In a national strategic review the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) revealed that some registered training organisations (RTOs) offering early childhood education and care training are producing ‘graduates’ in 25 weeks. This is half the minimum length of time recommended in the Australian Qualifications Framework. Not only does this create a potentially unsafe environment for the children in their care, it leaves the ‘graduates’ heavily under-qualified and inexperienced, undermines other RTOs that are offering high-quality courses and places child care services in a compromising position for when they are hiring a child care worker. Child care training is competency-based training and certificate III courses should take one to two years to complete, not 25 weeks.
ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said a sample group of 77 registered training organisations (RTOs) had been audited as part of the review – representing around one-third of the RTOs delivering early childhood and child care programs. Mr Robinson said all but two of the RTOs that remained non-compliant following ASQA’s regulatory action had now either stopped offering training in early childhood education and care or left the training sector all-together.
Those people working in the early childhood education and care sector play a critically important role in our community helping our youngest Australians to learn and develop new skills. That’s why it’s so important that those working in the industry have the right skills and training,” Mr Robinson said.
The ones losing the most in this situation are the students. They trust they are attaining a valid certificate only to find out after the fees have been paid, that they are actually unemployable by the sector. The child care sector introduced the National Quality Standard (NQS) to ensure all early childhood educators meet a minimum skills qualification. Child care services need to have employees equipped to carry out quality educational programs and ensure the children in their care are safe and happy. The NQS also benefits the parents – they can feel confident in the quality of the system.
Rest assured there are plenty of reputable RTOs producing exceptional graduates; the ASQA review only encountered a small segment of ‘fly-by-night’ RTOs. The best approach for when your child care service is looking at hiring a child care worker is to review the RTO they have completed their training at to ensure the course completed meets the minimum national standards.