CAVSS Local Leaders Network Project

This is an ALaN Network project funded by the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development and being carried out by C Y O’Connor Institute.

The aim of the project is to create an online “course” providing information and scenarios for decision making about using CAVSS, promoting greater understanding of the CAVSS Business Rules for all managers.

Two on-line surveys, one for CAVSS managers and one for CAVSS lecturers, have been conducted and responses analysed. Responses to these survey have helped us identify the skills and knowledge that are key to undertaking the CAVSS Manager’s job

The surveys show areas of concern that can be grouped under three main issues:

  • Expecting that CAVSS will solve every problem
  • Lack of systematic process to ensure that team-teaching model is set up and then monitored
  • Failure to understand and value the skills and knowledge profile of the literacy/numeracy teacher.

CAVSS Business Rules that are most difficult to comply with are graphed below. Rule 13, Selecting teachers to deliver CAVSS, being the most difficult.

Bus Rules Graph

The surveys show we need to highlight the importance of having the right teacher… not just another vocational lecturer.

The development of the on-line course is well underway and will be trialled before launching. We are creating the course with Articulate Storyline – a rapid e-learning development tool.


With this tool we can create interactive content using quizzes and scenarios as well as a variety of images, video, text and audio.

Lina Zampichelli



The CAVSS Experience

A Snapshot from a CAVSS Lecturer.

Being a CAVSS (Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills) lecturer over the previous two years has been a very rewarding experience. Understanding the need for such support is essential. Many students for whatever reason, have literacy and numeracy issues that were not addressed at school. This often leads to students feeling despondent and unsure of their capabilities. As a school teacher previously, it is easy to recognize how this feeling of low self-esteem can manifest itself in certain behavior in a learning environment.

For these reasons, I found forming a relationship with the students over an extended period of time was essential. Initially you are seen to be just another lecturer working through the competencies to be achieved. However, if you can set up a relationship that exists in and out of the classroom and workshop, your chances of success are that much greater. A sense of humour and good listening skills will go a long way to help yourself and students achieve success.

I have found that working with students and lecturers over an extended period allows relationships and camaraderie to build up. Moving in and out of classrooms and workshops on a regular basis, irrespective of CAVSS support, also allows students and fellow lecturers incidental support and for students to ask for individual assistance in various areas that they may be reluctant to raise in a more formal environment.

Being a CAVSS lecturer also gives you the opportunity to meet a wide and diverse range of students and staff across a range of portfolios throughout the college. The tag-teaching role ensures the literacy and numeracy support delivered is very relevant to all VET training activities and is seen as “normal” delivery. A thoroughly fun and rewarding experience.

Tony Cogan – CAVSS Lecturer at Durack Institute of Technology, Geraldton

via Helen Smith (CAVSS Local Leaders Network))

CAVSS in the digital age

Technology has become an important component of adult education and training.

When I first started delivering the Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills (CAVSS) there was no computer in sight. Over the past decade I have seen an increase in use and need for technology. I teach with a number of lecturers in a variety of industries (Trades, Aged Care, Disability). Much of my work is with Cert III in Engineering (Fabrication). Many apprentices have unrealistic expectations of Engineering. They expect it to be a practical subject and are unprepared for the amount of theory and mathematics involved. And increasingly, we use technology as part of training and in the workplace. Technology has become an important component of their training.

Students access course information and assignments from Blackboard which also has web links, presentations and videos. They use the internet to research and access information and watch videos from web sites such as Miller’s welding video library and YouTube. Some of their assessments are online. They create workplace journals on the computer and upload photos from their mobile phones.

There are learning guides, charts, tables, manuals and drawings to read and interpret. A huge demand for literacy and numeracy skills.


FabricationToolbox 300px A good resource is theTotal Fabrication flexible learning toolbox

Each day, the apprentices use maths skills in their jobs in order to complete projects and other job duties. Maths is used to determine material requirements and costs, interpret drawings and specifications, draw using measurements, and read codes.

There are countless resources on the internet for maths. I will illustrate just one here.

Apprentices learn to draw using only a compass, straightedge and pencil (Construction in geometry). These construction techniques give tools to draw things when direct measurement is not appropriate.

These skills are transferred to marking out on sheet metal using, dividers, steel rule and scribe.

Many of the apprentices cannot understand the written instructions and find a demonstration of the steps easier to follow.

A useful site is: step by step instructions and animations.Example: constructing a 90° angle 90deg angle 300px

The apprentices are required to interpret technical drawings and sketch isometric projections. Many students find instructions in a book are difficult to follow. Students have found the following video useful and inspiring.


Apprentices use a number of Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) programs. Autosketch is used to create precision drawings. See the simple example to the right. Autosketch eg 250px

Apprentices learn to construct templates using geometric development. They develop the templates on paper or on sheet metal. Lots of maths skills and knowledge required. Reading and following instructions on geometric development is quite daunting for many of the apprentices. The Total Fabrication Toolbox has a section on template making.

Constructing shapes using triangulation is particularly difficult for apprentices to learn. They find a demonstration useful.  I assist with each step, drawing, measuring and calculating. Another strategy is to watch an Animation. Follow link for demonstration on constructing transitional shapes.

 square to round 250px The apprentices use a program, Plate ‘n’ Sheet Development, to generate templates and check their layout and measurements.I needed to learn how to operate this program so that I would be of use to the students.There are a number of mathematical concepts, including geometry and measurement, which students need to know to be able to complete this task.


In addition to providing traditional literacy and numeracy support I am increasingly providing more digital literacy support.

Technology may provide the motivation to learn the theory and mathematics adults need for their training and in the workplace and it may facilitate more meaningful learning for them.

Lina Zampichelli

CAVSS Lecturer

C Y O’Connor Institute