RTO backs overdue government crackdown on shonky training providers

A crackdown on shonky training providers in the Vocational Education and Training industry announced yesterday by Senator Birmingham is long overdue. This crackdown is also welcomed by many within the VET sector according to an RTO in the Occupational Health and Safety training field.

Melbourne based OHS expert of 20 plus years James Sandman, also the Director and Compliance Manager of WAM Training, an RTO based in Laverton North, said several attempts by our RTO to alert regulators of obvious problems within the VET sector have received little or no action in the past.

“The VET sector is regulated primarily by desk top audits, allowing easy cover ups by unscrupulous training providers. It amazes me that within our industry, the quality training providers all know who the dodgy training providers are and what they are not doing, however desktop audits don’t uncover what is really going on,” said Mr Sandman.
Dodgy training providers know what auditors want to see in a desktop audit and paint a pretty picture. However desktop audits do not identify:
  • Minimal, insufficient or no practical training
  • Invalid knowledge assessments by assessors who prompt, script or provide the answers for students
  • Course durations and content that don’t match desktop audits, and
  • A lack of resources as outlined in training and assessment strategies or as required by regulators
“Whilst I do believe some of the regulators care, they are hamstrung by legal advice within their departments not to pursue training providers they know or believe are shonky, but are clever at paperwork, ” said Mr Sandman. The only way to really weed out these shonksters is to have random audits of training delivery or better still to employ staff to randomly sit through and audit courses unannounced.
This would identify if their promises on paper are realised in the classroom and practical activities. In recent times TAFE’s have thrown a lot of mud at private RTO’s, however it appears that questionable practices exist with both private RTO’s and TAFE institutions.”Several times we have sent our staff to TAFE and private RTO training courses in High Risk areas, such as Confined Space and Rigging, yet no practical assessments were conducted on our staff. It is just not acceptable.” James explained.
“Some training providers are known ticket factories who line their pockets and short change students on knowledge and skill. They focus on themselves – not a student’s right to education and safety”

It is becoming increasingly difficult for quality training providers to compete in a market where course lengths and training standards are reducing. Driven, in part by employers and students who are happy to forgo quality education for shorter and cheaper courses. “WAM Training welcomes any crackdown by government regulators. Otherwise we will see quality training providers succumb to the financial pressures exerted on them by a market littered with cheap and nasty training providers, at the expense of a student’s right to quality training.”

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