Quick on the up­take

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Classifieds -

FAST-tracked qual­i­fi­ca­tions are help­ing time-poor work­ers to for­malise their skills.

Us­ing real-work sce­nar­ios and hav­ing their ex­ist­ing skill sets recog­nised, stu­dents are min­imis­ing the “ex­tra” work they need to do and ob­tain­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions in a quar­ter of the time it usu­ally takes.

“If you were to do a diploma qual­i­fi­ca­tion part time, in the evening, it would take you two years to com­plete,” Swin­burne In­dus­try So­lu­tions di­rec­tor Rob Chetwynd says.

Many peo­ple would not en­rol just at the thought of that much of a com­mit­ment, he says.

“But if you are en­rolling in a fast-tracked diploma, you can do that in six to eight months,” he says. “That re­ally opens up the door for a lot of peo­ple.”

At Swin­burne, fast-tracked cour­ses are open to stu­dents with at least three years of work­place ex­pe­ri­ence, to en­sure they have the ap­pro­pri­ate as­sumed knowl­edge.

Stu­dents use their own work­place projects for as­sess­ments, mak­ing the course im­me­di­ately rel­e­vant and min­imis­ing the study bur­den.

Fast-tracked cour­ses have come un­der at­tack re­cently, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions some child­care train­ing col­leges had fast­tracked the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of stu­dents who could not speak English, su­per­vise chil­dren or even change nap­pies.

How­ever, TAFE Queens­land chief aca­demic of­fi­cer and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Dr Christina Hong says fast-tracked cour­ses are now heav­ily scru­ti­nised.

“The RTO (reg­is­tered train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion) must be able to com­pre­hen­sively jus­tify how they can as­sure all learn­ers have a suf­fi­cient amount of train­ing to en­able them to gain the knowl­edge and skills . . . and ap­ply th­ese skills in the range of con­texts re­quired,” she says.

She says while fast-tracked op­tions are avail­able in the ter­tiary and vo­ca­tional education sec­tors, there is gen­er­ally less flex­i­bil­ity for ap­pren­tices, due to dif­fer­ent train­ing re­quire­ments.

Ju­lia Mei Chen and Mark Dev­ereaux, from Com­put­er­share, un­der­took a fast-tracked Diploma of Man­age­ment. They say the in­ten­sive na­ture of the course al­lowed them to man­age work and study more eas­ily.

“I won’t say it was easy. It re­quired a lot of time man­age­ment,” soft­ware de­vel­op­ment team leader Chen says.

“(But) we learnt a lot of tools that helped me pri­ori­tise my work­load, set achiev­able goals and main­tain a work-life bal­ance.” Dev­ereaux, an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy team leader, says link­ing study to his work had enor­mous ben­e­fits.

“Many of the as­sign­ments had prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions within my team and, in ful­fill­ing the course re­quire­ments, pro­cesses were im­proved and new tech­niques have been in­te­grated into our team cul­ture,” he says.

Ju­lia Mei Chen and Mark Dev­ereux fast-tracked man­age­ment stud­ies.

GO FOR BROKE: Many uni stu­dents strug­gle with ba­sic fi­nan­cial mat­ters such as loans and phone deals.

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