When people think of training, they often first think of TAFE. TAFE NSW is the public provider of vocational education and training (VET) in NSW, offering a huge array of courses over more than 130 campuses. You can learn more about TAFE.
However, it is important to be aware of the full range of options for studying a vocational course. There are in fact many hundreds of registered training organisations (RTOs) in NSW, both large and small, which offer vocational training in many different fields. These include private companies and Adult and Community Education providers. Australia has a national system of regulating vocational education training qualifications and courses, administered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Only registered training organisations (RTOs) can deliver nationally recognised qualifications and accredited courses. You can find out more about vocational training, courses and training providers at the My Skills website. If you want to know more about financing your vocational training, check out the Study Assist website for up to date information.
Australia's vocational education and training sector is undergoing huge reform, overseen by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). NSW's response to this reform is called Smart and Skilled. Smart and Skilled comes into full effect on 1 January 2015. Under Smart and Skilled eligible individuals will be entitled to government subsidised training up to and including Certificate III, from TAFE or any other approved training provider. This means that it will cost a student exactly the same amount to study at any RTO, including TAFE. Subsidised training at higher levels may also be available in certain priority industry areas. Smart and Skilled is designed to offer students a greater level of choice.
Under Smart and Skilled, it will cost students more to complete second or subsequent courses, so it will be more important than ever to make informed course decisions. Students with disability (who disclose) may be entitled to fee exemptions or concessions for certain courses. This will be the case regardless of which RTO you choose. More information is available on the Smart and Skilled website.
In response to the major changes underway in the vocational training sector, and in order to protect the rights of students, the Australian Governments have set up a new National Training Complaints Hotline. This hotline is for anyone to make a complaint or query about the training sector. If you have questions or concerns about vocational training, or your training provider, you can contact the hotline and they will direct your enquiry to the appropriate authority. Call 13 38 73 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Department of Education and Training website for more information.
Support in training for people with disability
Smaller RTOs may not have dedicated disability staff as universities or TAFEs do, but they are legally responsible to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act Education Standards. If you choose to attend a private RTO, you may need to be prepared to advocate for the adjustments you need. It is important that you can confidently speak about support you may have received in the past and what you believe will assist you to succeed in tertiary education. Speak with enrolments staff, student support staff or your teachers to ask about the processes for accessing support at your college.
Some private RTOs have clear disability policies outlining their processes for support, and some larger RTOs also have dedicated staff to support students with disabilities. You may like to check out these RTOs who have let us know they provide this support (note the NDCO Program does not endorse particular RTOs):
- ACPE: The Australian College of Physical Education
- Australian College of Applied Psychology
- Martin College
- Open Colleges
Information for Registered Training Organisations
Nearly 1 in 5 Australians has a disability and the vast majority of these are invisible. People with disability therefore make up a large potential student base for your organisation. Providing appropriate support and adjustments for students with disability will be good for your business. It is also essential to meeting your legal and compliance responsibilities.
There are a number of resources available to assist you to support students with disability.
- Make sure you are familiar with the Disability Standards for Education
- Check out handout of resources for Registered Training Organisations for a number of useful links
- The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) has a comprehensive online disability resource
If you are a Registered Training Organisation which provides training to students in Western or South-Western Sydney, and you have a clear policy or resources outlining your processes for supporting students with disability, we would be pleased to include a link to your RTO on this page. Please contact us.