Childcare training providers spitting out “graduates’’ in a matter of weeks have sparked an urgent intervention by the Abbott Government.
The embattled industry is facing further audits, more on-the-job training and threats of penalties after a report by the nation’s vocational regulator revealed flaws in how childcare workers are trained.
Assistant Minister for Training and Education, Simon Birmingham has demanded a crackdown.
The findings are likely to concern parents, especially those who have babies and toddlers in childcare, and pay up to $110 a day for each child.
The Australian Skills Quality Authority report, which offered 10 recommendations, found that many registered training organisations were delivering training in considerably less time than recommended — some 18 months too early.
Childcare is competency-based training but it is recommended courses take between one to two years.
“The first concern is that trainees are not being fully skilled and properly assessed, meaning that employers are not always getting fully skilled employees,’’ the report said.
“The second concern relates to those RTOs that are trying to provide high-quality programs that are capable of delivering the skills and competencies required in a meaningful way: these RTOs are being faced with unfair competition (in terms of downward pressure, or the lowering of costs or prices to unrealistic levels) from those RTOs that are providing ‘cheap’ and unrealistically short training programs.’’
Senator Birmingham said he would direct ASQA to demonstrate it was using the full extent of its powers if people were graduating too quickly.
“If short cuts are being taken then I expect penalties to be applied. Childcare providers have told me they have black-banned graduates of specific training organisations because they do not have confidence in the competency of their graduates, particularly where those courses are miraculously short.’’
He said he would direct ASQA to work with states who have dodgy operators.
The report said the situation was threatening the long-term financial sustainability of the training market.
“Excessively shortened courses may lead to poor quality outcomes, as often they cannot deliver the rigour and depth of training and competency required by industry,’’ it said. “There is likely to be a causal link between short course delivery and poor quality training and assessment.
“This review has found that a significant proportion of the delivery of the Certificate III in childcare was occurring in programs of less than one year’s duration, even though the ... guidelines stipulate one to two years as the appropriate benchmark for a certificate III — 20 per cent of the delivery is occurring in programs of 26 weeks or less.’’
-reprinted from The Courier Mail