10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Location for Your RTO

There’s no denying the registered training organisation (RTO) market is a crowded one.  How can you make your business stand out from others? A poor choice of location could see prospective students choosing another RTO, even though the training you offer is superior.

We’ve chosen 10 reasons why we believe locating your business at a specialist training centre will help your business grow.

  1. Parking

What – too lowbrow? Having free and ample car parking capable of accommodating 100’s of cars a day means that all staff and students on any given day can park safely and securely on site. Gold! Try matching that in the CBD? Your students will thank you for the money they will save on parking fees and the flexibility of driving to their training.

  1. Value for Money

How reasonable is your rent and is your lease agreement easy to manage based on gross rental payments? In other words, what you see in your lease is what you pay? Or are there hidden outgoing amounts (apart from electricity which is pretty standard). A specialist training precinct such as The Construction Training Centre adopts a collaborative leasing approach to work with their tenant partners, because your continued success is there’s too.

  1. Close to the CBD

No-one wants to be far from the action but being in town is a real hassle. See number 1 above for example! CTC’s precinct in Salisbury is ideally located for inter-connectivity (little wonder it’s a hub for major logistics companies), and it’s close to public transport for the environmentally minded as well.

  1. Large Campus style facilities

When you have a large precinct you need space to breathe. Plenty of green space gives a feeling of a relaxed but well-maintained training hub, with purpose-built campus style facilities. It’s an attractive place to attend and do business and the amenities reflect the large numbers who can be in attendance at any one time.

  1. On Site Café

A vibrant café on site will stop your students wandering off at breaks. In this day and age where worker well-being is considered important, the Café should offer healthier choices to help address poor nutrition and obesity among workers. CTC has worked with the on-site Café to provide calorie and nutrition information on menu options to help workers make healthier choices. An on-site café should also provide in-house catering if you offer this to your students.

  1. Dark Fibre

Sorry…dark what? That’s code for uber-fast internet connection. In the future you won’t be able to do business without it. A state of the art training precinct should offer this to their tenants to future proof your business.

  1. Concierge Services

The Precinct Management Office at a specialised training centre might offer additional services to make life easier for you – not a hotel but as helpful as any front desk! Do they collect your mail from the local post office and deliver to your door? Do they accept courier deliveries on your behalf? Some might even have a Justice of the Peace on site – how convenient would that be?

  1. Their place – your brand

You want your brand to be easy to find – whether it be through signage or via a Google search. A specialised training centre should make it easier for your customers to find you with effective way-finding signage. And  a web portal from their website to your business focused on helping your business to grow.

  1. Safe and Secure

Everyone knows the benefits of being certified to the well-known international standards for quality, safety and the environment. It’s difficult and costly for a small business to achieve this, but you want to know that your landlord is across this for the safety and well-being of your staff.  What assurance is there that your landlord is on top of safety, quality and environmental issues? A triple ISO certified and externally audited management system is a robust means of underpinning the everyday activities and your precinct management team should be responsive in terms of safety, compliance and meeting your needs as a customer.

  1. Caring about your talent

Attracting, then retaining good staff is one of the greatest challenges of business owners today. Competing with much larger organisations can be hard. A Training Precinct should be looking to provide added value to your business in the ‘talent stakes’ like a competitively priced 24/7 gym with twice weekly boot camps, a relaxation and reflection room with sleep centre, free library and journal club, free annual skin checks, flu jabs and hearing tests on top of lifestyle initiatives like annual nutrition challenge and quarterly bio-scans. In such a case you know your workplace will compete with the best ‘big end of town’ can throw at you. The extra cost? Well at top quality training precincts just expect this to be within the overall competitive rental envelope.

By now you will have worked out that CTC’s purpose-built facility in Salisbury offers everything any organisation or individual worker could need to conduct or participate in specialist industry training … in one place.

So if you need the complete leasing package, try us by calling us on 07 3216 6711 or email info@ctc.qld.edu.au. Not quite big or established enough to take out a lease? Call us about our award-winning disruption called Hot Leasing or short-term conference and training room hire. We have all bases covered.

Punching Above Your Weight

BSI Triple Assurance Mark 9001 14001 18001 CMYKI’m old enough to remember when boxing was real legit. The fighters were fit, the purses weren’t outrageously huge and as contests they were classic examples of the best the sport could offer. Sadly the sport is in decline and nowadays crowds seem to be drawn more to UFC and other mixed fighting forms where rules and finesse seem to play second fiddle to brutality. I can recall over the years some exceptional fighters who were capable of boxing up a weight range. Regrettably with the decline in boxing has also come a decline in language and sadly ‘punching above your weight’ has now come to mean in today’s zeitgeist someone (generally a man) who appears to be mismatched in physical appearance compared to their partner. How shallow we have all become!

Well I’m here to breathe fresh meaning back into this expression. We are going to take this back from those who have hijacked it to reflect the sometimes wafer thin veneer that makes up modern life. The challenge is, however, what examples of punching above your weight can we now proffer? Where are the credible stories of those who genuinely have done what wouldn’t seem possible given their size and scale?

Well…look no further than CTC’s recent re-certification of its integrated management system that meets the international standards for quality, environment and workplace health and safety. Almost without fail the domain of much larger companies, ISO certification is a tough and externally audited and certified system to meet standards set by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

It’s a big deal getting one. Quite a few companies have sought to get ISO9001 the international standard for quality. It might be they needed it to win a government or international contract. They might have just wanted to ensure they can meet and exceed customer expectations and show continual improvement. Either way it’s a big deal and not easily achieved.

So think about CTC’s achievement in holding three ISO standards for quality, the environment and work health and safety (ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001/ASNZS4801 to be precise). First certified in July 2012 we have been working on improvements across all aspects of our operation and bedding in and maturing our system since then. It is now a fundamental part of our DNA.

It’s how we do things around here and everyone is involved from the top to the bottom of the organisation. Not that that is far mind – there’s only nine of us.

And then in June, after three years from initial implementation, we were due for a full recertification assessment of our management system.

And that is where the term ‘punching above your weight’ really starts to resonate. That is not to say there wasn’t some trepidation within the team when we were confronted with three full days of having our system scrutinised every which way by the external auditor from the BSI.

You can argue about the quality of their cricket team or how rubbish their weather is but you can’t deny the Brits know how to audit your system and find any flaws or weaknesses.

But we went one up in this Ashes stoush because we came through entirely unscathed with praise by the auditor on the sophistication of our systems and our commitment to continuous improvement and re-engineering to constantly keep ahead in delivering for our customers, keeping our site safe and protecting the environment.

The auditor commented that he had not seen a system as well integrated into the day to day work processes and he included in this all of the large companies he has audited. In fact, if I recall correctly, he might just have said we ‘punch well above our weight’ in this respect!


Our CEO, Phil Diver has written a post reflecting on our performance in meeting our environment goals and objectives

CTC_Russ Hall Park_Green Army_CBP_215 In April last year, I wrote about the environment and our impact upon it when I rather disappointedly found myself, a self-professed ‘greenie’, with an impost on the earth well beyond one person. In fact if memory serves me right I consume about 2.3 times.

For the one planet thing to work we all need to consume just one person’s worth of stuff. Our response to such information is I think a bit like dieting. As long as the morning weigh-in has you dropping in weight then it’s easy to keep the momentum going. If you plateau or go up, the tendency is to give up sometimes regarding your own efforts as too insignificant or immaterial to actually affect the change you would like to make. So it goes with the environment.

Working in a small enterprise, and when I say small, at nine staff we are small, there is the tendency to take the losing weight approach and give up, reflecting whatever we do would be so small as to not make one iota of difference anyway.

It’s too easy to rue the fact that we are not managing Rio Tinto where we could make a real impact and just go back to the way things have always been. There are now quite a few reasons why it is the small companies that are making the biggest changes.

Firstly the big disruptions are coming from the small players not the big ones. Only this week KPMG is reported in the Australian Financial Review (3rd June 2015) as disrupting itself so that the small fleet of foot players don’t disrupt it out of business. Small leading the large. I draw a lot of inspiration from this.

Another reason the smaller player can punch above their weight in the environmental sustainability stakes is because their decision-making hierarchies are so small. If we decide on something at our Team meeting Wednesday, I am surprised if by the Monday we haven’t cracked it or made a pretty solid start on it.

It is much easier at our end of the management spectrum to try out ideas for sustainability. If they work fine you keep them. If they don’t move on to something else that does. The final reason that springs to mind is that big impacts are really only the aggregation of smaller steps made by the many. If every house reduced its energy consumption by 15% it would have a much greater impact than one or two large businesses doing the same.

It’s with this spirit in mind that CTC continues to forge ahead with green initiatives to achieve our goal of minimising the impact we have on the environment and enhancing sustainability.

We’ve done the low-hanging fruit like solar panels and waterless urinals. We have worked in partnership with the Oxley Creek Catchment Association (OCCA) to help remediate the waterways that bisect our property.

More recently we painted six portico roofs in different paints to demonstrate the difference this can make to ambient temperature. We are about to measure the results which should show a reducing temperature beneath each surface; the hottest being our standard Colourbond colour, next hottest being the Standard Colourbond colour in a special heat-reflecting coating and least hot white heat reflecting paint. This is the building acting as an educator in its own right. This is the Living Laboratory working for real.

Our Hot Leasing initiative, which is a prime example of the share economy, is another initiative where sustainability plays a key role. The optimal utilisation of space is good for the environment – the embodied energy alone is spread across a number of users who might otherwise have sought other premises, multiplying the carbon footprint many times over. In addition we have been on a tree-planting crusade and are now in the position where our office, our café and the Hot Leasing area are carbon neutral. This means anyone delivering their training from this location can be assured that their carbon impost on the environment has been offset. Good for the environment good for their customers.

Indoor air quality is another concept where smaller companies can take a lead without it costing much. All it needs is a generous allocation of plants within the working environment. Not only is an abundance of plants aesthetically pleasing, but their ability to capture and store away nasty volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints and adhesives, lead from LED screens, formaldehyde from our joinery and improve oxygen levels is quite amazing. The proof of the pudding should be realised through improved wellness levels, reduced sick days and possibly even better creativity in the workplace. To measure what a difference introduction of plants means we have commenced measurement of the atmosphere within the office in the absence of plants and will be re-measuring air quality after they have been in place for a few weeks. We wait with bated breath to see the impact (pun intended).

So next time you are considering your own small enterprise and despairing that you can’t do much, consider what little things you actually can do that will, when compounded with the millions and millions of other small enterprises worldwide, make a real difference. Our grandchildren will thank us for it. That’s enough pontificating from me for one day. Time to close down my computer and screen, oh and flick the switch to override the standby function while I’m at it…small things…..

Beyond the Baseline – The Green Cities Conference 2014

Kent-LI was at the Green Cities Conference this week and it, along with my attendance of Total Facilities Live expo, has firmed up my belief that green issues and sustainability are gradually fading from the headlines.

I don’t think it is intentional on the most part, but there may be an aggregation of events that is pushing it down the political agenda and public consciousness. There are probably a number of reasons for this, but to a real extent I think it is due to the 24 hour news cycle and our current penchant for getting our news digitally or in tabloid format.

The tabloid, and to a degree the tablet, have barely enough space for any detail. So when we get news that the ice in the Antarctic, for example, is growing not shrinking, we absorb that headline and a few other facts before moving on to the next story e.g. Russia annexing the Crimea.

What we are failing to pick up are the nuances and the detail which on further reading leads one, once again, to the conclusion that global warming is indeed a fact. The old days of the broadsheets would have headlines and analysis. It seems our busy lives (which presumably technology was meant to make easier and more relaxing) afford us little time beyond headline grabbing as we head off to work. Hands up whose eating breakfast at work!

Coupled with a harsh cold winter in North America, it is no wonder that the population starved of proper news is jumping, in a number of cases, to the wrong conclusions. Global warming is real and we need to act now to ensure it is not irreversible.

With specific reference to Green Cities 2014, it would appear that the low hanging fruit has been plucked. We have built the 6 Green Star buildings to much fanfare and now all that is left is retrofitting existing building stock; not nearly so glamorous.

The built environment is responsible for such a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions; it is incumbent on those who work in this space to start providing some redress.

At CTC we have been doing our bit through our carbon offsets (and yes I offset my airfares to Melbourne and back) for the office and even our website is carbon neutral. CTC runs the precinct from a carbon negative office. That said the whole complex is some way off carbon neutrality, to a large degree because of the low level of public transportation used by those who attend each day.

So it was to the experts that I was looking for inspiration to get my green sensibilities juiced up and inspired again.

The biggest impact for me was the keynote by Kent Larson from MIT. He advocates looking beyond the buildings themselves and adopting a grander scale – that of the city. While cities are not likely to go backwards in terms of size, Larson draws inspiration from the medieval settlements that were the precursors to our current great cities before they became the unwieldy metropolises that they are today.

The rule of thumb then, and what he calls for now, is linked communities all within a 20 minute walk. He points to Paris as a shining example of this and also Melbourne to some degree. In other words a series of linked villages which, when combined, make a city.

He points to three big challenges.

The first is transportation and he and his team are designing an electric car scheme that works like the current bike system in many major cities including the under-used Brisbane City Bicycle system.

The beauty of his car is that it is able to fold to a third of its size, meaning that five can fit into the space of one conventional US motor vehicle. At a cost of $30k per underground car park in New York this is a big saving on space and money, freeing up much needed real estate for affordable housing. In Brisbane an overground multi-story car park is around $15k per car park to build, let alone the opportunity cost of having that sitting idle much of the time.

The second aspect concerning Larson and his team is the need for affordable housing on a much smaller footprint. They are busy designing base-plate apartments based on the New York loft model and then by using mechanisation the space is transformed for different purposes at different times.

This is collaborative consumption brought right home to one’s domestic life. Once you are finished with the evening meal you don’t need the dining room so it gets changed into some other function. The bedroom, for example, is only the bedroom when one needs to sleep. This has meant a liveable footprint that is only 17% the size of a traditional small New York apartment. Already Ikea is exploring how they might make a range of furniture units available to make this a reality.

The other challenge that his team are confronting is the need for food security within the city itself. Those Medieval villages that grew to become our great cities had food production close to them which improved their chances of survival. Larson suggests that we need to become food self-sufficient within the Cities ourselves e.g. within each 20 minute arrondissement, as it were, for those who have wandered the streets of Paris.

Large scale hydroponics is the key, according to Larson and he envisages the facades of buildings being covered in plants in the not too distant future. By this calculation the heat signature of our major cities will reduce by around four degrees Centigrade and our carbon footprint much reduced as a result.

The challenge now resides in converting this vision into a reality.

It has taken less effort than many thought it might for developers to embrace Green Star for both bottom-line and environmental benefit. Lend Lease for example has developed over 122,000m² of green star space accounting for 44 new certified green buildings across the globe.

One hopes that similar vigour is brought to bear in up-scaling this thinking to a city level.

At CTC we are trying to do our bit. Once again the Hot Leasing concept at CTC fares well with its underlying principle of sweating assets to reduce unwanted idling time. Let’s hope for the sake of the environment that it gets well utilised and drives similar initiatives elsewhere.

Now if we only get all those tradies to ride a bike to work…..