There has been a lot of negative publicity about the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in the media recently. Newspapers and TV have carried stories of unscrupulous practices where Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) recruit students who don’t not have the academic skills required to pass the course they sign up for, and use ‘tick and flick’ assessments that are not true indicators of a student’s competency.
A particular area of concern has been VET FEE-HELP loans. Some RTOs have gotten millions of dollars from the government for training students that have next to no chance of ever completing their course, or repaying their loan.
For high school graduates or those looking to upskill or change careers, there are a whole range of decisions that have to be made. So, if one wants to choose a VET course, how can learners and their families make a good training choice? What should they look for?
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for VET. They have put out a fact sheet that gives advice about choosing an education provider:
Here is a summary of that fact sheet:
- It provides information about RTOs – and also about English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), which is the sector which provides courses for international students wanting to study English.
- Look at a provider’s marketing and advertising. Make sure that it is accurate before you sign up for a course. Providers must provide information about training, assessment, support services and your rights and obligations.
- It gives you a list of aspects to consider, including confirming that the training provider is registered, membership with industry bodies or associations, what job outcomes are likely to be available and reading the enrolment agreement/contract carefully.
In the RTO sector, learners are also consumers – you are buying a product and therefore, you should be concerned about provider behaviour and quality. You must ensure any information you use to make a decision is accurate and reliable.