Prospective vocational education and training (VET) students should view themselves as consumers of training services. Like any other significant purchase, individuals should do their research.
The training consumer tips below are intended for people looking to undertake accredited training leading to a nationally recognised qualification such as a Certificate III or Diploma. It is not intended for people looking at non-accredited training options such as short, software, or adult community education courses.
1. Check that the course you want to do meets your needs
Do your research to ensure the course you want to do is a pathway into the career you want to take and provides you with the skills and knowledge you are looking to attain.
Researching the course on My Skills will provide you with an overview of what the qualification aims to deliver, the occupations and jobs it can lead to, as well as the units of competency (or subjects) that you will have to complete as part of the course.
If you are uncertain about the career you want to pursue you can visit Job Outlook which provides broad information on career and training pathways.
2. Ensure the course is nationally recognised and leads to a formal qualification
Check that the course you are interested in leads to an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification. AQF qualifications are formal qualifications which are nationally recognised. All courses leading to an AQF qualification have a course name (e.g. Certificate III in Community Services) and a course code (e.g. CHC32015). To search if the course you are planning to do leads to a formal qualification, visit My Skills.
3. Check your eligibility for government subsidised training
The Queensland Government subsidises training costs in a range of qualification areas for eligible Queenslanders through a number of different programs, including Certificate 3 Guarantee, Higher Level Skills and User Choice.
To check if you are eligibile for any of our programs, visit the Queensland Skills Gateway.
4. Shop around for a training provider that best suits your needs
Being a registered training organisation (RTO) ensures the training provider meets national quality standards and is approved to deliver nationally accredited training. To search if your preferred training provider is an RTO and is approved to deliver the qualification you want to do, visit My Skills.
Like any product it pays to shop around to find out who will give you the deal that best meets your needs. The Queensland Skills Gateway provides details of training providers within your area, including those that have been approved as Skills Assure suppliers in Queensland (identified as Funded) and can provide access to government subsidies if you are eligible.
When comparing training providers things to consider include:
- fees and other charges
- refund policies
- the resources provided as part of the course fee and what you need to provide
- course duration
- timetable for delivery
- location/s of training delivery and assessment
- method of delivery and hours of attendance
- the assessment requirements
- how assessments are undertaken (e.g. in a real workplace vs a simulated environment)
- the support services provided, particularly in the case of online or distance delivery
- whether the training can be customised to suit your needs
- complaints processes
- job prospects on completion
- feedback from past students.
You may have a range of other considerations. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your preferred training provider and request documents such as refund policies or a list of the competencies you do as part of the training.
5. Be cautious about paying large sums of money up-front
Until you are sure the course you are enrolling in is the right one for you and that your chosen training provider is registered and will provide you with the services you need, be wary about making large up-front payments.
When you do make a payment, ask for a receipt, check that it is correct and keep it in a safe place until you have finished your course.
6. Read the contract
Before signing any enrolment form or other contract read it carefully. Ask the training provider to explain anything you are unsure of and discuss the conditions of enrolment with a friend or colleague if you are unsure what they mean. Ensure you understand and agree with any cancellation and refund conditions. This is important in case your situation changes once you start the course and you can no longer complete the course.
Disclaimer: In compiling these tips the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training has used its best efforts to provide a guide that will assist consumers protect themselves, however it takes no responsibility for any problems consumers may encounter with their training provider despite them following the tips above.
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) also provides information for prospective VET students on the steps to take to research a training provider and course before making a decision.