OHS & WHS: VET courses under the spotlight

The Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) has released a report on issues relating to unduly short training for VET qualifications with the review listing the Certificate IV of Work Health and Safety and the Diploma of Work Health and Safety as ‘qualifications of concern’.

According to the report, a key issue in the review was information provided by RTOs was often limited, lacked clarity and was confusing, making informed choices by potential learners and industry more challenging.

In December, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews announced public consultations with VET stakeholders on the implementation of these recommendations.

The Safety Institute of Australia chief executive officer David Clarke said: “We welcome these recommendations. Over recent years we have consistently raised concerns regarding the quality of delivery, including the short course format by some providers in particular of the Certificate IV and Diploma in Work Health and Safety. These issues have an impact on employability and threaten the quality of health and safety advice and support to Australian workplaces.”   

“VET systems in other countries usually mandate notional learning times. In a country, which is supposed to be at the forefront of health and safety, we’re lagging badly in this area. This has negatively affected the international reputation and acceptance of Australian VET work health and safety qualifications,” Clarke said.

The ASQA review made three recommendations:

  • Amendment of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to include a definition of the ‘amount of training’ that focuses on supervised learning and assessment activities
  • Inclusion of mandatory requirements for amount of training for at risk qualifications
  • RTO’s be required to publish Product Disclosure Statements that include the range of learning activities expected, including the amount of training.

The Safety Institute of Australia will also be making a submission to the consultation and has issued a statement saying people who may be considering undertaking a Certificate IV or a Diploma in Work Health and Safety should make specific enquiries regarding the duration of the program and the time allocated to formal learning and assessment.


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