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Friday, 13 Oct 2006

Compliance system starts caravan parks on route to training culture

Peter Macdonald FIMC, Dip OH and S, Dip Training and Assessment systems
Peter Macdonald FIMC, Dip
OH and S, Dip Training and
Assessment systems


Editor’s comment - GoSeeAustralia’s believes that if an advertisement was carried now seeking people with Diploma of Caravan Park Management for Australia’s caravan parks the response would be nil.

By Garth Morrison Editor GoSeeAustralia


My 88 year old mother fell from the caravan park cabin step and the back of her head hit the pebble-mix path with a sickening thud.

It was an accident. Accidents happen even in model caravan parks. Because her mishap was at Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park help came immediately.

Park employees and owner Errol Morris were there as I held her head and tried to slow the bleeding. The right questions were asked. The caravan parks staff training kicked in. The right things were done. People from the parks front and back office knew their job. Intercoms clicked, two ambulances, one a MICA, came quickly. Result sore head for days but a happy ending.

First aid is only one of many essentials staff in Australia’s caravan parks should be trained in but it is only since April this year that the caravan park industry in Australia has started to embrace the need for a training culture.

Now there are no real career paths for people coming into the caravan park industry and the Australian National Competency Standards are still a mystery to too many caravan parks owners.
Accidents happen even in model caravan parks
Accidents happen even in model caravan parks


The standards flow from years 11 and 12 to Diploma and then to university. Too many park owners think a “First Aid” course will fix everything, but it is only one essential for a quality caravan park which meets National Competency Standards.

Peter Macdonald wrote the National Competency Standards for caravan parks which come from the industry and Federal government.

But Australia’s caravan parks have no industry training structure despite the National Competency Standards being available for eight years.

An accredited course is not a qualification.

Only Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) can issue qualifications. Peter Macdonald expects his company Tubal Pty Ltd to have their RTO status renewed in November and be one  of the very few registered in Australia delivering caravan park qualifications. The  majority of RTO are TAFE Colleges and in most instances limit their scope to Certificate 111 in caravan park operations. Tubal's RTO scope will include Certificate 11, 111, and Diploma.

“As an RTO, Tubal Training and Assessment Consultancy will make training and assessment available to the caravan park industry in Australia in a determined effort to install a training culture”, Peter Macdonald said.

Now in peak periods an Australian caravan park staff of six might try to deal with Occupational Health and Safety issues related to between 600 and 1200 people. That is a big call!

In Victoria and WA in April Peter Macdonald of Tubal Training and Assessment Consultancy made a groundbreaking start toward a training culture for the caravan industry in Australia with 30 caravan park staff in WA.

He has been working on the Training and Assessment component of his Compliance Management System program for more than a year and can deliver it to any caravan park anywhere in Australia.

His 500 page Caravan Park Management Manual and policies and procedures is already highly valued by caravan park owners and managers throughout Australia.

Peter Macdonald was awarded International Best Practice for a major Australia oil company in London in 1995 and a National Best Practice from the State Government and the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) for the development of a schools based Vocational Educational Training (VET) Program.

The Program, which offered students retail management career pathways and university entrance focused on petroleum safety, retail and management and ran for four years qualifying 120 year 12 students.

He ran a workshop in NSW recently which brought interest in investing time and effort in the caravan park training culture from 20 caravan parks, about 80 percent of the people who attended, he said

“I have conducted small information sessions and the interest is very strong and I will continue to follow that up at the Top Tourist Conference in Canberra on Tuesday, 24 October with a workshop on the Compliance Management System”, he told GoSeeAustralia today.

“We could attract 200 plus trainees over the coming six months”, he said.
Professional. Errol Morris and Lisa Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park
Professional. Errol Morris and Lisa Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park


“The concern for the caravan park industry generally is there is a lack of a training culture, which I believe has led to the current dilemma in a lack of people attracted to the industry.

GoSeeAustralia believes that the caravan park industry must start at the top and train and qualify its owners and managers first to set the bar for staff to aspire to.

Peter Macdonald’s program does just that he says.

“To succeed in the installation of a "training culture" it is essential to implement a "Top Down Approach” that offers Diploma qualifications through assessment and recognition of current skills (RPL & RCC) to owners and managers and at the same time to assess, train and qualify staff and even run Vocational Educational Training, VET in Schools programs”.

The importance of this essential “Top Down” process is in the understanding that a training culture cannot exist if people who manage and control the business do not have formal qualifications themselves.

A training culture is driven from the “Top” and will encourage, even demand the pursuit of formal qualifications by staff, he said.

Caravan park chains like the Top Tourist Board are enthusiastic about this approach, hence the industry start in Victoria and WA”, Peter Macdonald told GoSeeAustralia.

“I will run a Canberra workshop at the Top Tourist Conference to assist parks using the Compliance Management System. It will show how it works and will outline the compliance responsibilities Park owners/managers have and the ease with which they can be met”.

“I will also explain how owner, managers and their staff can gain Caravan Park Industry formal qualifications through the Compliance Management System by recognising existing experience and skills and if need be provide simple means of training to attain the qualifications.

“Qualifications range from Certificate III of Caravan Park Operations through to Diploma of Park Management. The cost of qualifying staff to Certificate III is nil, in fact caravan parks can significantly gain financially through Federal and State Governments funding incentives.

“Offering qualifications to staff has many benefits. They include secure employees, enhanced staff and management loyalty, expanded management and staff skills to meet caravan park needs and reduced personal liability of park owners by meeting and delegating Legislation Compliance.

“New staff will also be far more attracted to the industry because it offers a career pathway, particularly for young people”.

“This can start as part of their education in year 11 and 12 by gaining a caravan park qualification and then perhaps they stay with the industry to build a career or when they get their Diploma they move onto university with up to two years advance standing  in a Business Degree. The practical benefits of caravan park experience are a major plus in giving anyone who might take that path a distinct edge at university.

They certainly have the advantage as they can get their Business Degree this way sooner than their peer group colleagues who may have gone straight to university.

Peter, through his company Tubal Pty Ltd has been providing training support and consultancy to the caravan park industry since 1995 when the Caravan Industry Association of WA asked him to help establish qualifications and career pathways for the industry.

The CIA WA Board saw a qualifications structure as essential to meet industry growth, address skills shortfalls and attract young people.

Peter Macdonald developed a Vocational Educational Training, VET in Schools program to introduce them to the caravan park industry and to encourage young people to consider caravan parks as a career option. It was developed from the previous Best Practice VET in Schools model and funded through the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation.

He says there are real business benefits to caravan parks who embrace a training culture as they will be successful businesses because they have trained, qualified quality people in them.

When things go wrong, as they do, with a holistic training and assessment management system in place which is understood by staff there is a measure to remove or reduce culpability for caravan park owners if legal or civil action is taken against them..
New cabins go in at Anglesea Beachfront the  left hand cabin has disabled access
New cabins go in at Anglesea Beachfront the left hand cabin has disabled access


Staff training and management systems are essential to this result from owners and managers to ground staff and includes everything from first aid to pool cleaning, cabin maintenance, financial and people skills.

An extreme example of the other side of the coin is where an accident occurs which results in severe injury in a Caravan Park. If staff are not trained in such areas as emergency procedures or first aid or do not have a fully equipped first aid kit and the accident concludes in the victim suffering further, park management run the real risk of being charged with criminal negligence.

Caravan parks are without doubt among the most difficult and demanding businesses to run in Australia. Difficult customers, drunks, fights, bushfires, floods, cyclones, taxes, drought, wildlife, nature, eco, chemical spills, falls and deaths are all part of the job along with the occasional blocked toilet system.

So a 100 percent Competency in Diploma in Caravan Park Management is a great deal more than just a piece of paper. GoSeeAustralia believes that the skills range required of a successful caravan park operator is many times that of most Australian businesses.

GoSeeAustralia believes that any young person who presents themselves to a quality Australian caravan park with a Diploma of Caravan Park Management is certain to get a hearing.

GoSeeAustralia’s point is that if an advertisement was carried now seeking people with that qualification for Australia’s caravan parks the response would be nil.

To compound the lack of quality, qualified staff issue GoSeeAustralia believes the caravan park industry is trying to get an elephant through a funnel.

While million dollar marketing campaigns try to pour holiday makers into Australia’s caravan parks at the last industry conference owners and managers were crying out for “qualified, committed long-term staff”.

To illustrate the point here is what GoSeeAustralia reported at the last CRVA industry conference–

There are marked variations in the preferred direction for the industry over the next five to seven years, but when a panel of caravan park and industry younger achievers faced their mostly senior colleagues in open discussion a great deal of good was done.

The issues include user pays and Ken Illich of Brisbane Holiday Village, summed that up with the honest observation that generation X and Y pay $700 a week and "demand" service while the "Grey Nomads", (who hate being called that), pay $100 and whinge!

Two storey cabins could take on the challenge of accommodation wars with Gold Coast high-rise options and site night yields would rise, he said.

That would help address the chronic shortage of quality, long-term trained staff who could not be expected to raise families on low wage packets.

Profile:
Peter Macdonald, FIMC, DIP OH&S, DIP TNG & ASS SYSTEMS
Director Tubal Pty Ltd
Ph: (08) 9246 2340
Fax: (08) 6210 1108
Email: petermac@tubal.com.au
Mobile: 0419 909 273

Peter has 20 years experience in vocational education and training, OH&S, risk management and human resource consultancy.

He has developed numerous Staff, Management, OH&S and Emergency Management training programs and has provided consultancy to the State and Federal Government and national business organisations.

A staff and management training program he developed at a  major Australian oil company in 1991 operated for seven years with Federal funding and qualified in excess of 1500 people to access employment in the petroleum national retail industry. The Federal Employment Minister publicly noted at the time that is was one of the most successful employment re-training projects in Australia.

In 1995 he was awarded International Best Practice from a  major  Australian and  international oil company  and a National Best Practice from the State Government and the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) for the development of a schools based Vocational Educational Training (VET) Program.

The Program, which offered students retail management career pathways and university entrance focused on petroleum safety, retail and management and ran for four years qualifying 120 year 12 students.

Peter, through his company Tubal Pty Ltd has been providing training support and consultancy to the caravan park industry since 1995. The relationship commenced when he was approached by CIA WA to assist in establishing qualifications and career pathways for their industry.

It was considered at that time by the CIA WA Board, to meet their industry growth, address skills shortfalls and attract young people to the industry there was a need to establish a qualification structure and career pathway.

To start the process, a Vocational Educational Training, VET in Schools program was developed by Peter to both profile the industry and encourage young people to consider the caravan park industry as a career option. It was developed from the previous Best Practice VET in Schools model and funded through the Australian Student Traineeship

Editor's Note also see:

It's 'Go Sexy' at the CRVA Conference

Cabin alternative wins Aussie family vote

Cabins first choice for family holidays

Meet Luke, the future for Caravan Parks in Australia

GoSeeAustralia finds Once Mile Beach Port Stephens a caravan park paradise

Kids are King in Caravan Parks 

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia Directory
Phone:  02 6294 1941
Fax:     02 6284 9275
Email: garth@contact.com.au

Tubal OH&S & Risk Management Consultants
Tubal OH&S & Risk Management Consultants
Registered Training Organization
Call 08 9246 2340
info@tubal.com.au
www.tubal.com.au

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