Uncovering Excellence: Motivators of Top-Performing RTOs

Unravelling the Motivators of Top-Performing RTOs
In this article

A recent study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) titled “Beyond the standard: motivators of high-performing RTOs” has provided a glimpse into what propels Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to excel in their field. This research delves into the intrinsic factors that set top-performing RTOs apart, offering valuable insights into the path to success.

Motivations Behind the Excellence of Top-Performing RTOs

The study brought to light a diverse range of motivating factors that play a significant role in driving high performance among RTOs. Among the prominent themes that emerged, accountability, altruism, business security, and personal traits stood out as key influences.

Accountability and Altruism

Accountability and altruism were closely intertwined, with altruistic motivations often inspiring RTO leaders to cultivate strong relationships with students and employers. For these high-performing RTOs, ensuring promises and obligations were fulfilled and delivering essential skills that industries rely on for productivity and safety were powerful motivators. Demonstrating genuine care and concern for students’ well-being and the community exemplified the altruistic drive of these RTOs.

Harnessing Personal Traits

Surprisingly, for a quarter of the participants, their personalities and characteristics played a pivotal role in driving excellence. A competitive spirit and a desire to be the best fuelled their determination to channel these traits into their RTOs, propelling them to new heights of achievement.

The Quest for Business Security

Though a minority of RTOs viewed business security as a key motivation, it was predominantly expressed by enterprises or large RTOs. The drive to attract investment, build a robust business, and ensure financial stability fuelled their pursuit of high performance.

The Key to Excellence

The study also delved into the strategies employed by participants to foster high performance within their RTOs. This exploration revealed several prominent themes, all under the overarching theme of ‘values.’ These themes shed light on the essential aspects that drive their commitment to excellence and success in their organisations.

Leadership and Teaching Values

Leadership values emerged as pivotal in an RTO’s impact, shaping the mission and motivating employees. Trusting staff, involving them in decision-making, and granting autonomy in training and assessment duties were identified as key leadership values promoting high performance. Additionally, educational values, such as flexibility and an investment mindset, played a crucial role in determining an RTO’s success.


Collaboration with stakeholders emerged as a vital driver of high performance. Nurturing and maintaining relationships with employers, schools, parents, and clients facilitated the RTO’s ability to effectively meet client needs.

Quality Assurance and Staffing

Large RTOs emphasised quality processes as integral to high performance. Engaging a capable VET workforce and offering relevant professional development were deemed vital to success.

Student Support and Teaching Excellence

Effective student support was crucial for RTOs, with a focus on employability support, students as stakeholders, and student-centric responsive teaching. Large RTOs demonstrated particular attention to contextualising training packages based on employer consultation and feedback.

Key Motivators of High-Performing RTOs

The NCVER study revealed the strategies and motivators of high-performing RTOs. These RTOs have forged a path to excellence through a diverse array of motivators, including accountability, altruism, personal traits, and business security, these RTOs have carved a path to excellence.

The key to the success of high-performing RTOs lies in the values they uphold and the strategies they use. Leadership and teaching values, collaboration, quality assurance, and student support have been identified as the foundation of their commitment to excellence. RTOs can pave the way to success and elevate the quality of vocational education and training by embracing these principles.

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