As many as three out of four providers of vocational and educational training providers have given students across construction and other sectors substandard training and/or inadequate assessments, according to the national regulator for vocational education across the country.

Figures contained in the latest annual report of the Australian Skills Quality Authority show that in 2013/14, 75 per cent of training providers which the agency audited were unable to demonstrate compliance with Standard 15 of the Standards for NVR RTOs 2012, the core standard  which defines acceptable practices regarding the quality of training and assessment provide.

Furthermore, more than one in five providers (21 percent) were unable to demonstrate compliance even after being given twenty working days to demonstrate that action had been taken to rectify problem areas.

ASQA said the results were worrying.

“The high level of non-compliance with Standard 15 is a concern for ASQA, as Standard 15 governs training and assessment—the core business of a registered training organisation, and the most critical Standard for ensuring the delivery of quality outcomes,” the agency said in its report.

“Of most concern is that almost 70 per cent of providers are unable to demonstrate compliance with Standard 15.5, which deals with assessment, and 21 per cent of providers remain unable to demonstrate compliance even after the submission of rectification evidence.”

The latest report comes amid increasing levels of unease within the construction sector in Australia surrounding the nation’s ability to ensure building managers and tradespeople received adequate levels of training in light of a proliferation of small colleges and registered training organisations offering building courses.

In a recent interview, Australia Institute of Building national president Robert Whittaker FAIB said there were many instances of trainers and assessors for these courses having little or no experience in building and these courses being managed by people who lack practical building expertise.

Such concerns are underscored by some of the practices observed by ASQA, whose chief executive officer Chris Robertson was quoted in a News Corporation report as saying that some private companies were issuing white cards for the building sector after only half an hours’ online training rather than the recommended six hours and were not checking student identities for these sessions.

ASQA says it is trying to improve training outcomes by streamlining registration processes and improving the information and guidance it delivers to providers.

Key points:

  • Three in every four vocational education training providers audited by ASQA throughout the course of 2013/14 were not able to demonstrate compliance with Standard 15 of the Standards for NVR RTOs 2012, which outlines requirements relating to the quality of training and assessment provided
  • When audited, almost seven in 10 providers were found to have inadequate assessment processes while 58 per cent did not have the required staff, facilities, equipment or materials
  • Even after given 20 working days to demonstrate rectification of problems relating to non-compliance, more than one in five training providers (21 per cent) was unable to present evidence of rectification and compliance
  • Throughout the financial year, ASQA cancelled or suspended registration for 74 courses and issued a notice of intention to suspend cancellation with regard to 188 others.