Curriculum vs Vocational Education

Next up in my series of demystifying Registered Training Organisations (RTO) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a quick highlight of the differences between traditional University Tertiary Education (curriculum) versus other vocational tertiary education (RTOs), such as The Klepper Training Academy.

Now, numerous university subjects require the practice of skills before qualification enrolment. These are the specialist skill sets that are more technical. Examples include Medicine, Nursing, Teaching, and some Engineering degrees. All of these require you to prove your skills before some form of certifying board. This board will usually be independent of the Institution and is USUALLY national.

The key difference between the University (practical degrees and philosophical) and RTO is that you can receive Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for the vocational activities you have completed.

RTOs must offer an RPL service for their qualifications. The thought is that you shouldn’t have to relearn something that you can demonstrably perform. The boards of University-based practical assessment will normally only RPL equivalent certifications from other institutions or regulatory bodies (such as international institutions). This is one of the key differences.

Regarding RTO qualifications, they all have two components to gain the accreditation or qualification. Those are:

  1. Knowledge Evidence.
  2. Performance Evidence.

No matter the qualification, it will be made up of Units of Competency (UOC) that will require these two elements to be satisfied before a qualification can be awarded. This is an example of a UOC for a business subject.

So What?

As a learner looking to embark on an education journey, you have multiple paths available. Each will serve a different purpose, depending on the outcome. There are several strengths to University education:

  • Really deep dives into the foundational theories behind concepts.
  • Remove some barriers to entry in various employment zones.
  • Institutional heritage and alumni network.
  • Career advice and guidance opportunities.

There are also benefits to RTO that differ from those of a university:

  • Almost all learning is practical in nature and will involve the requirement of evidence learning.
  • Considerably cheaper.
  • Can be quicker.
  • eLearning curriculum can enable you to move through at your own pace.
  • Tertiary connections of establishment in the specific field (it is a requirement by ASQA that the staff are knowledgeable and have practical experience in what they’re teaching).

As a business, there are numerous benefits to providing RTO training at the Advanced Diploma and below level. With record low unemployment rates, prospective employees demand a competitive salary to be the minimum from a package perspective. Organisations that team with an RTO can unlock:

  • Competitive advantage by highlighting professional and personal development opportunities for the individual.
  • Cover off on required Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points for Quality Assurance requirements.
  • Ability to work with the RTO to tailor specific packages based on your industry, workplace procedures or location.
  • Provide evidence of proactive efforts to develop organisations responsible for regulating professional locations and workplaces.

Overall, Professional Development is now demanded by the workforce, regulators, directors and executives alike. Agile and competitive organisations would benefit significantly from teaming with an RTO to deliver practical education to their staff.