pop up close



How to choose the right training course

Bookmark and Share

What are the training choices available to me and how do I go about making a good decision?

Your future career can depend on choices and wise decisions about what skills to develop, add or refine. Consider some of the points which you may need to take into account when choosing a course of action that best fits your present and future needs.

Alvin Toffler wrote, Future Shock, and in it he described a condition that we humans develop as a result of rapid change and transformation. He saw that such an experience was not a condition that we had evolutionary experience and was  a threat to our society. He wrote this in the 60s. 

CHANGE is part of the way we live our lives and it is across all aspects, work being one. When you couple advancements in your field of work, whether it is systems, technology or techniques, the impact is our workplace is changing and we are learning.

In todays employment market learning and development is a commitment that employers are keen to see.  The opportunities today are still somewhat polarised after the GFC and the impact it had on our economy.  Companies are still cutting and trimming back when it comes to salaries and staff and working hours. Growth is stagnating in some areas whilst in others it is booming all the while workloads are increasing.

Career worries, job security concerns are elevated by scenarios like these. But, while it may not seem appropriate, it’s actually a great time for people to hone in on the basics and strive to improve skills.  If you think about it is a little contrarian. Do what everyone else is likely not doing. 

Anything you can do to leave a mark, highlight yourself apart from the crowd or better direct your career path is worthwhile. When you are thinking about your next steps in life maybe it has come about by being laid off or changes in family/health or you are just wanting to do something different, you might as well put the best foot forward and add something helpful to your resume and also to your own knowledge.

The question is whether you should learn new skills in your current area, move in a totally different direction and learn something entirely new, or focus on necessary skills and abilities, business skills, people skills, financial skills, non labour skills


Consider the goals 

Realise, up front, that there is no one road to take, as each person's career situation is unique. Nonetheless, training for any career path is always important.

How to approach this training—or, more often, retraining for the management level—depends on an individual’s goals.

Choosing the right course
There are many training organisations in Australia, offering a wide range of courses. These may be advertised in newspapers, on various websites, and in a range of other places. When you enrol in a course, you are usually investing a lot of time and money, so it is important that you make the best decision.

Types of courses
The first issue to consider is whether a course has any formal recognition. If a course has formal recognition it means it has been approved by government, and it will be recognised by government, training organisations and industry. Formal recognition is very important if you are completing a course in the hope of gaining employment in a particular industry. If you do a course which is not recognised it may not be accepted by employers.

There are three main types of course offered by training organisations:

Training packages are sets of nationally-endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing people's skills. They set a national industry standard for skills, and are now used as the basis for most of the programs delivered in the vocational education and training (VET)system, including New Apprenticeships, training courses, VET in schools programs, recognition of existing skills, and occupational licensing.

Courses based on a training package will normally lead to either:

  • a Statement of Attainment: a formal statement that proves that you are competent in one or more skills, but do not meet the full requirements for a qualification. Short courses often lead to Statements of Attainment. Statements of Attainment can also be used as credit toward completion of a full qualification in the future.

  • a Qualification such as a Certificate or Diploma. These are usually longer courses, and are designed to give you the skills to work in a particular occupation, or at a particular occupational level.

Both Qualifications and Statements of Attainment are nationally-recognised and verify that the student is competent in the skills listed.

Training package qualifications and statements of attainment can only be issued by registered training organisations (RTOs). To become an RTO, training providers need to go through a government registration process which includes some checks on the quality of their facilities, staff, financial management and services - this also gives you additional protection.

Courses based on training packages are generally the best option because these are recognised across Australia. These courses can be done through a number of different training organisations around Australia, and offer you the best chance of employment. Many training package qualifications can also been done through a New Apprenticeship which combines paid employment with formal training.

'Accredited courses' are courses that have been developed by a specific training provider and submitted for approval by a state/territory training authority. Generally, courses are accredited only where a training package does not exist to meet a specific need. Accredited courses are normally phased out once a relevant Training Package becomes available. If there is no training package to cover the skills you need an accredited course is your next best option.

Some courses hold no formal recognition at all. In these cases, the student may receive a certificate from the training provider, but this certificate carries no formal status within the industry or the vocational education and training system.

These courses may be useful, but should be treated with caution if you are undertaking training in order to seek work in a particular industry. People completing these courses may find that they need to repeat their training under a formally-recognised program before they can obtain employment. This usually involves paying fees again to a different organisation.

Checking on courses
Some courses are clearly promoted as being based on a training package, but others are not. To find out whether a course is based on a training package, you can:

  • Contact the training provider and ask.

  • Obtain any written course information you can from the training provider. You could contact them to request an information pack, and/or check their website. Check this information to see if it makes it clear that the course will lead to a nationally-recognised Qualification or Statement of Attainment.

  • Make sure that the organisation is a registered training organisation for the relevant qualifications or units of competency. You can do this by searching the National Training Information Service. (http://www.ntis.gov.au/) We provide quick links to make this searching easier in the 'Find courses' pages under the menu for each industry area on the left side of this page.

How to choose a registered training organisations
Depending upon the course and where you wish to do the training, you may have a choice of many different registered training organisations. In that case, you may want to 'shop around' to find the one that best meets your needs. Some of the things you could consider include:

  • How will the course help you to develop practical skills? Find out how the course will make sure you develop practical skills when you are not yet employed in the industry. Some RTOs may help you to find a work placement as part of the course, so that you can practise your skills in the industry. Others may run a 'model workplace' such as a store or restaurant, within the training organisation so that you can get practice there.

  • How will assessment be conducted? Assessment under Training Packages is designed to ensure that an individual has attained workplace competence. This means that a formal assessment procedure is required, and this assessment should be designed to measure skills as well as knowledge. Written examinations, essays and tests are normally designed to measure knowledge rather than skill, and should not be the only method of assessment.

General considerations
  • Shop around to see if the course represents value for money. As well as enrolment fees, check if there are any additional charges for materials and equipment.

  • Find out about their policies for things like refunds, or appealing if you disagree with an assessment decision.

  • You could ask for testimonials or referees - these could include past students, or employers of past students.

  • You could see if the RTO is recommended by major industry associations.**** This is a must- Once you have found out your industry preference, get on the phone/ email or write to them to see if there are recommended courses and providers to get into the industry.

  • You can ask to view their facilities or attend an Open Day to get more information.

What Next- Free Training Materials at your finger tips
These resources allow some free training resources online.

 1.   Adult Training Online

URL: http://www.aot.edu.au/
Category: Accredited Online Training provide nationally recognised training at the Certificate II, Certificate III, Certificate IV and Diploma level, as well as short courses across a range of subjects.

Their online courses have been independently evaluated by Government and industry representatives to guarantee that they meet the highest standard of course excellence.
You can even do a free demo online to find out if it is the right thing for you.

If you are new to computers and are still getting comfortable with the dova-lackeys and thing-a-majigs then try some of the BBC materials- especially RAW.

2.   BBC: RaW

Category:Adult social, educational & employment skills Key Competency, Basic Education, ESL

This website offers adults a guide to developing better reading and writing skills. It can be used by all adults wanting to improve their literacy, but particularly those adults who have families.

The website offers resources including games and quizzes to help adults improve the way they read and write with their children.

3.  BBC Skillswise: games
URL:http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/games/ Category:Key Competency, Basic Education, ESL Online games & activities Adult social, educational & employment skills

The BBC Skillswise games page offers a range of educational games to help adults improve their literacy and numeracy skills. The games cover topics such as: grammar, reading, listening, multiplication, fractions, and more.

4.  BBC Skillswise: workplace survival kit URL:http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/workplace/
Category:Adult social, educational & employment skills Key Competency, Basic Education, ESL

The Skillswise workplace survival kit offers resources on occupational skills. It covers vocabulary, measuring, money, calculations, time and writing. The kit provides resources such as factsheets, games, quizes, activities and worksheets.

5.  BBC Skillswise - Words
URL:http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/words/grammar/ Category:Language Theory Adult social, educational & employment skills Literacy & Numeracy Work Readiness Key Competency, Basic Education, ESL BBC

Skillswise enables adults to improve their literacy skills. Words focusses on grammar, spelling, reading, writing, listening, and vocabulary. The vocabulary section picks out words specific to particular occupations such childcare, retail, plumbing, carpentry, nursing, residential care, catering, hospitality, plastering, decorating, and electrics. 
What we have gone over here are some of the training and courses available outside of the tertiary system. So the list is not exhaustive.

For most people, training needs to be relevant, timely and quickly achieved. If you have an interest in tertiary courses then perhaps go to the state based tertiary services such as http://www.qtac.edu.au/ in QLD or similar in other states. The federal government website JOBWISE also has great content regarding training and skill development courses.


Not a member? Join up today and receive monthly e newsletters to keep you informed of career change material, industry news and latest job news and research. To register go to JOIN UP TODAY