Axial Training: Teaching vocational training and transitioning to a digital student platform

Christina Gómez
05/03/17
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The genesis of Axial Training took place in 1982 with the establishment of a large-scale heavy engineering workshop near the Port of Brisbane. Along with other members of his family, Val Llewellyn established the business to provide custom machinery and fabrication to the marine and manufacturing sector.

After a successful period spanning the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, a downturn in the localised engineering and manufacturing industry saw the need for Llewellyn to diversify and take on new business ventures, utilising his many years of engineering skill and knowledge.

In 1996 the Australian Federal Government introduced a new “user-choice’ vocational training initiative that allowed private training organisations to enter the marketplace adding flexibility and choice to students and employers alike. With many years’ experience in the engineering and fabrication business, Llewellyn had observed the need for greater skilled apprenticeship training. His love for the industry, a passion to see the next generation come forth and a viable business proposition saw the establishment of the training company that would become “Axial Training.”

From the outset Llewellyn established Axial with a strong set of ethics and values that today still hold true. Val Llewellyn built his engineering business on integrity, honesty, service, quality and results, and with these values in mind Axial Training entered the educational marketplace in 1997.

Initially delivering engineering training, Axial diversified quickly into the retail meat and business sectors of training delivery. One of the key differences that Axial Training provided to the educational marketplace was the commitment to deliver on the job training to apprentices and trainees, regardless of their location in Australia.  This commitment saw Axial’s trainers travelling to all corners of the country to deliver training and quality education to thousands of students.

With the ever increasing scope of cyber space, digital connectivity and interactive online platforms, Axial Training began to investigate a transition to the digital training space as early as the year 2000.

After several versions and interpretations Axial Training developed in-house, a digital training platform which launched online to satisfy the need for Blue Card inductions.

Axial has built on its strength in areas like involving the employers in the bespoke design of the student’s (their employees) training courses and programs. Digital platforms like Moodlerooms make this process more streamlined, refined and client-friendly.

This soon expanded to cover many other legislated safety inductions which were in-turn linked directly to a newly implemented digital administration and student management platform.

The introduction and transition to an outsourced student learning suite is a complex task that involves the consolidation of numerous platforms, programs and procedures.  For a business like Axial Training it’s accurate to say that such a move would be the biggest change that could be introduced to revolutionise how the business operated.  With this in mind it was essential that the chosen digital platform not only be industry current, but industry leading.

The transition to a digital student learning space would not only keep Axial Training’s students current with the latest learning platforms but it would also present Axial Training with the opportunity to digitise thousands of pages of resources, manuals and reference materials.

Essentially, a move to an advanced digital platform would streamline Axial’s training operations and delivery to the extent that (if done correctly) they would be in a position to offer to their students an effective online learning space that would be easily accessible anywhere, any place, any time with the addition of Blended learning as well as their existing online and face to face delivery modes.

Axial’s theory was to combine this proposed digital platform with the already high standards of face to face delivery that they are well known for, together with high level training provided by their trainers and facilitators. This bespoke build and educational offering would provide a truly blended learning proposition that would deliver quality education to our students and provide them with the best industry experience available in the vocational training space today.

Michael Smart - Axial Head of Administration (L) and Alena Smith-Axial General Manager (R), at Axial Head Office in Underwood,  Brisbane on March 06, 2017.  AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HAMILTON - Axial Training
Michael Smart – Axial Head of Administration (L) and Alena Smith-Axial General Manager (R), at Axial Head Office in Underwood, Brisbane on March 06, 2017. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HAMILTON

That was the plan for Llewellyn and his team, but which digital platform to choose?

In 2016, Alena Smith joined Axial Training as General Manager and was assigned the task of heading up the ‘Axial Digital Project.’  The brief was clear and no corners were to be cut.  Axial Training was moving to a digital learning space and not only did the new platform have to deliver, it also had to innovate and provide high outcomes and improve operational effectiveness.

Many years of success in the educational sector had honed Alena’s skillset perfectly for this scope of project and it’s one she took on with absolute passion and respect for the ethos of Axial being “All about people” and taking the students first approach.

Alena Smith thoroughly researched the market and soon decided on Blackboard’s Moodlerooms digital learning platform. Only the Moodlerooms platform provided Axial Training with the features and flexibility required to facilitate the entire scope of requirements for the company’s transition to a complete end-to-end digital learning space.

Moodlerooms was not only the platform best suited to Axial’s needs; the level of ongoing support and the robust onboarding process offered by Blackboard, along with a very controlled transitional process, provided Axial’s staff with sublime training and support to correctly tailor and structure the Moodlerooms platform to their student’s and trainer’s needs.

Additionally, Alena’s educational knowledge and background ensured a build that was flexible enough, as Axial acknowledge that no two students learn the same. The Moodlerooms platform and Axial’s additional customisation and use of this LMS, has allowed for course delivery and design to be tailored to the needs and wants of each individual student. Axial has successfully achieved outstanding results following the launch of Moodlerooms in November 2016.

The flexible and interactive design of Moodlerooms allows Axial Training to provide each student with the feeling that once logged in to their personal “LIME Room” dashboard, that entire system has been developed just for them! “LIME” is an acronym for “Learning Is Made Easy.”

The quality and flexibility of the Moodlerooms digital platform also triggered Smith and Llewellyn’s canny marketing sense to see the opportunity for Axial Training to not only add a new digital learning space to the company, but to brand and market the platform as a promotable sub-brand to Axial Training. After internal management consultation, the brand name, “The LIME Room” was rubber stamped for Axial Training’s Moodlerooms digital learning platform.

This name gave Axial a fresh new sub-brand to present to market, a modern new suite of colors, designs and an interactive educational brand and space that would gain greater traction in all of our markets.

Axial Training launched “The LIME Room” in late 2016 to a warm reception from their existing cohort of over 2,500 students.  The transition has been successful and the response from both students and Axial’s trainers has been nothing short of outstanding.  “The LIME Room” is exceptionally user-friendly which has certainly helped to allay the fears of individuals who may not be technology savvy and the Axial mentors are available to assist with any questions or concerns that their trainers or students may have.

The use of Moodlerooms as the platform upon which “The LIME Room” is built has enabled Axial Training to bring its delivery of training to a new level of accessibility and quality.  Moodlerooms has also allowed Axial to set a clear and smooth path for its present expansion in its overall delivery of vocational training.

Axial has recently expanded its training program into the thriving hospitality and cookery industries.  Axial has been contracted to deliver the staff training for large hotel chains including Mantra, Hilton, Marriot and Sofitel among others. A large factor in securing these contracts was Axial’s promotion and demonstration of “The LIME Room”, what it means to the student and how it can benefit the employer.  Axial has built on its strength in areas like involving the employers in the bespoke design of the student’s (their employees) training courses and programs.  Digital platforms like Moodlerooms make this process more streamlined, refined and client-friendly.

Axial Training’s transition to the Moodlerooms digital learning space has been the catalyst for change across their entire business.  Alena Smith mentioned that the best piece of advice she could offer anyone considering such a system would be to take an all – encompassing approach to the transition.

“The use of this product is limitless. At Axial we have ensured we have educated ourselves and our people to use very corner of this suite and extended it into areas to transition all of our operational and internal staff requirements, training inductions, HR systems, forms and policies into the LIME room and utilized this a one stop shop for all our company requirements.”

With over 60 different qualifications on offer covering a myriad of sectors, Axial Training’s partnership with Blackboard sees Val Llewellyn and his team well positioned to continue their long history of educational excellence and growth in the vocational educational industry on a national scale.

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