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This episode is a little different to our usual format. 

Instead of playing the host, I’m sitting in the guest’s chair and have invited Brett Jarman, Executive Producer of Experts On Air, the production house behind our podcast, to step in as the host and interview me.

We wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at Vivacity, the origins of the Education in Isolation Podcast, a look at the impact Covid-19 has had on us and our clients, and a look at the future of the training industry.

In this episode:

  • Who Angela Connell is and what she does
  • Owner of Vivacity Coaching and Consulting
  • Primary business in the past was helping Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) get compliant and stay compliant
  • Now Vivacity is also helping trainers, coaches and consultants get their training online
  • Services include providing the tools, techniques, and technology to get their training up online. 
  • Angela’s transition from desktop publishing and graphic design to the training industry, starting off as a training coordinator then moving into a trainer assessor role, ultimately working with an RTO (Registered Training Organisation)
  • Angela ending up buying the second RTO she worked at, specialising in training for hospitality and aged care
  • The business had 8 qualifications in its scope when she started and grew to 35 qualifications by the time she sold it three and a half years later
  • The business grew from two training rooms to 14 training rooms across two sites over the same period
  • At the time of the sale, Angela had 40 trainers and eight administrative staff on the team
  • When she sold the business Angela studied psychotherapy
  • She has since returned to the training industry, with Vivacity providing consulting and coaching
  • Vivacity was well prepared to pivot when Covid-19 restrictions hit as they already had plans to increase their digital offerings
  • The team pulled out all stops to help their clients pivot
  • Angela could see that the impact of Covid-19 restrictions would not be short term
  • Angela also foresaw opportunities arising as the training industry always prospers during terms of high unemployment
  • Within a week Angela launched an Education in Isolation Webinar to help inform clients and others in the training industry
  • The webinar focus was tools, technology, and techniques to get online. 
  • Vivacity had six years of digital training experience to call on
  • They also had recordings of existing training workshops that were able to put online
  • Vivacity also had a regular schedule delivering RTO and CRICOS compliance webinars online
  • They have also added a weekly online mastermind webinar to support clients
  • One of Angela’s favourite ‘pivot’ stories is a dance studio that switched from face-to-face training to online training, using Vivacity’s Education in Isolation program
  • Covid-19 restrictions accelerated many projects that Vivacity already had in the pipeline
  • The situation has also seen an uptick in organisations seeking RTO status
  • Vivacity’s experience means that non-accredited training organisations can transition from face-to-face to online training quite easily
  • Vivacity is also helping many RTOs with recovery plans as they are allowed more face-to-face interactions
  • Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) audits have continued throughout the pandemic so aspects of Vivacity have been ‘business as usual’ but with a twist
  • Many RTOs that have shut down might have been able to continue had they had the right strategies in place
  • Other RTOs are combining online training with face-to-face assessments using physical distancing where necessary
  • Online training has given a lot of people some purpose where they haven’t been able to perform normal duties
  • Some students have opted for phone-based training
  • Many organisations had training staff doing alternative duties when they weren’t delivering training
  • Angela’s doubts about being able to service non-accredited training organisations proved to be unfounded
  • “Where the focus goes, the energy flow” – Tony Robbins
  • In amongst all the chaos Angela was able to launch the Education in Isolation Podcast
  • Vivacity also had a membership program in place to service clients
  • Vivacity surveyed clients last year and found industry members were concerned with compliance, time, leadership, automation, marketing and finances
  • These are now covered in the Vivacity mastermind sessions
  • Marketing is a particularly weak point for training industry providers with very fiew of them using Google Ads
  • Angela knew that Government funding would flow for the training industry as a result of the Covi-19 restrictions and was proved right
  • Safe work practices will need to be updated for many industries
  • Vivacity’s Online Training Superhero Course
  • An 8-week program includes tools and technology, how to build a portal, course structures, lesson development, marketing, sales
  • The package also includes strategy sessions with Vivacity consultants
  • Vivacity also have a done-for-you model where they build out membership or course portals for customers
  • This includes design of PowerPoint templates and branding and a landing page and website for the client to sell the program
  • It’s not too late for business owners to make the move online with their training programs
  • It’s actually necessary for business owners to make the move online with their training programs
  • A good place to start with Vivacity is a consultation session or one of the many free resources
  • Putting the focus online has created international opportunities for Vivacity and their clients
  • Many Vivacity clients have international students so moving online has enabled them to continue servicing them
  • In some cases they will be able to service international clients even better than they did before
  • The future is bright for the training industry
  • Australia’s reputation for compliance excellence will generate international opportunities
  • Vivacity will have another 10 courses online within the next 12 months
  • Angela expects Vivacity will have at least 50% of their business operating online even when face-to-face training resumes
  • Vivacity is now more nimble now that they have a remote team
  • Training people and organisations on how to work from wis creating additional opportunities