Short Rope for Short Course Provider

The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) reported registered training organisation (RTO) Trades College Australia (TCA) to the training industry regulator the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for issues including the delivery of recognition of prior learning (RPL) for refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) courses.

ASQA took action against TCA and, after numerous appeals, has confirmed that TCA has failed those appeals.

The ARC Chairperson, Mr Michael Bennett stated, “a significant element of ASQA’s review revolved around the use of recognition of prior learning. If a person can demonstrate they have the relevant skills and/or experience, they can get a RPL assessment. However, RPL needs to be conducted with the same rigour as any other form of assessment – a comprehensive quality process that covers the content (skills and knowledge) of the qualification being assessed. The evidence used to make a decision about competence must be valid, sufficient, authentic and current. The RTO should have a system including policies and procedures to support the decision-making process.”

The RPL assessment process requires the learner to submit a significant amount of evidence. Assessment of RPL evidence is technical and demanding because the assessor needs to review and align a range of evidence such as referee reports, resumes, photographic and documentary evidence and interviews with the learners, against all requirements of every competency in every unit of competency. The assessor also needs to verify that the evidence is authentic, reliable and sufficient. For a qualification that usually takes several years to complete, such as Certificate III, the documentary evidence for an adequately assessed RPL qualification would be hundreds of pages which must be detailed and mapped across each unit of competency.

“With the help of industry, ARC and ASQA, sub-standard RAC training courses have been all but eliminated. Sub-standard courses have no place in our industry. Appropriate qualifications are the cornerstone of the ARCTick licence scheme and, on behalf of all licensed technicians and businesses, ARC will keep up the pressure on training bodies to help ensure quality courses are delivered for our quality industry,” Mr Bennett said.