What to ask your VET provider before you sign up for a course

by Ramya Manoharan | Jun 06, 2017

ASQA requirements for VET courses

The media has been rife with complaints against unscrupulous operators and reports of raids on vocational education providers. While the federal government has been taking measures to curb fraud in this field by revoking the licence of players who misuse their accreditation, it helps to be aware of the pitfalls of enrolling in the right course with the wrong vocational education provider or in simply the wrong course. 

The very accessibility of vocational courses could become a stumbling block, and is a good reason to check and double check the vocational education provider and the course requirements.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority, which regulates vocational courses and training providers to ensure that nationally approved quality standards are met, suggests a couple of points to consider that before enrolling in a course with a vocational education and training provider. Ask yourself these questions before you sign on the dotted line:

  • When, where and how the program will be delivered?
  • How you can provide feedback or make a complaint about the program?

What happens if your employment ceases – will you still be able to participate in the program?

Here are some further aspects to consider before you enrol in a course:

  • Is the VET provider registered to deliver training? Confirm that the training or education provider is registered to deliver the qualification or course you are interested in. You can do this by referring to the national database on vocational education and training in Australia to see if the VET provider’s registration number and name are featured on it.
  • Are you looking for a qualification at the end of the course? If you are enrolling in the course to gain a nationally recognised qualification verify that the training program will lead to an Australian Qualifications framework qualification.
  • Is it the course you are required to do? If the reason you are signing up for the course is to meet the training requirements to apply for an occupational licence, confirm that it is the right course as there could be others that sound similar.
  • See if you are headed in the right direction. Confirm the knowledge and skills you can expect to gain from the course and the job prospects on completing the training.
  • Shop around. Enquire with multiple VET providers about the total cost of the training, including any additional fees, refund policy, whether resources will be provided, duration of the course, minimum or expected hours of attendance each week, how and when you will be assessed, and whether training or assessment will be done in a real workplace. Beware of something that sounds too easy or convenient.
  • What placement support can you expect from the VET provider? If work placement is to be included as part of the course will the training provider find you a workplace or will you be expected to find one yourself? Do the support services include support for those with language, literacy or numeracy difficulties?
  • Check with alumni. Get feedback from former students on the quality of training or education and whether completion of the course helped them
  • If there is an online component to the course or the course is online, check for technical requirements and support. Enquire about the software required, download speeds, what level of computer literacy required, whom to contact if you encounter technical issues, whether you can expect trainer support for the course, and whether there is any additional fees,
  • Make sure you read the enrolment agreement or contract before signing or paying anything. 

References

 ASQA fact sheet on choosing a training or education provider. https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/13_oct_2014fact_sheet_choosing_a_training_or_education_provider_0.pdf

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00403


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