Will TAE40116 be replaced? Can the Education IRC and their SSO do magic?

Recently I published a parody titled, ‘Goodbye TAE40116, hello TAE40122‘.

I had written that article in anticipation of a decision by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to approve the review of the TAE Training Package. The AISC meeting was held on the 20th of April 2021. And the AISC communique was published on the 3rd of May 2021.

What was the AISC’s decision?

The AISC communique stated:

TAE Training and Education Training Package review

The Committee welcomed Mr Andrew Shea, Chair of the Education IRC, who was invited to present to members on a forthcoming proposal to review and update the TAE Training and Education Training Package.

The Committee noted the proposed review will be significant because of its linkages to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and the VET Trainer and Assessor credentials. If approved, the Review will complement work already underway to develop a VET Workforce Quality Strategy, identified as an immediate priority under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

Did the AISC make a decision?

What is a ‘forthcoming proposal to review and update the TAE Training Package’? Does this mean that a proposal hasn’t yet been presented to the AISC?

The AISC noted that there is a proposed review of the TAE Training Package. And it will be significant? But the review has not yet been approved.

Will the TAE40116 qualification be replaced?

Many people are interested in what could, or should, replace the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification. And many people do not want to go through another TAE Upgrade or TAE Gap training.

In this article, I take a serious look at what I think could replace the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification.

The TAE40116 qualification has been widely condemned, and it is possibility the most hated qualification in the Australian VET system. For example:

  • Some people say that the inclusion of TAEASS502 Design and develop assessment tools as a core unit was a mistake
  • Some people say that the TAE40116 qualification is too difficult, or too time-consuming, to attain
  • Some people say that the TAE40116 qualification does not cover some essential skills or knowledge required to be a trainer
  • Some people say that the one TAE Certificate IV qualification does not suit the requirements for all trainers.

What is the purpose of the TAE40116 qualification?

The purpose of the TAE40116 qualification prepares individuals for the role of delivering training and assessment services in the vocational education and training (VET) sector. [1]

The quality of the Australian VET system is anchored to the outcomes of the TAE Certificate IV qualification. It is essential to get this qualification right because the future delivery all other vocational education and training in Australia depends on having skilled trainers and assessors.

Qualification packaging rules

The packaging rules for the TAE40116 qualification requires a total of ten units:

  • nine core units
  • one elective unit.

I have been thinking about the current TAE units and how they could be improved for a replacement to the TAE40116 qualification. I have taken into consideration:

  • Requirements of VET regulators
  • Requirements of employers to have trainers with the skills to be effective now, and in the foreseeable future
  • Tasks performed by trainers working in the VET sector
  • How to mitigate known and potential issues, including an approach to avoid another TAE Upgrade debacle.

The following is a list of my suggested TAE units mapped against the current units.

The titles for a unit of competency gives a clue about the work task or activity to be performed. However, it is important to look at the elements, performance criteria, foundation skills, and assessment requirements to truly understand what the unit of competency is covering.

Some people say that the TAE40116 qualification does not cover particular content points. Often, it is possible to find the content by reading for details in the units of competency. And sometimes, contextualisation is required to give clarity to what may appear to be ‘missing content’.

Later in this article, I will consider if the current packaging rules need revising, but for now I will stick with using the current rules for the following example. This is an example of content mapped to ten of my suggested TAE units of competency.

Note: The above is an incomplete list and it does not include all content. Please let me know if you can not see content that you think should be covered by a future TAE Certificate qualification.

Who dares to disagree

A person who disagrees with most of my suggested list of core TAE units is very brave because they would be saying:

  • A trainer or TAFE teacher working in VET does not have to be effective.
  • A trainer or TAFE teacher does not need the ability to train an individual.
  • A trainer or TAFE teacher does not need the ability to train a group of learners.
  • A trainer or TAFE teacher does not need to know what to do when a learner has insufficient language, literacy, or numeracy skills to learn, or perform, a work task.
  • A trainer or TAFE teacher does not need the ability to assess competence.
  • A trainer or TAFE teacher does not need the ability to participant in assessment validation or moderation activities.

However, there are two suggested core TAE units that may be contentious:

Should a trainer have the ability to produce simple training and assessment resources? I think a trainer or TAFE teacher should. And if the person does not need this ability at one RTO, they may move to another RTO that does require this. I would like to hear from ’employers of trainers and TAFE teachers’ to get what they think.

Should a trainer have the ability to plan, organise, and monitor learning in the workplace? Many trainers and TAFE teachers are involved in work placements, traineeships, and apprenticeships. For these people, it is essential for them to have this ability, and the only way to ensure they have these skills is to make it a core unit. I think all trainers and TAFE teachers can benefit from appreciating the work context of VET. And if the person does not need this ability when delivering one qualification, they may require it in the future when they deliver a different qualification that has a workplace component.

How many elective units?

The current qualification packaging rules requires a total of ten units, consisting of nine core units and one elective unit. A qualification with no or a small number of elective units would indicate:

  • A highly regulated work environment, or
  • Limited variation of tasks performed by the occupation covered by the qualification.

I do acknowledge that trainers may operate under different conditions:

  • Different types of learners, with different characteristics and needs
  • Different types of content, for different industry sectors
  • Different types of training and assessment resources
  • Different types of locations where training and assessment is conducted
  • Different technology to be used (Moodle, Canvas, other LMS, Zoom, Cisco Webex, other web conferencing platform, etc.).

However, the work tasks and activities performed by trainers and TAFE teachers working in the VET sector are predicable:

  • Plan, organise, and deliver group-based training
  • Plan, organise, and deliver training to an individual
  • Address adult language, literacy, or numeracy skills
  • Plan, organise, and conduct assessments
  • Participant in assessment validation or moderation activities
  • Design and develop simple training and assessment resources.

And a TAE Certificate IV qualification should ensure a ‘qualified trainer’ has the ability to:

  • Plan, organise, and monitor learning in the workplace, and
  • Work effectively in the VET system.

A solution can be to increase the number of elective units. For example, have two elective units instead of one.

Be careful about what you wish for

We must be careful about what we wish for. There are consequences of having too many electives. For example, RTOs would be required to pad out their program with unnecessary units of competency. Decisions based solely on meeting the number of units specified by the qualification packaging rules is undesirable.

  • RTOs will tend to select units of competency that are easy to deliver.
  • TAE Students would get training in irrelevant units of competency.
  • Increasing the total number of units of competency may lead to increased costs for the RTO, and increased fees for the TAE Student, without any benefit.

What do you think?

I have listed my suggested TAE units of competency and mapped them against the current units.

  • Do you agree with the nine core TAE units that I have suggested?
  • If you disagree, what would you want different?

And I have explored the packaging rules for a TAE Certificate IV qualification. It is time for your say:

  • How many total number of units?
  • How many core units?
  • How many elective units?

In conclusion

A magician can pull a rabbit out of their hat as a standard trick or party favourite. Can the Education IRC and their SSO do magic? Can they pull out of their hat a replacement for the TAE40116 qualification that will be admired by all?

At the moment, it seems that the AISC is ‘keeping the genie in the bottle’. This could be a good title for another article.

Reference

[1] https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/TAE40116 accessed 21 April 2021

[2] https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/understanding-the-australian-vocational-education-and-training-workforce accessed 21 April 2021

Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

3 thoughts on “Will TAE40116 be replaced? Can the Education IRC and their SSO do magic?”

  1. I have enjoyed reading this article.
    You have asked for comment, I have one

    Having worked within training and assessment in the floor covering industry I feel that the Mentor in the work place unit should be made a core unit. Many employers do not understand training and how training is achieved, employers would benefit greatly with mentoring from the trainer to enable better understanding of the employers role in the learning and skill development for the trainee.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Mark, for adding your comment. An alternative approach would be for trainers to develop their persuasive communication skills or selling skills. I am unsure if these skills should be added as a core skills. However, these skills coupled the knowledge of ‘organisational or business benefits’ from training would help many trainers.

      Like

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