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Choosing A Course Provider To Study A Cert 3 or Diploma Qualification

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With so many course providers available to choose from when you're looking to study a qualification in early childhood education and care it's important to find a course provider that suits your lifestyle and your study needs.

Do Your Research

Find as much information as you can about the course, including how long it takes to complete, the type of qualification you will have on completion and how much the course costs. Shop around to find the course that suits you best.

  • You can search for a training course on the My Skills website, which was set up by the Federal Department of Education and Training.

  • Find out if you need to have any work experience, previous study or other prerequisites in order to take the course.

  • Check with the National Register on Vocational Education and Training (VET) at www.training.gov.au to see if the training provider is registered to provide the course.

  • Ask about the total cost of the course, methods of payment and cancellation or cooling off periods.

  • Check if the training provider is approved to offer VET FEE-HELP student loans at www.studyassist.gov.au.

  • Check requirements for loan fees, interest and paying back the loan.

  • Read the contract carefully, checking for cancellation fees and conditions.

  • Ask about cooling-off periods (called ‘census dates’ for VET FEE-HELP courses), cancellations and refunds.

Before Enrolling

Before enrolling or entering into an agreement with a provider, read the information providers are required to share with you. This should cover:

  • the training, assessment and support services they provide, including when, where and how the program will be delivered; and
  • your rights and obligations, including payment terms and cancellation as well as refund conditions
  • how training and assessment will be conducted and where – for example, face to face, online, in the workplace, or at varied locations
  • what equipment you need to complete the course – for example, do you need to supply a computer or have certain software?
  • whether you need to organise any of your own training arrangements – do you need to find workplaces to train at?
  • course costs, including any possible additional fees, and payment due dates
  • refund and cancellation policies
  • complaint processes
  • support services for students

Speak to Potential Providers

After you have looked at the information supplied by the provider, consider contacting those you are interested in studying with so you can ask more questions about the course.

The following article provides a list of questions to ask each course provider. Consider all the information gathered from each of the questions. Using these questions will assist you to decide and make an informed decision of where you want to study for your qualification.

Questions To Ask Course Providers When Choosing To Study

When Enrolling

Some additional points to consider when enrolling:

  • Make sure the information in your agreement matches what you have previously seen and discussed with the Registered Training Organisation.
  • Read the enrolment agreement/contract carefully before you sign anything or pay any money.
  • Ask the training or education provider to explain anything you are unsure of. Discuss the conditions of enrolment with a friend or colleague if you are not sure what they mean.
  • Ensure you understand and agree with any cancellation and refund conditions and ongoing fees.
  • Ensure the training or education provider is the right one for you and that it is registered before you make an up-front payment, or commit to paying money.
  • Ask for a receipt when you make a payment, check that it is correct and keep it in a safe place.

Remember:

  • Don’t sign up ‘on the spot’ for a training course if someone approaches you.
  • Don’t feel pressured by ‘limited time only’ prices.
  • Don’t give out your personal details, such as your tax file number, unless you have done all the checks and decided to enrol.
    Be wary of overseas or interstate institutions promoting their services on the internet and be cautious when dealing with a company that relies on web-based communication and doesn’t offer telephone numbers or office locations.
  • When you sign a contract , you are legally bound by its terms and conditions and you usually can’t back out. Always read any document you are asked to sign carefully. If you don’t understand it, don’t sign it.

Beware Of Free Offers

Don’t be swayed by offers of ‘free’ items such as mobile tablets or laptops or even cash payments. Your course costs may be higher than the cost of the ‘free item’ or the promised payment.
Take extra care to explore any claims that the course is ‘free’ or ‘Government funded’ - A VET FEE–HELP loan is a real debt that impacts on your credit and must be repaid when your income reaches a certain level.

Note: Keep copies of emails, other correspondence and all the paperwork you sign.

References:
Education And Training, Fair Trading NSW Government
Choosing A Training or Education Provider, Australian Skills Quality Authority 

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