The Australian Government will increase audits on child care training organisations, consider more on the job training, enforce the use of penalties and establish a ‘preferred provider’ scheme following the release of a new report into the training of child care workers.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the Training for Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia Report undertaken by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) shows the vast majority of child care training organisations were found to have complied with training standards, but highlighted concerns about the validity of assessment carried out by a small number of training organisations.

“The Government welcomes the report and is taking strong action in response to its recommendations, including that ASQA increase its audits of child care training organisations to ensure that families and child care providers can be confident that graduates have met the standard of the qualifications they have been issued,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Quality training is a critical component of growing the economy and helping more Australians into jobs, which is why our Government is firmly focussed on reforms to improve the relevancy and quality of training.

“Child care providers have told me they have ‘blackbanned’ graduates of specific training organisations because they do not have confidence in the competency of their graduates, particularly where those courses are ‘miraculously’ short, which leaves graduates of those courses with less chance of getting a job.

“That is why I will direct ASQA to work with the child care regulator, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). ASQA will also be required to work with the States and Territories to ensure they are aware of individual child care provider concerns in their jurisdiction.

“I will also be working with child care providers to establish industry validation of training organisations through a ‘preferred provider’ scheme.

“I want students to know in advance which training organisations are well regarded by child care employers and to be able to make an informed choice that gives them the best chance of future employment.”

Senator Birmingham said he would also ask the newly-established Australian Industry and Skills Committee to examine child care Training Package requirements to ensure they clearly articulated the standards expected by industry, especially the adequacy of existing workplace learning components.

“Nothing beats well supervised, on the job training and experience, especially when dealing with children, which must be adequate in both duration and quality,” he said.

“I will also be directing ASQA to demonstrate to me that it is using the full extent of the powers and penalties already available to it, including the new infringement notice powers and the tough new Standards for registered training organisations (RTO) 2015 relating to short courses.

“Under the new Standards, training providers are required to apply the Australian Qualifications Framework volume of learning indicators which, for a diploma, is 1-2 years.

“Training organisations must be able to justify to ASQA any significant variations from the time periods described in the Australian Qualifications Framework and must be able to demonstrate how students can robustly meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter timeframe.

“If short cuts are being taken, then I expect penalties to be applied.”

Senator Birmingham said the report was one of a number of sector studies undertaken by ASQA into areas of concern in training. The Government’s announcement today builds on the work already underway between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to improve assessment.

Media Contact: Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987