The VET Sector offers nationally recognised training that is developed by industry training councils in partnership with community service providers, and provided by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). While each RTO selects the most-appropriate method for teaching program content, all deliver the same outcomes.

The following information, drawn primarily from Community Services and Health Training Australia (CSHTA, 2002) and TAFE Queensland (2006), provides a useful overview of the Australian VET qualification system.

Certificate I and II

  • Certificate I is a pathway qualification.
  • In Certificate II, workers operate under clear guidance.
  • Typical duration: 6-12 months per certificate
  • These are entry-level qualifications that provide preparatory skills, and application or knowledge at a basic level
  • They may assist in gaining an apprenticeship/traineeship
  • They provide a pathway to work or further study

Certificate III and IV

  • Certificate III is generally seen as an entry level to the sector for client or community work.
  • Certificate IV is a first-line supervisor or more autonomous worker.
  • Typical duration: 6-12 months per certificate
  • They provide a broad range of skills within a variety of tasks and roles
  • They help prepare students for autonomous and supervisory roles within the workplace
  • They provide a pathway to further study at diploma level

Diploma and Advanced Diploma

  • Diploma: advanced skill worker or manager.Typical duration: 18-24 months
  • Advanced Diploma:Specialist advanced skill worker or executive manager. Typical duration: 24-36 months
  • They provide high-level technical or management skills
  • They offer credit to many Queensland universities
  • They may assist in upgrading work skills
  • They can assist in entering or re-entering the workforce at a more qualified level
  • They provide a pathway to further study at university

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)

TAFE Queensland, a division of the Department of Education, Training and the Arts, is the largest RTO in Queensland. Each TAFE Institute operates independently within the departmental framework to provide subsidised public education and also offers tailored solutions to the training needs of organisations. Individual TAFE Institutes do not offer all qualifications. The TAFE Queensland website provides further information.

Private RTOs also offer selected nationally recognised training courses. As this is not subsidised education, costs should be discussed directly with these providers. As with TAFE Institutes, private RTOs do not offer all programs.

Depending on local availability, generic VET training paths for the community services sector may include:

  • Certificate II in Community Services Work
  • Certificate II in Community Services (First Point of Contact)
  • Certificate III in Community Services Work
  • Certificate IV in Community Services Work
  • Certificate IV in Community Services Advocacy
  • Certificate IV in Community Services (Information, Advice and Referral)
  • Diploma of Community Welfare Work, and
  • Advanced Diploma of Community Services Work.

(NB: Generic training paths do not ensure entry into all areas of client work. Specialised training is recommended as a supplement to one of these generic training packages for those that wish to specialise in a certain client group).

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