The Vocational Education and Training sector provides students with pathways to employment and higher education. With more than 100 000 students enrolled in VET courses, it is an important sector of the WA economy. Students that enrol in a VET course need to have confidence they will get the training they need and that they will not suffer financial loss if an RTO is not viable. A recent example in Victoria where a training provider cancelled over 1000 certificates it had issued and repaid at least $8 million in government money is a timely reminder of the considerable risks.
The Training Accreditation Council is responsible for registering WA training providers and assuring they deliver quality services. It does this through the registration of providers and checking those it has registered to confirm that they are complying with national standards. It can also sanction those who fail to comply with standards. As such, its role is essential to building confidence in the sector and ensuring students get the best outcomes.
I was concerned to find that the Council’s checking has shown a high level of non-compliance amongst RTOs. The Council should improve its practices to find these problems early and to ensure they are fixed quickly to minimise the impact on students and industry.
But I am encouraged by new measures approved by the Council in April 2015 that will focus more on higher risk RTOs and engagement with industry. These measures should result in better compliance by training providers to the benefit of students and industry.