Investigating Dip VET RPL outcomes to unearth the “unknown unknowns” in trainer/assessor practice.


Unknown Unknowns

We have decided to take a look at what experienced training professionals do, and compare that with what the TAE50116 Dip VET says they should be doing.

The knowledge and skills required to function competently within the VET sector are packaged in the TAE Training Package.   Whereas the somewhat ubiquitous Certificate IV in Training & Assessment may have become somewhat accepted as an entry-level qualification, the Diploma of Vocational Education & Training is rapidly being recognised as essential for anyone involved in the administration, management or leadership of VET.

As with all qualifications, the Dip VET is limited by the Packaging Rules.  Of the 10 units in total, 6 are Core.  From this, we can confidently presume that within those 6 units can be found the essence of a productively functioning VET professional.

That is the idea, anyway. Read more…

We Revisit Painful Truth #8 as ASQA Cancels Qualifications


In January, Fortress Learning published an article called The Ten Painful Truths About The Cert IV TAE.

Recently, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) announced that it will cancel 432 Security and First Aid Qualifications and Statements of Attainment issued to 276 individuals.

This rings true to Painful Truth #8. Just because you get it, doesn’t always mean you get to keep it.

Read more…

Research Roundup – March 2018


This month we have focused on drawing strategic plans to broaden our research and publications.  Our plan stems from our belief in the significant impact that this research will have on the development of the vocational education sector. The next months will focus on composing a variety of research papers, such as occasional papers, working papers and research reports, which will then be published in refereed and non-refereed journals.

Thank you to our research partners

We are very grateful to our research partners – Professor Stephen Billet and Dr Sonal Nakar from Griffith University, Mr Chris Jones from TAFE Papua New Guinea, Mr Avito Hendriques from Timor Hopeseller and staff of Colombo Plan Staff College in the Philippines, for sending their consent to work with us collaboratively in future research programmes.  Dr Olivia Wang from China has also agreed to publish articles on the Fortress Learning website that will reflect her firsthand experience of Australian VET TAE. This will include a comparison of Chinese and Australian VET TAE as well.

Research Interviews

We recently conducted research interviews with Fortress Learning students in order to gather data for a research that focused on students’ perceptions of their experience and identity formation in vocational education including their views on employability development. Read more…

The Cert IV TAE: You get out what you put in

Every now and then, a Cert IV TAE student writes a Review that we believe deserves to be featured and discussed. Instead of them ending up hidden among the others, we will share them with you, and let you know our thoughts about them.

This is what Michael said: 

The driest, most boring course I have ever had the misfortune of having to complete.

Why did this particular testimonial catch our attention? 

Michael does have a point when he says the Cert IV TAE is “dry” and “boring”. We sympathise – the Cert IV TAE can be tough going.

As mentioned in The Ten Painful Truths about the Cert IV TAE, “For many people, it is something that they would rather have done than something that they want to do. For many people, it is something that they have to do to satisfy someone else’s requirements rather than something that they want to do to satisfy their own requirements.”

While yes, it is not a course that is commonly described as “a bunch of fun”, it is what it is. Simply put: if you want to be a Trainer and Assessor, the Cert IV in Training and Assessment is something that you have to do.

Once you have accepted that, whether you like it or not, the next question to ask yourself is why are you doing it?

In study and in life, your ‘why’ is your motivating force. Your ‘why’ will shape the thoughts and feelings that you bring to your Cert IV TAE experience. Approaching your study with, “I hate this,” will inevitably mean that yes, you will hate it and you will continue to hate it…  unless you can change your approach.

If you are required to complete the Cert IV TAE for work and compliance purposes, it may be all too tempting to feel resentment, to simply “tick the boxes” and drag your feet all the way through the qualification.

If this is your ‘why’, you may be selling yourself short.

If your ‘why’ is to better yourself, to embrace the opportunity of learning new skills, gaining up-to-date knowledge and the genuine want to hone your performance, the qualification will look and feel completely different.

It’s all about getting the most out of the course, and you only get out what you put in.


If you would like to know more about what it means to be a student with us, how about you read Dear Future Student, check out Our Courses, or give us a call on 1300 141 994 and we can explore what that would look like.

Get to know your Trainer: Who are they? (Pt 1)


Online learning can be flexible, rewarding, affordable, efficient – it can be pretty great!

But, it also can be a lonely path filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

Here at Fortress, we like to make that path as warm and welcoming as possible.

Our TAE Trainers, Bryan and Emma, are very lovely and very willing to answer your questions. Get to know these wonderful humans – your Trainers – by reading our interview below.

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series: Get to know your Trainer.

Read more…