There are thousands of Registered Training Organisations (RTO) in Australia and there are many similarities between them but also lots of differences. RTOs can be owned; privately, by a community organisation or be a TAFE and some are owned and operated by an organisation that trains its own employees. Some RTOs are small or specialise in a particular area while others offer courses in lots of completely different areas and many fall somewhere in between. They also offer very different styles of training like online, distance, face to face or a mix. Some courses and RTOs are eligible for Government funding support through a wide array of programs offered in the different states of Australia while others require people to pay full fees.
As a student you need to do your research and make sure that you are enrolling in a course with a RTO that will provide what you actually want. It is very easy to find yourself enrolled in something that wasn’t quite what you wanted because you failed to ask the right questions. Smooth marketing can sometimes lead you in a different direction from where you intended to go. So beware!
So first up, ask yourself the right questions so you have a good idea of what you need or want.
- Is there a particular industry that I want to work in?
- If you are looking for career advancement, what courses will assist me?
- Are there any additional requirements to gain employment in that industry eg first aid certificate?
- Is there anything that might exclude me from working in that industry eg criminal record, prior injuries?
- What qualification/s are required for me to work in that industry? Ask them!
- Are there a few different qualifications that are suitable, which one is at the level I want and will provide me with the opportunity I am seeking?
- Is there work experience required before I can complete the qualification? How can I achieve that?
- Am I eligible for Government assistance to assist me to pay for my course? (Not all courses have assistance available).
- Are there jobs in the industry? What’s my chances of employment?
So once you identify the industry you are interested in and the qualification you need / want, what else should you consider in choosing your training provider?
What are the costs? You don’t want any nasty surprises!
- Am I eligible for any funding assistance? Is funding assistance the best thing for me? Is it a loan?
- Do I have to repay anything? How much and when?
- What do I personally need to pay, how much and when?
- What do the fees cover?
- What happens if I can’t complete the course?
- Are there any refunds?
- Will all my payment requirements be in writing?
- Do I have to pay for books, uniforms and equipment? How much?
- Can I in incur additional fees for anything eg remarking, handing in work late, not completing course by a certain date?
- Do I pay for a work placement? Are there costs associated with this?
- Am I eligible for travel concessions etc?
How is the training provided?
- Is it online, what computer etc do I need?
- Will online work for me? (Less people actually complete courses done online).
- Is it face to face? How often do I need to attend, what happens if I get sick or miss class?
- Do I need additional support for literacy etc? Will that be provided?
- What support is available to me if I need help?
- What happens if I fail something?
- Will the RTO assist me to find a work placement?
- Am I covered by insurance?
- What learning resources will I be given?
- Will the RTO offer me any support to get a job?
- Do I have to attend a block of face to face training at any point? If so where, how much will accommodation cost?
- Are the trainers experts and up to date?
So basically, do your homework and you are less likely to find that the course you have enrolled in isn’t what you expected. RTOs are different so choose one that can provide the level of support you need and offer the training in a style that works for you. People doing online training often need access to someone that can help then with their written work so make sure help is going to be at hand if you want it.
Make sure you don’t set yourself for a bad experience! Know exactly what you are committing to.
Doing the research before you enrol is vital!