The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) says three-quarters of registered training organisations (RTOs) fail to meet an important performance standard, in further evidence that too many private providers are in it for the money and not for the provision of quality training.
Compliance audits conducted by ASQA last financial year showed that “almost 75 per cent of existing providers were unable to demonstrate compliance with Standard 15”, ASQA’s 2013-14 annual report, released on October 29, says. Standard 15 is “Quality training and assessment”.
“Even after the submission of rectification evidence, 21 per cent of providers remain unable to demonstrate compliance with this Standard …. the most critical Standard for ensuring the delivery of quality outcomes,” ASQA said.
In the first three years of its operation, ASQA’s audits have revealed that only 20 per cent of providers “are fully compliant with all the national standards of the audit. In the remaining 80 per cent of cases, ASQA has found at least one non-compliance”. Of those not fully compliant, 23 per cent remained non-compliant after submitting rectification evidence.
ASQA has concluded that “many struggle to understand and interpret what is expected of them”. The number of RTOs facing sanctions or the cancellation or suspension of registration shot up by a third in the last financial year over the previous year.
A review of training for aged and community care revealed that training programs “are largely too short and include insufficient time in a workplace for sufficient skill development”, with RTO leadership and staff having “poor knowledge and understanding of the required national standards” and most RTOs “struggling with appropriate assessment”.
ASQA further found that up to 45 per cent of RTOs were marketing and advertising misleading information; 12 per cent were marketing superseded courses and nearly 9 per cent were promising jobs and or training outcomes ahead of any assessment. Reviews are currently being conducted into the childcare and early childhood learning, the security industry and horse riding.
The regulator’s budget has recently been increased by $68 million, a belated recognition that problems are widespread. Millions of dollars of public funds are being milked by for-profit companies and students are paying for useless qualifications while experienced TAFE teachers are losing their jobs.
An end to contestable funding, or at the very least no expansion of the discredited model, is what NSW politicians should be committing to in the lead-up to the state election.