With the challenges confronting VET providers in recent times it has become increasingly apparent that many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are now considering entering the higher education space. But importantly, is higher education the right strategic move for a successful RTO?

The answer to this question comes to down to an organisation’s capability in five key areas: governancefaculty and scholarshipfacilities and resources (both physical and virtual); curriculum; and a quality assurance framework that describes how these facets work in harmony to deliver quality educational outcomes.

There is a sixth area that is also important to consider and that is the process that an organisation must follow to gain regulatory approval to operate as a higher education provider. This knowledge is usually sourced through someone within an organisation that has been through the process before or alternatively, a reputable higher education consultant.

The challenge for any RTO seeking to enter the higher education space is developing a capability in these key areas in a higher education context. The delivery of vocational training is a very different animal from higher education and the two do not co-exist easily; indeed I have often heard it said “it is like mixing oil and water”.

The cost of regulatory failure is significant and may amount to multiple millions of dollars in either hard cash or opportunity cost; so it is important that RTOs get this right.

The Higher Education Leadership Institute (HELI) provides bespoke advice to organisations thinking about entering the higher education space. Also, to provide an introduction to those just dipping their toe in the water we run webinars on “what it takes to be a HEP” through the ACPET PD program. If this may be of interest to you please visit: https://www.acpet.edu.au/services/professional-development/upcoming-pd-events/.

Dr Peter Ryan
Founder & CEO, Higher Education Leadership Institute