Education & Training:
Building & Amenities:
Careerforce and Health Ed Trust fall out raises confusion over ITO role
Yesterday, in a new twist to the fall out between Careerforce and Health Ed Trust (HET), Careerforce CEO Ray Lind sent out a letter to employers with trainees currently enrolled in HET’s ACE programmes.
The letter outlines Careerforce’s intentions to support the ACE programmes in spite of the failure to merge with HET and advises employers of their options going forward, with an emphasis on continued enrolment with Careerforce.
The letter informs employers that for 2012, a payment of $8 per credit for all newly registered level 3 unit standards will be paid every quarter. Careerforce says this initiative is to recognise the significant costs employers incur when training their staff. Ironically, some of these costs are Careerforce fees, to help meet the 30 per cent industry contribution expected by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
This latest communication with the sector – which follows a letter from HET to its subscribers also requesting their support– is no doubt another attempt to clarify the confusion ensuing from the breakdown in the relationship.
Careerforce’s letter was accompanied by a document outlining their key statements, which included the point that as a specialist industry training organisation, they are not permitted to provide training or teaching.
Instead, in line with the TEC’s definition of an ITO’s role, Careerforce say their focus is “working with the sector to set skill standards, design relevant qualifications, and support people to learn while working and be assessed.”
Careerforce maintains by supplying learning and assessment resources they are working within the boundaries of an ITO’s role.
However, HET Chairman, John Ryder refutes this notion and says Careerforce is in the business of delivering education. Ryder believes Careerforce, in supplying these resources, is infringing sections of the Industry Training Act.
“Under section 10 of the Act, it says [ITOs] are not allowed to monitor, assess, or deliver education in any way – but [Careerforce] are. We believe they are contravening the act; they believe they aren’t. We have a QC’s opinion that says they infringe sections 10 and 13 of the Act,” Ryder said.
Lind told INsite today that Careerforce supports workplace learning by providing training resources to employers to help them train their staff, but he is adamant that in doing so, they are not education providers themselves.
“Otherwise, anyone who has ever written a textbook could be called an education provider,” he says.
Lind describes the task of putting together the training resources as “a big, difficult job.”
“We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have to,” says Lind, “But otherwise, training wouldn’t occur if it was too hard to do.”
Lind says that many employers have found their employees learn best in a group situation and therefore have tailored the training resources to suit their needs.
He is quick to point out that while the resources are there to help employers with training their staff, employers can take or leave them. While Careerforce wants people to pass the assessments, Lind says it is up to the employer which training method they use.
This clash of opinion echoes a long history of confusion over Careerforce’s role. A 2007 report on the aged care workforce released by Health Care Providers New Zealand (now NZACA) found that education training providers indicated a need for clarification of the ITO role, and its relationship to the providers with whom it contracts.
The report states “as legislation prevents ITOs from delivering training, Careerforce should not be viewed as ‘competing’ with education providers”.
Leigh Kelly, managing director of training provider Clinical Update New Zealand Ltd, believes that Careerforce is not competing with her company’s training courses and instead is working with her to potentially design unit standards to support her education programmes.
Kelly says Careerforce has recently been in contact to discuss options for the provision of credits around her training.
However, not everyone shares Kelly’s view. Last week, Ryder described the ITO’s actions in contacting HET subscribers as “disappointing and predatory”, claiming that they were acting in the interests of their own commercial operation.
While Lind maintains the majority of ITOs supply training resources in the same manner as Careerforce, and that the issue has been discussed many times with the TEC, perhaps this confusion calls for renewed clarification of the ITO role.
The TEC, unavailable for comment today, will no doubt be drawn into the fray if Ryder’s accusations of Careerforce breaching the Industry Training Act are taken any further.
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