Revelations that 75 per cent of Registered Training Organisations are failing to meet training and assessment standards, should lead to tighter regulation of heavily subsidised for-profit providers, the AEU said today.
AEU Federal TAFE Secretary Pat Forward said that the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s 2013/14 Annual Report showed many for-profit training providers were providing substandard training and questionable assessments.
“This is an astonishing result which casts huge doubt over the rush towards privatisation of vocational training by State Governments,” Ms Forward said.
“For 75 per cent of RTOs to initially fail to meet training and assessment standards is an indictment on the system and raises huge questions about the quality of training being provided. 21 per cent still do not meet standards after being given an opportunity to improve.”
“Meeting ASQA’s training and assessment standards should be core business for these organisations. If they are consistently failing to meet them, then why are they continuing to operate?”
“The current confused regulation system is allowing for-profit companies to milk the system and pocket millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”
“State Governments have embarked upon a reckless privatisation of the sector, and a slashing of funding to TAFEs, without proper regulation in place to deal with the consequences.”
“Regulations need to be changed so that only organisations whose primary purpose is to provide vocational education are eligible for funding subsidies, otherwise the integrity of the VET system will be further undermined by providers whose main purpose is making profits.”
“The Federal Government must also clean up loopholes in the system which allow RTOs to subcontract or channel delivery of training to secondary providers, many of whom are not even registered with the appropriate bodies.”
“For many students, the training they receive from these private providers will be their once-only chance to receive a government subsidy for their training, so it is crucial that it meets quality standards.”
“These students are the ones who have the most to lose from the influx of substandard for-profit providers.”
“The recent $68 million increase in ASQA’s budget is a belated recognition that these problems are widespread amongst for-profit training providers.”
“In 2013/14 ASQA approved 285 initial applications from new RTOs, more than double the previous year’s number. The sector is growing fast because for-profit operators are seeking to take advantage of government subsidies, and regulation needs to keep pace with this growth.”
ASQA’s 2013-14 report also stated that ‘of most concern’ is that almost 70 per cent of providers are unable to demonstrate compliance with Standard 15.5, which deals with ‘assessments being undertaken properly’.”
“This is a key issue for training - if assessments are not being conducted properly then what faith can students and employers have in the quality of training?”
The full ASQA Annual Report can be found at:
Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291