ASQA has begun a review of VET in the aged care and community care sector. The regulator has stated in its November 20 Media release that targeted audits will also be undertaken, read the ASQA review.
There are more than 280 providers supporting the Health Services Industry, providing VET level qualifications. Due to the ageing population and other contributing factors increasing our population it
is imperative that this industry is prepared for significant growth so that demand may be adequately met. The industry requires properly trained and qualified workers.
What is Best Practice
I have audited a number of providers within this sector and have found the 'best practice' providers offer significant practical training within a clinical environment and retain the services of
qualified trainer/assessors who have several years experience working in the industry. Furthermore, the learner resources have been contextualised to meet the needs of the specific mode of delivery
and industry requirements in consultation with industry and trainers. These are the RTOs that will sail through the up and coming audits.
Industry Becomes Registered Training Organisation
One of our clients owns a number of aged care centres throughout Australia and employs upwards of a thousand staff. The client retained us to advise them on the process for setting up and registering
as a RTO. My first question is always: why do you want to become a registered training organisation? The CEOs response was: "We continually have problems finding adequately skilled staff,
certainly they come to us with the qualifications, however, in most cases we find that we have to retrain these staff in the most basic skills that they had already supposedly covered during their
course, and so by becoming a RTO we are able to ensure that our staff are properly qualified with the skills necessary to do the job." This client is now a RTO.
This is a sad reflection on all Vocational Education Providers when industry finds it necessary to become RTOs to find staff with the required skills and knowledge.
The Worst Practice Providers
At the other end of the spectrum are the RTOs that use learner resources and assessment tools that have not been contextualised and do not fit the mode of delivery, use staff that do not fully meet
the applicable standards, and offer minimal clinical placements. The outcome is clearly shown when the student obtains a job in their chosen field and requires significant training by the employer to
meet even the most basic of requirements that were or should have been covered in the applicable course.
ASQA has stated in its Annual Report 2011-12 that all aged care
qualifications are treated as potentially high risk from 1 January 2012. 2013 is shaped up to be an interesting year for the aged and community care sectors.
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