Student Handbook


Student Handbook

Fortress Learning is committed to ensuring that its marketing and advertising complies with AQF requirements.

  • It uses the NRT logo only for qualifications within scope
  • When using references or endorsements about its products and services, it ensures it has appropriate permissions.
  • All marketing materials are approved by an authorised member of the RTO.
  • The RTO identifies training and assessment services leading to AQF qualifications and/or statements of attainment separately from other training services they might provide.

Fortress Learning supplies accurate, relevant and up-to-date information to prospective students and contractors prior to completing written agreements.

Fortress Learning reviews all information regularly, through its version control policy, to ensure accuracy and relevance.

Prior to enrolment, Fortress Learning supplies students with information about:

  • Student selection processes
  • Course information including vocational outcomes
  • Fees and charges
  • Provision for forms of assistance where appropriate
  • Opportunities for RPL/ credit transfers

The following process applies to enrolment and selection.

Step 1

Contact Fortress Learning

1300 141 994
toowoomba.office@fortresslearning.com.au
PO Box 11116, Centenary Heights, QLD., 4350

Step 2

Contact Point

Fortress Learning will advise on the enrolment process, including LLN

Step 3

Enrol

Complete the Enrolment Form
Fortress Learning will allocate a Training Coordinator to you

Step 4

Personal Learning Plan Developed

Fortress Learning will negotiate with you a personal learning plan or course outline and schedule that reflects course requirements and your personal circumstances. This will become a ‘living document’

Step 5

Orientation

Participate in orientation to the online system. We conduct a regular Webinar “Getting Started”. You will be emailed access to your dashboard and have access to all resources you require.

Step 6

Start Learning

You start your training program. Your Training Plan is constantly reviewed in response to your learning and circumstances.

At all levels of operation, Fortress Learning is committed to the principles of access and equity. Equity is about justice and fair dealing, not necessarily about treating all people the same way. Access ensures that any disadvantaged persons or groups in our community will have the provision of training services. Fortress Learning Trainers and Assessors will ensure that all course participants have sufficient resources provided to assist them to successfully complete course requirements.Some examples of this might be:

  • Literacy and numeracy support
  • Flexible delivery of training and/or assessment components of the course
  • An accessible venue.

Disability Support

  • In keeping with the principles of accessibility and equity, and in accordance with their responsibilities as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992,Fortress Learning is committed to ensuring that all students are supported in achieving their goals. Where barriers exist for students in relation to access, participation and learning outcomes, Fortress Learning will work with the student to ensure fair and equitable access and outcomes are achieved.

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders

  • Fortress Learning is committed to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders are also given sufficient support to meet their learning needs.

The induction process will include a Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) indicator. This is optional and opportunity is given on the Enrolment Form for students to choose to complete this or not.

However it is recommended students complete this because the process assists trainers to better meet the individual needs of each student.

The enrolment form also offers an opportunity for students to identify any other particular needs they might have. Please discuss any concerns with your trainer.

Fortress Learning is committed to providing fair and equitable access to learning for all students and this will be monitored throughout the course.

What is RPL?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) takes into account previous studies you may have completed as well as life and work experiences. If these experiences are relevant, you may be granted exemptions for parts of your course. This allows for fairer access to studies by ensuring you are not required to duplicate learning you have already achieved.

Using the RPL procedure is not necessarily an easy way to get a qualification. It is not a matter of time served, or amount of experience, but the specific and relevant learning that is assessed according to the prescribed competency standards. Applicants need to be committed to supporting their case by locating and providing suitable evidence and documentation.

All applicants for RPL are encouraged to discuss this with their trainer prior to commencing the formal application process.

Steps for an evidence based RPL assessment:

Following the receipt of your Personal Learning Plan the RTO will provide you with the resources you will need to collect evidence of your current skills and experience.

  • You collect evidence and return to the RTO.
  • The assessor evaluates the evidence and notifies you if there are any further pieces of evidence that are required.
  • The assessor negotiates an interview time with you, during which your evidence will be discussed as it relates specifically to the Competency Standards for which you are seeking RPL.
  • At this point an assessor may also recommend that you complete one or more units of competence in order to satisfy requirements.
  • The assessor conducts the assessment of all the evidence, and advises you of the result. This will be recorded in your Dashboard.
  • The assessor deems you competent or will ask for further evidence.
  • When the evidence meets the Unit of Competency requirements the RTO issues the appropriate statement of attainment or qualification.
  • The length of time for this process will depend almost entirely on how much evidence you have and the time taken to collect all of the relevant evidence.
  • Because it is possible that you are not aware of what RPL you may be eligible, Fortress Learning conducts an evaluation of this for you as part of its Personal Learning Plan process.Direct Credit: if you have completed some study similar to any units from the qualification in which you are enrolled with Fortress Learning, then it might be possible to award Direct Credit. Your trainer will provide further advice about this.

Student Responsibilities for Assessment

Fortress Learning will not be held responsible for items of assessment that are submitted in any form until we actually receive them.  For this reason, all students are responsible for retaining a copy of all materials and items that are submitted.

Submitted items will be retained by Fortress Learning for a period of 6 months following graduation, after which time they will be destroyed.  Original items submitted in Hard Copy are not returned; as above, students are advised to retain copies of all materials submitted.

A key principle of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations is national recognition (formerly known as mutual recognition), which means that all states, territories and registered training organisations will recognise qualifications and statements of attainment issued by other registered training organizations across Australia.If you have completed Units of Competency from other Training Packages, you may be eligible for Direct Credit. You will need to provide copies of qualifications for Direct Credit to be granted.

Fortress Learning has a range of payment options as described in the Payment Options at https://fortresslearning.com.au/how-to-apply/payment-options/.
We invite you to contact us directly to discuss any financial hardship or request for delayed/alternate payment options.
For further information call Fortress Learning on 1300 141 994.

Extensions and deferral options for courses that are in a Transition/Teach-Out period may be limited or non-existent.  If the program you are enrolling in is in a Transition/Teach Out period, then you are encouraged to speak with Fortress Learning prior to enrolling to fully understand the implications of that.

EXTENSIONS

In the event that the program in which you enrolled is still accepting new enrolments, you may extend your program as follows.  These fees are subject to change without notice.

It is not possible to extend enrolment in a program that has been closed to new enrolments in the time since you commenced. It is not possible to extend enrolment where more than 12 months have passed since the initial period ended. In this situation, students must re-enrol.

If it is more than 18 months since your date of enrolment and you wish to extend your course, it is required that you first have a conversation with a Trainer. Student assessment documents are only retained for 6 months following exit from the course. If you expire and then extend beyond the 6 month period, any tasks that were submitted and led to partial completion of a Unit of Competency may need to be done again.

Please contact us if you have any questions or need to speak with a Trainer.

Extension fees are available from the Courses/Fees page, and are subject to change from time to time.

COOLING OFF PERIOD
A cooling off period of seven days applies. If, within 7 days of enrolling, a student decides to withdraw from their program of study prior to submitting any items for review (with the exception of the Personal Learning Plan Survey), then no fee will be charged and the participant entitled to a full refund of any fees paid.

REFUND POLICY
Fortress Learning is committed to working within a fair and transparent framework for the charging of fees, the provision of protection for fees paid in advance and the refund of payments where appropriate.

Participants in Fortress Learning training programs can ask for a refund in the event of the following:

  • Services are not provided e.g. cancellation of course, financial failure of company
  • The fair and reasonable non-attendance of student e.g. sickness, family emergency. Such matters will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the RTO Manager, with early notice of inability to engage in the program recommended (requests must be made with all relevant documentation prior to the last day of enrolment, although this does not guarantee such a request will be granted).
  • Fortress Learning will negotiate a fair and reasonable level of refund in the event of other circumstances e.g. where disciplinary issues have led to a student being asked to withdraw from a program.
  • Where delivery of training and assessment services have been undertaken through a third party and that third party has been unable to fully provide the service.

Unless the above applies, in the event of withdrawal the following refunds will apply, calculated from the date on which the official Withdrawal Form is received:

For all Courses:

  • If you withdraw prior to making payment and have not submitted any items for assessment (excluding your Personal Learning Plan Survey), no fee is payable
  • If you withdraw within 7 days of making payment, without submitting any tasks for review:  full refund as per the Cooling Off period
  • If you withdraw within 7 days of making payment, and have submitted tasks for review:  80% refund, minus $35 admin fee.
  • If you withdraw between 7 days and 60 days: 50% refund, minus $35 admin fee
  • If you withdraw after 60 days: no refund is payable
  • In the event that your course duration is less than 60 days: a 50% refund is payable beyond Day 7 up until half of the number of days between enrolment and the end date, minus $35 admin fee.  For example, a student who enrols in a program that has a duration of 40 days, can withdraw up to Day 20 and seek a 50% refund.

The same calculations apply in the event of Withdrawal following payment for an Extension, based on the date of making that payment.

For a single unit:

  • If you withdraw prior to making payment, no fee is payable
  • If you withdraw within 7 days of making payment, without submitting any tasks for review:  full refund as per the Cooling Off period
  • If you withdraw on or after the 8th day: no refund is payable

Issuing Statements of Attainment following Withdrawal
Upon request, a Statement of Attainment listing all units successfully completed will be issued following withdrawal. A fee of $60 applies for this.

WITHDRAWAL POLICY
Refunds may take two to three weeks to process

An Application for Refund Form is available from the RTO on request.
Should a student wish to withdraw from a course the following will be required:

Fill out a Fortress Learning Withdrawal Form which is available from the RTO on request. Once signed, submit to trainer or send to Fortress Learning.
Fortress Learning will contact the student upon receipt of the withdrawal form to assess and discuss any outstanding issues e.g. return of course materials, completed units, outstanding fees, etc.

Eligibility for refund is calculated based on the date of the business day on which the completed Withdrawal Form is received.

TRANSFERS
Where a student wishes to transfer from one program (Program A) to another (Program B), the fees are calculated as follows:

Program B Fee – Program A Fee + Transfer Admin Fee ($150) + $150 per unit completed (or for which any assessment has been reviewed) which cannot directly contribute to Program B.

Where a student (Student A) wishes to transfer their enrolment to another student (Student B), Student A must first Withdraw and then any Refund payable may be allocated upon their request to Student B, less a $150 administration fee. Transfers of this kind are not permissable during a period of Extension.

In all situations, the duration of Program B is reduced by the length of time that has passed since enrolling in Program A.

DEFERMENT POLICY
Students may suspend their studies for up to a 3 month period, and on not more than 2 occasions.  In all cases, the period of deferment must not be more than 2 times the balance of time remaining in the student’s course at the time of application (eg, if a student has one month left in their period of enrolment, they may request not more than a 2 month deferment).  There is no fee for the initial deferment.  A second deferment incurs a $45 administration fee.

The period of deferment has no bearing on refunds payable in the event of Withdrawal.

DEFAULT OF PAYMENT WHILE ON PAYMENT PLAN
Enrolment of students on a payment plan will be terminated immediately should agreed payments not be met, and should notification of inability to meet agreed payments not be provided 7 days prior to due date.

In the event of withdrawal, students on Payment Plans will be liable for an additional $25 per additional payment that has been planned.

REPLACEMENT DOCUMENTS
A fee of $60 applies to replacement of Credentials and/or Statements of Attainment. Proof of identity may be required.

COURSE DURATION
Course duration is calculated as the number of calendar months commencing from the date of payment, unless the first date of the nominated start month is after the date of payment.

For example:

  • If the nominated start month is March, and payment is made Feb 25, then the course duration commences from March 1.
  • If the nominated start month is March, and payment is made March 10, then the course duration commences March 10.

In event of extension, the extension period is calculated from the date of the payment of the extension fee.

Fortress Learning is committed to establishing, maintaining and enforcing a safe system that focuses on:

  • A safe work environment
  • A risk management approach to safety
  • Preventing injury/illness
  • Complying with legislative requirements
  • If, at any time during the Fortress Learning training program, you identify hazards in the workplace please notify your trainer immediately. Incident Report Forms are available from the RTO on request or can be downloaded from the website on www.fortresslearning.com.au as required.Trainers regularly revue venues and assets to identify and mitigate risks. All hazards are reported, and are addressed through the RTO’s Risk Register and Action Plan.

Fortress Learning is aware of its responsibilities under ASQA to provide adequate protection for the health, safety and welfare of students attending face-to-face training sessions. This includes adequate and appropriate support services in terms of academic mentoring and coaching services.

Fortress Learning is also aware of their obligations towards students with a recognizable disability as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. They will work with such students to customize their services, including making reasonable adjustment to the provision of assessment services in order to facilitate their successful participation in education, training and employment opportunities.

In striving to have a skilled, competent and caring workforce, unsatisfactory student performance and/or conduct will be addressed in a professional manner to ensure a fair and consistent process in line with natural justice.

Within the framework Fortress Learning is committed to ensuring that inappropriate behaviour that may impair the integrity of the learning processes or the well being of individuals is appropriately managed.

Fortress Learning students have a right to:

  • Be treated fairly and with respect
  • Pursue their learning activities in a supportive and stimulating environment
  • Learn in an environment free of discrimination and harassment
  • Be assured of privacy of their personal information and records
  • Lodge a complaint without fear of victimisation.

Fortress Learning Students have responsibilities to:

  • Treat other students and staff with respect and fairness
  • Follow any reasonable direction from staff
  • Not engage in plagiarism, collusion or cheating in assessment activities
  • Submit assessment activities by the due date or seek approval to extend the due, and retain a copy of all assessment materials that are submitted in the event that submitted items are not received by Fortress Learning
  • Return company equipment and materials on time
  • Observe normal safety practices

Where a student breaches these guidelines or where a single incident is a serious breach of discipline, the following steps will be taken by Fortress Learning staff:

  • The student will be invited to participate in a Counselling interview.
  • If the student acknowledges the breach and indicates a willingness to address it, then the student will be issued a first written warning. If the student does not acknowledge the breach and/or is unwilling to address it, then the student’s enrolment will be terminated.
  • If the breach persists after the first warning, then the student will be issued with a final written warning.
  • If these repeated attempts to manage unsatisfactory student behaviour fail then the student’s enrolment will be terminated.

Where student behaviour constitutes an attempt to threaten or otherwise coerce staff such as in relation to the integrity of assessment decisions, Fortress Learning reserves the right to immediately cancel that student’s enrolment, with any refund to be calculated in line with the Withdrawal Policy or at the Manager’s discretion.

Fortress Learning is committed to dealing with complaints and appeals in a timely and constructive way. If wishing to make a complaint or an appeal concerning any aspect of a Fortress Learning course, the student should refer to the following process:

Appeals

Students have the right to make an appeal against the academic decisions made by Fortress Learning.

Appeals should be made within ten (10) working days of the original decision having been made.

An appeal against an assessment decision can be make on the following grounds:

  • the student was not provided with a clear explanation of the assessment process;
  • the student needs were not taken into consideration where appropriate;
  • the assessment process did not meet the requirements of the training package;
  • the student genuinely believes there has been an administrative error in the calculation of their assessment marks; or
  • alleged bias or incompetence of the trainer

Complaints

Attempt to informally resolve the issue with appropriate Fortress Learning staff.

If unsuccessful they should lodge a formal complaint in writing to the Manager at: Fortress Learning

PO Box 11116
Centenary Heights Q 4350
Or via fax: 07 3112 4088

Fortress Learning will seek to resolve all complaints within 60 days of its receipt, and where a longer period is likely to be required, Fortress Learning will advise in writing the reasons for this.

Making a complaint to ASQA

ASQA provides information about making a complaint in this page:http://www.asqa.gov.au/complaints/complaints.html

If you are not satisfied with the quality of service or training being provided by a registered training organisation (RTO), there are ways for you to make a complaint.

Anyone can lodge a complaint: students, training organisation personnel, employers, parents, industry personnel, or any other member of the community.

If you are a local/domestic student of an ASQA RTO and you intend to make a complaint, you must first follow your RTO’s internal complaints and appeals procedures.

If, after following your RTO’s internal procedures, you still believe the RTO is breaching or has breached its legal requirements, you can submit a complaint to ASQA by completing the online complaint form.

Fortress Learning aims to create a working environment which is free from harassment and where all members of staff are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect. Workplace bullying and harassment can be seen as the repeated, less favourable treatment of a person by another that may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice. For example:

  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Non-verbal.

Students with complaints concerning bullying and/or harassment should refer to the steps outlined in the Complaints/Appeals Policy.

If these attempts to settle the grievance are unsuccessful then the student can refer the matter to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland on their statewide number 1300 130 670 or via TTY on 1300 130 670

Fortress Learning is committed to providing a safe caring environment where all employees have a right to work free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.Discrimination may be defined as unfair or prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups of individuals based on personal attributes, characteristics, idiosyncrasies or associations. Sexual harassment can be regarded as any form of unwelcome sexual attention that is offensive, intimidating or humiliating.

Racial harassment is defined by harassment on the basis of race, which can vary from relatively minor abuse to actual physical violence.

Students with complaints concerning Discrimination should refer to the steps outlined in the Grievance Policy.

If these attempts to settle the grievance are unsuccessful then the student can refer the matter to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland on their statewide number 1300 130 670 or via TTY on 1300 130 670

As a registered training organisation, Fortress Learning is obliged to maintain effective administrative and records management systems. This involves the retention of student records. All staff must be scrupulous in using student information only for the purposes for which it was gathered.

Students must have access to their own training records at all times.Should it be deemed necessary, information about student records can only be divulged to a third party with the written consent of the student.

Students are able to access their records via the Fortress Learning LMS through their Dashboard. Once a student graduates they are able to access their records by emailing enrolments@fortresslearning.com.au

If you have concerns about personal information held by Fortress Learning, you should contact the RTO Manager on 1300 141 994 or in writing to Manager, Fortress Learning, PO Box 11116, Centenary Heights, QLD., 4350, marked Private & Confidential,

If you still feel that your concerns have not been resolved, your complaint can be sent direct to the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001Phone: 1300 363 992 or TTY 1800 620 241

Email: privacy@privacy.gov.au.

Authenticating evidence

Where a student submits for assessment by recognition records of study completed previously, Fortress Learning may contact the issuing organisation to authenticate these records.  Similarly, where a student submits for assessment by recognition any third party statements, Fortress Learning may contact the author to authenticate those statements.

Fortress Learning is committed to the principle of continuous improvement. This is articulated in the Continuous Improvement Plan that is available on request. This Plan aims to support and strengthen compliance with Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations in a way that reflects the growth of Fortress Learning, encourages innovation and measures and monitors outcomes.

Fortress Learning will ensure that all forms and documents used in the delivery of qualifications under their scope will be accurate and up to date. As significant changes or amendments are made to documents then old versions will be recalled and new ones circulated.

At least once a year a complete review of all documents will occur.

Fortress Learning has a systematic way of ensuring that assessments undertaken are fair and reasonable and consistent with industry best practice. This is articulated in the Validation Strategy that is available upon request. Forms detailing validation processes are also available on request.

Risk management is the systematic, positive identification of threats to resources and the development of appropriate strategies which minimize risk.

Fortress Learning has a systematic way of ensuring that all risks associated with the delivery and assessment of qualifications within its scope are minimized. Their Risk Management Action Plan is available on request.

Fortress Learning is committed to issuing qualifications and statements of attainment that are within its scope of registration.

A Statutory Declaration attesting to authenticity will be required from a student prior to awarding official certification for one or more units/qualifications.

Certificates will be issued in a timely manner and in accordance with the 30 calendar day period stipulated by the Clause 3.3 of The Standards for Registered Training Organisations.

Soft copies of certification documentation will, under no circumstances, be provided prior to the hard copy being posted to a graduate.
Under no circumstances will a certificate of graduation be issued prior to full payment of any fees due.

Computer Requirements

Fortress Learning is aware that there are many versions of computer softwares and operating systems in use.  Our assessment materials are developed using MS Word on a Windows platform. Effectively engaging with our online resources will require the ability to:

  • open web pages
  • view embedded video and slideshows (eg, youtube, slideshare)
  • download and extract .zip folders
  • open .pdf documents
  • open, edit, save and upload documents created in .doc and .docx format

Fortress Learning wishes all prospective students to make an informed decision prior to enrolling.  The best way to confirm that you have the necessary system requirements is to visit the Live Online Student Account, download some of the sample assessment tasks and open the links that are contained within them.

The Online Student Account is available by clicking here, and logging in with the following details:

Email address:  sampledipvet@testaccount.com

Password: DipVET0114

(Note:  Because it is a real life account, some people change the password. If you cannot log in, then let us know and we will reset it for you.)

Students undertaking a Business Diploma will be provided their course content via eBooks.  These eBooks can only be accessed online and via an app that is downloaded to your PC, laptop or tablet.  The app can be downloaded to a maximum of 2 devices.  Hard copy Learner Guides are available at an additional cost.

Other Resource Requirements

Each program will require resources that are provided by the student.  These are itemised in the Suitability Self-Assessment Checklist that students must review, and acknowledge reading prior to enrolling.