Meeting Skills Development Requirements of FIFO (Fly in, fly out) Workers

The aim of this project is to develop a blended and customised e-learning resource for the Resource Sector for the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment which would suit the FIFO workers in the mining industry. The package is going to be designed in consultation with the mining industry who have expressed a desire to condense the time away from site of their employees for training through the development of a customised, blended delivery model utilising e-learning.

The outcome of the project is to achieve the qualification for relevant personnel in a way that suits the FIFO resource sector using customised learning materials and methodology which has been designed to meet the needs of this learner group. An additional resulting outcome will be a case study and model of implementation which can be expanded to other qualifications for this sector.


  • Lead organisation

The lead organisation is The Pivot Institute. The Pivot Institute is an RTO based in Perth, Western Australia providing training and assessment services across WA. The Pivot Institute specialise in the delivery of a range of nationally accredited programs across the areas of training and assessment and management and leadership. We have moved heavily into e-learning over the past couple of years to support our learners who are located from Bunbury to Broome. We work with many mining and health clients who are located in rural and remote locations who face difficulty in getting their staff to regular professional development opportunities. This project came about as an opportunity to further meet the requirements of our mining clients.
  • Partner(s)

The partner organisation for this project is Barrick Gold's Granny Smith Mine. Barrick Gold is the world's largest producer of gold and the Granny Smith site is a significant contributer to gold mining in Western Australia. Barrick Gold sites in Australia include: Granny Smith, Plutonic, Darlot, Lawlers, Kanowna, Kalgoorlie and Cowal. Granny Smith is remotely located in the outback of Western Australia. It is not near any towns and employees work on a fly in fly out roster flying via chartered airline to site.

Barrick Gold Asia Pacific Locations

Project Summary

Employees at Barrick's Granny Smith minesite work on an eight days on six days off, twelve hours per day roster with the majority of employees based in Perth. The employees fly to site early on the morning of their first shift and return to their home base following their last shift. Granny Smith is an isolated mine and accommodation is provided in donga's (transportable accommodation).

Learning Approach

  • The materials have been developed with the input from Mining Companies (Barrick Gold – Granny Smith Mine) to develop specific online learning material and activities relevant to the sector.

  • Analysis was undertaken to determine the most appropriate learning content to be covered online and which is most suitable to be undertaken in a facilitated workshop.

  • An E-Learning Champion was identified on site and trained to ensure that they can trouble shoot any issues experienced by participants whilst on site.

  • Pilot participants were identified through consultation with the business partner (Barrick –Granny Smith mine site)

  • Participants were provided with an inperson induction session that walked them through the process and method of online learning through POLS (Pivot Online Learning System)

  • Pilot participants will commence their learning activity through POLS with facilitator and E-Learning champion support.

  • Evaluation of program at relevant point (Participants may not have finished the full Certificate IV however will have had time online and in facilitated workshops to allow a thorough evaluation of methodology, program and resources).

The Program

The resulting program will be a customised TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment suitable for use within the resource sector with a focus on Hard Rock Mining with FIFO workforce. The program would incorporate learning and assessment materials and resources, as well as language specific to that sector. This would result in a learning opportunity which would be more meaningful for participants whilst still meeting the requirements of the Training Package.

Barrick Employees Blended Learning Delivery

Technologies which will be utilised in the undertaking of this project

  • Use of Moodle as an LMS. The Pivot Institute has up and running a Moodle LMS so course content would be hosted within this platform which would allow access from any internet capable device

  • Use of Wimba Create for the development of the content. Other course development software may be investigated to develop content include articulate and exe.

  • Online tutorial and/or facilitator support through Elluminate (The Pivot Institute has a virtual classroom on Elluminate).

  • Use of Mahara (possibly) to store the relevant assessments.

How does this project align to the jurisdictional and national priorities?

This project aligns to the following goals of the National VET E-Learning Strategy:

Strategy 2 - Support workforce development in industry through innovative training solutions.
Strategy 3 - Expand participation and access for individuals through targeted e-learning apporaches.

Goal three of the National VET E-Learning Strategy which is:

Use e-learning to improve learner access to training for better employment outcomes informed by jurisdictional and national priorities.
The following occupations relevant to this project are listed on the WA State Priority Occupation List issued by the Department of Training and Workforce Development.
  • 242211 Vocational Education Teacher
  • 223311 Training Development Profession

The project will result in improved results for the mining industry in tersm of accessibility for their employees and relevance of the training and assessment to meet specific sector requirements.

Consultation with stakeholders

A range of consulation was conducted with a range of organisations within the resource sector prior to applying for the grant. This consultation identified that there is a need for further customisation, and increased flexibility including the reduction in facilitated workshop time and the use of e-learning to better meet the needs of the Resource Sector FIFO (fly in/fly out) workforce.

Intended outcomes from your project

What do you hope to achieve with the funding?

The intended outcomes for the project include:
  • Customised units across the qualification suitable for the approach of blended delivery in the resources sector.
  • Learner's will gain better access to training delivery which will improve thier skills through the completion of the industry standard qualification for Trainers and Assessors in Australia (TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment).
  • WA State Priority Occupations will be supported through this strategy including 223311 Training and Development Professionals within the resource sector.
  • The learners will have progressed significantly towards the achievement of the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • This will result in meeting the requirements of their current role facilitating promotion to more responsible areas.
  • Able to apply their skills in training and assessment to ensure that the skills of employees within the resource sector meet current and future demand.

Actual Outcomes resulting from this project

What was done?

The model used for the project is represented below:

BARRICK courses screenshot.png
Barrick Program Access through Pivot Online Learning System

Benefits experienced by

There have been a range of benefits from this project.

The Pivot Institute
Our ability to customise and design programs using Moodle has increased significantly. The three personnel who were involved in this project have seen their competencies in the use of Moodle increase. As a result of this increased capacity to design, develop and deliver customised programs for industry with remotely located workers we have secured an additional contract with a similar company to Barrick. The methodology and design of program through this project has shaped the development of future courses particularly in the area of assessment. The assessment process for participants has been modified across the whole of Pivot incorporating a better use of the LMS to manage the assessment process.

Barrick Gold
Barrick Gold have been provided with customised learning material and training opportunities for their personnel. This has made their learning more relevant and has significantly increased the learning opportunities for their employees. Employees have been introduced to e-learning and the result has been an increased acceptance of e-learning and a corresponding increase in computer literacy. Time away from the workplace for the employees has been reduced by over 60%. The time to completion for the full qualification is expected to be reduced by up to four months.

The trial participants have had exposure to e-learning and as a result are more e-learning 'ready'. They have had the opportunity to cover learning content regardless of where they are through the Moodle Platform. Learning opportunities and resources were customised to meet the requirements of this specific learning group ensuring relevance and interest for the group. The participation in facilitated workshops has been reduced through the use of the LMS.

The most noticeable improvement in completion rates through the use of this blended delivery model has been for users who access a computer as part of their daily duties. In the case of these learners, there is a completion rate of 80% for all learners who commence a cluster of study. Of the learners who do not use a computer in their daily duties, 70% have completed 75% of the assessment requirement, 12.5% have completed 30% of the assessment requirement and 1 learner has not completed any assessments. Those learners who have completed the assessment requirement for a cluster of study have now moved on to the second cluster and have completed 50% of the assessment requirement in the first week of training. This is a substantial improvement on previous training methods used for FIFO students.

Reflections and Suggestions

The program has been valuable for all stakeholders. There have been some key lessons learnt from the project.

Ensure that the learners are ready for e-learning.

There are barriers to acceptance of e-learning for some participants. These barriers are overcome through the blended approach to online learning. This program would not be suitable for a fully online approach for this target group. It is important to assess the readiness of the individual to embrace e learning and also to assess if their computer literacy skills will allow them to easily navigate the program. This is best done in person with each participant, coaching them through the login process and the navigation around the site.

Flexibility is critical

Trying to fit a planned schedule of training and assessment to fit in with the operational requirements of a very busy mine, with a cyclone thrown into the mix and changing shifts and rosters required some patience and flexibility. These challenges resulted in significant time lost at the airport due to cancelled flights, a session being facilitated early one morning instead of flying to site when the planes were grounded by the cyclone. This was a project based on a blended learning opportunity - and as a result, regardless of the challenges learners were still able to access and work on learning and assessment opportunities. Whilst flexibility is important so is the expectation of completion of certain milestones in terms of training and assessment. This is quite easily facilitated through the use of the LMS and continual communication with participants.

Contextualisation is key

The Cert IV TAA involves the introduction of the VET language - a daunting prospect for most students. In order to make this easier for learners, significant effort was made to contextualise VET so the learners understood how it applied to their mine site and then the understanding flowed into other areas. This was best illustrated by working through activities as a group, using qualifications or units of competency that were specific to mining - subsequent activities submitted via the LMS were in areas of their personal expertise or previous vocations. The hardest part about contextualisation for the FIFO workers in the mining industry was learning the language of mining.

Instant feedback is highly desirable.

Assessment tasks were broken down into chunks which reflected the chunking of material presented on the LMS. This allowed participants to submit their assessment tasks in parts which did assist in the increasing the submission rate - and also the work on the Assessor. This opportunity also increased the expectation of almost instant feedback from the Assessor. To support this increased need for faster feedback we suggest that when participants submit and assessment, a personalised email or note through the LMS be sent to the client as soon as possible. This needs to be followed up with a set deadline for feedback from the Assessor so that the participants can expect detailed feedback within a couple of days.

Sustainability of project outcomes

The model developed through this pilot will be made available to other training organisations and stakeholders in the resource sector in terms of a case study so that it can be replicated with any resources developed under the scope of this project being provided to the Commonwealth (with the exception of documentation which is commercial and in confidence and realtes to specific partner companies). The Resources Sector has expressed an interest to expand this methodoloy to other qualifications including OHS and packages within the RII Training Package. Learning and methodology from this seed funding will assist in the sustainable roll our of additional blended learning arrangements.

We are very happy to support the transfer of learning through this project to other organisations. Other organisations could review this wiki and the relevant media review then contact us for further information regarding the project. We are happy to share our knowledge and expertise in LMS and blended learning delivery with has been further developed through this project.


This is a an Access to Skills project output, developed by The Pivot Institute and Barrick Gold, Granny Smith Mine with seed funding from the National VET e-learning strategy.

For more information

For more information on The Pivot Institute:
The Pivot Institute
Elisa Uyen
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (08) 9221 1803
Mobile: 0417 041 474

For more information on Barrick Gold:
Barrick Logo.jpg
Barrick Gold
Adrian Sacilotto
SeniorSafety & Training Advisor
Granny Smith
Phone: (08) 9088 2422

For more information on the Access to Skills program:
Phone: (08) 9229 5200