A media report includes alleges Australian private training providers awarding certificates without carrying out adequate assesment ("Concerns over 'tick and flick' qualification companies 'rorting' RPL government-funded training scheme", ABC News, 16 April 2016). RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) allows accredited trainers to issue a certificate and charge the student fees (funded by the government VET-FEE-HELP scheme), without the student having done any training. However, there is still supposed to be an assessment of the student's skills, to a level equivalent to that for students who undertake training.
The integrity of Australia's vocational education and training (VET) sector is important to the community. VET involves the expenditure of billions of dollars of public money (with student fees subsidized by government). Also the safety of the public depends on having skilled workers, as the VET sector certifies workers who undertake safety related tasks. If VET assessment is not correctly carried out then the public is at risk.
The VET sector also has potential for an expansion of export of education, alongside university programs. China is planning to spend $15bn on two million redundant workers from state-owned enterprises ("China to shed 1.8m coal and steel jobs", Yuan Yang, 29 February 2016). This includes retraining for workers. Australian RTOs could retrain some of these workers, or train the trainers.
RPL is is a legitimate part of training. The student has to present evidence that they have the required experience and it meets the requirements for the skill being assessed. As an example, I obtained a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110) partly by RPL. The assessor first discussed with me what relevant experience and training I had and then suggested which VET modules would be suitable. I then had to find evidence of each. This required not only documents, but people to attest to what I had done. It was a difficult and time consuming process, not a "tick and flick" exercise. Also I was not able to obtain a whole qualification by RPL, having to also do several training modules and be tested on these.