Competency Standards and the Road Transport Industry – (Part 2) The Framework

So, we now have a set of Competency Standards and Qualifications. One of the other reasons these were developed was because it was recognised that many people already had the skills to do the job. That was pretty obvious because the Standards were developed from the job, but nobody had the qualification. There needed to be a way of measuring competence and this became the assessment. In line with this it was also recognised that people can and did obtain their skills by many different methods. Some went to Technical College or University, some learnt on the job, some self taught by study. This is where the method of learning became unendorsed. We simply don’t care how you learned it.

The next step to proliferate qualifications was for the Government to create a scheme whereby employers would be encouraged by means of incentives, to enrol their new workers into a “traineeship” where at the end of the period, the worker would have a qualification. This was a lead balloon until the Government created an on the job pathway so employers did not lose their worker for a day at a time to attend training.

However you had to have a Registered Training Organisation to conduct the training and in the beginning there were very few around. The established institutions relied on bums on seats and had no idea on how to conduct on the job training. It didn’t take too long for people to see the money making aspect of traineeships and soon there were Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) all over the place. At one point there were over 1000 RTOs in NSW alone.

RTO’s could now also go into what were traditional TAFE areas and TAFE fought long and hard against that.

Initially RTO registration was fairly relaxed but after a series of scandals, particularly those involving overseas students, RTOs have had to comply with a very rigid set of standards to be registered and Government audits are regular and strict. As years passed the goal posts continually moved, and the cost of maintaining registration skyrocketed. This had the effect of reducing the number of RTOs and making it easier for the Government to police.

Trainer qualifications continually needed to be upgraded, RTOs had to have their courses accredited and Skills Councils continually sought to justify their existence by updating their Training Packages which were in effect, a book of competencies for the Industry. If an RTO was delivering training they had to show where that aligned with the assessment. Nowadays trainers not only have to hold a Trainers Certificate 4 or higher, but also the qualification in which they are training.

Meanwhile, the workers that were already employed at a Company saw the new workers getting qualifications while they couldn’t. In response to this, the Government introduced an existing worker traineeship. However this time the RTO was not funded and had to look for funding from the employer to conduct the traineeship. This was usually done from the incentives that the employer received. This on the job existing worker traineeship was not always received well by the employees, particularly the older ones. The attitude was “Why do I need a Certificate? I’ve been doing this job for 15 years”

So here’s the rub. If some of those people had taken that Certificate and then went and got their Trainers Certificate, they would be in a lot better paying and more satisfying job than what many of them are still in. Plus they could pass their experience on, but I guess that’s not for everybody.

Just as a side note, the Skills Council have identified that there is an acute shortage of Road Transport Trainers.

In the last part of this blog I will finally get to tell you why you don’t need to do a course to get a qualification and what resistance you would face if you go down this path.

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