Why People Are Choosing – and Not Choosing – a TAE Diploma Upgrade

We have said before that the question of a TAE Diploma Upgrade to the TAE50116 Dip VET and TAE50216 Dip TDD is a personal one.

In the most simple terms, it is not for everyone.

But since Fortress Learning delivers the new TAE50116 Dip VET, we have had a steady stream of people asking for our opinion and advice.  The questions that people are asking usually follow this path:

So, we asked a couple of dozen people what they thought, and have summarised here the main reasons that they are either choosing to upgrade or choosing not to upgrade to the new TAE50116 Dip VET.

We thank everyone who participated in the conversation – unfortunately, not everybody will see their words quoted below, but we believe it captures a representative sample of reasons for both sides of the conversation.

We hope it helps with your decision-making.

Reasons to choose a TAE Diploma Upgrade

There is a clear message coming through from people who are choosing to upgrade, and it involves two parts:

I need to stay at the top of my game and be seen to be staying at the top of my game.

A desire to be recognised as a serious professional is one of the strongest motivators to upgrade to the new TAE50116 and TAE50216.

I am positioning myself to be able to bring new skills and knowledge to benefit my organisation and team members …. I am positioning myself to be a flexible human resource within my organisation.

I know not everyone will see it as important, but I do.  And I think that seeing it as important to stay up to date shows that I am a professional and can be taken seriously.

It doesn’t matter what other people think about it.  I want to do it for myself so I can be confident.

The new Diplomas are only available from a few RTOs who had to go through a hard process to get them on scope so I believe their higher standards mean the new Diplomas I get from them will also be a higher standard.

Even when people know that they don’t have to upgrade, they see it as helpful at a time of widespread uncertainty and job losses in the VET industry.

I know it is not critical, but the piece of paper is what seems to matter to most of the people who make decisions about my future.

I know it is not essential at this stage, but given the climate of the workforce …every little edge counts. It shows that I am serious about my job and that I’d like to keep it.

[Having the latest Diploma will] ensure that I have the most up to date and current qualifications in my chosen field. This also shows that you are aware of the learning and development environment and adds to credibility working in a RTO.

If it helps add just that little bit of edge to help me stand out, then that is good.

It’s easier to stay current with qualifications than to try to backfill them later

The preference to do it sooner rather than later seems to be a pragmatic decision that people are making.  For many, it is just about getting the box ticked so that it is done.

Currency is part of the Standards.  Having the new quals shows that I am current.

It is just easier to give the compliance officer a copy of my qualification and be done with it – mapping out equivalent competencies is painful and just a waste of time.

I didn’t bother upgrading from the Cert IV TAA to the Cert IV TAE and that just created a headache later.  I wish I had done it as soon as the new one came out.

I would prefer to not have to upgrade anything at all, but it will have to happen eventually so it is probably simpler to do it now than later.

For others, the instability of RTOs and the uncertainty that creates is an important consideration.

Look at all these RTOs closing. What’s will happen when I cannot get the authenticity of my old one confirmed because there is no one to confirm it?  The USI would be good but that’s going to be helpful for ages.

I finished some qualifications last year with [insert name of RTO that closed down] and now nobody will accept them because they cannot prove they are genuine.

And for others it is about responding proactively to changes in the industry:

I can foresee this upgrade will be a requirement moving forward into the future.

How long before the Standards change again and they have to get rid of the old TAEs?

I have just completed internal audit training with my organisation and the external ASQA/TAC auditor has predicted, although not right now, an amendment may appear in the Standards down the track that an upgrade will be mandated.

Reasons not to choose a TAE Diploma Upgrade

It is perhaps not surprising that the reasons that people had to not upgrade were very much aligned with the reasons that people had to upgrade.

It doesn’t actually mean anything

There can be no doubt that there is a great deal of cynicism within the VET sector at the moment.  The very value of a qualification is questioned, and so the value of a qualification that is gained mostly – or completely – through credit transfer is also questioned.

Why bother?  It might be easy, but it doesn’t actually show that you know anything or that you are current.  It just shows that you can do some paperwork and pay some money.

It’s just a money making exercise – I mean how many people went from the BSZ to TAA to TAE but never learned a thing.  It’s a rort.

It won’t help with job security.

The maintenance of vocational competency and industry currency are more important than having the current version of the qualification. It is easier for a person to “go out and get an upgrade” than prove that they are working in the field.

The assumption that having the latest TAE Diplomas will make it easier to get – or keep – a job is challenged by many people.

If you look at it, there are more trainers than jobs.  Having another piece of paper isn’t going to help you – you would be better off getting more industry experience.

There’s so much competition now for jobs that it won’t matter which Diploma you have.

People can see through it.  Any RTO Manager will know that it is not the piece of paper that matters most.

Final Thoughts

The very lack of confidence in the current VET sector appears to be giving people reason to both opt-in and opt-out of a TAE Diploma Upgrade.

The regulatory climate has clearly shifted to an increase in compliance.

As of the time of writing, ASQA has cancelled the registration of 38 RTOs so far in 2017.  Some of the big players caught up in the VET-FEE HELP situation have also closed down, and there are fewer RTOs in Australia than there were in 2010.

We do not need to look very far to see an industry that is collectively troubled.  Within that industry are real-life people who are experiencing uncertainty and with it, a range of emotions.

For some, it is just the wheel of time making another turn:

Here we go again.  I’ll just wait for it to pass. It always does.

For others, it is a moment of truth:

Look at what’s happening.  If we don’t get it right now, what chance have we got?

Different people will respond in different ways to what is going on in our industry.

What we know for sure is that just as not all RTOs with the old TAE qualifications will apply for the new, not all people who hold the old TAE Diplomas will choose a TAE Diploma Upgrade.  In many ways, this is a natural part of our industry, where individuals get to choose what they do.

There just is not one right choice to make.

And that includes the choice to upgrade sooner, later or perhaps even not at all.

Can we help?

If you would like to explore your own situation and whether a TAE Diploma Upgrade will be helpful for you, then you are welcome to be in touch with us through our Contact Form.  For more information about our TAE Diploma Upgrade options, please click here.

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