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Strategic review to examine inappropriate marketing and practices in VET sector

19 December 2012

Inappropriate marketing and practices within the vocational education and training (VET) sector will be the subject of a strategic review being launched this week by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the regulator regularly received intelligence that some training providers were engaging practices that did not meet the training standards while others were marketing their training in a misleading way.

“ASQA has been in operation for almost 18 months and our audit program and calls to our Info line (1300 701 801) have uncovered a number of inappropriate marketing and practices by training providers across Australia,” Mr Robinson said.

“For example, some training organisations have been advertising unrealistic timeframes for course completion, such as promises of completing Certificate-level qualifications in a weekend.

“Others are attempting to use online learning and assessment for courses that clearly and appropriately require face-to-face assessment.

“ASQA has also been made aware of training providers falsely advertising to be a registered training organisation (RTO), and inappropriately using the recognition of prior learning (RPL) framework.

“As the national skills regulator, ASQA has established processes to deal with concerns about specific RTOs that come to its attention through the audits it conducts and the complaints it receives.

“This review will use this information to inform its findings, but the focus will be on systemic poor practice and appropriate actions to address poor practice, rather than the dodgy practices of individual RTOs.”

Mr Robinson said a management committee had been established to oversee the review. The committee comprises representatives of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association; Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union; Australian Industry Group & Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research & Tertiary Education.

Mr Robinson said the review would be completed by June 2013, with ASQA preparing a report of its findings and the action it intends to take and, where appropriate, providing recommendations for further action to be undertaken by other agencies and stakeholders.

The strategic review of inappropriate marketing and practices within the (VET) sector is one of three reviews to be undertaken by ASQA during the 2012/13 financial year. Reviews of the entry-level work health and safety training required to work on construction sites in Australia and the aged and community card sector are already underway.

More information on ASQA’s strategic review program is available by emailing StrategicReviews [at] asqa.gov.au.

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