How TAFE institutes measure their effectiveness and efficiency— Case studies

efficiency-vs-effectiveness

Josie Misko, Sian Halliday Wynes, NCVER, © Commonwealth Government, 2009

Full report: http://bit.ly/1Fht2Tl

This report is the support document to Tracking our success: How TAFE institutes measure their effectiveness and efficiency by Josie Misko and Sian Halliday-Wynes. It comprises reports on each of the nine technical and further education (TAFE) institutes that have taken part in the study. Information was collected via in-depth interviews with chief executive officers and their senior and middle management teams (including faculty directors and educational managers responsible for trade and non-trade programs, marketing, human resources, financial management, administrative services, student services, quality assurance or their equivalents).

In each case study we begin with some brief descriptions of institute characteristics, including main programs offered, and goals and values. We then examine key processes and information used to develop strategic plans and budgets to measure progress towards targets. This is followed by a discussion of how institutes understand the markets in which they operate and the quality of their provision. We end by reports of issues and problems and suggestions for improvement.

Each case study has been validated by the relevant institute director.

Hunter Institute                                                                               4

North Coast Institute of TAFE

Gold Coast Institute of TAFE

Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE

RMIT University

Sunraysia Institute of TAFE

Institutes in South Australia

TAFE SA Adelaide North

TAFE SA Regional

TAFE SA South

Example:

TAFE NSW – Hunter Institute is located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Its main campus is located about 150 km north of Sydney in the Newcastle/Hunter Region. It is the largest regional provider of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia, with 15 campuses, an annual enrolment of nearly 57 000 local and international students and 2500 expert teachers and support staff. The institute offers courses at 15 campuses including Belmont, Cessnock, Glendale, Gosford, Hamilton, Hunter Street, Kurri Kurri, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Ourimbah, Scone, Singleton, Tomaree and Wyong.

Main programs

Hunter TAFE offers programs in all of the following areas: business and computing, engineering, health and community services, primary industries, construction, environment, tourism and hospitality, maritime, transport, access and general education, and arts and media.

Identifying goals and values

Hunter TAFE has organised its strategic objectives around goals for achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability, and effective governance. Its values are about people, leadership, its staff, engagement with customers, industry and communities and celebrating success. Also important are the front action principles of the Australian Business Excellence Framework: leadership, strategic planning, data, information and knowledge, and people.

Its key objectives are to attain:

  • Economic sustainability in terms of student activity: course completions (measured by the number of course complete enrolments), module completion rates (measured by the number of ‘pass’ module enrolments as a proportion of total confirmed enrolments), course attrition rate (measured by the number of ‘withdrawn and discontinued’ [from all modules] course enrolments as a proportion of the total number for the course).
  • Social sustainability in terms of staff activity: (measured by unscheduled absences, sickness, industrial action and some forms of family and community leave)
  • Environmental sustainability in terms of utilities, fuel and green gas emission (measured by average water consumption, monthly electricity consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with Hunter Institute electricity consumption)
  • Effective governance: measured by institute management costs, ISO audit non-conformances, total complaints as a percentage of total enrolments in core and non-core funded programs.

The Hunter TAFE Strategic Plan is derived from strategic objectives and targets that have cascaded in turn from the NSW State Plan, Commonwealth agreements, the NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training (BVET) Plan and the Department of Education and Training corporate plan. Faculty plans cascade from the Institute Strategic Plan. Work plans for teaching sections cascade from the faculty plan.

The Hunter On-line Planning Environment (HOPE) is a relational data base which has been introduced to enable online development and tracking of initiatives, strategic priorities and targets for faculties and for the institute as a whole. Having these plans online makes it easy to make adjustments as environments and needs change. The HOPE system has been successful in receiving a TAFE NSW Quality Award.

Achieving budgets and targets

The institute’s Purchase Agreement with the NSW State Government drives the implementation and monitoring of financial and non-financial budgets for the institute as a whole and for its different faculties and units. The Planning and Sustainability Services Unit has worked hard to provide faculty directors and head teachers with the information they require to arrive at realistic estimations of the enrolments they can expect in their programs for the following year. This includes synthesised information on federal and state government priorities, relevant research reports, regional labour market trends, local skill shortages, industry and community expectations, major works, enterprise relocations and new industrial or residential developments. Faculties will also consider historical data. Once the Purchase Agreement has been signed the institute will set about achieving the targets.

It is not until the enrolment period has ended that educational managers and faculty directors are in a position to know whether they are able to use all of the annual student hours (ASH) they had estimated for their different programs. Before the semester begins a Tally Room meeting is held to consider how each faculty is progressing towards achieving the ASH targets for its particular area,[1] and to move ASH from low-demand areas to high-demand areas. Before this Tally Room meeting, however, faculties will have also considered how each of its teaching sections is placed to meet its ASH targets and how ASH can be moved from areas of low demand to areas of high demand within the faculty. If enrolments exceed allocated ASH the institute will try and renegotiate with TAFE NSW for more funds. It is rare that faculties providing User Choice funded programs will turn any apprentices or trainees away based on lack of ASH. If circumstances really prevent the faculty from taking on more apprentices or trainees, then alternative methods of delivery are explored until there are sufficient places for apprentices and trainees to attend traditional training.

Head teachers are in control of their own budgets, and must monitor progress towards targets. A clerk who is solely dedicated to User Choice or government business will help relevant faculty directors to administer claims for funding.

The institute has tried to facilitate the recording and monitoring of activity by implementing the online ‘Buddy’ system. The Buddy system, developed by the institute’s Finance Team, has been established to help head teachers and administrators to gain instant access to data which records progress towards targets for delivery. Now head teachers are able to see how their planned teacher hours are matched against actual teaching hours, and the wage costs of individual teachers. It also enables them to view actual expenditure at the individual transaction level. If budgets are overspent, faculty directors may either choose to renegotiate ASH or decide that they will balance this over-performance with revenue from commercial ventures. The Buddy system is well regarded and has been shared with other institutes, including Western, Western Sydney, and Sydney, and has received a TAFE NSW award.

The Strategic Business Development (SBD) and Finance Units monitor core and non-core budget activity, keep a regular check on progress towards delivery targets, and provide regular analyses to managers and senior managers. When there are any anomalies, faculties are asked to sort these out. Each month these units will also provide the Institute Board of Management (which involves faculty and campus managers and managers of facilities, finance, human resources, and planning and sustainability units) with reports on year-to-date activity against delivery targets, and a comparison on previous year-to-date performances.

Twice a year the institute undergoes a statewide Profile Review, where course completions, module completions and course attrition will be considered. Each faculty group will be involved in a Profile Review twice a year and a formal Budget Review annually, with informal monitoring through reports to the Board of Management each month. The Strategic Business Development and Finance Units will both touch base with faculty directors and educational managers before their one-on-one budget reviews with senior administrators.

The institute is keen to grow its business and to this end it has identified commercial ventures which will also help it cross-subsidise programs which may not be able to be delivered—and therefore make meeting targets more difficult—without some injection of funds. A number of commercial ventures also provide workplace experience for students as well as return a profit.[2] Sometimes a course that has been developed to appeal to the international market (especially courses with articulation pathways to university) can also turn out to be attractive to local students. At other times domestic courses may be developed with an eye to promoting them to the international market. When faculties find that a course has been or is likely to be too costly, they will consider whether alternative and less expensive modes of delivery might be suitable. If possible faculties may occasionally supplement programs as a way of developing goodwill and ongoing business relationships with enterprises.

This focus on the ‘bottom line’ is apparent in service units. Budgets are checked on a monthly basis. If there is overspending directors will try to find out reasons for the discrepancy. If there is no easily identifiable reason, then more investigations are made. Where possible every effort is made to juggle between funds to meet targets. If budgets are underspent, then there is also more investigation to find out if all expenditure has been accounted for. Generally overspending is minimal.

It is clear that there is a key focus on planning to drive success and achieve efficiencies. ‘We know up-front what it should cost and make efficiencies wherever there are shortfalls.’ Nevertheless, limited integration of statewide HR and Financial systems make it difficult to derive accurate costing on how much it costs to train trainees. ‘It is only an estimate [albeit] a good estimate’ (Finance administrator).

Meeting industry needs

Hunter TAFE uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate its ability to meet the needs of specific industries. Indicators include uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships, successful completions, achievement of competencies, and demand for commercial products. Also important are data on customer complaints and findings from surveys of employers (including the NCVER Survey of Employer Use and Views [SEUV]) and focus groups. The performance of apprentices and trainees in workplaces (captured in work-placement log books), and end-of-program interviews with employers are also used to understand whether training is adequate and relevant. Career Connect Services which link employers to students and students to employers is also a useful source of information.

Vocational Training Orders determine approved training requirements for apprenticeships and traineeships in New South Wales. They identify what training will be funded by the government and what qualifications will be issued. Training packages developed by industry skills councils describe the competency standards that will be achieved. Industry advisory committees for different industry areas also help the institute to identify the type of provision that is required, and give feedback on performance. Also important are the knowledge that teachers gain in their joint development of training plans with employers and their visits to workplaces to conduct or validate workplace assessments for apprentices or trainees. End-of-program interviews with employers are also used to evaluate institute effectiveness.

The institute’s close ties with industry associations, employment agencies (including Australian Apprenticeship Centres), other registered training organisations, state government service agencies and group training companies are very important for the institute as a whole, as well as for trade faculties, teaching sections, managers and teachers. They help the institute to maintain currency and relevance of training content, practice and equipment and materials and relationships and networks with industry. The institute is a member of the Hunter Region Apprenticeship and Traineeship Association.

The employment of part-time teachers still working in their areas of expertise provides key industry contacts as well as sources of information about workplace practice. Another mechanism is to have teachers return to industry to update skills and knowledge.

TAFE NSW has implemented an online service for employers (Employer e-services), which enables employers to access apprentice or trainee results online. Four thousand employers have signed up to the service; however, only about 10% have activated their accounts. Half of these are from Hunter TAFE. At Hunter the officer (‘clerk’) who is dedicated to administering government business will contact employers, visit the business, and help them go online.

Up-to-date information on new and emerging industries which may drive demand for training is also brought to the attention of the institute by teachers and managers who have strong networks in industry, and representatives of industry on the Institute Board. This is complemented by memberships of professional bodies, regional industry forums, and industry associations. Each campus director is on the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Attendance at industry functions and award ceremonies are also key collecting information about how the institute is perceived by industry and community stakeholders.

The institute has introduced a Customer Relationship Management system to track customer contacts.

Meeting student needs

The institute uses a range of indicators to understand whether it is meeting student needs. Course completions, attrition rates, class attendance, and module completion rates are monitored. Also important are results from state, national and institute surveys of student satisfaction, as well as in-class surveys used by teachers. The NCVER’s Student Outcomes Survey (SOS) is used in a general sense to get an understanding of how the institute is performing against national averages. This information is complemented by feedback from employers about the quality of training, increases in commercial business, and teacher assessments of workplace practice. The standardised TAFE NSW instrument for understanding the VET experience of students has previously been administered and analysed locally every two years. From 2009 the institute will be using the student and employer surveys developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to meet its now mandatory student and employer satisfaction reporting requirements against the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) 2007 Quality Indicators. Also monitored to judge effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery are student referrals to student counsellors and their uptake.

Another example of how the institute understands the effectiveness of training is through the informal channel of monitoring which students are offered employment (most often the case for better students), as well as monitoring employer requests for suitable recruits. Some faculties also run Cluster Meetings and team meetings which will have agenda items dealing with student issues including complaints. However, complaints processes are monitored systematically at institute-level to understand issues which are causing problems and actions that can be implemented to address these difficulties. Although international students are generally treated in similar ways, the institute must address a set of specifically legislated requirements regarding pastoral care, attendance monitoring, and learning support.

Understanding relevant markets

The Marketing Unit at Hunter TAFE is keen to have up-to-date information on local and regional economic environments and community attitudes to training to develop and implement an appropriate marketing strategy. This includes training and labour market statistics, research reports, relevant newspapers (especially Campus Review) and websites, government media releases, results of market research and formal and informal personal contacts and professional networks. The high-level profile review undertaken by TAFE NSW has also been used to give an indication of the economic landscape and the demand for training. The most frequently used statistics are those available from the Regional Economic Development Board, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Hunter Valley Research Foundation, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (especially the census statistics).

The institute has linked with others to finance research on issues affecting the Central Coast. One such study looked at why the Central Coast Institute was experiencing high rates of attrition from secondary education. This research provided them with information about the range of student non-participation, attrition and unemployment issues being experienced in the region and how the demography of the Central Coast had an impact on TAFE training uptake and completion.

Surveys of students and communities are other mechanisms used by Hunter TAFE to understand the markets in which it operates. The Hunter Region Omnibus Survey was conducted to understand community attitudes to Hunter TAFE. For the past ten years Hunter TAFE students have also completed a survey which asks them to report the source of their information about course enrolment, whether they telephoned the Hunter Course Information Centre, or visited the website. They have also been asked to indicate whether they would use online services to enrol or pay for their course fees. This information is used for evaluation and continuous improvement.

Hunter TAFE endeavours to understand what its competitors are providing. The Hunter Valley Research Foundation has conducted studies of training being offered or delivered in the region which have been used to support business cases for extending the scope and depth of training programs. The marketing department keeps a check on the costs of courses and fees being charged by other providers. Course Information Centre staff undertake web and mystery shopping strategies to collect information on competitors.

The Marketing Unit has developed a process of gaining information of institute significance from all 15 campuses. A template has been developed which allows staff to register any items of interest occurring on their campus.

The Public Relations Officer sends an email to all Campus Directors on a monthly basis which contains the information template. Campus Directors distribute these to all staff who then return the template to the Public Relations Officer. This provides for greater input from some of the more remote campuses.

The institute makes sure to provide local newspapers, television and radio stations with promotional stories about TAFE. It places advertisements in the local paper on behalf of different faculties and teaching sections, and then follows up with teachers to obtain feedback on whether the advertisement has produced the desired outcome. It is important that there are mechanisms in place to ensure that information on events being run at campus or faculty level is provided to the Marketing Manager for public relations purposes. In this way arrangements can be made to ensure that senior TAFE personnel are at the function should key government, employer or community stakeholders be attending.

Data on increased student satisfaction, enrolments, participation in promotional events, commercial income and decreased attrition rates are used as indicators of marketing success, while data on increased complaints are used to identify issues and problems. ‘If attrition rates go down we like to think we are giving them the information that helped them select the right course’ (Marketing Manager). Public relations activities are tailored to the type of media being used. There is high take-up of media releases. The use of an ‘advertising equivalence’ figure is based on the space given to the media release in the paper, and the calculation of a cost per annum if they were to advertise it: ‘We have had a good strike rate’ (Marketing Manager).

Success in competitions and awards also provides evidence of effectiveness. The Hunter TAFE has been awarded a TAFE NSW Best Marketing Award and an Australian TAFE Marketing Award: ‘This gives us recognition that the brand is successful’ (Marketing Manager).

Website evaluations are conducted to make sure that each faculty or business unit’s web page remains current. Librarians run a website evaluation and seek structured feedback from students.

Managing people

Hunter TAFE believes in developing the capability of its staff and gives them opportunities to develop skills and knowledge to help them undertake their jobs. A system of performance reviews helps to identify areas for professional development. Performance reviews of faculty directors and educational managers are focused on how faculties and sections are progressing against ASH targets, commercial budgets, staffing issues and workforce planning issues.

The institute has provided head teachers (responsible for developing and monitoring their own budgets) with workshops on business literacy. Stress management, classroom management, technical currency updates, currency of industry programs have also been offered.

The Human Resources (HR) team attend state-wide HR managers meetings, where ideas and concerns are shared once a term. The HR team is also considering ageing workforce issues, workforce and succession planning and programs are offered to staff to help them with transition to retirement. A ‘Life after TAFE Expo’ is held where exhibitors have booths on topics including superannuation, travel, tai-chi, health and wellbeing, and volunteering.

An institute employee portal which interfaces with the institute website allows the HR team to interrogate data and provide information and reports on:

  • workforce statistics and succession planning
  • OHS policies and procedures and standards
  • employee services including awards, conditions and forms
  • performance management policy documents (there may also be room to include information about competencies achieved in professional development programs).

Indicators that are used to evaluate the effectiveness of industrial relations (IR) strategies are the number of unscheduled absences (due to strikes), sick leave, number and complexity of issues between unions and the Institute Consultative Committee (a meeting of the unions and Institute Management). Other indicators of performance are the number of formal complaints received. These are reviewed on an annual basis and reports are provided to central office and the Equal Employment Opportunity office. Indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of OHS strategies include the number of workers on compensation claims, the net costs incurred in the claims, and the number of staff utilising the institute’s corporate gym program.

Staff Exit Surveys also provide other information about the effectiveness of operations. These are initiated by the HR team and held face-to-face with resigning staff. There is no compulsion to agree to an Exit Survey and often staff members who are leaving because they are unhappy refuse to participate in the interview. If staff resign and leave before the HR department has been able to set up an interview an exit survey is mailed out to them, and this is followed by a telephone call. Having staff involved in such exit surveys helps the HR department to identify any system issues that can be fed to faculty directors. When reasons for leaving are because of clash of personality or personal issues there is no reason to pass this information on and it remains confidential.

The statewide Employee Opinion Survey is used but the institute is looking to develop a new survey in connection with the Hunter Valley Research Foundation.

Employees who require counselling and assistance are linked to Employee Assistance Providers. Because this is mostly used for personal issues, the institute only monitors information on the numbers of people who attend. There is no information kept on the names of those who attend or the reasons involved. A Health Welfare Advisor provides pre-placement medicals, advocacy support, and rehabilitation services. If staff members are required to go overseas for work they are provided with safety information.

The HR Business Partners initiative has been introduced to provide HR support to faculty directors, teachers and business unit team leaders. Its aim is to address issues before they escalate into formal complaints, stress claims and industrial issues.

Learning from the successful practice of others

Staff will learn from the successful practice of others through exchanging ideas and information, through membership of internal and external groups and networks, and attendance at external events. Meetings, projects and workshops are used for cross-fertilisation, networking and sharing of ideas within the organisation. Staff will attend state and national awards nights (including NSW TAFE Quality Awards and national training awards), the annual ‘Showcase of Innovations and Initiatives’, and the former ‘Reframing the Future’ events. Relevant staff members are encouraged to be involved in a TAFE NSW one-day Industry Trade Show (hosted in turn by different NSW institutes). This event aims to showcase good practice in products, services, staff development, and corporate systems development. Staff are encouraged to attend regular meetings of statewide TAFE NSW role-specific groups and curriculum centres. Locally they will be involved in community and industry forums (including community meetings, breakfast and dinner forums). These external events are used to learn from others but also to showcase institute innovations. Attendance at graduation ceremonies is especially important for interacting with industry and community stakeholders, and also often providing learning about Aboriginal culture.

Staff of the Hunter Quality Unit (part of Planning and Sustainability Services Unit) have has also acted as external auditors, or been on staff reviews to look at restructure for other institutes.

Achieving cost-efficiencies and effectiveness

Cost-effectiveness and efficiencies are measured by indicators like module completion rates, course attrition rates and course completion rates. Also calculated is the cost per teaching hour at individual course and module level. Some managers will also look at dollar cost per ASH and dollar cost per student. Hunter is generally below the state average in most of these costs.

Another range of indicators is used to look at the effectiveness of different training models. These include per unit dollar cost per ASH for different cohorts of students and for different delivery modes (including blended learning, recognition of prior learning (RPL), workplace training for traineeships, or face-to-face delivery) Workplace delivery is used in a large proportion of User Choice funded programs and other commercial funds; however, it may be more cost-efficient for some cohorts of students than others. For example, workplace delivery for IT traineeships has been found to be quite cost-effective because most of their training is done online. By contrast, workplace delivery in the Certificate II in Business Administration is less cost-effective because students require more support which adds more cost. Combining a mix of delivery modes can sometimes improve the cost-effectiveness of programs.

Class size is used as a measure for efficiency, with higher class sizes often associated with lower training costs. Other indicators of effectiveness are positive feedback from employers, high completion rates, and success in competitions and awards (including World Skills Competitions, teaching awards, and NSW training awards).

Regular team meetings are held to discuss what is going well and what is not going so well. Faculty directors will also meet twice a year with head teachers. When head teachers get together they will talk about their concerns. Performance facilitators allocated to head teachers and teaching sections will also assist in monitoring the budget.

The institute is constantly benchmarking itself against statewide averages including those for corporate services areas to achieve cost-efficiencies.

Maintaining quality assurance processes

The concept of ‘working in the business and on the business’ is a key driver of quality processes at Hunter TAFE.

Internal and external reviews and audits against the AQTF 2007, NCVER activity audits, and internal and external audits against ISO 9001 standards are the key formal quality assurance mechanisms for considering improvements to processes across all programs. There are numerous external audits to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and industry standards. These include audits of financial processes by the Auditor General’s Department, IT security, OHS (for example, confined spaces), and non-destructive testing, animal care and ethics (for VET nursing and Equine Studies programs), and maritime standards as required by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA—maritime studies and marine engineering). ‘Red Tape Busters’ based on staff suggestions for limiting overly bureaucratic processes is another mechanism for continuous improvements.

Internal reviews for AQTF 2007 purposes follow an annual cycle which begins with a workshop for internal auditors to inform them of any changes to AQTF 2007 requirements and to allocate them to teams for audit. Auditors will complete an audit template and identify any opportunities for improvement. These are then entered into the HOPE system so that when faculties and teams do their planning they will be reminded of the actions that need to be completed. The results or audits also link into the Performance Reviews of individual faculty directors. Before these reviews commence Quality Improvement Unit staff will visit faculty directors to see whether they can close any ‘actions’ that remain outstanding from their audits. ISO audits provide an external validation of quality assurance processes in place and are also used to support the AQTF. Results of these audits are then reported back to the monthly meeting of the Institute Board of Management.

When ‘actions’ fail to achieve closure or issues persist within and across faculties or teams then there is a business case for establishing a broader project to investigate a solution as part of the following year’s strategic planning processes.

Suggesting areas for improvement

Exit surveys and more in-depth and long-term studies (between one and five years after training) of the destinations of graduates were frequently requested. One challenge is getting contact details of graduates; another is to find out where they have gone and what they are doing. This includes the number of different careers or jobs experienced, and whether individuals had acquired jobs in their training fields. Categorising this information by different age groups was also felt to be of help. Any data on how training has affected performance in the workplace is also lacking. As well as helping the institute measure its inputs and its outputs, contact with graduates can help to promote further training. If TAFE graduates have been able to move into degree courses (especially important for accounting, management, human resources and information technology graduates) this information can be used in promotional campaigns to recruit students who have started but not completed their programs.

Although national surveys like the SOS and SEUV are felt to be informative at a general level there was a request for a larger sample able to capture information at both industry and local regional areas to enable meaningful comparisons. The institute wants to gauge employer satisfaction with training; however, this is especially difficult for those employers with diverse workforces (for example, large retailers like Woolworths). It was felt that if employer surveys are to be useful then it is important that they obtain information about whether apprentices are learning what they need to know, and whether employers understood their role in training. If they are to be run at the institute level it will be important to have a dedicated person to conduct the survey and analyse the results.

With the movement to outcomes-based auditing there was a concern that it might be difficult to identify successful outcomes and to determine that it was the training that produced the outcomes. There was also a concern about how to arrive at judgments of outcomes related to compliance issues.

A major problem in measuring employment outcomes based on a formula which takes into account the costs of training is that it is not too meaningful for general education programs. ‘We are getting better at developing individual learning plans and moving them on to the next phase (that is, into a faculty program)’ (Faculty Director).

A number of suggestions were made for improving data quality to enable accurate and meaningful comparisons and conclusions. These include nationally consistent definitions for indicators like ‘utilisation rate’, and codes for students who do not complete a course because they got a job. It also includes better formulae for calculating completion rates for apprentices.

If institutes are to ensure compliance with government legislation and industry requirements then they need to be made aware of changes. An online alert system to say that certain awards, policies and guidelines have been changed would help them ensure that their practice was compliant and current with industry standards.

It is difficult for teaching sections to monitor cash flows on any given day because the statewide financial system has not been set up to do this. Limited integration between statewide HR and financial systems means that billing systems are unable to link teachers’ time to specific tasks or programs. ‘We know we paid so many hours but we can’t pull out course, classroom, or funding sources’ (Senior administrator). The institute ‘Buddy’ system is perceived to help in some ways but the data can’t be drilled down sufficiently to give an accurate snapshot. ‘If we want to know how much it costs to train trainees we can’t make an accurate costing, it is only an estimate [albeit] a good estimate’ (Senior administrator).

The challenge of offshore programs is to ensure that partner organisations are doing their bit, and use system and assessment events that have been agreed upon. Arrangements need to be made so that staff from both countries can discuss progress and identify issues that need to be addressed.

Full report: http://bit.ly/1Fht2T

[1]  In New South Wales ASH is divided into Resource Allocation Model (RAM) areas. These areas are broadly based on industry sectors and provide a systematic and uniform way for reporting and planning.

[2]  The Arts and Media faculty runs a production house which will provide management and production for events like the Newcastle Music Festival. Students are also involved in curating and mounting exhibitions for the Newcastle Art Gallery.

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