CPD changes may erode quality: RTOs

Registered Training Operators (RTOs) in New South Wales fear the government’s new changes to continuing professional development (CPD) will diminish their value in delivering quality training.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading announced yesterday it would implement new changes to continuing professional development (CPD) that would place industry associations and registered training operators on an equal level.

Under the proposed changes, current CPD category two learning activities would be moved into category three, and the point value of CPD-related courses delivered by industry associations would be increased. 

Under [previous] guidelines, only Registered Trading Operators (RTOs) were able to deliver category three learning activities.

CEO of Real E-Training Jamie Hammond told Real Estate Business while he had originally supported the idea of an industry group delivering CPD, he was concerned by the department’s relaxed definition of an industry association.

“The problem that has developed is that Fair Trading has allowed what I would deem non-industry associations to deliver under that category so anybody who puts in a submission can deliver under that as an industry association. Allowing them to deliver with more points is something I’m very much against.”

“RTOs are regulated, they’ve got processes and systems in place to ensure consistent training and assessment but now that means that organisations that don’t have those (oversights) are able to assess units of competencies from a training package. It’s giving too much power to other associations.

“Becoming an RTO is a very big and rigorous process and certainly it’s diminishing the value of that now allowing other people to deliver."

A NSW Fair Trading spokesperson told Real Estate Business the proposed changes had been made in consultation with identified stakeholders in August, and an online survey that was open between 5 September and 13 September.

“502 stakeholders responded to the survey,” he said. “The proposal was supported by 85.51 per cent (431) of respondents and eight industry associations.

“Representations were received from property industry associations requesting to change the value of CPD points in recognition of industry association position to deliver better quality training in relation to their particular specialised component of the sector.”

Mr Hammond was also critical of the lack of discussion with the industry in regards to the proposals.

"A paragraph on the OFT website and a survey monkey questionnaire that ran for a week hardly constitute industry consultation," he said. 

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) CEO Tim McKibbin echoed Mr Hammond’s sentiments saying he was disappointed by the decision.

“An industry association and an RTO could be delivering identical training material but the RTO has higher skills which makes them more efficient and importantly, more effective in delivering the training," he told Real Estate Business.

Mr McKibbin added: “I never wanted and never want to exclude other training opportunities but I do think that an RTO should be recognised for what it is and not dilute their capacity to deliver training at a higher level."

REINSW Education & Training is a registered RTO.

Fair Trading's new changes follow comments made yesterday by the minister, Anthony Roberts, who criticised the National Occupational Licensing Authority’s (NOLA) proposals for national licensing.

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