Skills Strategies International is a Western Australian based private RTO.We have eight staff and deliver across a wide scope to schools, business and other RTO's. We have been involved in e-Learning for over ten years and have delivered many professional development sessions to participants from all sectors.The Retail Traders Association of Western Australia has over 3500 members representing all sectors of the retail industry.Currently the retail sector in W.A. is the largest employer group and yet it is under represented in terms of qualified personnel, lacking a formal training culture. The idea that retail is the job you have while waiting to get a real job is one which exists widely especially amongst young people. Our project will attempt to remedy this situation.

By presenting retail as a genuine career option with a progression of accredited qualifications we hope to alter this perception of retail employment.

Specifically this project will create a generic introduction to three retail units which will encourage all retailers to participate in retail training and hopefully complete full qualifications either by traineeships or RPL.

The first task for the RIPE project was to get agreement from industry representatives about what would constitute generic content for the selected units. To cover the course content that all groups would share and contribute to, without impinging on 'competitive advantage' of any retail group is a major challenge.
Discussions have been held by the development team as to the format and delivery process for the completed content.

What was done

The project has been challenging at times but we have finally come up with a resource that combines most of the elements we had hoped for.

This resource is a PowerPoint which embeds video and audio along with text and images.

By talking with our client base we found out that our first draft was far too focussed on the VET system and what a trainer needs to know. We also learned that we did not address the needs or questions that our clients, the students, had with regards to getting a qualification.

We then sat down with our training team and discussed 'what actually happens' when they are with their clients doing RPL assessments. This is what we have tried to convey in this resource.

Lessons learned

Quite a few lessons have been learned during this project.
The most important lesson for us was to talk the language of our clients and not try to impress them with our eloquent verbosity and command of EduSpeak. They wanted something that made the process clearer, not more inaccessible.
Don't make too much progress BEFORE you consult your client group. It is harder to go back and undo than it is to listen and respond the first time.
Reflect often so that you don't drift off the path you are taking, confusion will lead to an unwillingness to pursue something they already perceive as being difficult.
Don't let your own knowledge lead to gaps in what you tell others.(Expert Blindspot)
We spent a lot of time creating an RPL howto that was suitable for our trainers and did not achieve our goal of encouraging people who are unsure of undertaking training to make the decision to get a retail qualification. Our first draft was doing more to put them off in fact.


We have created a CD resource package that includes three units at Retail Management level. The resource takes a new client through the process of RPL to gain a unit of competence.

We have created full walk throughs for the units rather than just the generic introductions we originally intended to develop.
Without the 'induction' facility that was part of our original thinking we realised that we would need to address a fictional participants journey through the RPL process. This would allow us to provide a range of acceptable evidence that would not undermine retailer competitive advantage. We developed generic document representations that could equally be applied in a diverse range of retail operations.


An interview with the Executive Director of the Retail Traders Association of Western Australia, Wayne Spencer is included in the resource. Wayne discusses possible futures for people entering into Australia's largest employer group in search of a rewarding career.

The resource also includes a video outlining the process of RPL


silgirl.jpg images.jpg

To keep the resource as generic as possible, Sharon and William make an appearance....

Reflections and suggestions

It was harder than we first thought to produce something that was generic enough to suit an extremely diverse employer group and still be succinct enough to be considered a fairly complete resource.

We were reminded that the resource we were creating was not for RTO managers or trainers but for people who knew little or nothing about the training system. This meant that we had to give them something that was simple and clear, encouraging and achievable.

From the feedback we have received on the final product it would appear that we been relatively successful in that goal.

Framework connection

The national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework funds and supports E-learning Innovations projects which aim to embed e-learning into the national training system by supporting and enabling innovation in training design and delivery, at the state and territory level.


This is a Western Australian E-learning Innovations project output, developed by Skills Strategies International in conjunction with the Retail Traders Association of Western Australia, with seed funding from the Framework.

For more information

For more information on Skills Strategies International
Stephen McVey
Retail Introduction Program E-based
Phone: 0421 792 451
Email: steve@skillstrategies.net
For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework:
Phone: (07) 3307 4700