Diploma & Certificate IV Students Back Quality

Date —

4 November 2020

Education Sector/s —
Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

Independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) have a reputation for offering students and their employers the quality outcomes they are looking for.  In this context that it is hardly surprising that an analysis shows that around two-thirds of students undertaking higher level qualifications in the vocational education and training sector study with independent RTOs.

Key Issues —

Last week the work of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) was reviewed in Senate Estimates hearings and the discussion focussed, in part, on data that suggests independent providers support more than 80% of students in the VET sector.

There was some interest from Senate Committee members on the fact that much of this number is comprised of students undertaking short courses; however, the study of the NCVER data highlights that independent RTOS’s to the heavy-lifting when it comes to delivering higher-level qualifications in the sector.

The table below shows that independent RTOs support around two-thirds of all students undertaking a Certificate IV qualification and also Diploma an higher qualifications. 

........2019 VET Sector Student Enrollments
........Qualification  Ind. RTO  % Total  TAFE % Total
........Diploma and above 264,500 66.6% 111,605 28.1%
........Certificate IV 298,860 66.3% 134,830 29.9%
........Certificate  III
563,675 62.7% 294,540 32.8%
........Certificate II
209,470 49.7% 126,135 29.9%
........Certificate  I
47,925 39.3% 48,300 39.6%
........Non-AQF 2,663,295 93.1% 179,850 6.3%
........Total students 3,641,695 86.7% 779,195 18.6%
........SOURCE:  NCVER Databuilder

It is only with Certificate I qualifications where public TAFE colleges have more student enrolments. The total number of TAFE student enrolments is 18.6% of student enrolments. For reference, other public providers such as universities and secondary schools (not included in the table above) have 207,445 students, some 4.9% of student enrolments. The reason the percentages exceed 100% is that some students study with multiple provider types over the course of the year.

The review of the NCVER data in the Senate Estimates hearing highlighted that independent RTOs support many students in non-AQF courses. These students are undertaking study in areas such as first aid, heavy machinery operations, infection control plus other disciplines that are vital to sustaining workplaces and the broader economy.

"On issues of quality, independent RTOs enjoy levels of student satisfaction equal to or better than public TAFE colleges. It’s great that students can have comfort in the quality of their training irrespective of provider type," said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

These data highlight the vital role that independent RTOs will play in the coming economic recovery. The focus of ITECA is on ensuring that governments in all jurisdictions provide the funding and support to back the quality outcomes offered by independent RTOs.

Getting Involved —

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education & Training Reference Group.  ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.

Further Information —

If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you.  Simply send an email to vocational.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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