FAQs about National Training
What is Nationally Recognised Training?
In the last five years, State and Federal governments have made changes to Rail Safety law. The aim is to make work practices and skills the same nationally, across different regions and railway systems. Key to these changes has been the move away from individual state or rail network "non-accredited" training courses and outcomes, towards nationally recognised training.
Nationally recognised training:
Is regulated by vocational education and training (VET) standards
Delivers consistent skills
Ensures that all workers have the same base skills and knowledge to do the job
Nationally Recognised Training is delivered by Registered Training Organisation (RTO), such as CERT. Only registered training organisations (RTOs) can deliver nationally recognised training and issue nationally recognised qualifications (or statements of attainment). Nationally Recognised Training consists of:
Units of competency
How are Nationally Recognised Qualifications regulated?
Nationally Recognised Training is maintained by the Industry Skills Council, Auto Skills Australia (training packages, qualifications, units of competency and skill sets) and Vocational Education and Training Regulators (accredited courses and Registered Training Organisation (RTO) details and scope information).
Accredited courses are assessed by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to ensure they are compliant with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 and the Australian Qualifications Framework (Hyperlink: http://www.aqf.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/AQF-2nd-Edition-January-2013.pdf). The Australian Qualifications Framework is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools.
A VET accredited course can be accredited for all qualification types recognised under the AQF that are eligible for delivery within the VET sector, including:
Graduate Certificate, and
How do I know if I am enrolled into a Nationally Recognised course?
Each of our courses listed online have noted on their page whether the course is nationally recognised/accredited.
If you’re still not sure you can contact your local CERT branch and enquire or simply visit the training.gov.au website which lists all nationally recognised training. If the training course you wish to enrol in is not listed on training.gov.au, it is not nationally recognised training.
What is a Unit of Competency?
In Australian vocational education and training (VET), a Unit of Competency is a specific set of knowledge and skills. A unit normally defines the specific knowledge and skills required; and the evidence that a qualified assessor needs to see the learner demonstrate.
A unit of competency is the smallest unit that can be assessed and recognised. In turn, units are assembled into skill sets or qualifications (Certificate I, Certificate II, Certificate III, etc.).
How do you attain a Unit of Competency?
A learner attains a Unit of Competency by “demonstrating the specified knowledge and skills of the unit to a defined standard; usually to a level that would reasonably be expected in the workplace”. You demonstrate this knowledge and skills to a qualified Assessor, who then records evidence of you performing the task. Assessments can be conducted using:
Theory assessments (written tests)
Practical assessments (simulated exercises)
Workplace diaries or on-the-job assessments
If you do so correctly, a mark of “Competent” is recorded, and you attain the Unit of Competency.
What Units of Competency do I need?
Australian rail networks mostly require a worker to hold individual units of competency relevant to the role they work in. These units are chosen based on the nature of the role; the more technical or advanced the role, the more units and certifications that are required.
Different Australian railways are moving to standardise roles and the nationally recognised units required by each. This benefits individual workers by making it easier to work across Australia and minimising additional training or endorsement needed to work in other states or territories.
Lists of different roles and the units required by each are defined in ‘matrices.’ These spreadsheets are published on the Rail Industry Worker website (railindustryworker.com.au) and the websites of individual railway networks, normally under the “Contractor Information” section.
Each matrix shows a particular field or discipline; there are separate matrices for Track/Civil, Safeworking (Track Protection), Signals, Structures, and Engineering roles. In future, matrices for Rail Operations (train drivers, shunters, signallers, rail vehicle maintenance) and other disciplines will likely be introduced.
When do Units of Competency Expire?
Generally, most nationally recognised Units of Competency do not expire; once you attain a unit, you hold it for life. While you hold a unit for life once you attain it, some rail networks impose a period of ‘currency’ (usually two years) for several roles.
After two years, they ask learners to be “periodically reassessed” to prove that they still have the skills and knowledge in the units required by their roles. On completion of these periodical reassessments (sometimes called “recertifications”) a certificate for another two year period of currency is issued.
Some roles in infrastructure, track, and civil construction only require you to renew your track awareness every two years – other units (the Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure – Core Units) do not need to be reassessed.
Different rail networks have different periods of currency.