Choosing a provider
Training and education providers differ in the courses they offer and the ways they deliver training. We have set out what you need to know before enrolling in a course, and suggested some questions for you to ask providers that may help you decide whether a training and education provider is the one for you. In particular, this applies to:
- Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) offering nationally accredited courses
- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers.
Written information from the provider
Before enrolling or entering into an agreement with a provider, read the information providers are required to share with you. This should cover:
- the training, assessment and support services they provide, including when, where and how the program will be delivered; and
- your rights and obligations, including payment terms and cancellation as well as refund conditions.
The information may be part of marketing material from the provider’s website or social media, or pre-enrolment information directly from the provider.
Any marketing or pre-enrolment information should include:
- the provider’s legal and trading names
- their registration number(s)
- the name and code for the qualification or course being delivered
- the course structure – what units will be delivered, when, and the course length
The information should also take into account:
- how training and assessment will be conducted and where – for example, face to face, online, in the workplace, or at varied locations
- what equipment you need to complete the course – for example, do you need to supply a computer or have certain software?
- whether you need to organise any of your own training arrangements – do you need to find workplaces to train at?
- course costs, including any possible additional fees, and payment due dates
- refund and cancellation policies
- complaint processes, and
- support services for students
Speak to potential providers
After you have looked at the information supplied by the provider, consider contacting those you are interested in studying with so you can ask more questions about the course.
Some useful questions to ask a provider include:
- What are the potential job or study outcomes from this course? Remember, a provider cannot guarantee an outcome or promise you a result.
- If the job you want needs a licence or registration before you can work, is the course going to lead to the licensed outcome you want?
- What commitment will be needed from you to successfully complete the course?
- If training will be online, how does the provider monitor the technology requirements?
- If training and assessment is in a real workplace, how are they sourced, how would you be placed and supervised?
- If training and assessment is in a simulated workplace, how does the provider make sure it matches real industry needs?
You also may wish to ask if they have any student feedback you could look at.
Remember, you can also ask about anything you want more clarity on. Be as informed as you can. You should be comfortable with who you choose and what you have committed to before you sign an enrolment contract or pay any fees.
A provider may in turn ask about your background and skills during the pre-enrolment process, so they can confirm that the course you are interested in is appropriate for your needs.
If you are an international student, you should also consider:
- Is the location of the provider right for you?
- will you be able to find suitable accommodation?
- are there schools for any dependents in the area?
- is the cost of living in the area reasonable for you?
- What additional support services does the provider have for international students?
- What policies are in place for international students, for example:
- how will your progress be monitored?
- what are the options for transfer, deferment and suspension of studies?
Some additional points to consider when enrolling:
- Make sure the information in your agreement matches what you have previously seen and discussed with the Registered Training Organisation.
- Read the enrolment agreement/contract carefully before you sign anything or pay any money.
- Ask the training or education provider to explain anything you are unsure of. Discuss the conditions of enrolment with a friend or colleague if you are not sure what they mean.
- Ensure you understand and agree with any cancellation and refund conditions and ongoing fees.
- Ensure the training or education provider is the right one for you and that it is registered before you make an up-front payment, or commit to paying money.
- Ask for a receipt when you make a payment, check that it is correct and keep it in a safe place.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Fair Trading NSW also have information that may help with your decision on which course or provider to choose: