We have seen many changes in the past few years, but very little actual improvement. It was hoped with ASQA taking a national role in policing quality of training that they would target and de-register those RTOs who are only interested in making money. I have just attended the ASQA briefing and it was interesting that, in spite of talking for nearly 2 hours, David Garner didn’t address the “elephant in the room”.
The quality of VET training depends upon two things: the expertise and quality of the trainers and ASQA’s role in ensuring poor quality RTOs are targeted and either de-registered or rectify their practices.
It was said (but not by me) that TAE40110 was to blame for poor training and assessment practices. When it was replaced with TAE40116, all RTOs were required to undertake a complex and time-consuming application for scope. ASQA couldn’t cope with this and, as a result, many months went by before any RTOs were awarded scope.
Despite this, there are now RTOs with scope for TAE40116 who are well-known to be focused on making money rather than providing quality training. We know who they are but for some reason it appears ASQA doesn’t. How could they have been approved for scope? Most RTOs want to do the right thing, but they can’t compete with RTOs who are advertising TAE40116 for less than $1,000. There is no way the qualification can be delivered at this price.
I decided to take on some training for TAE Cert IV and Diploma and at the moment have over 100 students enrolled with International Teacher Training Academy. My reason was to discover how my resources (and the evidence requirements of the qualification) worked in practice. Clearly, this qualification is not fit for purpose. It is an entry-level qualification which permits a trainer to work in an RTO delivering and assessing nationally recognised qualifications and skill sets but the requirements are well above entry-level.
There are also some ridiculous evidence requirements. Imagine you are not yet employed by an RTO. You have been offered a job but first you need TAE40116. It will take you a year in most cases and by that time the job has gone. Also, some evidence requirements cannot be achieved unless you are working in an RTO. Take TAEASS402. It requires you to conduct 5 assessments of a full unit of competency under the supervision of a qualified trainer/assessor. The candidates for assessment must be “real VET learners”. This is Catch-22. You can’t provide the evidence except in an RTO. You can’t work in an RTO unless you hold TAE40116.
The other main problem is that TAEASS502 Design and Develop Assessment Tools is now a core unit. This is a Diploma level unit. If you are working in an RTO and hold TAE40110 then, as at 1 July this year you are out of a job unless you also hold TAEASS502 and TAELLN411. Let’s assume you train apprentices in carpentry at TAFE. You don’t use computers to create complex documents. Nor are you an academic. Nevertheless, somehow or other you need to plan, design, develop, trial and review 3 different assessment tools for 3 full units of competency – one being RPL.
I have spoken to my local MP who promises that the Minister for VET will contact me directly. Hopefully this will happen, because so far, every letter I have written to the numerous VET Ministers in the past has been answered by a bureaucrat. I doubt the letter was even read by the Minister.
Hope springs eternal. I’m not giving up.
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