VET, RTO’s and Innovative Accelerated Learning

How long doe sit take to train someone, how long does it take to be competent.

I have been involved in a number of discussions around the time it takes for someone to be competent.  Mostly this has revolved around the Cert IV in Training and Assessment qualification, however it did bring home to me once again the abuses of Australia’s Nationally Accredited VET system that occur in the name of profit, while be wrapped in this veneer of Innovative or Accelerated Learning.

Now first off I need to be very clear here; I am not against innovation or accelerated learning, I have plenty of examples of both, both within the VET sector, and external to it that has provided participants and organisations with the outcomes they were looking for.

Too often though, the terms Innovative delivery and accelerated learning, are simply code for how can we get as many people through the door as possible in the shortest possible time.

Why is this such a large issue in the RTO world, well because, despite what people may argue, it is not an open commercial market place, where market decides the value of the course or program and part of that decision is how the program is delivered and the outcomes it provides.  No the VET system is one where, the government sets the price for courses, through funding.  Now I admit this is a little bit of a simplification, the government does not actually say that the price of a  Cert IV qualification is $3000, it says we will give an organisation or a person $3000 to be trained in this qualification, it is not for want of a better analogy a recommended retail price on to p of which the RTO may place a premium.  It is simply the dollar amount the government will provide for the qualification.

So if therefore it costs an RTO $2500 to deliver the program and the government funding they get, either directly or through organisations is $3000, then they are making $500 per participant.  So therefore it makes sense if an RTO can reduce the cost related to delivery they can increase their profitability.  One very easy way to do this is to simply make the course shorter, with less contact time between the trainer/assessor and the participants, therefore reducing a significant cost and releasing the trainer to run other courses.  Shorter courses also means more course can be run over a 12 month period of time, therefore again more profit.

Again I need to state that I am not against RTO’s making a profit, private RTO’s are necessary and they need to be able to be profitable in order to be able to provide the service they do.  The problem for me is RTO’s that put profit before outcomes, who believe that they have some right to issue Nationally Accredited Qualifications (rather than it being a privilege) and using the smoke screen of Innovative Delivery and Accelerated Learning to cover up bad practices and bad outcomes solely designed to increase their profit margins.

It takes time to train people properly, particularly if they don’t have any background skills in the area, it takes more than 5 days for someone to be a competent Trainer and Assessor, it takes more than 12 days for someone to be a competent aged care worker and it doesn’t matter how you wrapper it.  Competence takes time.

About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

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