As the Director of a quality training organisation specialising in TAE and Leadership and Management, I am hearing almost daily from students who have been and are still being unethically treated in the Vocational Education and Training sector. Last week I had a call from a student enrolled in TAE40116 via distance learning who had chosen to enrol with an approved provider because of the “cheap price”. She was not receiving any support and had completed two units and had not received any feedback!
Let’s take a moment to really stop and think about this. I would like to believe that one of the reasons an RTO has been approved to deliver the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is because of its ethical practices. I was most interested in an article on Ethics in the VET sector where the writer talks about the number of times he has heard of students being signed up for online courses and once their name was on the dotted line and they had been given access to the learning portal they never heard from the provider again.
I want to talk about “cheap” verses “ethical” or perhaps we could replace the word ethical in this instance with “quality”. If you are a student enrolling into a Vocational course and let’s say it was the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, first think about how many units there are in the course – there are 10. I have seen prices vary from $980 to $3,000. Let’s look at the cheapest price – $980. If there are 10 units in the course and you pay $980 for the course, this means that the cost per unit is $98. How much support do you think you will receive for that amount of money? Is the focus here on quality student outcomes?
In an article written by Pawel Brodzinski it states that “unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, pricing is used in total isolation from any other criteria, especially quality”. The article also asks the question “Is the price you put on the tag attached to your product an indication of what you deliver?” “Is your price indicative of quality?”
The TAE40116 is a crucially important course and needs to be delivered in a way that guarantees quality Trainers and Assessors will enter the Vocational Education and Training sector.
In the case of TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment there appears to be a total disconnect between price and quality – yet price is often used as a deciding factor. I have to agree with Brodzinski’s comment – “At the end of the day, low price is costly for both: the client and the vendor” (in this instance the RTO). I would like to encourage all those who are looking at undertaking the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to ask yourself these questions – “Is it quality I need and am I willing to pay for it?”