Will the Dip VET TAE50116 replace the Certificate IV TAE? It’s a question we at Fortress Learning are asked every day. However, like many things in the world of VET, the answer is, “We really don’t know”.
So, what do we know?
The court of public opinion seems to suggest the answer will be “Yes”. Even if the Standards do not require it, the winds of change seem to be blowing Trainers and Assessors to see the Dip VET as a professional must-have. The outcome of that is that professional trainers and assessors will exceed the minimum TAE requirement of the Standards.
The very fact that Trainers are asking tells us that people are wondering if the current Standards are just a stepping stone to something else. Yes, the Standards have tightened requirements for Trainers and Assessors with the TAE40116. It is clear that the regulators had a bigger plan to revamp VET and one way of doing that was to revisit the qualifications held by Trainers and Assessors. The entry-level TAE Certificate IV was revamped in 2016, and the requirements for RTOs to have TAE qualifications on Scope were also changed.
It all got harder.
The outcome is fewer RTOs delivering the TAE Certificate IV, and even fewer delivering the TAE50116 Dip VET. Those that are delivering it are often doing it differently from how people experienced the old TAE Certificate IV. People who cruised through their now superseded Certificate IV TAE are being confronted by additional demands of rigour that take more work and demand more knowledge and skills than were previously required.
An outcome of this is that Trainers are asking themselves if they should just do the Diploma. After all, if getting up to speed with the new Certificate IV is so hard, why not go for the next level and be done with it?
I have to upgrade my Cert IV so should I just do the Dip VET and be done with it?
Of course, doing a whole Diploma is a whole lot more involved than doing a single unit. But, the question that is really being asked is:
How much harder is it going to get?
If the Certificate IV has gotten so much harder to get, then how long before the Diploma also comes too hard? And, if it won’t get harder, does that mean that the powers that be are actually wanting to push people into the Dip VET? Could make the Certificate IV harder a tool to increase the general level of qualifications held by trainers?
They are just going to keep changing things and if I get the Dip VET now then I can stop worrying about being left behind.
These are the sorts of comments and questions that people ask us, and these are the sorts of things that people are wondering about. And, they are the sorts of questions being answered by people choosing to forego TAE40116 and get stuck straight into the TAE50116 Diploma.
A number of RTOs, both private and public, have already linked the TAE50116 Diploma of Vocational Education & Training to salary and many promotional positions have moved “Diploma or higher level adult education qualification” from desirable to essential qualifications.
Perhaps unintentionally, Trainers and Assessors are now comparing themselves with their colleagues. This was captured well in the following comments by a prospective student:
I do exactly the same job as [name], but they get paid more just because they have the Dip VET.
I have more experience than [name], but because I don’t have the TAE Diploma, she got the promotion.
Whereas the Certificate IV has very much become a necessary, minimum level qualification that everyone just assumes that everyone will have, the TAE Diploma has become more aspirational.
We have written before about how people choosing to upgrade their Diplomas will be doing it for personal reasons. One of those reasons is especially powerful, and that is to separate themselves from not just their peers, but from the stain of mistrust that still exists on all of the old TAE qualifications. (This is why we chose the header image we did – there is a wonderful move among trainers themselves to influence each other to seek excellence – personally and professionally – rather than settle with the minimum requirement.)
Whereas the old TAE qualifications were to an extent commodified, and there was a race to the bottom in terms of time and rigour, a growing number of students are being more discerning. They don’t mind if their qualification is easy, but they do mind if it is easier than it should be.
I recall telling one prospective student that the program will likely be more professionally demanding than they perhaps expect. Their response was one of relief:
You mean to tell me that it isn’t going to be a walk in the park that I just can complete in my own time around all my other commitments?
That is correct. It will demand more than that.
Good. That’s what I want.
So, just as Trainers are starting to see that the Diploma will be necessary to maintain their professional credibility, they are also seeing that along with that must be genuinely having the knowledge and skills that the TAE Diploma credential is meant to represent.
A while back, Sean Kelly showed that when it comes to the standing of RTOs, there is not one blacklist, but many. What this means is that whereas in the commodified world of the old TAE, where consumers bought into the assumption that it did not matter who the issuing RTO was, the world of the new TAE is different. And, this is leading to people saying things like:
It doesn’t matter who I did my Cert IV with because no-one really cares about the Cert IV anymore anyway. But since I have to do my TAE Dip VET, I need to make sure it gets taken seriously.
When it comes to upgrading the Cert IV TAE, we are finding a clear demarcation of people, and into three clear groups:
The first group want the new Cert IV TAE because they have to have it and have no intention of going any further. These seem to be people working in RTOs, but who have some job insecurity, such as sessional, casual and contract trainers. They don’t much care for having to upgrade.
The second group are just doing the single units that they need. They do not want the new TAE40116 Cert IV, because they don’t actually see the need for having the old one. These seem to be people who are working in areas that are not directly at the coalface of VET but are in non-accredited training roles. They very much do not care for having to do the extra unit/s.
The third group is most relevant to this article. These are the ones who do want the new TAE40116 but are deciding that if it comes down to having one new qualification, then it will be the TAE50116 Diploma of Vocational Education & Training. These are the people who do the single units (TAELLN411 and/or TAEASS502) at the front end of their Dip VET. They are awarded a Statement of Attainment for those units so that they can keep the wolves of compliance at bay and then continue with the remainder of their Diploma. Whereas the first two groups are somewhat resentful about needing to upgrade in some way, this third group is somewhat hopeful.
I think it is a good opportunity to benchmark myself against the industry standard.
This is an interesting comment, for it seems to add credence to the idea that the new TAE qualifications take the place of the old; they are somehow engendering more trust than the old ones. As mentioned above, this desire for a qualification that is truly representative of knowledge and skill is sought after.
But so is the process of getting to that qualification. What do I mean by that?
Seasoned trainers and assessors appear to be tired of just jumping through hoops and getting boxes ticked. They are seeking, and many are just downright hungry for, a real opportunity for reflection or engagement.
One of the really interesting things we hear from many of our TAE Diploma students – all of whom are experienced VET professionals – is that they found the process to be one of structured professional reflection. As a result of doing the Diploma, they end up not just with more professional credibility, higher pay, promotional opportunities, skills and knowledge, but they end up with more self-awareness.
They seem to appreciate having the chance to look at themselves and see just where their strengths and weaknesses lie. And, with that information, they are equipped to move ahead with a renewed personal commitment to their professional life.
So, while the Standards for RTOs (2015) may not be pointing to the Dip VET replacing the Cert IV TAE, there certainly appears to be a groundswell of influential VET professionals who see it as both necessary and useful.
If this momentum continues, then it could be the case that our industry will be more highly qualified than the Standards require.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?