When Foundation Education decided to overhaul all their Cert 2 and 3 level courses within a 6 month period, it seemed like they were attempting the impossible. With over 80 units of competency to be completed, the resource requirements to achieve this ambitious goal were daunting to say the least. Thanks to some smart strategic support, however, Edutemps made the unachievable become a reality.
Bradley Low, the Institute’s General Manager, Education, tells us how they were able to move mountains to get it across the line. “As part of our VET schools program we wanted to develop our Cert 2 and 3 level courses to have an assessment quiz and assignment components, with the objective of reducing marking time. In order to implement this, however, we knew it would need a total rewrite of all our VET program courses. This was a huge undertaking that would normally require 15 to 18 months of development, but we simply didn’t have that much time to play with and had to somehow condense this down to 6 months.”
The core challenge on the project was the sheer man-hours required to carry out the project, as Bradley explains. “We did our sums and estimated that we would need around 30 content developers to have a chance of meeting the time frame. That is a lot of skilled labour that needs to be engaged all at once.
“It wasn’t simply a matter of quantity either. We needed people who had the competency to do the work and the initiative to be self-directed. In our experience, hiring the right quality of personnel is typically a hit and miss affair. It’s not unusual for people to drop out at the last minute or to simply not be up to standard, so we knew we had a real challenge on our hands”.
So how did Bradley and his team overcome this seemingly monumental obstacle? They had some internal resources and could have attempted to hire help directly, but they knew that this course of action would have a high risk of failure. The only alternative was to somehow engage assistance in sourcing the right people. This is where Edutemps came into the picture.
Brad takes up the story. “I have never been a fan of using employment agencies in the past, but it seemed like we had no choice in this case. We decided to talk to Edutemps as a specialist agency in the VET sector and it was a case of basically taking the project and dumping it in their lap and asking if they could help us make it happen”.
For Bradley, this decision turned out to be a major strategic success. “Edutemps were able take on the challenge both in terms of quantity and quality and became integral to the project staying on track,” he said.
“They were simply outstanding in the way they applied themselves to understanding our situation and working with us to achieve results. Michael McHugh really took up the challenge and with their vast network of resource developers, instructional designers and subject matter experts they were able to source the right standard of people. Not only that, they were also able to work in with our internal team so that we achieved the cohesion needed to maximise efficiency.
“Of course, there were always going to be challenges along the way on something of this scale, but when anything looked like it was going pear shaped, Michael and Edutemps moved hell and high water to rectify things and keep it on track.”
The project involved contributions from course developers, project managers, instructional designers and a Q&A team, all of whom had to interact to make the final product a reality. Bradley explains what kept these various gears all meshing together. “The key for a project like this is to have a development manager that is up to the task. Fortunately we have someone internally who is very skilled and has the capability to manage the organisation and timing of the project as a whole. Edutemps were then able to apply their expertise and resourcing capabilities in a coordinated way to meet the project needs. It was a real team effort.”
Of course the development for vocational courses needs to meet very stringent quality requirements, which Foundation Education were able to satisfy thanks to a proven process for quality review. “The content developers we contracted would write the content. We then took that content in-house for typesetting, proof reading and editing. Following that we engaged an external third party to vet the material and apply an objective eye to ensure quality standards were met.”
So how does Bradley rate the success of the whole exercise? “So far, so good,” he stated confidently. “We were able to get the full complement of courses completed and the initial feedback we are getting from our schools is that they are very satisfied with the standard of what we have put together.
“Of course, it will probably take a full 12 months to get a final verdict on just how successful it is, but the signs are all positive to date.”
Bradley also commented on what he would do differently if the same situation arose in the future. “The biggest issue was time constraints and on this project that put a lot of pressure on our resources and a lot of long late hours were spent to make it work. Thankfully, with Edutemps help, we were able to deliver, but more time would be the big advantage if we were to do it all again.
“I can honestly say that it would have been impossible without Edutemps and they have totally changed my thinking on the value of having a skilled and experienced partner to help with sourcing the right people quickly. They made my life a lot easier.”
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