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chapter 1

Context of training
in Australia
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LEARNING OUTCOMES
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
explain the major forces influencing workplace change
outline the key workplace changes over the last 15 years
explain the relationship between multiskilling and increased productivity
explain the link between workplace change and training
outline how training impacts human and organisational performance
explain why the workplace offers great potential for learning
explain why training needs to be accountable
outline the training function and its benefits
explain the broad roles of a vocational educator/trainer
explain the terms training, skill, competency, competency standard and
competency based training
list the characteristics of competency based training.

Context of training
in Australia
Manage training
Deliver
training
Planning
adult learning
Training
needs
analysis
Assessment
Design and
develop
training
Evaluation
and
validation
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INTRODUCTION
Training has frequently been accused of being spasmodic, of little relevance to
organisational, management and individual goals and very hard to measure.
Historically, the contribution it could make has rarely been assessed as part of any
specific strategic or operational planning for the organisation. Consequently, training
has often been characterised by a poor commitment from management generally and
senior management in particular. A lack of management support for the training
function has been calculated to reduce the effects of training outcomes by at least 40%
and up to 90%.
1
This lack of commitment, over time, contributed to a deficiency of
appropriate and useful workplace skills desperately needed by organisations and nations
to facilitate maximum productivity and competitiveness in a rapidly changing world.
The reputation of training was not entirely undeserved however. Many training
programs were faddish in nature, swinging aimlessly from one flavour of the month to
another. Often training programs had been badly designed by unqualified individuals
with insufficient experience. Many organisations offered suites of courses in traditional,
off-the-job, classroom format, without any specific links to job performance,
workplace or individual needs. The reasons for this are numerous, and range from an
inability of the training staff to understand the business in which they work,
2
no trainer
certification process and management not understanding the nature and potential of
training in both a strategic and operational sense.
3
The result is ineffective training,
wastage of resources, and little if any support from management.
By the mid-1980s, in response to pressing economic challenges, training became a
major policy initiative for governments across the western world. Against a background
of a changing economy and workplace, and the emerging global marketplace fuelled
by advancements in technology,
4
the established skill sets, knowledge and attitudes held
by individuals from the shop floor to the boardroom became obsolete.
5
High levels of
unemployment in both skilled and unskilled labour required governments to rethink
labour market programs, and how workers might be retrained with the new skill sets
demanded by organisations operating in the new, highly competitive marketplace.
Industry insisted on having an input to vocational education programs to better prepare
students for the workplace to decrease the time it took for entry level personnel to
become productive. Unheard of alliances were forged between governments, industry,
professional associations and unions to develop better career paths, work preparation
and vocational skills which would result in more productive organisations.
Governments used vocational education and training as the basis for policies to build
and equip a new generation of workers. This new generation were to work within a
workplace that had only one certainty: change would follow change and then start all
over again. The only security in employment would be to keep improving knowledge
and skills, through which the new generation would deliver increasing levels of
performance. Cooperatively working with industry, training providers and unions,
governments all over the western world emphasised the need to develop clear
requirements of performance. Those sets of knowledge, skills and attitudes became
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known as competencies. Many western, English-speaking countries have adopted
national competencies across industries and occupations and developed training
arrangements that have tried to ensure the delivery of critical knowledge, skills and
attitudes. In an effort to deliver timely and useful job skills, on-the-job training became
a major focus of training activities with learning and assessment conducted on-the-job
where possible to assist transfer and to make the training context specific. Additionally,
governments pro-actively encouraged maximum flexibility in training and learning
arrangements, processes and opportunities to better meet the needs of commerce and
industry and the individuals participating in training.
The focus on training has not diminished, and governments have sought to
professionalise training to the extent that competencies have been developed and
revised for vocational educators, workplace trainers and assessors. This is a critical
process as it is the trainer who is the most influential and key determinant of
the efficacy of training.
6
The analysis of needs, design and development of training,
the presentation and evaluation of training all require a solid understanding of
the processes of learning, development and the use of techniques drawn from a
variety of disciplines across management, psychology, sociology, anthropology and
communication, and which take many years to master. In 1983, long before any
country published competencies for trainers, the American Society for Training and
Development published its Models for Excellence.
7
This publication identified 15 roles
filled by trainers in their work, 31 competencies required for effective training, and 102
outputs expected of skilled training and development practitioners. These clearly
established the complexity of training. Research within the field of vocational
teaching/training has identified that it is a demanding, difficult and complex process
because it is a fluid and multifaceted one which takes place in a constantly changing
and dynamic environment in which the delivery mechanisms can, should and do
change frequently to meet changing business needs.
8
The efforts of many governments in striking competencies for vocational educators
and trainers have oversimplified a very complex task, promoting a general impression
that anyone can train. These attempts have been well meaning but appallingly inept.
Profuse legislation, regulations, policies and procedures regulating design, development,
content and assessment have been introduced since the mid-1980s to control the
quality and process of training with the aim of ensuring industry-focused outcomes. It
was assumed that if outcomes were industry focused, training would be effective. In
other words, it has been assumed that merely the creation of work-like conditions, or
learning occurring in the workplace, is sufficient to establish expertise.
9
This is not the
case. The workplace and expertise literature and contemporary learning theory
establish that learning is more involved than the mere immersion in a workplace that
the above assumption implies. These actions have succeeded in stylising many of the
components of training, such as the outcomes, the curriculum, assessment and
certification, but have not addressed the process of training satisfactorily. Many
variables impact the effectiveness of training, and some have a greater bearing on
learning than industry-focused outcomes. This book addresses some of these. It is an
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attempt to look at the process of training and how a trainer can identify needs, design
and develop effective programs, deliver engaging presentations skilfully, manage the
process and evaluate it. Think of it as a guidebook that you will add to and change as
you benefit from your experience and discussion with other trainers. It is an
introduction to the extremely complex task of training to master it will take some
years of study at university and a number of years of experience. To understand the
context of training it is useful to explore how the workplace has changed since
the 1970s, since most training occurs within a work-based context. This change has
had a significant impact on vocational education and training across the western
world,
10
and its impact is represented in Figure 1.1.
ACTI VI TY 1A
Brian and Helen run a local 7-day convenience store which is open 24 hours a
day. All their systems and procedures are manually handled even though they
turn over $1.5 million a year and have three full-time and six part-time staff. As
part of their installation of electronic funds transfer with their bank they are
going to automate all accounting, inventory control, sales and ordering systems.
Brian and Helen know that the process will be very difficult because everyone
will have to learn new ways of working.
List and discuss some of the workplace changes you would expect with the
introduction of computerised operations to the convenience store and identify
the broad training needs of Brian, Helen and their staff.
Figure 1.1 Worldwide workplace change
Economic
changes
Technological
advancement
Global
marketplace
Workplace change
Participation
Demographics
Multiskilling
Flat management structures
Manual to intellectual effort
Need for flexible human skills

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WORKPLACE CHANGE
Workforce participation and change
Concurrent with the development of the global marketplace, the misfit between skills
needed and skills available was further highlighted by the many changes in the
participation rates of the workforce during the 1980s and the early 1990s.
11
The major
changes in the participation and make-up of the workforce were: an increase in female
workers, a decrease in the number of full-time jobs with an increase in the number of
part-time jobs, a shift in employment to service industries, a shift from paperwork
duties to computer entry and operation, and a shift from a cash to a plastic (cards)
society. All these changes were (and still are) driving the pace of change and the
requirements for fundamentally different and multidisciplinary skills in the workforce.
These changes also triggered a need for training. Thus the actual structure of the
workplace and those participating in it has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. It
is no longer a place that the fathers and mothers of the new age of workers recognise,
with new values, tougher competition and greater equality of employment the
expectation that anyone can have a career regardless of their sex or status as a parent.
These changes required a considerable training response among many.
The workforce is also composed of a diverse range of people from different ethnic
backgrounds, with different educational qualifications but all better educated than any
of the previous generations. Diversity needs to be celebrated and used to enhance
organisations and their aims. People are no longer restricted to working between
9 and 5 but can be working in a full-time, permanent position and their regular hours
of work could be 5 to 12 at night or from the early hours of the morning.
Organisations operating 24 hours a day need people to staff them 24 hours a day. For
example, in order for you to be able to use an automated teller machine (ATM),
technology hardware and software must be working, the machine needs to have funds
to dispense and records need to be issued, kept and managed. Users must also have
access to organisations which provide ATMs to be able to speak to people when things
go wrong, such as incorrect money being issued or the machine chewing up or
keeping a card. This requires people to be available at the end of a phone and working
behind the scenes to maintain the technology and communications and to handle
enquiries. The twenty-first century brings with it a new construction of the notion of
work and how organisations might operate in the future. It is clear that through the
magnitude and comprehensiveness of the change currently confronting workers that a
new work and social order is developing.
12
Multiskilling
It is no longer satisfactory for workers just to know the specific job they do, often
delineated by a title. To meet the flexibility demanded by employers it is not possible
for staff to confine their knowledge and skills to discrete parts of the total workflow or
unit within which they work. Multiskilling has become an important method of
increasing worker productivity and flexibility by expanding the number of skills for
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individual workers across the boundaries of old job classifications and descriptions.
Being multiskilled means to be able to perform a number of tasks across a variety of
skill areas at a number of different levels. This provides great flexibility and variety in
tasks and functions and adds to productivity through making any one job more
interesting. For example, a bricklayer might also build the formwork for the laying of a
concrete driveway or lay electrical wire in the brickwork for an outside light. An office
clerk might learn how to back-up personal computers and arrange servicing for them
or complete bookwork for the office accounts. This process is illustrated in Figure 1.2.
The benefits of multiskilling are numerous: there is more ownership of the process
people are involved with as they see a job through from start to finish rather than doing
only a part of it. This tends to develop higher self-esteem and job satisfaction because
the work is more interesting and challenging. It is also better for productivity because
people are not kept waiting to finish jobs while the electrician or the specialist person
arrives to begin work. It also underpins high levels of customer service, quality and
speed of response.
From manual to intellectual effort
One of the major changes that occurred in the nature of work was a move away from
labour intensive manufacturing and towards knowledge-based and service organisations
that required mental rather than manual rigour.
13
Facilitated by the almost daily
mergers and acquisitions of large national and multinational enterprises across the
world at the time, organisations were created which were not confined by state or
national boundaries, by sea or land. The ability to switch capital, people and other
resources from one country, place and organisation to another in unprecedented short
timeframes through rapidly developing technology, enabled a high degree of flexibility
never before seen or experienced.
14
This precipitated a need for highly flexible workers
who could operate in a constantly changing work environment across a number of
Figure 1.2 Multiskilling
Limited range of skills
within narrowly
defined/designed jobs
Large range of skills and
broadly defined/designed
and overlapping jobs
FROM TO
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traditionally discrete jobs with separate skill sets and to work effectively with a large
diversity of people across continents. At the same time, social, workplace and political
changes were occurring, partly in response to the economic changes, which required
significant readjustment by people and the organisations in which they worked. Jones
warned of these changes as early as 1982: This change will raise unprecedented human
problems; the whole relationship of people to time use, personal goals, economics, politics and
culture must be re-examined.
15
Government emphasis on training was one of many
responses to these challenges. Not all went smoothly however as many manual workers
were displaced and became dependent on social welfare to survive as well as the
requirement for retraining and re-entry into the workforce. Those in management
positions also found the going tough as many of their positions were made redundant
through a reduced need for middle management and in the case of some particular
managers, an inability to embrace the changes which surrounded them. The change in
emphasis in the workplace is illustrated in Figure 1.3.
The competitive edge human skill and innovation
A gradual understanding by governments, industry, and individual enterprises that
human skill and innovation provided the competitive edge in the global marketplace,
supported by quality processes, technology and vocational expertise, directed the
development of government policy and approaches to vocational education and
training in most English-speaking nations. It gave rise to the realisation that the vital
ingredient in productivity and competitiveness for organisations was flexible human
resources
16
human resources who could attack problems, keep pace with change,
adapt, develop new and different skills, communicate effectively and manage
themselves. Change strategies throughout the world became centred on human
resource development as a means to economic prosperity. In OECD countries such as
Figure 1.3 From manual to intellectual effort
Limited by
time and space
World based
mental and
intellectual work
Hospitality
Finance
Dotcoms
Telcoms
Unlimited by
time and space
Locally based
manual and
physical work
Manufacturing
Natural resources
Agriculture
Shift in resources
and capital across
land and sea within
moments in time
High flexibility
Enabling vehicle of technology
Requires highly flexible and skilled workers
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America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom,
governments adopted or extended vocational education and training as a key strategy
for increasing and maintaining competitiveness in the global marketplace.
17
REFLECTI ON
1.1 What is the nature and type of change that has swept the world
since the late 1970s?
1.2 What impact has this change had on Australian workplaces?
1.3 While governments used many processes and policy initiatives to
deal with change why was so much effort put into training and
development?
ACTI VI TY 1B
Identify which of the following statements are generally typical of the workplace
before 1980 (B) and those that are generally typical after 1980 (A).
Stable workforce Mostly full-time jobs
Service industries main employer Job security
Automated systems and procedures Significant reductions in staffing
Plastic card society Some shiftworkers
Highly flexible work structures Highly competitive workforce
Full employment Male-dominated
24-hour operations Less than full employment
Manufacturing and agriculture main Security of employment
employers Manual systems and procedures
Increase in female employees Cash society
Increase in part-time jobs Staffing required 24 hours per day
Training is a critical component of performance
For the first time in any tangible way, it was acknowledged by many countries in the
English-speaking world, that an organisations most important physical assets were
people and not plant and equipment. While there was still a long way to go to
convince organisations this was the case, it was a start to re-educating and re-equipping
organisations to assist them to be more competitive. The literature captures the
platitudes which organisations and managers used often but never really invoked: For
many years, managers have been fond of remarking in public speeches that people are our prime
resource. Unfortunately their actions often demonstrated that their words were no more than

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empty rhetoric.
18
The recognition that people are an organisations best asset and that
they need to be trained, regularly maintained through training and development, and
focused on achieving specific standards of competency, triggered a flurry of training in
the late 1980s and early 1990s driven and funded by governments. The new, flexible
arrangements for working required a significant investment in vocational training and
education, based on specific expectations of performance at the end of the training
and flexible ways of delivering training to individuals.
Research has demonstrated that training and development are critical components of
high-level performance and the two are inextricably linked.
19
For example, a study by
the American Management Association in 1996 demonstrated that there was a strong
correlation between increases in training budgets and increases in productivity and
profitability. Likewise the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
found in two studies in 1997 a direct link between higher spending on training and
higher sales, profits and market-to-book ratios in organisations.
20
The Australian Government, through the Employment and Skills Formation Council
(1992) stated:
Higher productivity and quality in goods and services is dependent in large measure on a
nations ability to produce well trained workers and organisations which enable employees in
all areas and levels of the organisation to contribute to their potential.
21
Carter and Gribble (1994) reiterated the concept.
In a nutshell, vocational education and training is learning activity which contributes to
successful economic performance and tangible economic and social gains. It is this focus on
tangible outcomes and accountability which broadly distinguishes them from general vocational
and education systems and services.
22
Despite the rhetoric, research identified that in some countries employers were slow to
embark on training activities.
23
Australia for example offered little in the way of
enterprise-based training for career development and advancement prior to the
introduction of competency based training (CBT) in the mid-1980s.
24
It is one of the
countries in which managers take a short-term view of investment decisions, thanks to
a focus on profit generation. This translates to a reluctance on behalf of managers to
invest in training because it has long-term payoffs rather than short-term payoffs. In
Australia, the Karpin Report of 1995 identified that the country did not invest enough
in the development of managers.
25
Within professions, there has always been an
emphasis on continuing professional development: this has not been the case for semi-
skilled and unskilled workers. Government policies and initiatives towards the end of
the twentieth century highlighted the need for continued lifelong learning by all
individuals and linked this to organisational efficiency and competitiveness. Research
which supported this link was discussed earlier. There is little doubt that those with the
highest level of skills earn the highest salaries.
26
As a result of the intensive government
policy development and funding, organisations began to invest in training and
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development so that in 2001 expenditure on training across most English-speaking
countries was expected to be higher than ever before. Large organisations in Australia
for example had budgeted approximately $3.2 billion to be spent on formal training
activities during 2001.
27
Of course much training will occur informally within
organisations but is difficult to quantify.
ACTI VI TY 1C
The senior partners of Catticult and Parmenter, Accountants, had noticed that
the costs of preparing client reports had risen sharply and unacceptably. In
particular, partners found they were returning reports to assistants to be
reworked where reports involved the use of charts, tables and formulas and the
importation of specific files into documents using scanning and web downloads.
A brief investigation demonstrated that all but two of the 16 assistants did not
have experience with using advanced features and developing complex
documents within Microsoft Office, the software used by the firm.
What is the performance issue in this instance and what issues need to be taken
into consideration in developing a solution to the problem?
Individual responsibility for training
Workers need to keep their skills current and undertake regular development to
maintain their marketability in the workforce. Training and development needs to be
driven by individual workers who must be prepared to engage in some development
activities in their own time and to meet their own costs in addition to those oppor-
tunities provided by the employer. Consider the difficulties many who have not
embraced the use of the internet to transact business and communicate are now
having. A gulf wider than any seen before has developed between those who have
the appropriate knowledge and skills and those who do not, so that structural
unemployment becomes a constant, and a characteristic of the new poor.
28
Govern-
ments are still struggling with higher levels of unemployment than prior to the 1970s, a
factor with which voters are still coming to grips. The implication here is that workers
need to take prime responsibility for their own training, development and lifelong
learning. The nature of work and the nature of jobs have changed to such an extent, in
a relatively short period of time, that people find themselves displaced not just from
organisations, but from jobs, lifelong careers and their personal identity.
29
If they
do not embark on activities that will increase their skills and develop themselves,
workers cannot hope to maintain the pace and the myriad of skills now demanded
by organisations. The most overwhelming message from this age of redefinition is the
need for flexibility: of capital, intelligence, employment, skills, organisations and
government.

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Flexible accumulation
David Harvey
30
has identified the term flexible accumulation. It is an attempt to
represent the workplace as it is now after the redefinition. Flexible accumulation
refers to the flexibility of labour processes, labour markets, products and patterns of
consumption within a new, global framework in which time and space have been
compressed. He suggests that wealth is now measured in terms of flexibility and
adaptation, in comparison with the approach of Taylorist, Fordist and Keynesian
economic models which viewed wealth as the accumulation of capital. This has
impacted the labour market to such an extent that it has significantly altered the
structure of the workplace. Harvey suggests that employers have used the restructuring
period of the 1980s and 1990s to utilise more flexible approaches to work and the
employment of labour and knowledge. This has been evidenced by a shift from regular
Figure 1.4 Flexible accumulation
CORE GROUP
PRIMARY LABOUR MARKET
FUNCTIONAL FLEXIBILITY
S
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RIPHER
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FIRST PERIPHERAL GROUP
SECONDARY LABOUR MARKET
NUMERICAL FLEXIBILITY
DELAYED
RECRUITMENT
J
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SELF-
EMPLOYMENT
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INCREASED
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Source: Harvey, D. (1989), The condition of post modernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change,
p. 151, Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK.
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work patterns (9 to 5 Monday to Friday), towards part-time, temporary, sub-
contracting and outsourcing, which is the current buzzword in business. It is further
supported by the increase in workplace and individual agreements struck between
specific organisations and groups of individuals as well as individuals. So widespread has
this labour market restructure been, that the labour market now looks very different.
The major components of Harveys model which is presented in Figure 1.4, is that
organisations are moving towards a concept Handy calls a shamrock organisation:
31
having a small core group of permanent, full-time workers who have job security but
who must be very flexible in return and usually burn out in five years. There are then
two other periphery groups of workers; one which consists of permanent clerical,
secretarial, routine and lesser-skilled workers, in which there is a high degree of
turnover because there are few career opportunities for them. The second group
consists of an extremely flexible cohort such as part time, casual, fixed term, temporary,
sub-contractors, small business, and subsidised trainees whose services may be
purchased only when needed by an organisation. Many displaced people now find
themselves in this peripheral group and experience periods of employment puncuated
by periods of unemployment.
The flexible accumulation model seems to be supported by Handy,
32
who links the
intellectual skills concept to the security of employment. That is, the application of
knowledge to situations (intelligence) which will equal employment security in the
future, for it is the knowledge that organisations or clients need to buy, not the person.
The reader should notice the use of the term employment security as distinct from
the traditional term job security. There is no longer job security, a concept associated
with long-term employment in one organisation or industry over the whole of ones
career. In todays labour market, one can expect to have many different jobs across
many different organisations and industries. Thus the term employment security
means that you have knowledge and skills which are required by organisations and
which they will buy from you as they need them. It is likely that workers will be
selling their knowledge and skills to a number of organisations at the same time unlike
the traditional job market where the worker worked exclusively for one employer at a
time.
33
Training therefore serves a very useful purpose for organisations as well as
individuals who must now maintain currency of knowledge and skills. It is against this
background that the knowledge management industry became established in the late
1990s. Knowledge management relates to the capturing and management of corporate
knowledge in electronic systems. It has considerable impact on the training function
of an organisation inasmuch as training should be playing a major role in the estab-
lishment and sharing of knowledge in an organisation, through the development of
appropriate skills in individuals.
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REFLECTI ON
1.4 Explain the relationship between training and performance.
1.5 Why should individuals take responsibility for their own training?
1.6 Are there examples of David Harveys model in workplaces of your
country?
A CASE I N POI NT AUSTRALI A
In 1987, well into the period of change in the workplace, the Australian Federal
Government report Skills for Australia was released. This described Australias
work processes as antiquated. It said that job classifications within existing industrial
awards (agreements) were narrow and restrictive in nature, which worked against
productivity and efficiency by preventing new skills from being learned in the
workplace. As the majority of learning in a persons life is achieved in informal
situations through such processes as observation, listening and one-on-one
training, environments such as the workplace afforded people opportunities for
considerable learning. Awards at this time regulated jobs, which were designed as
small, component tasks so that a person holding a job only ever performed a small
part of a total job. This design prevented workers from developing skills because
they did not need any skills other than the ones they had in order to do their
own limited tasks. Such a structure made it difficult to move to higher paid jobs
and to learn new skills. Australia is the only country that has regulated all of its
industrial relations processes through legislation or binding agreements between
employers and unions or individuals and which are known as industrial awards.
Restricted learning opportunities
The Australian award system enshrined restrictive and uncompetitive practices in
workplaces. Awards that specifically detailed what persons employed under one
award could or could not do created a real limitation to flexibility and workplace
learning. For example, workplace conflicts could occur where concreters were
challenging plumbers because the plumbers were setting some pipes in concrete
to allow them to complete the plumbing work. As pouring and working with
concrete was the occupational task of concreters, a dispute would arise over work
that might have taken only 30 minutes to complete. These disputes were known as
demarcation disputes. The sorts of limitations which industrial awards imposed on
workers severely limited the learning opportunities in the workplace. Demarcation
disputes caused a great number of strikes and industrial unrest in Australia. During
a 1988 wage case hearing the Industrial Relations Commission recognised that if
demarcation was to continue, productivity could not be increased and Australias

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competitive position in the global marketplace would be irrevocably harmed. The
Federal Government, employers and unions agreed to commence a new journey
which would assist productivity rather than hinder it, and so a program to
restructure the Australian workplace and the awards that regulated it began. This
process became known as the structural efficiency principle.
The structural efficiency principle
This principle endorsed a combined effort between employers and unions to
make work more satisfying and rewarding for employees as well as more
productive and competitive for employers. The outcomes of this principle were a
commitment to multiskilling, training and broadbanding in the workplace.
Broadbanding is the process of creating career paths with fewer levels in them.
Previous classifications of jobs were changed to reflect the use of new skills across
a broader range of areas. The Industrial Relations Commission received reports
that called for the training of the Australian workforce, better management,
eradication of the barriers to productive work and the introduction of best
practice. In pursuing the efficiency principle the Commission wanted a review of all
awards in the classifications of jobs and the general organisation of work in
Australian industry to equip it for the demands of the future.
The efficiency principle required a fundamental review of awards with a view to
making them more suitable to the requirements of Australian organisations for
more competitiveness, efficiency and productiveness. There was a strong
emphasis on skill development, which indicated specific and selected training, and
it is this aspect of award restructuring in Australia that interests trainers. The
Commission saw the main reason for award restructuring as establishing clear
career oppor tunities, which would encourage people to develop skills and
thereby provide incentives in terms of increased wages for better and more
developed skills. This process would develop the general pool of skills for
Australian workers and thereby assist industry to become more productive and
competitive.
Slow reaction by Australia
In Australia, the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and
Training (DEET) reported in 1991 that much of Australian industry still did not see
the need for training activities.
34
Yet the process of restructuring the workplace
and the government emphasis on and financial support of training had been
continuous since 1987. This story was reflected in many English-speaking countries.
The report described typical Australian approaches to training and work
organisation, which were outdated with little money spent on training by
Australian organisations.
35
Later in 1995 the Karpin Report,
36
a report into
management skills in Australia, supported the general thrust of the 1991 DEET
report. A considerable body of evidence was accumulating which acted as a wake-
up call to the country.
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16 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
Australia was very slow to react to the changes of the 1980s. Many of the
countrys trading partners had developed their human resources to a high degree
of productivity. Meanwhile, however, Australia wallowed in wool, living off the
sheeps back until it eventually slipped off. Australia had stuck to outdated and
obsolete workplace practices, not recognising the value in its underdeveloped
human resources and ignoring the ageing skills base. During this time its
competitive position in the world trade market fell markedly. Imports continued to
rise; export markets continued to be eroded by more productive countries, and
the national debt ballooned each year. To survive, Australian commerce and
industry needed to change and change quickly to become more competitive,
productive and profitable. Yet it continued to create groups of workers with skills
that were no longer needed.
37
This meant that Australia had a situation where its
skills base did not fit its skills requirements.
38
Workplace restructuring in Australia
Major restructuring commenced in the Australian workforce to redesign jobs, to
provide better career paths for workers and to train them for the highly com-
petitive and volatile global marketplace. The restructuring process was not just
confined to industrial awards but snowballed into all other areas of work life
including:
change to workplace structures
change in the nature of work
change in the type of work people did
change to organisational structures
redesign of jobs in organisations at all levels
reclassification of people in jobs
identification and specification of skills needed to perform jobs
identification and specification of training required
downsizing as technology enabled the automation of processes
focus on improving quality and productivity.
This process provided Australia with an opportunity to develop consistent
standards across all states for the same job classifications. It allowed employees to
have their skills recognised from state to state, regardless of which institution had
conducted the training. Previously, if a person had gained a qualification in one
state this may not have been recognised in another. Although people may have
been able to do a job, they were not permitted to do so as their qualifications
were not recognised by a state other than the one in which the training was
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completed and certified. This situation required these same people to gain
the appropriate qualification all over again in the new state, which was
unproductive and a significant waste of funds and time.
A national training approach
Australias Federal Government looked for ways to implement a nationally
based training approach and out of this in 1994 was born the Australian
National Training Authority (ANTA), the body which has overall
responsibility for coordinating vocational education and training in Australia.
The Federal Government also established the National Framework for the
Recognition of Training, which has since been superseded by the National
Training Framework. This framework introduced new, national principles for
the design, delivery, assessment and certification of training in an effort to
create consistency of training and certification across the country. All training
providers are required to adhere to these principles if they wish their
courses to be recognised nationally and placed on the national register
of courses. Courses can be accredited through an accreditation body in each
state that follows national principles endorsed by ANTA.
The National Training Board (established in 1990) was charged with the
responsibility of assisting industry to develop national competency standards
for occupations and enterprises and then to endorse them for use
throughout the country. This provided specific standards which training could
work towards in developing, presenting, assessing and evaluating training
programs. Thus, training would be more accountable for specific knowledge,
skill and attitude outcomes which would be of use to industry. Competencies
form the basis of accredited vocational education and training within
Australia and are incorporated in the design and development of training
through the provision of training packages (see Chapter 5) which detail the
learning outcomes and assessment requirements for training. On successfully
completing the assessment, learners are considered to be competent.
At this stage, at least in theory, training has been in many organisations and
industries placed where it should always have been in the minds of Australian
industry: at the forefront of operations, contributing directly to processes and
output and to the skill building which develops quality, economy, productivity
and profitability. This is being achieved through the continued use of training
packages. Since their introduction in 1996 training packages have undergone
many reforms and currently a high level review is in place, the results of
which can be found on the ANTA website (www.anta.gov.au). More on train-
ing packages in later chapters.
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18 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
REFLECTI ON
1.7 List some of the workplace changes that have occurred within your
own working environment over the last ten years.
1.8 Would you like to be remunerated on the basis of the skills you
have developed, or on the basis of your position and for how long
you have held it? Why?
1.9 How can work be made more satisfying and rewarding?
1.10 How does multiskilling benefit a worker?
1.11 Review the developments in training in Australia since 1980 and
the impact this may have on your current position.
TRAINING REFORM
The response of many governments of western English-speaking countries to the
economic, technological and work changes was to develop national competencies for
training and development purposes. These acted as benchmarks or minimum skill
levels that workers were required to achieve for efficient work to bring about
maximum productivty. It was clear from the research commissioned by governments
that many organisations did not conduct needs analysis or, if they did, the analysis was
wholly inadequate. Consequently what little training was undertaken was wasted effort
with only a very small impact on business. The development of individual knowledge
and skill acquisition and its application became of paramount importance to
governments to ensure that business could maintain national and international
competitiveness. It was recognised that training needed to be purposeful and provide
outcomes which would benefit individuals and organisations. From the mid-1980s
there was an increased focus on training with considerable intervention by
governments to make it accountable and to produce specific outcomes. From this time,
through government intervention, the training function underwent extensive reform at
both the macro and micro levels. Training reform would focus on the specific needs of
commerce and industry and be focused on the attainment of particular abilities
required in the workplace. These abilities were expressed as competencies. At the root
of training reform was the belief that training had to become more responsive to the
specific needs of the workplace and demonstrate particular contributions to the
organisations operations.
The Training Guarantee Act 1990 placed a requirement on employers to spend a certain
amount of money on training. There was great flexibility in what constituted training
under the Act and it was designed to allow employers a large choice in deciding how
best to improve their productivity and competitiveness and to train staff accordingly.
The Act was suspended by the Training Guarantee (Suspension) Act 1994 from 1 July

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1994 until 30 June 1996. It was finally repealed on 14 June 1996 by the Education and
Training Legislation Amendment Act 1996.
To facilitate the development and recognition of competencies, governments
introduced national training frameworks to support a coordinated national approach to
training. In the USA, the National Center for Research in Vocational Education
identifed a set of competencies for teachers in vocational education. In Canada, the
Canadian Labour Force Development Board identified Occupational Standards;
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have adopted National Vocational Qualifications;
Scotland has adopted the Scottish Vocational Qualifications; Germany has a system of
nationally prescribed knowledge and skills; Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri
Lanka and Thailand are all working within competency frameworks; New Zealand
has instigated the National Qualifications Framework; and Australia has adopted the
Australian Qualifications Framework. The attainment of knowledge and skills in
the form of competencies facilitates increased pay and status, greater productivity, and
greater security in employment, one of the reasons for the massive union support given
to CBT. It affords organisations the opportunity to maintain competitiveness by
ensuring that the right skills are being developed to meet its needs. These frameworks
enabled the building of pathways and an integrated system of education and training
from compulsory schooling to post-compulsory education and training.
The CBT approach was not new,
39
it had been used in military establishments in the
USA since the 1950s and by some technical colleges for technical trades training
(apprenticeships); however, it enjoyed a resurgence of popularity from the late 1980s. It
became popular because of the potential it promised in delivering specific skills directly
to the workforce. Additionally, it offered opportunities to make training accountable to
management that often could not see the benefits in training. Thus it was assumed that
if management could more clearly see the outcomes of training, their active support
would be enlisted. CBT also provided governments with ways of pseudo-regulation to
monitor and control the activities of training and development and to channel funds
into the most productive providers of training. Perhaps most importantly the
methodology gave governments specific ammunition with which to counter the claims
of a loud and often highly critical industry: that training took people out of the
workplace and it took too long to teach staff. CBT was adaptable enough to develop
approaches that would facilitate flexible, on-the-job learning, not confined to the
traditional classroom, off-the-job processes which had been mainly used up until this
time.
While this approach is admirable, many writers would argue that much of what is
embodied in CBT and held to be desirable in training was already being practised by
skilled and experienced trainers. The work of the ASTD and similar organisations
worldwide is testament to this.
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REFLECTI ON
1.12 What are the benefits for individuals of a national approach to
training and development?
1.13 What are the benefits for organisations of a national approach to
training and development?
1.14 What created the need for a national approach to training and
development?
WORKPLACE LEARNING
Workplace learning is described by Billett as the acquisition of knowledge and skills
as individuals participate in authentic vocational tasks supported and guided directly
or indirectly by more skilled workers.
40
Workplace learning is an important aspect
of almost every countrys approach to developing knowledge and skills within
competency frameworks (CBT). Most learning occurs in informal situations that are
outside formal, structured institutions such as polytechnics, TAFE colleges, universities
and technical colleges. However, informal learning can also occur as part of the process
within formal institutions. Billett,
41
across a number of studies, asked workers how they
acquired their skills. The frequent reply from workers in different industries and across
different levels was that they learned their skills through:
experience
just doing their job
using a hands-on approach
listening and observing others in their workplace.
In addition, skilled workers also valued the learning that took place in the workplace
because of its authenticity or reality. In particular, it was the setting in which the
learning took place that added the most value to the learning experience. It provided
training that was in the context of the work learners would do and gave them access to
more experienced personnel and opportunities to see work in action. The setting in
which learning takes place is an important aspect and influence on the learning
process.
42
Situated learning
Learning which takes place in a particular setting is known as situated learning. The
strength of learning in a particular setting such as the workplace is that learning occurs
where the problems to be solved are real or live, and the results or intended uses of
the learning can be seen with ease. This adds validity to the learning process with
clearly identifiable goals or outcomes for learners. Thus an ice-skater learns to skate on

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an ice rink, doctors complete their training by internships in hospitals, navy personnel
complete their training in ships at sea and in mock battles, bricklayers labourers learn
the job by actually doing it and hairdressers do their apprenticeships in hairdressing
salons. The craft guilds of England used apprenticeships (one form of situated learning)
exclusively to pass on the knowledge and skills of their craft. The method of taking
learning out of the workplace and into institutions has been only a relatively recent
process.
43
However, even with the focus on CBT, learning for some occupations is
being taken out of the workplace and into universities. In Australia, for example,
nursing training has been removed from the workplace and into universities, as has
some of the training for police officers. Nevertheless, these occupations are expected to
complete practical sessions in the workplace to apply knowledge and practise skills.
The concept of apprenticeship or workplace learning has solid foundations in history
and has demonstrated the potential of situated learning as an effective form of learning.
Situated learning combined with contemporary learning theory provides many useful
guidelines for the training and development specialist.
Contemporary learning theory
Contemporary learning theory, which is discussed in depth in Chapter 2, provides
extensive evidence to support the contention that workplace learning has the potential
to develop high levels of expertise in workers over learning activities that occur
off-the-job within formal structures (in-house or in educational institutions).
Contemporary learning theory draws on cognitive and socio-cultural constructivist
perspectives, providing a number of insights into the learning process. It has been
widely acknowledged that the learning process is one in which learners are actively
involved in building new knowledge and adding to existing knowledge. This means
that learners will interpret and construct knowledge over time and based on their
individual experiences, making the resulting knowledge unique to each individual.
Based on what learners see and need, they will make decisions about whether they
should expend effort to learn. This decision will be influenced in the workplace by
the occupation of the learner and the group of individuals they associate with. It will
also be influenced by the quality of the learning experience and ease of access to the
experience. Learning is made easier by guidance provided to learners by an individual
more expert in the area than themselves. Guided learning also provides opportunities
for learners to discuss and work with an expert other, enhancing learning through a
more in-depth understanding of the subject matter. This interpretation of learning
provides specific grounds on which to base and argue the benefits of workplace
learning.
Learning in the workplace
Developing workplace expertise is an individual journey, during which learning is
progressively constructed, layer on layer, experience on experience. As no two people
can experience the exact same experience, knowledge becomes unique to an
individual. One persons knowledge is not entirely transferable to another as during the
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process of learning the learner will interpret information in light of their own
experience and learners will form their own understanding of the knowledge.
Facilitators of learning in the workplace must concentrate on providing appropriate
and useful experiences to develop vocational expertise. When learning is constructed
by purely trial and error methods it may take many years to develop expertise.
Organisations do not have a great deal of time in the highly competitive working
environment of today. Where the time it takes to develop expertise can be reduced
through guided, situated learning, the learner will become expert in a shorter
timeframe and more productive to the organisation, which means increased
productivity and profitability for the organisation and higher levels of job satisfaction
and rewards for the individual.
Timeframes in which expertise is developed may also be shortened by conducting the
learning in the appropriate context in which it will be applied. For example,
understanding will be gained more quickly when a dogwasher is trained by actually
washing a dog. The learner will quickly understand that the process of placing the dog
in the bath or apparatus is not as simple as might be implied in the manual. Usually it is
the case that a dog will scramble to get out and go mildly beserk when water is added.
The ability to use one hand to control the dog and the other to control the hose can
only be mastered (quickly) through actually experiencing the difficulties associated
with the task which becomes harder still when shampoo is introduced to the formula.
Regaining control of a soapy, wet and excited English Sheepdog as it runs around
the premises shaking and rolling all over the place can be a frenetic and exhausting
experience for the novice! Just as bathing a cat for the unwary and inexperienced can
result in ones arm being shredded like shaved ham! Likewise it is only through
experience a mobile dogwasher can learn how to coax a momentarily deranged and
excited dog into the mobile bath. While these skills can be discussed in a formal
classroom environment and videos can demonstrate how difficult it is, and the
processes to use, learners will still need time on-the-job to apply, practise and master
the skill before becoming expert.
Contemporary learning theory leads us to believe that first-hand experience of these
skills, guided by an expert other, within an authentic work environment can reduce
the time it takes to develop the required expertise. Learning in context facilitates a
more coherent understanding and provides explicit links to the actual vocational
activity. It also facilitates the development of higher order procedures which allow a
person to self-manage and direct their problem-solving activity. As a result, learner
efforts are focused on meeting the actual requirements of the workplace, rather than
arbitrary levels of performance set by those within formal learning environments which
may be below, at, or above the actual workplace requirements.
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REFLECTI ON
1.15 How does your job impact on the organisation you work for? If
you do not have a job then how do the jobs of teachers/lecturers/
trainers impact on the learning organisation of which they are part?
1.16 As a student, do you need to be multiskilled? Does your teacher/
lecturer?
1.17 How does an understanding of workplace learning make you a
better trainer?
1.18 What are the strengths of learning in the workplace?
1.19 How might learning in the workplace develop expertise more
quickly?
ACTI VI TY 1D
Cindy purchased a franchise of Peachy Pooches three years ago. The mobile dog
washing and grooming business has grown considerably over this time and Cindy
has recruited three more people to work for her to cope with the extra
business. She has never had staff before and is unsure how to commence their
employment and get them working at the required standard quickly. Her
experience over the past three years has reinforced the complexity of the job
and that there are many tricks of the trade and numerous pitfalls to be aware
of. Part of the job is to manage the owners as well as their pets.
Is it better for Cindy to conduct a classroom style induction process, to provide
on-the-job training while they continue to work with their clients, or would an
apprenticeship-like process be more useful? Would a combination of all three
options be best and why?
WHAT IS TRAINING?
There is much argument in the literature about the definition of training. A plethora of
terms is used to describe similar processes and activities, terms are used interchangeably,
and different writers use the same terms to describe different activities, thus making
the whole picture unclear.
44
It is the subject of an emerging occupational field which is
drawn from many disciplines, and this may partly explain why there is such a
divergence of opinion. An attempt will now be made to put some of these terms into
perspective.

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24 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
Human resource development
The term human resource development (HRD) is used to describe the entirety of the
training and development function. The term tends to describe all of the learning
activities that take place within an organisation.
Stewart and McGoldrick
45
offer a tentative definition of HRD as:
encompassing those activities and processes which are intended to have impact on
organisational and individual learning.
McLagan
46
offers the following definition:
HRD is the integrated use of training and development, organisation development, and career
development to improve individual, group and organisational effectiveness.
Sredl and Rothwell
47
define the term as:
Organised learning experiences sponsored by an employer and designed and/or conducted in
the work setting for the purpose of improving work performance while emphasising the
betterment of the human condition through the integration of organisational goals and
individual needs.
Each of these definitions suggest that HRD is a planned process and uses a variety of
methods to achieve its aims which are focused on the organisation as well as the
individual. Thus the traditional three components of HRD as identifed by Nadler
48
are training, education and development. Training is oriented towards the present
job, education is oriented towards future jobs, and development may not be job
oriented at all but is concerned with the overall improvement of the individual.
However, later definitions of education and development have taken broader views of
the functions.
49
Education is now explained as the development of knowledge, skills,
attitudes and values of individuals to fulfil their potential. There has been a shift from
being job and organisationally focused illustrating a broader approach with an emphasis
on individual education rather than education limited to a particular job or an
organisation. This change is consistent with Harveys model of flexible accumulation
and with the concept of employment security discussed earlier. Development has also
become broader in definition to represent personal and career development focusing
on more general skills that may not be associated with a particular job or organisation.
This book is about training. It does not consider education or development in the
sense mentioned above as it is concerned with what is happening now, and how
human resources can be better developed for the job individuals are presently doing or
are about to do.
Training
Training is concerned with the development of knowledge and skills to be used
immediately, or in the very near future, and deals with developing people who already
have, or who are just about to enter, a job. Where people already have a job the focus
is on improving performance and where people do not have a job the focus is on
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preparing them to perform a job within an organisational framework, in a satisfactory
manner. It is a process that achieves some sort of change in behaviour, knowledge,
skills or attitudes in an individual with the objective of applying it to a job. It might be
formal as with an organisation-wide training program on how to use a new computer
system, or informal as in a mentoring program. Smith
50
draws a useful distinction
between informal and incidental learning. He suggests that incidental learning occurs
as a result of an unintended outcome of an experience and is unstructured and
accidental. Informal learning is structured and intentional compared with incidental
learning, although it usually occurs outside of formal places of learning. The short-
term focus of training is illustrated in Figure 1.5.
The term training can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to describe:
a function within an organisation, such as the training department
the career of an individual, such as when a person answers the question: What do
you do?
an activity in which a person is engaged, such as an athlete in training for an event
what a person is doing on a particular day when attending a training course.
For the purposes of this book, the following definition of training is used which
describes the nature of the activity that trainers undertake when training.
Training is a planned process focused on changing knowledge, skills or attitudes to achieve
identified and measurable outcomes.
To be successful, training must have specific starting and ending points. It must be
carefully planned, use appropriate techniques, assess how well the participants in the
training have learned and evaluate how the training has assisted the organisation to
Figure 1.5 Short-term focus of training
Training
Job
performance
Preparation
for a job
Improving
current job
performance
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26 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
reach its goals. Training is a systematic process with specific inputs and outputs.
Workplace performance is the only measure to determine the success of training.
51
Training or learning?
In recent times, especially in those countries that have adopted CBT approaches, there
has been an emphasis on the learning process rather than that of training and a great
deal of argument over where the focus should be. For example, learning objectives and
learning outcomes have been emphasised over the aims and objectives of training.
Policymakers and governments at the macro level have used the concept of training or
vocational education, so too have industries, organisations or enterprises, whereas
learning has been used at the micro level in preparing learning experiences for
learners, and has been at the core of academic study in the area. The two terms are not
in conflict but are different parts of the same process. Training is one process through
which learning occurs. It is also a function in an enterprise in which learning
opportunities are provided for staff. Learning occurs in training directly and indirectly
but also through other means, which may have been planned or unplanned and which
may be formal or informal. While skilful trainers focus on learning, the process in
which they engage in planning learning experiences within an organisation or formal
framework such as a sporting club is described as training. If training has been skilfully
structured, learning should result.
REFLECTI ON
1.20 List some of the formal training you have undertaken in your
lifetime.
1.21 List some of the informal training you have undertaken in your
lifetime.
1.22 How successful was the training you undertook in terms of the
learning you did for each type of training?
1.23 Why do you think the above training was successful or unsuccessful?
1.24 Is there a difference between training and learning?
In answering these questions dont forget the learning in which you participated as a child.
Training as a subsystem
Training is one of many subsystems within an organisation. It forms part of the total
input to the manufacture of goods or the provision of services. For organisations to
operate they need appropriately qualified and skilled people with specific knowledge
to work the processes which produce the output of the organisation. Marketing and

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sales are subsystems of an organisation and are a necessary adjunct to the central core of
the business. They are important and necessary functions to ensure the success of the
organisation. So too is training. It forms part of the human performance subsystem of
an organisation that facilitates the achievement of a persons potential and performance.
The integrated nature of training as a subsystem of the total organisation is represented
in Figure 1.6.
As a subsystem of an organisation, training is not an outcome or an end in itself.
Training is selected as one among many processes to solve a business problem. It is a
process or an activity by which learning occurs to enable appropriate knowledge, skills
and attitudes to meet defined needs of an organisation. Figure 1.6 demonstrates that
the need for training begins with a business or organisational need that may arise from
a variety of sources. Once that need is investigated and it is determined that training is
an appropriate response to the need, a suitable design for the training can be devised
drawing on learning theories, learner characteristics, learning styles, learner
experiences and available learning settings (or modes) to determine the learning/course
outcomes. The training program can then be developed which involves developing or
Figure 1.6 The training subsystem
Business issues/
challenges/problems
Strategic
plans
Operational
plans
Daily
operations
Problem analysis
(TNA)
Presentation
of training
Design and
development of
training
Assessment of
learning
Evaluation of
training
Solutions other
than training
Required
individual,
group and
organisational
performance
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sourcing materials, selecting and sequencing content, selecting suitable training
techniques, resources and deciding on the location and timing of the program.
Assessment processes and instruments will need to be designed against the business or
organisational need or where competencies exist against those. The training can be
delivered and learners then assessed. At the end of the process the program can be
evaluated to determine its success and appropriate modifications made for the next run
of the program. Finally, as part of the evaluation process the return on the investment
made in the training program can be determined by the performance change once the
program ended and can be validated through verification that the business issue has
been solved.
Accountability
Within training there is an increasing emphasis on accountability. This term describes
the need for the training activity to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes required
by particular individuals for use in the workplace or to meet the learning needs as
identified in a needs analysis. There is the further requirement that training should
contribute to the productivity and value of an organisation, that is, it should provide
some benefit to the organisation and the people who work within it. Training
accountability is a process driven by governments, industry and professional bodies.
Accountability is a requirement of training to demonstrate the results it produces just
like any other division or department of an organisation. When we can identify the
specific changes brought about by training interventions, training will move from being
a tolerated expense to being recognised as a significant management tool in
organisational strategy and development. However, it seems that many enterprises
continue to count training as a cost rather than treating it as an investment in people
which will return higher productivity yields.
52
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the
twenty-first century the research literature suggests that there is an overall trend that
expenditure on training has increased since the 1980s and is set to continue.
To be accountable, trainers need to know that their training works and be able to prove
it. This is called validation and return on investment. Both of these are discussed in
detail in Chapters 7 and 8 respectively. Mostly, the evaluation of training has been very
difficult to achieve because there has been little agreement on what could be measured
to determine if it had been effective. In part, this was due to the lack of the
identification of specific workplace needs and levels of required performance by line
managers. Prior to 1995, research suggested that little evaluation is done on training
activities in terms of how they produce a return on the investment made in them.
53
This is despite empirical research described earlier that there is a direct correlation
between training and improved performance. Specific learning outcomes should
be expected from the training function, which are translated into precise, useable
knowledge, skills or attitudes on the job. These can be measured and are derived either
from competencies identified as being required for the job, or from a needs analysis.
The focus has shifted from the best trainee (the one with the highest score) to having
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all trainees competent to a level stated as being necessary to perform a job. In other
words, the focus has shifted from an emphasis on knowing what to do to actually being
able to do it as measured by a performance level that is clearly stated before and during
the training.
A management tool
Training is having a positive impact on organisations. This has been a continuing trend
since the 1960s. It is now being accepted as a viable management tool, capable of
transforming a workforce, increasing productivity and efficiency. That which has been
traditionally thought of as an expense, is now viewed as a growing and highly
productive investment in future performance. Training personnel are unable to
contribute to an organisation if they do not possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes
to deliver the requirements of line managers and staff. Trainers are business people who
are part of the business and not at the edge of the business as people who need bums
on seats to fill programs. Trainers are also internal consultants to management offering
solutions to problems that involve learning and people development to meet business
needs. Training can be an effective management tool if training staff have the
appropriate knowledge and skills to facilitate the required knowledge and skills in
the workforce. Unskilled and inexperienced trainers will deliver results that reflect their
competency. A trainers expertise cannot be measured by the number of people who
attend training and how many programs are offered each year. Trainers must be
concerned about how they help line managers to reach their potential and the
potential of their staff.
ACTI VI TY 1E
Ytronics is a medium size electronics company manufacturing in the very
competitive field of car components. It employs 114 people. Over the last two
months there has been a steady stream of customer complaints because of a
surge in backorders. A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) identified that 16 of 26
customer service officers (CSOs) were new to the company in the last four
months. These people did not have an adequate knowledge of the companys
products and how various separate components were placed together to form
different products. This meant that where a particular product may be out of
stock it could be made up of separate components. A course was developed
and run for the 16 CSOs by the training department.
List the various internal and external stakeholders in this training and explain
how training might demonstrate accountability in this situation.

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The complexity of training
By 1983 the ASTD had identified 15 roles filled by those working in training which
are indicative of the complexity of the training function.
1. Evaluator
2. Group facilitator
3. Individual development counsellor
4. Instructional writer
5. Instructor
6. Manager of training and development
7. Marketer
8. Media specialist
9. Needs analyst
10. Program administrator
11. Program designer
12. Strategist
13. Task analyst
14. Theoretician
15. Transfer agent.
54
Each of these roles could be a full-time job depending on the size of the organisation and
its specific training and development requirements. They represent a complex array of
skills and a wide cross-section of disciplines. The key role, while not specified above,
remains that of the trainer who performs a critical role in the outcome of the training
process. The technique of training as well as the relationship a trainer has with trainees are
necessary requirements for results in training.
55
It is doubtful that training outcomes can be
achieved if the trainer who is designing, developing, presenting, and/or evaluating
the training is not a skilled practitioner. For example, in the dog washing example in the
Learning in the workplace section above, a trainee may not become competent
if the trainer does not use appropriate training techniques and learning experiences
which allow the traineee to gain a sufficient understanding of the process to underpin
the skills that must be used to wash a dog effectively and to complete the task in an
appropriate timeframe.
Governments, commerce and industry continue to pay scant attention to the
qualifications and expertise needed to facilitate the type and nature of learning required
to deliver the results of which they consistently talk. To capitalise on the link between
training and performance trainers must themselves be competent across a complex
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range of functions. Despite increased spending on training and the development of
vocational educator/trainer competencies across the world, there is evidence that
management still do not understand the complexity of learning. In Australia for
example, as with many other countries, many degrees are offered in HRD, training and
adult education by universities. Yet there are still a large number of organisations which
do not require trainers to have specialist university qualifications to work within the
field. Research published in 2001 in Australia has identified that where a qualification is
required at all it is Certificate IV in Assesment and Workplace Training (AWT),
56
soon
to be replaced by Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA). It is curious that
governments and industry have such great expectations of training and have made the
link between training and performance, yet they have not understood what is required
to make that link work. It is unlikely that a doctor would be allowed to practise
without a medical degree, an electrician without an apprenticeship, or an accountant
without professional qualifications. However, vocational educators and trainers are
permitted to interact with a very complex human process the act of learning often
with little training, no qualifications and considerable inexperience. While there has
been extensive movement since the late 1980s to ensure that at least some training is
made available to vocational educators and trainers, and the various professional
assocations have supported a tightening up of entry qualifications and/or experience to
become a member, there is still a long way to go.
It would appear that governments and industry have failed to understand that to reap
the benefits of training it needs to be executed with a full understanding of the myriad
of variables which might impact on learning. This requires more than prescribing
national industry competencies and learning outcomes; accrediting specific short
courses, organisations to run training and people to conduct the training; or
developing training packages or curricula. To do these things effectively, those who do
them must have the appropriate knowledge and skills. The technique of training, that
is, the person who designs and develops it, presents it, evaluates it and conducts the
needs analaysis is a significant variable affecting the outcomes of training. It is a critical
variable which has not been sufficiently addressed to ensure that the outcomes of
training as promised by governments come to fruition.
REFLECTI ON
1.25 Why do you think training accountability is important in the
workplace?
1.26 What benefits does training accountability provide for individuals
and organisations and for the training function itself?
1.27 Recall when you have undertaken some learning (either at work or
at home). Describe why it was an investment for the organisation or
parents who provided the opportunity for you to learn (training).

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The training function
Training provides the right skills at the right time so the organisation can achieve its
strategic and operational goals. In this way it supports line managers as they endeavour
to reach the specific goals and targets the organisation sets with them, and those they
set with their staff. The specific functions of the training department or Registered
Training Organisation (RTO) are as follows:
assist with the development of strategic and operational planning
develop training policies to support the strategic and operational direction of the
organisation
identify training needs and skills gaps in the organisation
develop training plans to support the strategic and operational requirements of the
organisation
consult with line managers and provide advice and support on learning and training
needs
design and develop training programs to provide knowledge and skills for when
they are required
conduct training programs
assess learners
evaluate training programs
provide feedback to the organisation on the performance of the training
department
provide/source resources for line management
maintain appropriate records on training attendance, outcomes and evaluation
recruit and develop training staff
source external providers of training
broker the use of external providers
obtain appropriate resources
build and maintain relationships with line management
market the learning and training activities of the organisation.
Benefits of training
The benefits of training for an organisation are many and varied and can differ
significantly from organisation to organisation depending on the particular business or
organisational problem. Some of the more common benefits of training are as follows:
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greater job knowledge and number of skills
greater job satisfaction by employees
greater flexibility of employees
greater productivity of employees
lower labour turnover
fewer errors and accidents
greater profitability
better management and leadership
greater adaptability of employees
reduction in costs
increase in the quality of the work environment and communication
increased personal and organisational performance.
Training should always be done for a specific reason that will contribute to the
organisations achievement of its strategic or operational objectives.
57
It is not an
opportunity for people simply to get together and have fun, although this is an
important part of training. Training should be oriented towards a specific outcome,
which must add value to the organisation and provide a return on the money invested
in training by the organisation or individual. If you spent money on a training activity
to learn a new sport, musical instrument, or skill, you would also demand an
appropriate return on your investment. If you do not achieve a level of achievement
that is satisfactory and worth the investment of the money and time you make, it is not
a useful undertaking and it is unlikely that you will continue to do it.
REFLECTI ON
1.28 Think of a training situation you have been in. It can be informal
or formal. Identify which functions of training were being
executed in that training.
1.29 Why do you think training should be done in an organisation?
1.30 How does training support the attainment of organisational
objectives and the objectives of line managers?
COMPETENCY BASED TRAINING
CBT is an approach to training that is geared towards specific, measurable outcomes
for the learner which are based on particular descriptions of actual job performance.

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These descriptions are usually derived from an analysis of a person (or a number of
people) considered to be competent in performing a particular job. The descriptions
are formalised as competency standards to which training outcomes are tied. The
competency standards are then used as outcomes for training so that all learners achieve
the required standard to perform a job. While many OECD countries have adopted
CBT as a key policy initiative since the early 1980s, it has not been without
considerable debate about the suitability and appropriateness of CBT within the
literature.
58
Consequently there is no one universally accepted definition of the term
CBT.
The attractiveness of CBT to commerce and industry was the focus on what a person
could do at the end of the training. The changed nature of work and markets
demanded particular skills and abilities in workers. Employers, in response to the
changing world conditions, expressed the view that traditional vocational education
and training had focused too much on knowledge and theory with insufficient
attention given to the actual performance of work. Across all of the definitions of CBT
there are at least three common themes.
1. The purpose of training is for the learner to be able to achieve a particular work
outcome.
2. The work outcomes of training are based on a specific standard of job performance.
3. The standard of job performance is set by industry in conjunction with govern-
ments and sometimes unions.
Within these themes there is recognition that work performance occurs as a result of
complex relationships between knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience, which are
deployed to achieve employment performance requirements. The execution of these
abilities occurs within particular contexts, a large range of circumstances, unique
formal and informal job and management structures and using a variety of tools and
equipment. CBT is concerned with what a learner will be able to do at the end of the
training and the outcomes of training are linked to work performances that are
expressed as competencies.
CBT means training that is geared towards specific outcomes that reflect the required
competencies in the workplace. Training outcomes are required to equip the learner
with the appropriate knowledge and skills to use in the workplace. To ensure this, a
CBT system requires a central body to ensure consistency and attainment of appro-
priate standards by all learners through the regulation of the delivery of training, its
assessment and certification.
While there are many advantages to adopting a competency based approach to train-
ing, there are still some who see the negative side of this approach. Time to achieve
competency is seen as a major drawback to this approach as the system allows the
learner to set the pace of learning. Another limitation is that the system is totally
learner-focused and those who prefer the centre stage will see this as losing control of
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the learning environment. In addition the learners who have not experienced flexible
training methods may encounter difficulties taking control of their own learning.
Skill
So far the term skill has frequently been mentioned. What is a skill? What do trainers
and others mean when they talk about skills? Skill is not merely the ability to do
something physical such as moving an arm, lifting a weight or writing. The word skill
also refers to a persons mental, motor or social abilities. The term skill in the broadest
sense means that a degree of practised ability or expertness exists. To be able to exercise
skill a person must have an underpinning knowledge about the skill, what the
application of the skill achieves and how to apply it. For example, to write you need to
have knowledge about the alphabet, the construction of words, grammar, sentences and
punctuation. The concept of skill is separate from the knowledge needed to be able to
perform the skill. Mathematicians cannot solve problems (a skill) if they do not
understand mathematical rules, processes and principles. A skill is the manifestation of
the knowledge that facilitates the deliberate application of a series of actions, applied to
a particular situation, with fluency and confidence to address a specific problem or issue.
In training or learning terms a skill is the ability to perform a particular task or series of
tasks that result in a particular level of performance in the workplace. A skill can be a
combination of several abilities working in conjunction with underpinning knowledge
to achieve a particular performance. Figure 1.7 illustrates different types of skills.
Figure 1.7 Different types of skills
Skill type
Example
Mental Motor Social
Remembering
telephone numbers
of friends.
Repairing a broken
fan belt on a car
motor.
Discussing a wide
variety of topics and
acting appropriately.
Underpinning
knowledge
required for
the skill
Area codes and
number sequences.
Relationship
between localities
and phone numbers.
Numbers have x
number of digits and
area codes have y
number of digits.
Use of a telephone.
How a car motor
works.
Location of the fan
belt on the motor.
The role of the fan
belt on the motor.
The purpose of a
fan belt.
How the fan belt
works.
Tools required for
the job.
Awareness of
current issues and
taboo topics about
which to talk.
Understanding the
link between
interpersonal skills,
communication
skills and mixing/
working with
people.
Understanding the
particular culture of
the group of people
and the norms of
behaviour in which
group members
engage.
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Competency
Competency is the state of being competent to perform particular activities at a
particular standard. In terms of vocational education and training, competency is an
expression of the performance expected of an individual in the workplace. It must be
demonstrated by the individual, and is measured against a performance standard to
determine if the individual is competent. Generally, the concept of competency
revolves around three key aspects.
1. The way in which a competency is constructed will include a measurement which
is an independent standard agreed on by a relevant industry, standards body or
organisation. This measurement is used as a benchmark to determine a persons
competency in a particular area. People who meet the criteria are considered
competent.
2. A competency must be demonstrated rather than just known. It is not sufficient for
individuals to know something: they must be able to do it.
3. A competency is a definition of satisfactory performance of an individual. It does
not provide for standards that allow grading of competence such as you might have
received at school.
The concept of competency is complex and multilayered, evidenced by the lack of
consensus as to its meaning.
59
For the purposes of this book the holistic approach to
competency is adopted, meaning that competency is defined as the total capability of
the individual to perform a role or job in the workplace. This approach is consistent
with the Australian view of the broad nature of competencies and the definition
provided by the Australian National Training Authority Board
60
and included in the
Training Package Development Handbook.
The concept of competency focuses on what is expected of an employee in
the workplace rather than on the learning process, and embodies the ability to
transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments.
In competency standards the emphasis is on outcomes and on the application
of knowledge and skills, not just specification.
Competency standards are therefore concerned with what people are able to
do (e.g. maintain and use networds), and also with the ability to do this in a
range of contexts (e.g. maintain and use networks of suppliers, government
agencies, etc.).
The national concept of competency includes all aspects of work performance,
and not only narrow task skills. The four components of competency are:
task skills
task management skills
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contingency management skills
job/role environment skills.
Source: Training Package Development Handbook, para. 2.1.3.1. This information has been
reproduced with permission of ANTA.
A broad interpretation of competency acknowledges the complex structure of
individual competence and the application of that competence to the workplace in the
form of performance. Performing requires knowledge, skills and attitudes of relevance
to the job or role at hand. It also requires an understanding of how each of these relate
and the various ways in which they enable each other and engage the more general or
key competencies that facilitate problem diagnosis and to develop strategies that lead to
skilled performance in the workplace.
A CASE I N POI NT MAKI NG COFFEE
To demonstrate the complexity of competence, the process of making and serving
a cup of coffee to a customer at a coffee shop is examined. To be competent
means more than working through the technical steps of making a cup of coffee. It
requires knowledge of coffee beans and how to grind them, knowledge of how to
operate the coffee-making machine and the various recipes for making different
types of coffee. It requires knowledge of procedures in preparing the coffee, and in
operating the coffee machine.
Skills are required to estimate the amount of coffee that you need for each serving,
how to attach and use the components of the coffee-making machine, and to
prepare each serving in the right way. You need to be mindful that you are dealing
with very hot substances and to take appropriate safety precautions, including
precautions of hygiene and cleanliness. You must have the necessary attitudes and
knowledge to facilitate these skills. All these are individual task skills, some of which
are carried out simultaneously requiring that you have task management skills so
that you can manage a number of different tasks within the job. This becomes
especially important when one order involves four different types of coffees all of
which must be served together.
When you go to froth the milk at the appropriate temperature, the steam
apparatus does not work correctly and you must respond to this by diagnosing the
problem and fixing it or finding other ways of frothing milk. One of the pourers
becomes blocked, preventing water flowing through the ground coffee beans and
into cups, and reducing your throughput from four cups per minute to two cups.
Each of these situations needs to be solved quickly as they result in unacceptable
waiting time by customers and therefore lost business. In attending to these
problems, you demonstrate contingency management skills.
On top of all of this you receive a further four orders for coffees. You must

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38 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
commence work on these while working on your original order and in such a way
that you are able to strike efficiencies and effectively deal with each order while
fixing the machine. You must perform these tasks in a very small area through
which four waiting staff come and go at lightning speeds carrying all manner of
prepared food and used dishes, cutlery and crockery. In addition you must also
make sure you have a supply of clean glasses and cups, coffee beans and milk.
Finally each coffee must be presented in the appropriate fashion depending on the
type of coffee (latte in glasses, cappuccino in cups) with a doily on the saucer and a
heart-shaped chocolate placed by the spoon. These are job/role environment skills
that facilitate working with others and meeting the demands of the particular
workplace.
In achieving all of the above you would be competent at that time and in that
place. An apparently simple competency is complex and requires considerable
learning that involves much more than the isolated task of making one coffee, using
a machine.
As tasks, roles and jobs become more complex so do the competencies. By focusing on
what is required of an individual in the workplace, described as performance,
competency encapsulates a complex array of relationships, the deployment of a variety
of skills at various levels, the context in which the performance occurs and the
processes used. To achieve competency in a particular area requires the integration of
all of these items.
A competency is more than just a skill. It encompasses measures of the competency
and addresses the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of the individual to perform
the job at the required level.
Developing units of competency
A unit of competency refers to the smallest achievable component of a competency
standard and is expressed in terms of an outcome. When issuing a national award it is
the whole unit of competency that is recognised and not individual elements of
competency or performance criteria. To better understand competency standards
Figure 1.8 describes the component parts of a single unit of competency. A full unit of
competency is shown in Chapter 3. By adopting a standardised format for units of
competency Australian trainers and assessors have a single document that clearly
outlines what is required in an industry or enterprise for national recognition. This
ensures that everyone is speaking the same language.
In Australia, industry parties, which include employers, unions, associations,
government and any other interested parties, develop competency standards. Together
with the industry stakeholders and the appropriate Industry Training Advisory Body
(ITAB), the competency standards are developed and submitted to the National
Training Quality Council (NTQC) for endorsement. Both the state/territory training
authority and ITAB perform functions of advice and assistance in identifying the
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training needs of industries and occupations. Their role is to assist industry to develop
and manage competency standards. In endorsing the standards, the NTQC enters the
standards on the National Training Information Service (NTIS). Once this has been
done the standards become the basis on which training programs are developed,
courses are accredited and formally recognised and certificates can be awarded to
certify competency in learners.
Competencies relate to jobs or broad areas within an occupation and reflect the
requirements of that job or occupation as determined by the appropriate body. It is
possible to be competent at some things but not at others as competency relates to
broad performance level requirements across whole jobs or occupations. As a person
builds competency over time with experience within a job role or task, they become
more competent in a variety of skills.
ACTI VI TY 1F
Cindy of Peachy Pooches has decided to use a CBT approach to the induction
and training of her three new staff. She has been unable to find any national
competencies for dog washing and grooming so must develop the competencies
herself. Identify and build a competency standard around the unit Wash dog
for Cindy.
Figure 1.8 Format of a unit of competency
UNIT CODE:
Identifying number
UNIT TITLE:
The title of a general area of competency
UNIT DESCRIPTOR: Assists with clarifying the unit title and notes any
relationship with other industry units
ELEMENTS:
Describes outcomes which
contribute to a unit
PERFORMANCE CRITERIA:
Specifies the required level of performance
RANGE STATEMENT:
A range of contexts and conditions to which the performance criteria apply
EVIDENCE GUIDE:
Assists with interpretation and assessment of unit
KEY COMPETENCIES:
A set of competencies that assist with the integration of knowledge and skills into
workplace applications
Source: Training Package Development Handbook, para. 2.1.4.

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40 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
REFLECTI ON
1.31 What does the term competency mean?
1.32 What would you need to do to determine if a veterinarian was
competent?
1.33 What would you need to do to determine if a rollerblade skater
was competent?
CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPETENCY BASED TRAINING
There are eight specific characteristics of CBT. These characteristics identify this
method of training as being different from the formats of training which have been
traditionally used, such as classroom training both at the workplace and in formal
educational organisations. The eight characteristics are discussed below.
1. Focus on specific, useable skills
Perhaps the most enlightened change in relation to vocational education was the
elimination of the concept of serving a minimum amount of time as a basic
requirement for a qualification. This was most commonly seen in senior secondary
school, TAFE colleges and university courses. CBT replaces this approach with a focus
on what the learner can do. Because the aim of a CBT system is to facilitate
achievement of the competencies in the national standards, the focus is on outputs (i.e.
what the individual does). How long it takes an individual to achieve the outputs is
irrelevant.
2. Recognition of prior learning (credit for previous learning)
The focus on outcome accepts that some people will have some, part or all of the
competencies required without having to go through formal learning processes.
Consequently, recognition of prior learning or credit for previous learning is an
important characteristic of CBT. Prior learning principles recognise learning regardless
of how it occurred. It does not matter whether you learned it from your grandmother,
by observing others, or as part of a recreational or formal learning course. What does
matter is that you have a skill and that will be formally recognised.
3. Multiple entry and exit points
It is recognised that the training system must be flexible. Therefore CBT must provide
for multiple entry and exit points. This means that individuals only need to learn what
they do not know or cannot do. For example, a person may know, through experience
and on-the-job training, three out of five areas in which they must be competent. In
a CBT system the individual only needs to be trained in the two areas he or she does
not know.

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4. Modular training
To facilitate multiple entry and exit points, training must be designed in modular
format so that separate learning topics can be broken up into different modules, allow-
ing individuals to learn only what they need to learn by skipping some modules and
learning others.
5. Criterion-referenced assessment
It must be recognised that competency focuses on the outcome or what the individual
can do, not how the competency was learned. As such it has criterion-referenced
assessment which strives to be as objective as possible. Criterion-referenced assessment
is based on an independent standard of performance which is either achieved or not
achieved. The criteria are established prior to training, which focuses the training
efforts. Where an individual does not meet the criteria he or she keeps trying until
they are met. This may involve further training, practise, individual coaching or self-
study.
6. Personalised
Another characteristic of CBT is the orientation to personalised learning, which caters
for the specific needs of the learner within the requirements of the organisation and
the competencies required for the job to be done. The means that training not only
has immediate application for learners but builds their personal work-related skills and
can be delivered in a number of flexible methods to suit the learner.
7. Immediate application
Only skills which are needed by the employee to do the job expected of them, are
taught. Therefore the skills can be applied when training is complete. This contrasts
with the traditional approach, which often taught skills that the employee might not
use, but the trainer or course designer thought would be nice for the learner to know.
8. Flexible delivery
CBT is very flexible in the way it can be delivered. Because of the modular format it
can be presented as an instructor-led course or a self-paced program or anything in
between. This is desirable because mostly the learner should manage learning and it is
unlikely that larger groups of individuals will want or need to do the same part of the
course at the same time. Therefore it is not economical to deliver training in the
traditional classroom fashion. Organisations can use more economical means. The most
important aspect of flexible delivery is that CBT can often be delivered either on-the-
job or off-the-job. Much learning is done on-the-job and until the adoption of CBT
processes this was ignored. CBT treats learning as a natural process, which reflects real
working life. While training can be flexible, this does not mean it is haphazard or ad
hoc. For training to receive accreditation within Australia, it must conform to the
Australian Qualification Framework.
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REFLECTI ON
1.34 How do the characteristics of CBT enable workplaces to create the
skills needed and to become more productive?
1.35 Is the CBT system fairer to learners? Why?
CONCLUSION
The significant worldwide changes over the last 15 years have altered the workplace in
numerous ways. Traditional economic theory found it difficult to explain and therefore
manage the impact of the global marketplace, workforce participation, the recon-
struction and change in the nature of work, and the move from manually based activity
to intellectually based activity, all facilitated by huge advancements in technology.
Technology provided the means by which the global marketplace could develop by
removing all boundaries of time and space. This enabled organisations to operate
continuously around the clock, anywhere across the world and to move resources
around the globe at a moments notice. Technological advancements were the
fundamental cause of changes in the nature and structure of work. This occurred
through the automation of workflows, systems, processes and procedures, electronic
transfer of documents, funds and knowledge and new ways of doing business such as
business-to-business and business-to-commerce links using technology. Personal and
laptop computers forever changed the way work is performed and the way in which
information is gathered, stored and retrieved to the extent that computing skills have
become a basic required competency for all jobs regardless of their level within an
organisation.
The ability of organisations to change rapidly and to move resources swiftly created a
need for human resources who could work in very different ways than they had
previously. Human resources needed to be flexible, continuously improve and develop,
focus on the purpose of the organisation and be creative, innovative and able to respond,
plan and execute in timeframes never before thought possible. Within a relatively short
period of time the work environment had become highly flexible, responsive to the
environment and consumer requirements, and structured in ways that focused on
performance. The new environment was in continual change, lean with new ways of
working and work structures. This difference demanded new and diverse knowledge,
skills and attitudes from the people who worked within the organisation. Organisations
only achieve their objectives through people. Thus people and performance became the
focus of the new organisations for only people could produce performance.
People are like any other asset: to keep them functioning at their best they need
updating and developing. Western governments and organisations soon identified a link
between the training and development of individuals and the performance of
organisations. Training was recognised as an important cog in the wheel of maintaining

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industry, national and international competitiveness. Governments and organisations
examined this critical role and large amounts of money were invested to review how
the new knowledge, skills and attitudes could be developed within the existing and
future workforce. As a result, national systems of training and development were
developed so that there was a natural flow from kindergarten through the compulsory
schooling years, trades, technical and other training, to university degrees and post-
graduate education and training. Most importantly the area of vocational education
and training underwent significant redesign to ensure that the workforce would have
the required knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable performance.
From the late 1980s until the present time, vocational education and training became a
major policy platform in Australia as in other English-speaking nations. Such policies
facilitated regulation of the vocational education and training markets to ensure
focused and industry-relevant training was delivered and recognised officially. For the
most part, this involved the adoption of CBT processes that required the design and
development of industry standards of performance. However, it should be noted that
there is much debate in the literature as to the validity of competency based approaches
especially in regard to the development of expertise. These industry standards of
performance, known as competencies, provided the baseline for training activities and
facilitated the design and development of training courses, activities and programs.
Appropriately designed training activities could be accredited nationally and receive
appropriate certification. Training which was delivered to meet nationally recognised
competencies enabled a consistent benchmark to be set for measurement of progress
and attainment of competency. The certification of competency led to nationally
recognised vocational education and training qualifications that included
apprenticeships/traineeships. While the actual qualification frameworks were different
in many countries, they all followed a similar framework providing recognised
education/training from compulsory education through to post-compulsory education.
The reform of training within western nations was based on sound theory, including
situated learning that had been the hallmark of traditional apprenticeships, and offered
great potential for developing flexible approaches to workplace learning in which
competency based approaches were based. Contemporary learning theory adds further
support to the potential of problem-based learning within the environment in which
it is to be applied and further opportunities for the development of skilled vocational
practice and transfer of training to new situations.
Training is focused on developing knowledge, skills and attitudes for the immediate or
very near future. The way in which training is designed, developed and presented will
influence the outcomes of training. Skilled vocational educators and trainers
understand the complexity of learning and the need for specific knowledge and skills
to ensure training and learning is maximised in learners and facilitates competency in
the workforce and encourages skilled vocational practice towards expertise. Learning
is required for continuous improvement in performance. Organisations must
continuously improve in order to stay competitive. Training is an important subsystem
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44 Tr a i n i n g i n A u s t r a l i a
of the organisation in providing the necessary training opportunities for people to keep
developing thus ensuring the attainment of organisational strategic and operational
objectives.
Just as marketing, sales, accounting, production, legal services and corporate services
are required to be accountable for results, so too is training. Training must add value to
the organisation or there is not much sense in doing it. Used wisely, training is a
valuable management tool that assists with the execution and attainment of plans and
objectives. The training function provides benefits to organisations and individuals in
direct ways and consumers in indirect ways, all of which contribute to increased
performance. Training is critical for individual and organisational performance.
Without it, there can be no improvement, no national or international competitive-
ness, and individuals will be thwarted in their career and personal aspirations for
excellence and satisfaction. The remaining chapters of this book demonstrate how to
design, develop, present, assess and evaluate training. It will be a solid manual for
use on the job and will show you the path. Hopefully, it will press you into learning
more about learning and training so that you will become a skilled practitioner. Your
ability as a training and development specialist is a key determinant of the outcomes
of training.
CHAPTER SUMMARY
1. From the late 1970s, the workplace has undergone significant change.
2. Workplace change has been precipitated by advancements in technology.
3. Technology has facilitated changes in the economy, the way business is
conducted, workforce participation, and the type of knowledge, skills and
attitudes required in the workplace.
4. Work has been redesigned in structure and nature with multiskilling of
workers a key component.
5. One of the most significant changes was the shift from manual to
intellectual operations.
6. The competitive edge for organisations has become human skill and
innovation and the application of it to the workplace.
7. Training is a critical component of performance and necessary for
continuous improvement.
8. Workplace learning has the potential to develop skilled vocational practice.
9. Training is focused on knowledge, skills and attitudes to be used
immediately or in the near future.

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10. Training is an important subsystem in an organisation that delivers the
knowledge, skills and attitudes required for performance and is a powerful
management tool.
11. Training must be accountable and add value to an organisation.
12. Training has specific functions and benefits in an organisation.
13. Training is a complex process that interfaces directly with human learning.
Human learning contributes to continuous improvement. Specific
knowledge and skills are required in training staff to ensure training
outcomes.
14. CBT is outcome-focused and based on national industry competencies.
15. CBT has eight specific characteristics, which support the development of
skills in the workforce.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Why has technology had such an influence on the world and in particular
the world of work?
2. How is training a critical component of individual and organisational
performance?
3. How does multiskilling benefit organisations?
4. Why is workplace learning attractive?
5. What are the particular benefits of CBT?
6. When is a person competent?
CASE STUDY MARKS HOST & CO
Marks Host & Co is a small engineering firm based in the southern suburbs of
Brisbane. It has been operating for 45 years, and is now run by Geoffrey Hosts
son and daughter, Paul and Sheriden. They have been concerned over the last
few years about the decrease in profitability of the company. It has lost a number
of international contracts it held because the company was too expensive. On
the local market it has lost three important contracts because its prices were
higher than the competitors prices.
Paul and Sheriden have reduced costs and have trimmed everything they can.
Only last month they let go three good workers who had been with them for
over ten years. They have invested in new technology and updated their

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machinery on a regular basis. It seems that no matter what they do, they cannot
meet the price structures of their competitors.
They still have 15 staff operating under two awards depending on the type of
qualification they have and the particular engineering they do. These remaining
staff have been with the company since they completed their apprenticeships. Of
particular concern to Paul and Sheriden are the many conflicts between staff
under the two different awards, which have to be sorted out on a regular basis.
Even within the relevant award, many times some of the staff have declined to
perform a duty or task which they thought was not part of their job.
Paul and Sheriden have called you in to assist and advise them. You discover that
they provide no training for their staff. What would you suggest they do?
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