Evaluation of the Course in Underpinning Skills for Industry Qualifications (USIQ)

Project area: Evaluation
Client: Department of Training and Workforce Development

USIQ was introduced by the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development in 2008 to provide contextualised learning support to students who require extra, scaffolded support in order to acquire and demonstrate the necessary skills to complete their parent qualification.

USIQ is delivered across Western Australia by 12 RTOs, comprising 10 State Training Providers (STPs) and two private providers. All 12 service providers were consulted on-site during the consultation process.

The Evaluation involved three key areas of analysis:

  • Examination of the sector’s capability to deliver USIQ;
  • Examination of methods and modes of delivering USIQ used by RTOs;
  • Analysis of the extent and results of program outcome monitoring efforts.

The mixed methods evaluation included:

  • Document review;
  • Data cleansing and analysis including of raw student completion records, program outcomes reports, and attendance records;
  • Stakeholder consultation using semi-structured, open-ended interviews and focus groups across 5 key stakeholder groups;
  • Service delivery analysis comprising in situ observation and systems analysis;
  • Thematic analysis of findings and development of evidence-based recommendations;
  • Staged reporting including presentation of top-line findings followed by submission of draft and final reports.

This Evaluation included an intensive travel schedule and development of a rigorous evidence base comprising the extant literature in foundation and employability skills, as well as the results of consultations and data analysis. The final report included detailed findings and recommendations, and a case study analysis of an RTO with a long history delivering USIQ.

Top line findings were delivered to the Department, with the relevant Director describing the presentation as the best they had received from a consultancy in terms of depth and breadth of content, and presentation structure and style. This feedback was reinforced at reception of the final report, with the relevant subject matter expert describing the report as the most comprehensive and expert received to date, with no amendments required.


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