The Age | 17 December 2013
Almost half of Australia’s training providers could be misleading customers with ”disturbing” online marketing practices.
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) says some registered organisations are promising iPads on enrolment, advanced diplomas in two weeks and guarantees not to fail. Victoria is home to 46 of the 191 suspect websites.
One of the most widespread problems identified is the advertising of fast-tracked certificates and qualifications, such as a forklift licence in just two hours.
ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson said some websites had very misleading information:
They promised them a job or promised they would get a diploma or a certificate on enrolment, without saying they have to get the competencies first. In a few incidences they even promised immigration outcomes. They’re basically promising something they can’t promise.
The review was prompted by almost 200 complaints across the country in the 12 months to February this year about marketing tactics used by training providers.
A second damning report by ASQA, which found one in five aged and community care training courses failed to equip students with the skills they need to work in the sector. The review found that many programs were too short and offered insufficient experience in the workplace or, in some cases, offered no work placement at all.
As a result of the findings, ASQA has called for the government to bring in new national standards for registered training organisations and set benchmarks on a minimum amount of learning for each qualification.
Robinson said ASQA would begin monitoring websites and send letters to providers demanding they remove misleading material.
The Australian Council for Private Education and Training’s chief executive, Claire Field, described the report’s recommendations as a ”call to action”:.
No one wins from a race to the bottom. It is high time for standards to be strengthened to protect the interests of students, employers and high-performing providers.
The Victorian TAFE Association’s education policy consultant, Nita Schultz, said the recommendations in the marketing report showed the authority was serious about problems in the training sector.
This reflects comments that we’ve been making in recent years. There needs to be sanctions that will stop this behaviour.