Winner of the 2021 Trailblazer RTO Award

We’re proud to be named winners of the 2021 Trailblazer (RTO) award in the Australian Education and Training Awards. This award was designed to recognise accredited training institutes that are leaders, innovators and change-makers in the education space, learn more about how we’re leading the way.

Award-winning RTO


We’re proud to be named winners of the 2021 Trailblazer (RTO) award in the Australian Education and Training Awards.

This award was designed to recognise accredited training institutes that are leaders, innovators and change-makers in the education space through three main criteria:

  • Learner focus: How does your institution position learners at the core?
  • Curriculum design and innovation: How does your institution innovate its course content and delivery formats?
  • Partnerships and industry links: How does your institution adapt its courses and learning materials to meet the needs of learners and the industry?

These key criteria align perfectly with our three main drivers: Courses designed for success, a focus on student experience, and the creation of real outcomes.

To be recognised as leaders, innovators, and change-makers in VET is a humbling and hugely exciting moment for us!

Real outcomes, flexibility, and high-quality support have been the cornerstone of our mission since we started operating 12 years ago. We truly believe that education can empower individuals and it is a privilege to work in this industry. Lifelong learning is our passion, and we are excited to continue pushing education boundaries as we strive to get better and better at what we do.

Sarah Sabell / CEO

Focus on the learner experience

At CAL, the very first value on our wall is ‘Students first. Always.’ We have always lived and breathed this belief and this extends across the entire journey – from a prospective student getting all the right information they need to the unwavering support our current students receive and the celebration and engagement of alumni.

Unparalleled flexibility

We continue to differentiate ourselves as a student-first leader in the space by putting the power back in the hands of the learner. We introduced an unheard-of risk-free period of 30 days and made the business decision to treat flexible study options as tools available to help learners succeed, rather than make us a profit. These initiatives set us apart as a provider that lives its purpose and puts the student at the centre of the business.

With all of this in mind, flexibility is a core component of our offering. There is simply no other way to adequately train adult learners that don’t have the time or ability to drop work and take up full-time study for a year. We offer a range of flexible study options free of charge and completely accessible so we can make sure students feel supported and not taken advantage of when life throws curveballs. This is why 34% of our new students surveyed cite study flexibility as the main reason they’ve chosen CAL.

Understanding the student journey

We’ve sat with groups across the whole business to create a Student Journey Map that considers the actual experience of our students, incorporating direct feedback – the bad with the good – so we can get a real view of what they’re going through. We put this on the wall, we talk about this in every meeting, it’s part of our DNA. This has allowed us to get new perspectives and make plans for new projects and processes to solve current issues and create the ideal learning journey.

Creating courses to empower learners

Our course delivery is accessible, inclusive, industry-relevant and student-focused.

As an accredited provider, we need to ensure our content and assessments are both high quality and compliant. This does impose some restrictions and extra limitations, but we take these and carefully weave in improvements for student experience.

Innovative assessment methods

We’ve introduced virtual role plays in our assessments to demonstrate and assess skills you’d apply in the workplace. These are conducted between the students and their Learning Coach, and have been carefully designed to simulate real situations you’d encounter, but with the benefit of having a safe space to try out their new skills. This allows them to get in practice before needing to approach these potentially stressful situations in real life with real people, so they can apply these new skills with confidence going forward. This has been an important innovation to our assessment process and has allowed our Coaches to connect with and mentor students more deeply.

Learning is critical to professional development, so removing barriers and creating an experience that inspires our learners sets them up in their careers and personal lives. We design our courses for success.

Dedication to creating real outcomes

Supporting our content design, our coaches come from the industry, they’re not career teachers or academics that know the theory but haven’t been put to the test. This is a key belief for us to deliver not just course support, but real-world career support from someone that’s been there and done that. This allows students to bounce ideas off their Learning Coaches and get advice for applying their learning in the workplace.

Alignment with industry

The Australian HR Institute (AHRI), the peak industry body for Human Resources in Australia was made a priority for us to partner with, and we currently offer AHRI-accredited courses alongside memberships to strengthen industry links and opportunities for our HR students.

We’re also in talks with multiple other peak industry bodies – including the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) and Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia (RIMPA) – with the view of achieving more endorsements and accreditation to continue delivering value for new and existing courses.

Real Outcomes, guaranteed

We strongly believe in going beyond stepping someone through coursework, and really setting them up for success through their journey with us, and into their career. We have launched a dedicated Career Coach and Careers Hub with resources and a free CV review and consultation service.

In addition, we’ve introduced our unique Real Outcomes Guarantee. Having spent years fostering a culture of support and introducing new tools, resources and industry partnerships, we can confidently guarantee that our graduates get more than a piece of paper, and we back that up with further resources to support those still falling short of their goals – even beyond their enrolment time with us.

Looking forward

This takes something that was second nature to us and puts it front-and-centre. Using our Student Journey Map as a basis, we’re thinking ‘bigger picture’ and how we can create an experience that removes barriers, inspires confidence and sets our students up for success.

With innovation at our core, we go beyond the basics of a training provider to provide a real end-to-end career-advancement experience with our students at the centre of everything we do. We’re excited to keep pushing the envelope as a trailblazer and cementing our place as the best choice for adult learners.