As part of the AVANA Club initiative, meant to bring all of AVANA’s trainees together, Marienne Slater, an employee at ISS Facilities Services’ Wickham site in WA, won the brand new iPad 4 that we gave away!
The winner was drawn from hundreds of entries received from AVANA trainees across Australia and from various industry sectors. Marienne has been an outstanding trainee and provided this feedback to her AVANA trainer, Tina Sofroniou:
“The [AVANA] course has greatly helped me in my workforce with things I may have forgotten over the years. I found it well presented and well delivered by our trainers. The timeframe was workable and excellent. I highly recommend. A credit to AVANA.”
Marienne has been an AVANA trainee since mid 2012 as part of ISS Facilities Services’ initiative to up-skill employees and provide them better development and growth opportunities.
The iPad winner was chosen at random from all the draw entrants using Microsoft Excel formulas to ensure fairness and transparency.
At AVANA we incorporate social-networking within our virtual campus, AVANA Sky, to add value to learning through connecting communities of learners and educators.
Students today are operating in a world surrounded by technologies, which lead them to social media engagement. The rapid growth of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, has shown how strong people’s enthusiasm is towards social media. This offers great opportunities in learning, provided by the use of social software, both in shared creation of content and wider access to audiences.
According to Ellen Wartella from Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, USA, there are great educational opportunities represented by the growing use of social media by teachers to communicate with students outside the classroom. Besides that, there is a remarkable opportunity for people to create educational networks.
It is possible for people to come together through social media to create more effective learning activities. People can learn things through these media that they may not learn formally.
Therefore, the Head of Development of Futurelab, Dan Sutch, said that these technologies had fundamentally changed the way people interact with knowledge. “Education has moved from a broadcast model to one where we can understand and make sense of information,” he said.
Social media provides limitless access through a range of visuals, text and perceptions on any given subjects. It also encourages a person to actively participate by posting content on social networking sites and it helps users to express their individual views.
Besides that, a person can also create any forum of discussion about any subject that may involve people from all around the world, where they can all contribute valuable input.
Social-networking systems provide a very valuable platform for educators to create online dynamic web sites for their students. Systems are available that offer blogging, micro blogging, file sharing, networking, groups and a number of other features. At AVANA we use these systems to enhance online courses and to augment face-to-face courses.
This kind of education is very simple and very accessible because it can be done everywhere through various kind of technology that exists today, such as mobile phones and tablets.
Research conducted by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Griffith University about The Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education 2012-2017, showed that in the next five years people expect to be able to work, learn and study whenever and wherever they want. According to the report, the technologies that will have the biggest impact in education over the next five years are: mobile apps, tablets, open content, personal learning environments, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course). In addition, the research found that Australian experts deem it most important that learning institutions invest in tools that enable more individualised, informal learning.
At AVANA we have invested in these tools through our virtual campus, AVANA Sky. Learners at AVANA have the opportunity to build electronic portfolios, join groups, share content, and participate in discussion with other learners and trainers from anywhere in the world.
Contact us for a demonstration of how AVANA Sky incorporates social learning, and connects learning communities through technology.
The recently held Ecotourism Australia GECKO Awards where the EcoGuide Award of Excellence was sponsored by AVANA, were largely dominated by operators based out of Northern Territory and Queensland.The winner of the EcoGuide Award of Excellence for the third year running was Mike Keighley (pictured above left with AVANA CEO, Mark Hutchinson) with Michael McCulkin from New South Wales taking the ‘highly commended’ title.
Mike started guiding in Katherine seventeen years ago. His focus is on Wildlife, Ecosystems and Aboriginal culture. Mike is motivated by the outcomes from guiding – the gratitude expressed as fellow humans learn of new ways to care for the earth – along with opportunities to breakdown racial barriers often formed by ignorance. Mike sees is role as guide is to safely facilitate these experiences so guests can look at country and its people with heightened respect and empathy. (extract taken from the EcoTourism Australia blog)
AVANA has been working with tour operators and indigenous communities for many years and have developed the Eco Guiding course that blends practical experience with classroom based learning and industry experts. Read more about Eco Guiding by clicking here. Or join us on Facebook.
AVANA enters the community services sector.
Growth and intensive change in the community services sector in Australia and overseas require innovative and sustainable training and consulting solutions. Australia is entering a period of significant change, which will require individuals and the community to build capacity and assets; and organizations to adapt their business and service models.
Workforce strategies that ensure there is a skilled and responsive workforce to meet care and support needs of people whether aged, frail or disabled is critical. Ongoing development of the community services sector to meet the diverse and individual needs of people is of paramount importance.
Engaging, equipping and enabling people receiving care to choose and direct the services they receive and the manner in which they are provided requires skill and understanding. AVANA Community, headed by community services veteran, Dianne Wallace, will work as a partner ready to assist individuals, the community and organisations understand and develop strategies to respond to the challenges of the future.
+61 417 749 505
We are delighted to announce that on August 8, 2012, AVANA acquired one of Australia’s largest retail training organisations – Training & Development Australia (TDA).
Founded in 2006, TDA established a strong reputation in the retail industry as a national provider of traineeships as well as customised courses such as Dream Believe Achieve and Maxsales. This acquisition will allow us to leverage TDA’s expertise and experience in retail to further strengthen our offering to our clients in retail and other service industries.
The additional resources and intelligence we have gained from this acquisition will also serve to improve our clients’ experience with us further. We’re very excited for the future and will continue to look for opportunities that will make us even better.
For more information, call us on +61 2 8908 7300 or just leave a comment below.
The quality of the tourism experience offered to inbound Chinese tourists is becoming increasingly important in the competitive global tourism market. Chinese tourists are fast becoming the major market in the Australian tourism industry but the poor practices of some tour operators and guides can leave Chinese visitors dissatisfied and threaten Australia’s reputation as a desirable travel destination.
In his report ‘Taken for a ride’, Andrew Dawson notes that some inbound tour operators are misrepresenting the quality of accommodation, forcing travellers to buy souvenirs at over-inflated prices and even ‘charging to take photographs of free iconic sites such as the Opera House or beaches in Sydney and on the Gold Coast’ (1). Another study found that it was these types of unethical practices as well as poor quality tour guiding in general that were the major causes of Chinese visitor dissatisfaction (2). The influence tour guides have over the enjoyment of tour experiences can’t be overstated – particularly in non-English speaking visitors. In their study on Chinese visitor satisfaction Betty Weiler and Xin Yu report that Chinese speaking tour guides are ‘the main point of contact between the destination and their Chinese clients….influencing where tourists go, what they see and what aspects of the host culture they are exposed to…’. While other improvements are also important, ‘the greatest focus should be on the tour guides who play the key role in facilitating the experiences of Chinese visitors’ (3).
AVANA is one organisation focused on improving the experience of Chinese visitors to Australia by providing skilled Chinese speaking guides for the Australian tourism industry. Eco Guiding is AVANA’s national tourism training division providing specialist training for current guides looking to build on their skills as well as those new to the industry.
AVANA have also recently unveiled their China Ready program which is designed to train existing tourism and hospitality workers in the intricacies of servicing the Chinese market. China Ready has been developed in conjunction with ATEC, China Ready & Accredited and TAFE NSW and recently received a Strategic Tourism Investment Grant of $600,000. The program aims to train 11,000 people over 12 months.
The head of Asian strategy at AVANA, James Hutchinson, feels that ensuring guides have the skills to offer visitors an enjoyable experience is one of the key factors in consolidating Australia’s position as a desirable destination in the Chinese market.
‘It’s no longer enough that Chinese tour guides in Australia are simply those who speak both English and Mandarin. We need to develop the skills and expertise that will allow Chinese speaking guides to offer visitors a first class, interpretive tour experience.’
A number of Chinese speaking guides have already completed AVANA’s comprehensive Eco Guiding course in various states around Australia. Courses are now being offered in Victoria where provision of state and federal funding means that eligible individuals can have the entire cost of their training subsidised. Statistics from Tourism Victoria show the number of overnight Chinese visitors to Victoria increased by 30% in 2012 to over 273,000. This number is expected to more than double by 2020. A number of iconic Victorian tourist attractions such as Sovereign Hill at Ballarat and Phillip Island Nature Park already employ Mandarin speaking guides with more and more operators expected to follow suit as numbers of Chinese visitors continue to increase.
‘The sheer size and potential of the Chinese market makes it important for all sectors of the Australian tourism industry but particularly for Chinese speaking guides’ says Mr Hutchinson. ‘It’s a very exciting time for anyone looking at working in this area.’
If you’re looking for tour guide training for yourself or your employees, or if you’d like to contact AVANA’s database of trained guides, please contact us directly on 02 8908 7300 or via email at email@example.com
1. Dawson, Andrew. Taken for a ride: Rogue operators are threatening Australia’s reputation in one of our growing tourist markets.
2. Weiler, B. and Yu, X. Understanding experiences of Chinese visitors to Victoria, Australia. 2006.
3. Weiler, B. and Yu, X. Case Studies of the experience of Chinese visitors to three tourist attractions in Victoria, Australia. 2007.
Chef Danny Lai
from the Royal Park Hotel in Hong Kong has won the lucky draw for an Apple TV unit!
We received hundreds of entries for the competition run over 2 months. Our readers from 6 continents rook part (the only one missing was Antarctica!). A big thank you to everyone who participated. We have a lot more exciting stuff planned for the next few months!
Stay tuned to the AVANA Chefs Network to receive the latest Chef jobs, articles, tips and promotions while connecting with other Chefs from across the world. We’re on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter so pick your favourite or join all three! Click the images below to join.
- BY:JOHN ROSS
- From:The Australian
- May 10, 2012
And far from decrying the big cut in what was otherwise a mostly benign budget, vocational training groups have praised the move.
The government says it will save $354m by axing a $1500 commencement payment while raising the completion payment from $2500 to $3000.
The change only affects ‘existing worker apprenticeships’ in non-priority areas. It has no impact on payments for newly employed trainees, or for apprentices in the 60-odd traditional trades on the National Skills Need List.
Effectively, it means employers can’t earn themselves a quick $1500 by shifting people who already work for them onto traineeships. TAFE Directors Australia said the change would mainly affect business, hospitality and retail employers.
The government will save another $48m by delaying other commencement payments for three months. Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said both changes had been recommended by the recent expert panel report on Australian apprenticeships.
Senator Evans said the first change recognised that employers of existing worker apprentices didn’t face the same upfront costs or risks as those recruiting new staff. “It increases the incentive for them to support those employees through to the completion of their training,” he added.
Group Training Australia endorsed the changes. “We welcome the minister’s stated intention to have a wide-ranging debate on ways and means of achieving the best value for money in the distribution of these employer incentives,” said chief executive Jim Barron.
The Australian Council for Private Education and Training said the cut was a reasonable price to pay for compensatory windfalls such as the $558m National Workforce Development Fund.
Service Skills Australia said the NWDF was living proof that government incentives were best directed to employers prepared to co-invest in training. And general manager Kit McMahon said the government had sent a clear signal that it wanted to improve completion rates in vocational training.
“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the sector who would not have realised this change was coming,” Ms McMahon said.
But she called for care in the implementation of the changes. “The transition needs to be thought through very carefully, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises in the service industries.
“For employers in hospitality and retail, cash flow’s pretty tight. In terms of having resources that they can put into skilling up their workers, those up-front incentives help (encourage) that decision and remove some of the risk.”
Business, hospitality and eco-tourism training specialists Avana also welcomed the move, saying it would drive up quality. But chief executive Mark Hutchinson said it would also send a lot of providers broke and prompt a temporary spike in “shonky non-compliant practices”.
Mr Hutchinson said many employers didn’t pay for training until they’d received their incentive payments. The changes would force their training providers to bankroll the training for an extra three months at best, with no payments at all for existing trainees who didn’t complete.
“A lot of hospitality, tourism and retail outlets with ten staff, there’s no way they’re going to dip their hands in their pockets for $1500 per person upfront. They’re either going to drop their training or force RTOs to bankroll it.
“Employers in the training space are not used to paying up-front fees. We’ve had to re-educate our clients over the last 12 months, so we’re fairly lucky. But unless you’ve done that, you are stuffed.”
Mr Hutchinson said the change would force providers to focus on “legitimate training outcomes” rather than selling themselves on the basis of federal financial incentives for employers to have trainees on their books.
He said it was the biggest shake-up many providers would have seen in years, and had prompted “war-room meetings” right around Australia.
University of Ballarat education professor Erica Smith said the government was “picking on trainees again”.
She challenged the justification that existing apprentices were cheaper to employ, saying the argument made “no sense” given that traditional apprentices had been exempted.
“Quite a lot of employers look at their existing staff and think about offering them an apprenticeship because they have promise,” Professor Smith said.
“It’s exactly the same with traineeships.”
The article above has been copied verbatim from The Australian online website for viewing purposes and any associated copyrights are property of The Australian Newspaper. Subscribers to ‘The Australian’ can click here to read it on the original site.
This year’s Federal budget has delivered a number of changes to the Education sector, including Vocational Education and Training.
The Australian Government has decided that the current funding structure for the Traineeship program is not the most effective application of funds and has now moved to a more targeted and specific approach.
The following changes to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program will be implemented from July 1, 2012 for employers of existing workers undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship or Traineeship (at the Certificate III level and above) in an occupation not listed on the National Skills Needs List. Hospitality, Tourism and Retail occupations are not in this list and thus the following key changes apply:
- removal of the standard commencement payment for Existing workers (those employed for more than 3 months full time or 6 months part time)
- increased standard completion payment (from $2,500 to $3,000) for Existing workers
- decreased TOTAL funding for existing workers by $1000
- movement of the standard commencement payment from being paid at three months after commencement to six months after commencement for New workers (those employed for less than 3 months full time or 6 months part time)
Any existing workers signed up before July 1, 2012 will still be eligible for the current funding amount of $4,000.
Read more here.