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VET regulator launches blitz of ‘White Card’ training

7 November 2012

The Australian Skills Quality Authority will undertake a strategic review of the entry-level occupational health and safety training required to work on construction sites in Australia, commonly known as the White Card.

Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the review of White Card training was one of three ‘blitzes’  the vocational education and training (VET) regulator would launch this financial year, with training in the aged and community care sector and inappropriate practices and marketing by registered training organisations (RTOs) also coming under the microscope.

“Strategic reviews are the next stage of VET regulation in Australia and ASQA is aiming to undertake three reviews each year,” Mr Robinson said.

“They are about identifying training hot spots and targeting ASQA’s resources to ensure the training being provided meets the standards.”

Mr Robinson said a number of concerns had been raised with ASQA regarding the quality of the training and assessment provided by some registered training organisations offering the White Card training program.

“The construction industry is one of the biggest employers in Australia and the mandatory White Card training program exists to ensure those starting a career in the industry get the knowledge they need to keep safe on-site,” Mr Robinson said.

“That is why it is vital the training and assessment program is provided in an appropriate way.

“As the national vocational education and training regulator, ASQA is regularly auditing RTOs to identify practices that do not meet the standards set. We also receive intelligence through our Info line (1300 701 801).

“We’re receiving reports that some training courses are simply too short to give participants the knowledge and experience they need. We’re also being told that the training being offered by some RTOs is of poor quality.

“Concerns have also been raised about online assessment, particularly whether students are assessed on the communication and comprehension skills required under the training package and whether the RTOs are certain of the identity of the person completing the assessment online.”

Mr Robinson said a strategic management committee had established to oversee the review.

The committee comprises representatives of the Construction & Property Services Industry Skills Council; the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union; Master Builders Australia; the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; and the Housing Industry Association.

The strategic review will also consult relevant stakeholders including Safe Work Australia and its state and territory counterparts.

Mr Robinson said the review would be completed by June 2013.

“ASQA will prepare a report of its findings and the action it intends to take and, where appropriate, provide recommendations for further action to be undertaken by other agencies and stakeholders.”

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