive an audit report with the findings of your audit, plus an action list of recommended rectifications. Your RTO consultant will meet with you (via skype or other internet based system) to explain the audit report findings, and discuss any non-compliance found and possible rectification strategies.

Single process audits 

Often an audit of a single process within your RTO is what you need. They can be remotely conducted or onsite. Single process audits are just that – looking at a snapshot of your RTO processes and auditing that. It could include any area of compliance such as:

  • assessment systems / validation
  • marketing
  • student support
  • trainers / assessors
RTO Consultant RTO Mentor

Create a better RTO business by improving the processes

A key factor to success in business is developing and maintaining effective processes and standards. We can help your RTO business with improving current processes, and the implementation of new processes. Merinda is an expert in processes and can assist you to develop entire process programs and help your team implement them business wide.

In all of these solutions RTO Mentor can assist you with implementing the rectifications recommended in the audit report. If you are looking at setting up your own RTO and need guidance and mentoring of a experienced RTO Compliance Consultant, contact Merinda on 0439 544 105 

Want to talk to Merinda NOW!

Book in for a FREE 30 minute consultation to discuss your RTO.

4 Ideas for RTOs in 2022

he future of RTO has stepped forward in huge leaps and bounds. Back in 2018 there was a conference I attended that focused on the future of VET and the disruption era we live in. if only they knew at that point how things would look only 4 years on!   We know that each year brings change, especially in the VET sector. Training is still needed, and even more so now that we are working with COVID19 fall out.   Change has always been here, yet the pandemic brought with it many changes that happened extremely fast. Take online training for instance. We got better Student management Systems, we had regulators change their mind about the fact that online is actually a great way to train (when done well) and we got to have less travel.   We live in change, yet there always seems to be amazing students who are doing some fantastic things in their communities. I am excited to be part of the VET sector, even after many years of change.   Growth areas include: IT especially cyber security Community services International students are coming back Upskilling – micro courses to meet the need of change Hospitality – in fact there is a need right now for quality trained staff in this sector.   Training still needs to be affordable for all The RTO sector needs to be flexible and nimble enough to keep up with the rapid change happening in our sector   So all of this got me thinking about how you can be supported to move forward with a successful RTO. Here are my ideas to help you.   Consider what you have on scope We are constantly being told to undertake industry engagement, well I am saying it again. Ask your students and clients and listen to what they want. It might not be a full blown Diploma or Certificate IV qualification. It might be a small course they are seeking. Maybe something with only 3 units of competence in it.   Gathering this information will provide you with a short term strategy and enable you to plan a long term strategy – what courses they want, how they want them, and when. This is an opportunity to sharpen the focus of your RTOs vision and long-term goals. You might be pleasantly surprised what the students and clients have to say.   Maintaining Your Focus on Service Quality. Regardless if you have gone online, we still need to establish systems that provide a quality service to ensure you provide what the client wants. When was the last time you checked those training and assessment strategies and internal processes to deliver the greatest value to your customers and clients? My best advice is to listen to your clients and they will tell you how you can improve.   Students no longer want to be sat in a classroom where they are talked at for hours on end – so consider ways to support them and their learning.   Keeping up with Innovation. Online learning means we can create a different learning practice which can lead a better student experience. There are so many options such as create and share lessons online, or in a blended environment, flipping classrooms, creating your own animated videos or allowing students to imagine, write, illustrate and share their own stories.   Many of the Student management systems offer ways to connect with your cohort, and include them in the lessons. Then of course there are the many social media platforms where students/ trainers can bring together content and share in various ways.   Consider the future of RTO compliance and ways to include employers in your digital information and collection.   RTOs need to harness the power of digital data, and keep compliance, so make sure you have a record of all the contact with students. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (remember your continuous improvement). Be bold, think big and learn along the way.   Keeping Technologies Mobile The world is awash with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other realities where technologies that are already making a big impact on education. There is much excitement allowing realistic immersive learning environments come to life. Adding to this SMS and learning management systems are becoming compatible with this technology, allowing for compliance and a great experience.     IPads and mobiles are used for everything now a days. If your students are head down looking at them, then use them to your advantage. Write them into the training & better still incorporate them into your assessments solutions. Having the capacity to keep digital images for evidence means you are one step ahead of compliance and validation.   Did you know? RTO Mentor is Australia’s business coach for RTO’s and helping you with RTO compliance.   From starting out as an RTO, to helping you and the future of your RTO business thrive, RTO Mentor is a solution for you. Learn how we can help your training organisation here, or chat with us to see how we can work with you to reach your training management goals here.  

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RTO Marketing strategies

MARKETING YOUR RTO – MEETING COMPLIANCE The Standards for Registered Training organisations (2015) require that RTOs complying with advertising and marketing standards when marketing and advertising of AQF qualifications to prospective clients is ethical, accurate and consistent with its scope of registration. This is regardless if you use a third party or you undertake your marketing yourself. Your RTO is responsible for all marketing or other material disseminated on its behalf, regardless of the channel or method used. As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses. The goal of marketing is to connect your business’ value to the right customer base. There has to be a need and the way you train must suit the learner. These are key. There is no magic bullet. When thinking about your clients, consider questions like: What demographics make up your customer base? Where do they live? Where do they hang out online? How do they look for products in your niche? Who do the listen when making decisions relative to your product? The answers to these questions determine which marketing strategies will be viable and which will be a waste of time. Then the RTO must comply to the Standards. RTOs must provide accurate information to learners about services and qualifications (Clause 4.1); your RTO must ensure it honours all commitments it makes. The RTO refers to another person or organisation in its marketing material only if the consent of that person or organisation has been obtained. As the Standards state your marketing material must include the following information: You must include your RTO code in all marketing material. The RTO responsible for the training and/or assessment and for issuing a qualification or statement of attainment must be absolutely clear to anyone viewing any marketing or advertising material. If another person or organisation is delivering training under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation that relates to that training and/or assessment. If another person or organisation is recruiting learners under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation. If you are delivering under a third-party agreement with another RTO, that RTO’s code must be included in all marketing or other material relating to those courses. It is important you market to the clients you actually want. Be specific. As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses. In developing marketing or advertising material, remember the likely audience, particularly for your online marketing. Your RTO’s marketing or advertising material must also be consistent with its training and assessment strategies, including any variations or additions for courses delivered to overseas students. For example, you must not claim a course takes two weeks to complete if learners complete the course over a period of several months, including doing so by also undertaking a period of independent study. Significant numbers of complaints are submitted to ASQA and other agencies about RTOs making inaccurate or misleading statements in their marketing—being vigilant about monitoring the accuracy of your marketing will increase learner satisfaction and reduce the chance of complaints being submitted to regulators, which may lead to expensive compliance action against your RTO. When you are starting your RTO often you need some quick wins. Partnering with another company or organisation that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach. If you choose to go down this path, then you also need to consider the RTO Standards. The concept of pooling the marketing abilities and resources together to build your brands is sound; it just needs to comply. I highly recommend this approach where complimentary services work together. Whether you’re in the process of launching a new RTO business or already have one, marketing and having a strong online presence for your RTO and it’s services is extremely important. In fact, consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else. It is said that over 70% of buying decisions are made online. Book in a Business Audit Facebook Twitter Google-plus Review your business so know exactly what you need to do, and what is urgent for it’s growth.  go HERE

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RTO Systems for success

Systems within your business To develop an effective business you need to work ON your business rather than IN it. It doesn’t matter if it is an RTO, or any other small business. To successfully develop a serious business you need specific information that has been put into systems. To successfully develop a serious RTO business you need systems; a process, a practice by which to obtain that information and once obtained, a method with which to put that information to use in your business productively. A System A system is one or more detailed processes where every step of the process is defined and the application or person using those processes performs each step every time the process is executed. Therefore in order for a system to be beneficial to a business the processes must be very detailed in regards to the tasks that make up the process.  Flow charts and checklists work well to describe the processes involved. Why do you need systems and a quality process? Consistency wins. Creating a system and quality process allows you achieve that consistency. It: Communicates the organisation’s quality policy and procedures Provides improved control of practices and facilitating assurance activities Provides the documented bases for auditing the RTO Provides continuity of the RTO system and its requirements during changing circumstances Provides a basis for training new personnel Provides a basis for external purposes (tenders, contracts); Demonstrates compliance of the RTO with quality requirements The essence of any Quality Assurance (QA) system is basically the encouragement of good management. The standards for RTOs are based on ISO 9000 series that requires that a company develop its own formal documented system in which it declares its processes and then ensures that it follows what has been declared. To show that it is in fact doing so, processes carried out have to be properly recorded and be available for inspection, or ‘audit’. Commitment to quality has to come from the top. Management has to get everyone involved with the company to understand corporate objectives and participate actively in achieving them. To develop an effective business you need to work ON your business rather than IN it. The RTO Standards are a system The Standards for RTOs is a management system that gives a measure of confidence that a certain level of quality is being achieved in the service being provided. You are trying to achieve an approach of “get it right every time” which is based on clearly stated corporate and service objectives, policies developed to meet these objectives, good knowledge of how the customer is to be kept happy, using the correct material and manpower for the work, staff performing at their best through correct information and training and under proper levels of supervision. This performance is required to be verified and evidence of achieved standards has to be not only collected but properly kept. Being your own RTO involves the development of your internal documentation including: Quality manual, Policies, procedures, Processes Staff information and Candidate information These provide you with the systems that will provide your RTO with ….a foundation that provides a structured approach to all the steps you do. This structure will enable the steps to be repeated time and time again. Thinking you need some help ? GET BETTER RESULTS BY HAVING A MENTOR. BOOK IN A 30 MINUTE CALL TODAY!​

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RTO Business Planning

Starting and running an RTO, as in any other business is hard work. The more preparation you do before start up, the better your chance of avoiding financial and personal heartache. Take the time out now to do the research, the planning and grow the foundations. It will hold you in good stead later down the track. For your RTO to succeed, it is important to fully understand what it takes to start, run and grow. Planning helps to establish how you will stand out from the crowd. This preparation is not only needed for your planning but also for your initial audit through a business plan complete with financial plans/projections. Think of the reasons for your business or career successes to date. You’ll probably come up with a series of traits that are uniquely yours and characteristics that other RTO’s can’t begin to duplicate; because they are yours. That’s why you’ve decided to become an RTO. Planning equals better results, better targeting and will help minimise any problems you may encounter. Paint a picture with words that brings to life how you will get your business started and how you will continuously grow and improve it for the next three to five years.   RTO Success – The online course to guide you through the steps to set up your RTO What is a Business Plan for an RTO? A business plan is a document which is a blue print of how, when and what your business is going to do with its RTO. It contains a formal statement about your business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, evidence to show you can achieve them and the plan for reaching those goals. Your Business Plan is to tell people about your business and will be read very carefully by those with whom you will be having relationships, including accrediting bodies, auditors, lenders and investors. It is valuable information that the Registering body will read and understand more about you and your specific circumstance. The business plan is a long-term planning document and it will cover a lot of ground. Make sure you have a good plan of action so you know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it. A properly developed business plan helps to shape the actual opportunity into a tangible reality. More specifically, for your business the business plan is required by the registering authority and must contain information about how the business is going to run and grow. Business plans can vary enormously, what you are aiming for is providing a clear, informative document that sells your idea to the RTO regulator. Build a strategy for preparing your business plan preparation. Business Plan Preparation  There is a lot to consider which inlcudes information on you and any other Directors for the business. When I mentor clients I want to know their WHY. Why they are doing it, does it have a solid foundation that is going to last one round of funding? We dig deep, so that you really have a business that is going to be sustainable.   Here are some considerations when preparing your RTO Business Plan: Why do you really want to go into the business of an RTO? Is there an identified market for the application of scope Have you asked them how they wish the training to look, what skills are needed, and any specific equipment needs to be covered? What are your goals for the RTO, in the short term and long term? What skills are needed to start, run and grow the RTO? Do you have them or do you need to outsource them? Have you a clear plan the implementation of its training and/or assessment? Organisational chart showing all areas of the business How much money will it cost to commence your specific RTO? How much income will the RTO need to generate to survive? How many students will I need to generate the required income? How much time, effort and resources are you prepared to invest in the RTO? How you will develop a system to ensure you meet compliance to AQTF and all legislation, Acts, regulations. If you are seeking information on an RTO Business Plan contact Merinda.  The RTO Success – The online course to guide you through the steps to set up your RTO – comes with an RTO Business and guidance from Merinda 

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The power of being curious in your business

Curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change.   Curiosity is part art and part science, well in fact they both are based upon curiosity. When we have a business we need to add curiosity into our business. Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from starting a fire to potentially living on Mars, are all the result of curiosity. Sadly, it is also a trait that many leaders seem to undervalue or dismiss entirely from business.   Each business is unique, and our recent disruption from the Covid-19 response is different for all of us. What doesn’t change though is the planning, and strategizing to lead your business forward are fundamental business principles. In some states in Australia RTO’s were such down for weeks. So now is the time to get planning, and get curious.   So how does curiosity affect the bottom line?   Planning your business is all about being curious about what could happen if we… It’s about looking at where you want to go, reflecting upon what has happened, and then becoming curious.   Using your curiosity skills in your business will enhance: Your awareness (what truly is happening here) Your planning ability (what if I did this…) Encourage collaboration (what if we did this….) Reduce resistance (in your team) Create continual learning   By implementing strategies around curiosity you could be creating new revenue streams, new ways of working with less cost associated with it. New ways of training, and implementing your own RTO course strategies.   In our ever-shifting market, we need to ask questions of our employees, other leaders, our students and our industry. Accelerating change, compliance and clouding uncertainty demand it. It’s no longer enough to fall back on long-established ways of doing things.   Those RTO businesses that are unable to adapt and keep pace with change simply will not survive. You need tools, practices, mindsets to adapt, curiosity, flexibility, and innovation, or you disappear.   All of these will increase your leadership and build trust.   It works with your team as well. In business we need to build trust, especially when there is a global exit happening. We want our people to feel valued and supported, and to get along. By asking them to become curious, they feel invested, and come up with new ideas, that could be game changing for your business. When people develop the habit of genuinely exploring ideas, they are more likely to find surprising, innovative solutions.   Curious people also make better co-workers because they are interested in others. They ask questions and learn about others, giving them the ability to see a bigger picture. This also means they know more about each other’s skills, and value each person’s unique contributions. Which makes for better relationships, and more productive collaborations. This means your leaders need to be constantly learning, adopting new practices and perspectives, asking the right questions, and anticipating how they will be able fit today and tomorrow. Additional by reflecting on the way people are working, and being curious about making small changes to the design of your business, managing employees you can significantly improve your RTO. Curiosity is openness to what’s possible. Curiosity is an “elite” communication skill. Much like empathy and self-awareness, curiosity is a proven and useful leadership skill. The value that curiosity brings for personal growth, organisational learning and creating connections that generate employee engagement is evident. If there was ever a time that establishing relationships and increased employee engagement is needed, it’s now. Be a leader who treasures inquisitive minds, rather than stifling curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency. It is a way of the future, just as art and science has been sharing for years. To be really curious focus on understanding where you ask questions such as “How did you do that?” “What do you want to do?” “How will that create…” Really put your skin in the game and go deeper, asking questions like “We need to achieve…. How do you think we can do this?”   It can be game changing.  

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Does your RTO have an outstanding Human Resource management process?

The key to retaining good staff is to make sure that you encourage their professional development and training. Looking after your staff has so many more benefits than ticking off the RTO Standards.  When your employees can see ways to improve themselves, or improve their position, or salary whilst in employment with you, they are likely to have high job satisfaction. This benefits you and your RTO through increased productivity and concern about quality. Your whole Human Resource management process is important within your RTO, as in any business, it brings unimaginable benefits. People are essential to the success of any business, and especially so in an RTO, where you need trainers and assessors. Getting the right people are key to your success, and the reason students rave about you. So often this part of the RTO gets neglected. The performance of employees can be a liability or asset to a company. They can really big the difference between getting new students, and filling courses, or not. I recall an RTO I was called in to help when they had a complaint emailed to them about one of their trainers. Now this RTO actually had known this trainer was saying inappropriate things for about 12 months before an actual complaint was made. What made this complaint so bad was it was from a client who never wanted to deal with them again. The client made up 80% of their business. We worked together on solutions, and rectifications, and thankfully we were able to bring back the business, even if they said they would never have this particular person back on their site. Bad huh?   Yes.   What I found even worse, was that they actually knew about the behaviour 12 months before, and had not done anything about it. That mistake could have cost them 80% of their business. Having an RTO is just not about meeting compliance, it is about running a business that truly looks out for all the stakeholders. Reviewing your Human Resource processes is just as important as reviewing your validation schedule, your customer service and your enrolment data. Although Staff Training is just a small part of the Human Resource process, it is really interesting to take a close look at it. This includes looking at the following key areas: Recruitment and selection Performance management Learning & professional development Succession planning Compensation and benefits Human Resources Information Systems The above are all basic areas, yet sadly I see they are being neglected within RTOs, as they actually are not specified within the RTO Standards. By recruiting well, and then on-boarding the team member allows them to understand your business, and most importantly allows them to perform at their best. This is a win for you. Once the employees are on board, and they’ve been given all the necessary help to know the job, the next step is having an effective performance management process. This is not just a once a year catch up. It is about understanding the employees, talking to them often, and getting feedback from them, and from others who work with them. Employees who are empowered to their full potential, improve the efficiency, sustainability, and profit margin of any business. By making this a continuous process you are able to see employees who consistently underperform. Sometimes they may not be a good fit for their role, or the RTO culture. When you’ve tried strategies to work with them with no success, then maybe these employees need to be let go. Training can improve business performance, profit and staff morale.  Advantages to your business include: You choose what new skills your workforce acquires. You can target skills to meet the needs of your business for now and in the future You may be able to get government funding to help meet training costs Training your staff can result in better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements You have longevity of staff showing you value them enough to invest in them.   Training has many benefits for your staff  They acquire new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their self-esteem The training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay They’re motivated and come with fresh ideas When they’re being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them.  You become a valued employer. A good company is seen as one that retrains rather than churns. Succession planning helps you and your students so that you are ready with contingencies in case of key employees leaving the business. If, for example, a crucial trainer quits his/her job, having someone who can step up will guarantee continuity and can save the RTO significant money.   Retaining and motivating staff is key for your RTO. One of the areas that needs to be addressed is ensuring equity and fairness of pay within the RTO and considering external factors. Obviously this must be balanced with the RTO budget and profit margins. Pay increases need to be monitored on occasions conduct a pay audit. Keeping track of your employees in a digital format supports the business. For me it’s a no brainer as I’ve been working with HR system for over 30 years (yes, OK that is for some time!). I can’t work without them. So I’m just saying they add value, and save you time. Think of these basics as building blocks that all contribute to each other. Collectively, these HR fundamentals enable your RTO workforce to perform at its very best. Enabling you to increase your targets and bottom line results.

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