A recent G20 Training Strategy report states “how many women and men are in employment and how productive they are at work has a lot do to with the available opportunities to acquire and maintain relevant skills. Countries, enterprises and persons all perceive skills development as strategic, and consequently seek to step up investments in skills.” (see report)
A strong training sector is important for the future of Australia. Of course, great trainers are an important component of a strong training industry. If you have skills and experience to share and an interest in passing your knowledge on to others, then training could be an interesting new career path for you.
Ultimate Guide to a Training and Assessment Career
This guide covers a range of topics:
1. What is Training and Assessment?
2. Training & Assessment Qualifications
3. Trainer & Assessor Pay
4. Specialising in Different Areas of Training
5. Where to Work as Trainer & Assessor
6. Duties in Training and Assessment Work
7. Required Skills, Knowledge and Abilities
8. Overview of Australia’s Training Industry
9. Working Conditions for Trainers & Assessors
10. Tools, Technology and Equipment for Training
11. Common Training and Assessment Job Titles
12. Should You Become a Trainer & Assessor?
13. Related Careers & Entry Paths
14. Other Links & Resources
What is Training and Assessment?
“Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, productivity and performance.” (Wikipedia)
A trainer is a person who trains people.
Many trainers work in Australia’ vocational training system. The vocational system is made up of Registered Training Organisations. You may know them as TAFEs, RTOs or even recognise private training institutions by name. Apprenticeships and traineeships also fall within the scope of the vocational training system.
Trainers are also valued in the workplace. Many organisations employ professional trainers and assessors to teach essential skills such as how to use equipment, how to work safely, how to use work systems or how to deal with customers. Trainers may be involved in inducting, up-skilling or multi-skilling the organisation’s workforce.
Trainers are commonly known as Trainer/Assessors, Trainers & Assessors, VET Teachers, Vocational Teachers, Vocational Trainers, Enterprise Trainers and Workplace Trainers.
A “trainer” may also be referred to as an instructor, teacher, coach, mentor, adviser, counselor, guide, guru, manager, handler, tutor or educator.
Training & Assessment Qualifications
To train & assess in the vocational education system, you will need at least the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. It teaches a specific set of skills required to deliver and assess vocational qualifications. It can also be applied to workplace training roles.
This qualification is the minimum standard to get vocational teaching jobs in TAFE or other RTOs. It is commonly known as the “Train the Trainer” qualification, “Cert IV TAE”, “Cert IV Training” and sometimes just “The Cert IV”.
Workplace trainers do not necessarily need a training qualification, but it is normally well regarded and can help with job hunting. Plus, the skills you learn in a course like the Cert IV TAE can help you do the job better!
Trainer & Assessor Pay
Vocational teachers typically bring home about $1400 a week before tax when working full time. This is equivalent to an annual salary of about $72,000.
Workplace trainers typically bring home around $1300 a week before tax working full time. This is equivalent to an annual salary of about $67,000.
Salary will depend on a number of factors, such as your experience, qualifications and the demands of the job. Don’t forget to check out job sites like Seek to find out what jobs are available in your area and how much they pay.
Specialising in Different Areas of Training
Once you have the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, you are qualified to teach the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. So how do you get certified to teach other qualifications? Simply hold the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (or higher) AND the qualification you want to teach and you are eligible to become a trainer for that course.
For example, if you hold the Cert IV TAE and another vocational qualification – say the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety – you are qualified to teach the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment AND the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety.
Experienced and trained professionals may be surprised they need formal qualifications to teach skills they’ve practiced on-the-job for years. Unfortunately, judging the comments and anecdotes we’ve heard over the years, some take it as a personal affront or insult. Here are two common scenarios
I am already qualified as a teacher
Even if you’re entering the vocational training industry with a teaching degree and have years of experience in the classroom, you’ll still need to complete the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or equivalent qualification to become a vocational trainer. Why? The vocational industry has its own specific set of requirements and processes for training and assessing.
I already have experience and qualifications in my field
Vocational courses are linked to very specific job skills (competencies) in the real world. Even though you may have “better” qualifications or enormous amounts of experience, you must be able to demonstrate you have the EXACT competencies required for the qualification you’re teaching. Qualifications within the same area of study can actually have very different outcomes. For example:
• The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course focuses on how to care for children as a childcare worker.
• The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care incorporates the Cert III, but also teaches how to run a childcare centre as a group leader, coordinator or manager.
The effect can be even more pronounced if you are degree qualified. University typically provides an academic style of learning (education with learning as the primary purpose). Vocational training focuses on delivering practical, job specific skills.
As a result, you might find that despite holding a university degree in your field, you need to complete a Certificate III so you’re qualified to teach that Certificate III.
Learn more about Vocational Training vs University Education.
Can I get recognition for my experience and training?
Fortunately there is an established Recognition of Prior Learning system so you can speed up your accreditation process. RPL allows you to have you relevant prior education and experience recognised. Some qualifications, such as teaching, even have a “fast-track” RPL system set up to help you get certified quickly and with minimum hassle.
Where to Work as Trainer & Assessor
Vocational Training Organisations
Qualified trainers and assessors are commonly employed by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These can include:
• Public Registered Training Organisations (aka TAFE)
• Private Registered Training Organisations
• Registered Training Organisations run by non-profit organisations (like the Red Cross)
Self-Employed or RTO/Training Business Owner
Trainers can run their own small training business (and even grow it into a major training company!). There are a couple of ways to do it:
Start your own RTO. This will give you complete control over your own training business and allow you to deliver nationally recognised and accredited vocational training courses. This gives you freedom to control every aspect of the business yourself and produce the most efficient systems & highest quality training possible. Starting an RTO does require expertise and a large investment of time and capital which may be beyond the means of someone just entering the industry.
Enter a partnership with an existing RTO. Some RTOs offer partnership agreements. These allow you to run your own training business delivering nationally recognised and accredited training without having to start your own RTO. The partner RTO has already invested the resources and built the infrastructure required for an RTO. They provide the administration and “back-end” systems required for government compliance and charge a fee or percentage of your revenue in return.
Non-Accredited Training in Workplaces and Elsewhere
Workplace trainers are essential for delivering workplace-based and on-the-job learning. There are usually no mandatory qualifications to become a workplace trainer, however many employers expect job candidates to have experience in training and suitable qualifications like the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Training work may be combined into Human Resources, Safety, Management or Team Leader roles.
There are also opportunity to deliver non-accredited training. These are courses not regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Some examples would be “Introduction to MYOB”, “Beginner Photography” or “Pottery Basics” type courses. They can still offer value to students, but aren’t nationally recognised or accredited. They are also unlikely to be linked to licensing or regulatory requirements.
Duties in Training and Assessment Work
Vocational trainer and assessors are involved in:
• Identifying the various needs of students and creating effective learning options to meet these needs.
• Liaising with individuals, industry and education sectors to ensure provision of relevant programs and services.
• Planning, designing and developing course curriculum and method of instruction.
• Advising students on courses and related matters.
• Teaching students using teaching aids including presentation of lesson materials, discussions, workshops, laboratory sessions, multimedia aids and computer tutorials.
• Marking and grading students’ assignments, papers and exams and providing feedback to students about their progress.
• Maintaining records of students’ progress, attendance and training activities.
• Consulting with Education Managers, Librarians, Student Counselors and other support staff.
Workplace trainer and assessors are involved in:
• Identifying training needs and requirements of individuals and organisations.
• Setting human resource development objectives and evaluating learning outcomes.
• Preparing and developing instructional training material and aids such as handbooks, visual aids, online tutorials, demonstration models, and supporting training reference documentation.
• Designing, coordinating, scheduling and conducting training and development programs that can be delivered in the form of individual cand group instruction, and facilitating workshops, meetings, demonstrations and conferences.
• Liaising with external training providers to arrange delivery of specific training and development programs.
• Promoting internal and external training and development, and evaluating these promotional activities.
• Monitoring and performing ongoing evaluation and assessment of training quality and effectiveness, and reviewing and modifying training objectives, methods and course deliverables.
• Gathering, investigating and researching background materials to gain an understanding of various subject matters and systems.
• Advising management on the development and placement of staff, and providing career counselling for employees.
Required Skills, Knowledge and Abilities
A good trainer and assessor requires a range of skills, knowledge and abilities:
• Good interpersonal skills
• Good listening abilities
• Creative and proactive
• Interested in helping people to develop their skills
• Organised and methodical
• Excellent written and spoken communication skills
• Tactful and patient
• The ability to inspire and motivate a team
• An understanding of how people learn
Overview of Australia’s Training Industry
• Nearly 40,000 people are employed as vocational education teachers in Australia.
• Almost 66% of vocational trainers work full-time.
• There is close to a 50/50 split of men and women in the vocational training industry. The majority of men work full time, while almost half of female trainers work part time.
• Almost 95% have completed at least a Certificate III/IV level qualification and many also complete higher level qualifications such as Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas and Bachelor Degrees.
• The median age for vocational trainers is 49 with a disproportionate number of people 55 and older compared to the average Australian workplace.
• About 26,000 people are employed in professional workplace training and development jobs.
• Almost 85% of workplace trainers work full-time.
• More than half of workplace trainers are women and the majority work full time.
• Approximately 80% of workplace trainers have achieved a Certificate III/IV qualification or higher. Many have done Diplomas or Degrees as well.
• The median age for workplace trainers is 42 and there are a lot more people aged 20-34 employed in this area when compared to vocational trainers.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, DEEWR trend data to November 2012. Estimates have been rounded.
Working Conditions for Trainers & Assessors
Vocational or workplace trainers and assessors most commonly work with adult students. Depending on the role, trainers can work on their own or as part of a larger training team. Training and assessment can be delivered:
• On the job
• On-site in a workplace environment
• In a classroom style learning environment
• Online (working from home or office)
Working conditions really depend on the requirements of each industry and job. A hands-on industry may require more practical, on-site style training supported by classroom-based or online activities. More academic and knowledge based industries may do all training in the classroom or online. Typically, trainers work with small groups of students (individually, or up to 20-30 students at a time).
Online training has exploded in popularity. Many training organisations are able to deliver training Australia-wide, or even internationally, while operating out of a single central office. Training is conducted through videos, webinars, learning resources and assessment workbooks. Students and trainers may communicate through email, messaging, video conferencing, forums and other communication technologies. Trainers will often work with a larger group of students in an online training role.
The move to online training has also freed trainers from physically attending an office or workplace. Some trainers can now telecommute part of the week or even work from home full time. If working from home interests you, don’t forget to check out our 3 guides:
Tools, Technology and Equipment for Training
Training and assessing can incorporate many traditional and modern learning technologies.
These can include:
• Group Activities
• Instant messaging
• Online Course Management Systems (eg Moodle or JobReady)
• Paper & Digital Handouts, Workbooks, Learning Guides
• Powerpoint Slides
• Social Media
• Video Conferencing
• Voice & Video Recordings
Since many qualifications require practical demonstrations of skills and abilities, you may be required to train and assess students in the use of many common tools, equipment and technologies used in your industry (eg. forklift trainers would use a forklift to demonstrate and assess practical competencies).
Common Training and Assessment Job Titles
• Enterprise Assessor
• Enterprise Trainer
• RTO Assessor
• RTO Trainer
• Trainer and Assessor
• Training Advisor
• Training Development
• Training Needs Analyst
• Training Officer
• VET in VCE or VCAL secondary school teacher
• Vocational Education Teacher
• Workplace Assessor
• Workplace Trainer
These skills are also valuable and relevant to careers in Human Resources, Management, or any job with a large training or assessment component.
Should You Become a Trainer & Assessor?
A training career best suits people:
• With a passion for teaching and training.
• With experience from industry that can be applied to a training career.
Training qualifications can also be highly valuable if you are required to induct or train people as part of your job.
Related Careers & Entry Paths
If you have experience in an industry, it can be the start of your new training career!
Your years of experience can be used to train people and help them get a start in their career, develop their skills to become better at their job, seek out promotions and pursue opportunities they simply weren’t eligible for before. Australia’s vocational training industry includes a HUGE variety of qualifications relevant to many different industries and areas of expertise. There is potential for people with a wide array of professional backgrounds to find a niche in the training industry. Some examples include:
• Aged Carers
• Business Administrators
• Business people
• Child Care Centre Managers
• Child Carers
• Commercial Cleaners
• Contract Administrators
• Program Administrators
• Project Managers
• Dental Assistants
• Disability Carers
• Driving Instructors
• Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers
• Education Advisers and Reviewers
• Education Aides
• Fashion Designers
• Gallery, Library and Museum Technicians
• General Clerks
• Graphic Designers
• Heavy Machinery Operators
• Herbal Medicine Specialists
• Hospitality Workers
• Human Resources Professionals
• ICT Support Technicians
• Library Assistants
• Life Scientists
• Middle School Teachers
• Nutritionists & Dieticians
• Occupational Therapists
• Office Managers
• Other Education Managers
• Outdoor Adventure Guides
• Personal Trainers
• Pet Minders, Trainers, Breeders & Groomers
• Pharmacy Assistants
• Primary School Teachers
• Private Tutors and Teachers
• Safety Professionals
• Science Technicians
• Secondary School Teachers
• Special Care Workers
• Special Education Teachers
• Speech Pathologists
• Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials
• Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
• Tourism Professionals
• Truck Drivers
• Veterinary Nurses
• Youth Workers
Other Links & Resources
Here are some of our own articles and Government resources that will provide more information about the training industry, courses, regulations and more!
• What is Competency Based Training?
• What is Vocational Education and Training?
• How Course Clustering Saves You Time and Effort
• Vocational Training vs University Education
• Jump Start Your Training With Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)!
• Scholarships, Grants, Awards and Study Assistance in Australia
• Training.gov.au – National Register on VET in Australia
• Velg Training – VET professional development and consulting services
• Australian Qualifications Framework – national policy for regulated qualifications