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STUDENT HANDBOOK

 

1 MARKETING

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.
  • The RTO identifies when a Third Party is delivering training and assessment on their behalf.
2 PROVISION OF INFORMATION

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
  • Third-Party Arrangements for delivery of training and assessment where applicable
  • Fees and charges
  • Provision for forms of assistance where appropriate
  • Opportunities for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfers
Third-Party Arrangements
Where Fortress Learning qualifications are delivered by a Third Party, that Party will have a separate Student Handbook that will be made available to prospective students prior to enrolment.

For students who undertake training and assessment with a Fortress Learning affiliated Third Party Provider, the following services will apply:

  1. Fortress Learning will ensure that monitoring of all Third-Party activities is followed in a systematic way and using structured processes and procedures.
  2. Fortress Learning will ensure complaints and appeals are managed fairly and in accordance with both the relevant processes as outlined in the Student Handbook of both the Third Party and  Fortress Learning.  These processes are in accordance with Standard 6 of the Standards for RTOs 2015.
  3. If a Third Party Agreement should cease, each Third Party has arrangements in place with Fortress Learning to ensure students are able to continue study until the end of their current enrolment period.
3 ENROLMENT

The following process applies to enrolment and selection.

Step 1 – Contact Fortress Learning

Phone:  1300 141 994
Email:   admin@fortresslearning.com.au
Address:  PO Box 1096, Maroochydore QLD 4558

Step 2 – Contact Point

We encourage all prospective students to speak with us before enrolment. This process is valuable in discussing the program requirements (including resources to be provided by the student), reviewing the learners’ existing skills and knowledge and identifying any possible obstacles or barriers, as well as getting to know the students.

For students who we deem suitable, Fortress Learning will then advise on the enrolment process, including LLN and direct them to the most suitable course for their needs or connect them with a Third Party Partner organisation for classroom-based delivery.

Students who are not deemed suitable will be provided with reasons and advice on steps that they can take to improve their suitability for our programs.

Step 3 – Enrol

Complete the Enrolment Process, the first step of which is to complete a Suitability Assessment prior to completing the Enrolment Form. Fortress Learning will then allocate a Trainer 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’ that may change should your circumstances change.

Step 5 – Orientation

Participate in orientation to the online system. We will reach out to assist you in getting started.  You will be emailed an invitation to access your Learner Portal in which will be available all your learning resources and assessment documents.

Step 6 – Start Learning

You start your training program. Our team will assist you in your learning journey.

4 ACCESS AND EQUITY

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 in 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 Strait Islanders

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

Disability Supplementary Information Notice

The purpose of the Disability supplement is to provide additional information to assist you with answering the disability question on the Enrolment Form.

Disability in the contexts provided below does not include short-term disabling health conditions such as a fractured leg, influenza, or corrected physical conditions such as impaired vision managed by wearing glasses or lenses.

‘11 — Hearing/deaf’

Hearing impairment is used to refer to a person who has acquired mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss after learning to speak, communicates orally and maximises residual hearing with the assistance of amplification. A person who is deaf has a severe or profound hearing loss from, at, or near birth and mainly relies upon vision to communicate, whether through lip reading, gestures, cued speech, fingerspelling and/or sign language.

‘12 — Physical’

A physical disability affects the mobility or dexterity of a person and may include a total or partial loss of a part of the body. A physical disability may have existed since birth or maybe the result of an accident, illness, or injury suffered later in life; for example, amputation, arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, paraplegia, quadriplegia or post-polio syndrome.

‘13 — Intellectual’

In general, the term ‘intellectual disability is used to refer to low general intellectual functioning and difficulties in adaptive behaviour, both of which conditions were manifested before the person reached the age of 18. It may result from infection before or after birth, trauma during birth, or illness.

‘14 — Learning’

A general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction, and may occur across the life span. Problems in self-regulatory behaviours, social perception, and social interaction may exist with learning disabilities but do not by themselves constitute a learning disability.

 ‘15 — Mental illness’

Mental illness refers to a cluster of psychological and physiological symptoms that cause a person suffering or distress and which represent a departure from a person’s usual pattern and level of functioning.

‘16 — Acquired brain impairment’

Acquired brain impairment is an injury to the brain that results in deterioration in cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functioning. Acquired brain impairment can occur as a result of trauma, hypoxia, infection, tumour, accidents, violence, substance abuse, degenerative neurological diseases or stroke. These impairments may be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total disability or psychosocial maladjustment.

‘17 — Vision’

This covers a partial loss of sight causing difficulties in seeing, up to and including blindness. This may be present from birth or acquired as a result of disease, illness or injury.

‘18 — Medical condition’

A medical condition is a temporary or permanent condition that may be hereditary, genetically acquired or of unknown origin. The condition may not be obvious or readily identifiable, yet may be mildly or severely debilitating and result in fluctuating levels of wellness and sickness, and/or periods of hospitalisation; for example, HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma or diabetes.

‘19 — Other’

A disability, impairment or long-term condition which is not suitably described by one or several disability types in combination. Autism spectrum disorders are reported under this category.

5 LANGUAGE, LITERACY AND NUMERACY (LL&N)

The induction process will include a Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Conversation (if applicable) with the National Training Manager.

This is optional and opportunity is given on the Enrolment Form for students to choose to complete this or not.

It is recommended students do complete this if they are in any way unsure that their core skills in reading, writing, learning, oral communication and numeracy meet the required ACSF levels as outlined in the Suitability Self Assessment Checklist as this will assist 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.

6 ASSESSMENT AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING
What is Recognition of Prior Learning (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 RPL for some of the units that make up your course. This allows for fairer access to studies by ensuring you are not required to duplicate the 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. Students 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 development of your Personal Learning Plan, Fortress Learning will provide you with the resources you will need to collect evidence of your current skills and experience.

  • You collect evidence and return it to us or, you complete the required written responses within your assigned evidence guide and then organise a Zoom/Google meeting with your assessor to directly observe any required supporting evidence.
  • The assessor evaluates the evidence (either through submission in document form or via direct observation) and notifies you if there are any further pieces of evidence that are required.
  • The assessor negotiates a further interview time with you if applicable, during which time your further evidence will be discussed as it relates specifically to the Competency Standards for which you are seeking RPL.
  • At this point, if the RPL evidence being submitted cannot meet the unit criteria being assessed, your assessor may also recommend some coursework to fill any gaps in skill or knowledge in order to satisfy requirements.
  • Upon submission of your final portfolio of evidence with all supporting documents, the assessor then conducts the final assessment of all the evidence that you have submitted for the overall assessment of the unit and advises you of the result. This will be recorded in your Learner Portal.
  • When the evidence meets the Unit of Competency requirements Fortress Learning will award the unit.
  • When the evidence does not meet the Unit of Competency requirements, your Assessor will provide you with clear instruction and next steps on further assessment requirements.
  • 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 for, Fortress Learning conducts an evaluation of this for you as part of its Personal Learning Plan process.

Credit Transfer

  • if you have completed study equivalent to any units from the qualification in which you are enrolled with Fortress Learning, then it might be possible to award a Credit Transfer. 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.

Students approaching the end of their enrolment period, and who wish to receive feedback on completed assessment items, are advised to submit assessment not less than 4 business days prior to the final enrolment date (see below).

Assessing Students Whose Enrolment Period has Concluded

Fortress Learning students are able to submit assessment items up until midnight of the last date of their Enrolment Period.  However, submissions that are submitted within 4 business days of the expiry date are subject to the following process:

Fortress Learning students are able to submit assessment items up until midnight of the last date of their Enrolment Period.  However, submissions that are reviewed following expiry will be subject to a pre-review of the portfolio’s completeness.  During the pre-review, we will seek to identify any omissions or errors, which by themselves would deem it not possible for the Rule of Evidence: Sufficiency to be satisfied, and thus preventing a successful outcome to be awarded for that/those unit/s of competency.  Where there are no such omissions, the submission is assessed and feedback provided as per usual.  Where such omissions do exist, no further assessment will occur; feedback will be provided to the candidate that the portfolio was incomplete, thus deeming the outcome Competency Not Achieved or RPL Not Granted.   Further assessment, and associated feedback of a more detailed nature, will be provided only following the student signing up for a time extension.

7 RECOGNITION/ DIRECT CREDIT/ CREDIT TRANSFER

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 organisations across Australia.

This means that valid and current Statements of Attainment and/or Certificates issued by another RTO demonstrating competency in individual units of competency relevant to Fortress Learning courses will negate the need for the unit/s to be repeated with Fortress Learning.

For all Qualifications/Statements of Attainment submitted by a student requesting Credit Transfer, Fortress Learning will authenticate the Equivalent Qualification using one of the following methods of validation:

  1. Through obtaining permission to access the student’s USI records
  2. Through emailing of an Authorisation Form used to contact the RTO Training Provider who issued the original Qualification.

In the event that an application for Credit Transfer is for units that have been attained since 2015 but which do not show on a student’s USI registry, it is essential that we are able to confirm the authenticity of the certificate with the issuing RTO.  Where the issuing RTO has ceased operations since the date of issue, it is up to the student to liaise with ASQA to seek confirmation of the units being completed.  Fortress Learning cannot guarantee that Credit Transfers will be awarded for unit/s that are unable to be confirmed via the USI registry or with the issuing RTO.

ASQA can be contacted regarding records here: https://www.asqa.gov.au/students/student-record

8 FEES, WITHDRAWALS, REFUNDS, EXTENSIONS, TRANSFERS, DEFERMENTS

From the moment a student enrols, Fortress Learning must put in place the resources needed to support that student through the program of study in which they have enrolled.  As such, our costs and your fees are incurred regardless of the extent of student engagement.  The fees associated with withdrawal are, because of this, based on time rather than student activity.  Similarly, a student wishing to extend their enrolment duration beyond that in which they enrolled will be required to pay for that extension of time.

Fortress Learning has a range of payment options as described in the Payment Options as per the individual course page.

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.

UPFRONT PAYMENTS

  • For all courses with fees exceeding $1500 – a payment of $1500 upfront will be taken with a balance payable at a later period as defined by the program in which you are enrolling.
  • For all courses being paid for by a third party/employer, the entire fee may be collected on enrolment.
  • Full payment of fees is required before issuing any qualifications or statement of attainment.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

The fees payable are for services as stated.  Where service is requested that is not a standard component of a program in which a student has enrolled, it will be subject to additional fees.  This includes, but is not limited to, assisting students to meet practical requirements of their program where they are not able to meet them independently.

EXTENSIONS

Paid extensions are available. These fees are subject to change without notice.

There is no guarantee that an extension request will be approved.

It is not possible to extend enrolment in a program:

  1. that has been closed to new enrolments in the time since you commenced.
  2. where more than 12 months have passed since the initial period ended. In this situation, students must re-enrol.

It may not possible to extend enrolment in a program:

  1. 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.
  2. if it is more than 18 months since your date of enrolment and you wish to extend your course.  In this situation, you are required to 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.
  3. If you have enrolled for any of our Zoom Programs and have not completed ALL of the Virtual Classroom blocks.

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

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

COOLING OFF PERIOD
A cooling-off period of 7 days applies for students enrolling in online programs (not applicable for face to face or Zoom programs). 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 is entitled to a full refund of any fees paid.  People availing themselves of the Cooling Off period will not receive any credentials for any units completed prior to withdrawal. The cooling- period will be calculated from the commencement date of the course (the date on which you are invited to the Learner Portal).

WITHDRAWAL & 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.

Students may request Withdrawal at any time during their period of enrolment.

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).  Where a variation of the Refund Policy is being sought on medical grounds, the date of the medical certificate is likely to be instrumental in determining the outcome along with any prior correspondence that pointed to the presence of a medical condition (eg, deferment due to illness, response to support calls, etc).
  • 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.

Withdrawal/Refund Process:

In ordinary circumstances, in the event of withdrawal, the following refunds will apply, calculated based on the date of the business day on which the official Withdrawal Form is received.

To withdraw, a student must fill out a Fortress Learning Withdrawal Form which is available from the Learner Portal, or from the RTO on request. Once signed, submit to Fortress Learning.  Because eligibility for refund is calculated based on the date of the business day on which the completed Withdrawal Form is received we encourage prompt completion and submission of the Form.

Fortress Learning will contact the student upon receipt of the withdrawal form to advise of any outstanding issues e.g. return of course materials, completed units, outstanding fees, and also the calculation of any refund that may be payable.

Where are refund is payable, it will be paid within 21 days of receiving the completed Withdrawal Form.

For online programs:

  • 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 your commencement date you will receive a full refund as per the conditions of the Cooling Off period.
  • Beyond Day 7, no refund will be issued.

For face to face and Zoom programs:

Due to the additional expenses and required number of participants associated with running face to face and Zoom programs, the following fees apply to withdrawal:

  • If you withdraw 10-20 business days before the scheduled course start date, there is a Cancellation Fee equal to 20% of the Course Fee.  This fee will be waived provided that the candidate re-books for a new scheduled course date (ie, it is not possible to “hold” the enrolment open until a future course that is yet to be advertised becomes available).  This or any other waiver applies on only one occasion and only where their account is up to date and remains up to date.
  • If you withdraw within 10 business days of the scheduled course start date, there is a Cancellation Fee equal to 50% of the Course Fee.   This fee will be waived provided that the candidate re-books for a new scheduled course date (ie, it is not possible to “hold” the enrolment open until a future course that is yet to be advertised becomes available).  This or any other waiver applies on only one occasion and only where their account is up to date and remains up to date.
  • If you fail to attend or withdraw following commencement of the face to face or Zoom block component, no refund will be issued.
  • If you withdraw following completion of the face to face or Zoom block component, no refund will be issued.

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

Issuing Statements of Attainment following Withdrawal

Upon request of the Withdrawal Form, a Statement of Attainment listing all units successfully completed will be issued provided any outstanding fees are paid, unless those units reflect completion of the entire program in which the person initially enrolled, and upon receipt of a Statutory Declaration.

Course Cancellations / Postponement

Classroom training is reliant on minimum numbers being met for the course to proceed. Whilst every endeavour will be made to conduct all advertised courses, Fortress reserves the right to change or cancel timetables, class locations, course offerings, trainers and other such details or circumstances beyond our control that affect enrolments. Every effort will be made to advise course participants of any changes promptly. Participants automatically receive a refund in this instance if they don’t wish to transfer to another date.

TRANSFERS

Transferring from a face-to-face/Zoom program to a standard online program is not possible for students.

For online programs, 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 permissible 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

Deferment is not available for any programs that involve a face-to-face component.

Deferment may only be available for the Zoom Programs if ALL Zoom Blocks have been completed. Where deferment will lead to the enrolment period going past an intended end date of the program, students may – but will not definitely – be invited to switch into the standard online program.

There is no guarantee that a deferment request will be approved.

In the event that the program in which you enrolled is still accepting new enrolments, you may seek to defer your program as follows.

It is not possible to defer enrolment in a program that has been closed to new enrolments in the time since you commenced. It is not possible to defer enrolment where the deferment will push the end date more than 6 months past the initial enrolment end date. In this situation, students must either extend or re-enrol, provided either is still possible.

Students seeking to pause their studies must make an explicit request for deferment using the Form available from their Learner Portal.   Students who are seeking deferment must have demonstrated progress proportionate to their duration up until the date of requesting the deferment or demonstrate compelling reasons for the absence of progress.

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 (e.g. 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.

Deferments will not be processed if the student has unmarked submissions showing in their Learner Portal. In this situation, the deferment will be delayed until all submissions have been marked or reviewed by an Assessor.

Course fees are still payable during the deferment period, and deferment is not available for students whose accounts are overdue.

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

Deferment start and end dates cannot fall within Fortress’s scheduled non-contact periods.

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 the 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 AND ISSUE OF ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS

Credentials will not be awarded until a student’s complete fees are paid for the entire program in which they enrolled.

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

Course fees include the issue of a single credential for each Training Product in which they are enrolled.   A fee of $60 applies to issuing additional credentials, other than for the full product in which they are enrolled.  Examples:

  1. A student enrolled in the Cert IV TAE is halfway through their program.  They request a hard copy Statement of Attainment for units completed thus far.  They pay $60 for that.  Upon completing the whole Cert IV TAE, they are issued a Graduation Certificate and Record of Results.  They do not pay for that.
  2. A student enrols in the Dual Dip VET/TDD.  They fulfil requirements for the Dip VET and request a Graduation Certificate and Record of Results.  They do not pay for that.  They then continue to complete the second Dip TDD, and on completion, they are issued a second Graduation Certificate and Record of Results.  They do not pay for that.
  3. A student withdraws prior to completing their qualification in full.  They request a Statement of Attainment for the units that they did complete.  They do not pay for that.

COURSE DURATION
Course duration is calculated as the number of calendar months commencing from the date of course commencement. For calculation purposes, one month equals 30 days.

In event of extension following the suspension of enrolment, the extension period is calculated from the date of the recommencement date.

9 WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

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 Learner Portal 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.
10 STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

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

11 COUNSELLING AND DISCIPLINE

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 date, 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 Fortress Learning identifies that plagiarism, collusion or cheating in assessment activities may have occurred among a group of 2 or more students, either concurrently or over a period of time:

  • The students so involved will be invited to resubmit anew all materials that they wish to be assessed.  Students who choose to not submit anew their portfolio of assessment will have their most recent previous submissions used for the remainder of this process.
  • Once all students involved have submitted anew all materials that they wish to be included in the assessment, these will be assessed by a single Assessor.
  • Where one or more students have previously been awarded an outcome, that outcome will be subject to revision based on the findings of the re-assessment outlined above.
  • If one or more students are dissatisfied with the outcome of the assessment, they may pursue the Complaints & Appeals Process.
  • If through this re-assessment, plagiarism, collusion or cheating in assessment activities is found to have occurred, then any outcomes that have previously been awarded will be revoked and/or credentials recalled and the steps below will be followed.

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 or provided a written request to adopt a more courteous tone.
  • 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 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.

12 COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS

Fortress Learning is committed to dealing with complaints and appeals in a timely and constructive way. Complaints and Appeals include, but are not restricted to, matters of concern to a student or staff member relating to training delivery and assessment including the quality of the training, student support, learning materials, discrimination and sexual harrassment.

Natural Justice is concerned with ensuring procedural fairness:

  • Decisions and processes should be free from bias;
  • All parties have the right to be heard;
  • The respondent has a right to know of what s/he is accused;
  • All parties are told the decision and the reasons for the decision.

If you are wishing to make a complaint or an appeal concerning any aspect of a Fortress Learning course, or a course provided by a Third Party Partner of Fortress Learning, the student should refer to the following process:

Complaints

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

If unsuccessful they should lodge a formal complaint in writing and using the Complaints & Appeals Form that is available on request.  It should be submitted to:

The Manager
Fortress Learning
PO Box 1096
Maroochydore QLD 4558

Or via email to: complaints@fortresslearning.com.au

Fortress Learning will seek to resolve all appeals and 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.

No changes to an enrolment status are permitted to occur while a Complaint is being addressed.  This includes graduation, extensions and deferments.

Making a complaint to ASQA

ASQA provides information about making a complaint on this page: https://asqaconnect.asqa.gov.au/

 

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 complaints process available from here:  https://www.asqa.gov.au/

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 made 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.

 

13 WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT

Fortress Learning aims to create a working environment that 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. This relates to actions by both staff and students. 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

Where student behaviour is deemed to be offensive, either to another student or to staff, then 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.  Offensive behaviour includes such things as shouting, use of aggressive language or body language, making threats and use of threatening gestures and language, and swearing.  Where such behaviour persists or is considered sufficiently serious, the involvement of the Police will be considered.

14 ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

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.

15 PRIVACY POLICY

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.  The following is based on the Company Privacy Policy, which is available on request.

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 Fortress Learning’s Learning Portal. Once a student graduates they are able to access their records by emailing enrolments@fortresslearning.com.au. Student submissions are destroyed 6 months following graduation and/or expiry.

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 1096, Maroochydore, QLD, 4558 – marked Private & Confidential.

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

Email: privacy@privacy.gov.au.

Phone calls

Fortress Learning records all phone calls.  This is for the purpose of monitoring service standards, and to enable training of staff.  Recordings are not shared with any third party.

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 of any third party statements, Fortress Learning may contact the author to authenticate those statements.

Any information provided by a student as part of their assessment within their program of study will only ever be used by Fortress Learning for the purposes of that student’s program of study.

Disclosure of Information to National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd (NCVER) and other parties

Why we collect your personal information
As a registered training organisation (RTO), we collect your personal information so we can process and manage your enrolment in a vocational education and training (VET) course with us.
Enrolment will not proceed if personal information is not collected through the enrolment process.
How we use your personal information
We use your personal information to enable us to deliver VET courses to you, and otherwise, as needed, to comply with our obligations as an RTO.
How we disclose your personal information
We are required by law (under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth) (NVETR Act)) to disclose the personal information we collect about you to the National VET Data Collection kept by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd (NCVER). The NCVER is responsible for collecting, managing, analysing and communicating research and statistics about the Australian VET sector.
We are also authorised by law (under the NVETR Act) to disclose your personal information to the relevant state or territory training authority.
How the NCVER and other bodies handle your personal information
The NCVER will collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information in accordance with the law, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and the NVETR Act. Your personal information may be used and disclosed by NCVER for purposes that include populating authenticated VET transcripts; administration of VET; facilitation of statistics and research relating to education, including surveys and data linkage; and understanding the VET market.
The NCVER is authorised to disclose information to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), Commonwealth authorities, State and Territory authorities (other than registered training organisations) that deal with matters relating to VET and VET regulators for the purposes of those bodies, including to enable:
  • administration of VET, including program administration, regulation, monitoring and evaluation
  • facilitation of statistics and research relating to education, including surveys and data linkage
  • understanding how the VET market operates, for policy, workforce planning and consumer information.
The NCVER may also disclose personal information to persons engaged by NCVER to conduct research on NCVER’s behalf.
The NCVER does not intend to disclose your personal information to any overseas recipients.
For more information about how the NCVER will handle your personal information please refer to the NCVER’s Privacy Policy at https://www.ncver.edu.au/privacy
If you would like to seek access to or correct your information, in the first instance, please contact Fortress Learning using the contact details listed below.
DESE is authorised by law, including the Privacy Act and the NVETR Act, to collect, use and disclose your personal information to fulfil specified functions and activities. For more information about how the DESE will handle your personal information, please refer to the DESE VET Privacy Notice at https://www.dese.gov.au/national-vet-data/vet-privacy-notice
Surveys
You may receive a student survey which may be run by a government department or an NCVER employee, agent, third-party contractor or another authorised agency. Please note you may opt-out of the survey at the time of being contacted.
Contact information
At any time, you may contact Fortress Learning to:
  • request access to your personal information
  • correct your personal information
  • make a complaint about how your personal information has been handled
  • ask a question about this Privacy Notice
Phone:  1300 141 994
Address:  PO Box 1096, Maroochydore, QLD, 4558
16 FEEDBACK AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

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.

17 VERSION CONTROL

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.

18 VALIDATION STRATEGY

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

19 RISK MANAGEMENT

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.

20 ISSUING QUALIFICATIONS

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 Clause 3.3 of The Standards for Registered Training Organisations.

We issue soft copies of certificates that contain unique QR codes for authenticity and verification purposes. Hard copy certificates can be requested for a fee of $60.
Under no circumstances will a certificate of graduation be issued prior to full payment of any fees due.
21 COMPUTER AND OTHER RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS

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 programs will require access to:

  • a broadband internet connection
  • Laptop or PC
  • a video camera, either built into your device or a separate webcam
  • a microphone, either built into your device or in the webcam

and the ability to:

  • open web pages
  • view embedded video and slideshows (eg, youtube, Slideshare)
  • download and extract .zip folders
  • open and download .pdf and .swf 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.

Mac Users

We are unable to attest to the reliability of our platform for Mac Users.

While the majority of people using Mac computers and applications are able to engage with the program without issues, it is the case that some Mac users do experience difficulties with some aspects of downloading, saving, converting and uploading files.  Mac Users who decide to enrol are encouraged to test all aspects of our online portals within the first week of their enrolment so that they can avail themselves of the Cooling Off Period if so required.

 

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.

22 OFFICE OPENING HOURS AND NON-CONTACT TIME

Office Hours

Fortress Learning is open 9 am – 5 pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time, each business day.  We are closed on Queensland Public Holidays.

Non-Contact Periods

Our staff will not be available for four periods during the year. During this time, we are involved in professional and business development activities, and it is also during this period that most of our staff will take their leave.

The dates are usually during the school holidays (April, July, September, December) and will be published in the Learning Portal.