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Episode 2 – Kyleigh Henningsen from M.I.T.T.S

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#SeriouslySocial The Podcast

with Simone Douglas and special guest Kyleigh Henningsen 

transcript

Chris Irving : 

Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host Simone Douglas. This episode features an interview with educator Kyleigh Henningsen.

Simone Douglas : 

Seriously social podcast, I’m joined with a very good friend of mine who I’ve known for nearly eight years who actually over at us now, Kyleigh Henningsen from M.I.T.T.S. So Kyleigh, maybe you can just give us the cliff notes version about your journey to the red chairs.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

So my journey to the red chairs came about when you put the lovely post up on LinkedIn that you were looking at talking to people from interesting backgrounds, predominantly related to marketing and and social media, etc. I’ve spent three decades working in in adult and vocational education. A lot of what I’ve had to do in my positions has actually been marketing and advertising. And of course, the huge rise of social media that now impacts our industry. So I’ve put my threw my hat in the ring and said, I’m happy to come along and have a chat to you about marketing, adult and vocational education and where we see ourselves coming out of the post covid 19 scenario and, and how that’s really going to impact our sector and of course, impact how we market.

Simone Douglas : 

Absolutely. And I think, you know, there are so many interesting points without because having worked with you in the VET sector, and in a small RTO just the amount of stress and pressure naturally falling on trainers and managers and things, you know, and compliance really gets in the way of I think them enjoying the process of educating their students, which is what attracts people to training in the first place, I think.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Absolutely. And you’ve touched on a really good point is that there tends to be a trend in the vocational education sector, where owners and boards of management have this unrealistic expectation that An RTO manager has the inbuilt skills to be able to market and advertise, which not necessarily do they actually have those. So consequently, they’re writing copy and running narratives that are probably a bit less than ideal. And I think what it really shows the value of hiring an organisation such as yourself, where you have the inbuilt expertise to be able to come in and look at the business as a whole, identify exactly with the marketing and or advertising needs to be focused on and to develop some really good copy. One of the I was one of the probably first people I think, who purchased your book. And I’ve got it with me today and there’s lots of tags in it. But one of the most important points I wanted to draw from that is we’ve gone away from this humanistic narrative. A lot of adult vocational education providers If you look at them and put all of their marketing together, a lot of them are doing exactly the same thing. They’re bombarding the potential student with lots of questions. They’re making the assumption that the student is going to be able to answer all of those questions in a logical order, and then make the connection was wanting to enrol with your registered training organisation. It’s not necessarily the case. Yeah.

Simone Douglas : 

And I’m rea lly always attracted to the stories that sit behind a business. And I think there is a huge opportunity for training providers in particular, to do a better job at telling their story.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Three there people absolutely and I think that some of one area where I’m very much against using stock photos in websites, especially when you’ve already got this awesome base of students that you can utilise you’ve got your training facilities, you’ve got all your back of house staff, you got your wonderful reception area, your training rooms or That’s all of those different environments that you can draw on. And especially if you’re looking at international students, their parents are the ones who predominantly making that decision. Yeah. So they’re going, they’re connecting with the sites they’re going on, where they’re actually seeing what is happening, and the environment that their son or daughter may be actually going into. So the more that you draw on that and utilise that to you know, the best effectiveness that you can, the better it is for your potential student market, but also, it’s a way of advertising and marketing that substantiates in sort of sexual self in the environment. Adelaide is very much is on her, you know?

Simone Douglas : 

Yeah, totally.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Absolutely. So it’s who you know, who have you worked for, you know, what does the industry say about you?

Simone Douglas : 

Yeah, in registered training. Absolutely. And I think in in all industries, like that story’s the same, but the RTO industry’s like very tight. But you know, even still having been out of it now for eight years, but it was, you know, always fascinating to me, you know, if I was interviewing someone or I was, you know, looking at a trainer or something, and I’ve get a phone call, the week, the week of all of that happening from the RTO manager at another RTO going I hear so and so is applied with you, you know, just letting you know, you might want to not do that or, you know, their compliance levels were not fantastic or their student outcomes or, or the opposite going I hear you know, someone says applied to train with you just so you know, they have been absolutely fantastic for me, their contract trainer, they do X, Y and Zed. So it’s, I think that in order to land, they’re exceptional networkers internally. I don’t know that they’re so good at networking externally, a lot of people, but they’re very good, most internal netways How have you grown? Because you are good at networking externally. So how have you gone about growing your external networks, you know, into industry sectors and things like that.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

I am probably lucky that I have always been the type of person that could as my parents would say you could sell ice to the Eskimos. Yeah. So I’ve always had that sort of gregarious, outgoing nature. I think capitalising on using those skills at attending a lot of the payday events that have been in South Australia and going up and saying ‘Hi’ to people, introducing yourself, where do you come from? Find out where they are, what they’re doing, and you create those connections. Because as you said, the RTO world is very tight. Yeah. So you’ll end up seeing those people at every single trainer provide a forum. Yeah, every single escrow briefing, every single professional development session that they schedule it, etc. Yeah, and you’ll see them time and time. Time and time again. Yeah. So it establishing those connections and then building on those relationships. It is not so easy for some people to sell themselves. And I understand that I think to assist people with doing that is breaking down what your skills are two, their basic form and highlighting what your strengths are. What are you really good at? Not everybody is really good at the public speaking. But then you might be absolutely excellent at designing training material. Yeah. You may be an excellent trainer and assessor, but you don’t manage compliance too well. Working out where your strengths and weaknesses like doing a SWOT analysis on yourself. They will always still handy and they’re still beneficial. And the opportunities will identify a few where you can build your strengths. Yeah, and there’s so many different professional development opportunities that are available to everybody that doesn’t cost you the earth, a lot of them afraid. And there is no such thing as you, you know everything you keep learning in in this sector, like you do with the rest of life, especially when you’re dealing with a federal regulator that keeps moving the goalposts quite regularly. And as of the first of July that moved the goalposts slightly again,

Simone Douglas : 

Of course, so if you were going to let’s test my RTO language, it’s been a while. So if you were delivering a certificate three in networking, so this is like an entry level qual. What would be the five main performance criteria that you might attach to that type of qualification? So I’m hoping there isn’t a training package attached to networking. So we’re just playing a hypothetical here. Yeah, no, not yet.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Definitely not yet. Of course, the first thing is going to be effective communication. Yeah. It secondly will be relationship building, teamwork, a lot of the soft transferable skills. So conflict resolution, negotiation, relationship building … like I said effective communication, knowledge and understanding of your industry. You need to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk. Yeah. Especially if you’re wanting to branch out as a sole, solo. You need to your clients are paying you and relying on you to give them absolute competent advice. Being able to I suppose, actually do presentations. Yeah. If your networking skills Yeah, presentation skills, work on your public speaking. Even some of the really simple things about knowing how to present yourself knowing when, where, why, who and what, before you walk in into this situation. So being prepared doing your groundwork, yeah, research beforehand. So I think a lot of those performance criterias would be really important when they develop that package. Because it’s only a matter of time.

Simone Douglas : 

It surely is. Right, like so it’s kind of funny because that a lot of the things that you’ve just mentioned is stuff in my new book that will be released in about another five months. So it’s about, you know, emotional intelligence, having the capacity and rate over room understanding when you’re taking up too much oxygen. So in reading the body language that it tells you that you should shut up now. But also, you know, the best networkers are the glue in a conversation in a group of people. So I personally think that a great what’s the word acid test of competence is watch the person in the room when they’re in a group of five or more people have different personality subsets, because if they can maintain that conversation in a way that everybody gets to speak, and everybody gets Then that’s the sign of a master networker, I think.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Absolutely. And the person who can draw out information from the person who’s the most timid. Yeah. By getting them to, to feel that they are participating that they’re an integral member of that little subgroup. Yeah. But it’s interesting, as you said about knowing when the oxygen starts to run out, I liken it to copy on a paper where you need to have that adequate whitespace Yeah, otherwise your brain can’t take in all of that information in that written text if there’s not sufficient whitespace. Yes. And I think that very much is a similarity to what you were saying yes. Marco skilling and micro credentialing is is starting to really gain traction in the industry. I think post Covid-19 it’s really going to start expanding where we are going into a recession. That is that is just inevitable. It’s a given for a current statistics is that there is one job for every 12 people at the moment as of my research last night, even though the government is is a, you know, the federal government spends about $6 billion a year on vocational education and training and the funding for funded places is around $4 billion a year, it is quite substantial. What I think the economy is going to need is to have people who have those micro skills Yeah, to have those micro credentials. The market credentials are really important because they actually identify all those transferable cross sector skills, okay, communication, leadership. Those types of characteristics of the micro skilling is learning exactly what you need to know for the particular job. It’s extremely cost effective. It’s easy to deliver But yeah, it’s in bite sized chunks of information, which for adults, that’s how we learn the best is by getting some theory and then being able to put it into practice. And there is an outcome at the end of the day for the person as well as for the employer. So I think there is very much going to be more of a focus on those micro skills and micro credentials rather than the university degree. Recent studies actually showing that there is an expiry date of skills and at this stage, international researchers put a figure of six years so every six years, your skills are likely to become obsolete. So you spent four years at university you’re only getting two years as you bang for your buck. On average, we will have seven careers or sorry five career changes in our life and they will include 17 different jobs.

Simone Douglas : 

Wow. Yeah, no, it’d be about there.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Yeah, probably not far away either. And I think one of the, some of the elements that make yourself and and and others successful is those transferable cross Industry Skills. Yeah. And those are skills that come with the individual, what is learnt is a specific nature. So for example, I recently had an association with an art to that delivered automotive. I’m not a mechanic, no, no, no background in it whatsoever. But I didn’t need to be because we had expert trainers and assessors who were delivering the training and the assessment. I learned a lot from them, but the confines of the art to the compliance needs, the staffing needs, all of those were exactly the same. So all of my skill sets that were transferable we’re able to go into that particular position. Find talking about the market touching back on the marketing as well, too, is that I really am sort of extremely disappointed by a lot of the marketing that is done within our sector. Yeah. As I said, I think our to senior executives and senior managers are great at what they do. But you really need to have a marketing and advertising expert. It’s an investment. Yeah, it is whether you bring somebody in or whether you outsource. It is an investment in the potential market. And if you’re not investing in the front end, you can’t expect to get a lot on the back end.

Simone Douglas : 

Well, and they often don’t have so that it’s been my experience and we’ve worked with a couple of articles in our time that when you go into that organisation, so I bring my marketing brain, which is really code for being human to human because that’s where we differ from a lot of other marketing agencies, but they Often haven’t spent time working out what that story is, you know, so what? What is the emotional context of my experience with your organisation? What am I? How am I going to feel? What is it that you want me to feel? What is the journey that you’re going to take me on? And how do you sum all of that up? And I think it’s a huge opportunity. There are going to be some audios out there that there are a lot of other businesses that in this current environment, so when we’re in a recession, and everyone’s fighting for the dollar, which is what most sensibly people are telling us, there are two things that are going to be important. The relationships that you have with the people around you and and how well you have stewarded your networks up to this point. So you know, I liken it to how many favours do you have in the bank? And have you been making withdrawals every week? Yeah, I try not to make withdrawals unless I absolutely need to. Yeah. But also you know that that thing about do I know what my story is, and as an organisation does every member of my team understand which part The story they’re responsible for, so which sentence they’re writing, or which chapter or whatever it might look like. And I think, you know, that’s a really powerful position. If you can get yourself as a business in, if you can take those two boxes, so if the CEO or whoever it is the management team, have robust networks and have stewarded them really well. And if everyone understands the story that you’re telling, then you’re an unstoppable force. recession’s don’t really matter, then.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Absolutely. And as you said, it’s really important that everybody understands what their place is in Adelaide, it is very much proven that students recommend Yeah, training training providers. Yeah. I have worked for a number of organisations where based on success of what we’ve delivered, students have recommended potential students so that we have actually had full bookings for two years down the track with almost nothing marketing or advertising? Because it is that personal recommendation and experience. That is the most important element of marketing and social media really appeals now to, you know, the under 30s. Absolutely they spend, I’m sure you can probably clarify how much time they spend on social media, the likes, the comments, etc, etc. So your social media presence, as you can well attest, can make or break. Yeah, absolutely. And Google reviews can, you know, have a lasting impact on your potential market and South Australia in the RTO world, we don’t have an infinite market, especially now with the fact that our international borders are still closed. You’re a lot of training providers are now looking at the fact that they have no intakes … very little local intake and no overseas intake for pretty well the rest of this year. And even that one’s shore students who are now looking at do I pay my course fees? Do I pay rent and put food on my table? It’s now even more important for the education providers to make sure that their social media presence is very ethical. Yeah. And it’s all in, as you said, humanistic, you need to touch that human element. Because at the moment, I think students need that more than then than ever.

Simone Douglas : 

I think particularly. Yeah, that’s a really good point to end on in terms of, I think all businesses in order to be successful have to care more about the end user or customer or, you know, my clients and my family, really, so yeah, you need to care about them that much. Yeah, cuz right now that’s what’s going to count and moving down the track, it will absolutely have an ongoing impact. Kyleigh, thank you very much for joining me on the show.

Kyleigh Henningsen : 

Thank you so much appreciate it very lovely on the red chairs.

Simone Douglas : 

Thanks.

Chris Irving : 

Thank you for listening to the seriously social podcast. See our website for more details at www.socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast. Check the show notes the credits music used in the programme and more details about our guests.

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