A recent NCVER spreadsheet and data slicer, entitled: Comparing high-use training package qualifications, allows users to investigate the diversity of the 20 training package qualifications with the most program enrolments in 2016. One of these, of course, is the Certificate IV TAE.

The spreadsheet enables users to explore the characteristics of those enrolling in those qualifications, their delivery approach, which types of providers are delivering the qualifications, and the outcomes for graduates. NCVER’s Patrick Korbel has used the resource to focus on specialist providers, including that offer the TAE.

The TAE, some basics

In 2016 93% of TAE enrolments were in a private provider (71%) or TAFE (22%). Nationally, enrolments in the TAE declined from nearly 69,500 in 2014 to just over 45,200 in 2016. There was around a 21% fall in enrolments between 2015 and 2016. This was due, at least in part, to the switch to the new version of the TAE and much more stringent requirements imposed by ASQA to get the course on, or back on, scope.  In Victoria, the fall in enrolment numbers was higher, from around 11,350 enrolments in 2015 to 8,500 the following year (nearly a 25% drop overall). In 2016 and across Australia, most provision (83%) was fee-for-service and classroom-based (75%).

Information about Victorian provider types tells an interesting story.  TAFE only experienced a small enrolment fall between 2015 and 2016; around 0.4%, but had taken a big hit the year before – dropping 43% between 2014 and 2015. However, the drop in enrolments for private providers from 2015 to 2016 was around 32%.

What about those taking the qualifications?

Based on national data from 2016 95% of those enrolled in the TAE are over 25 years of age and 97% are studying part-time. Nearly 40% already had a bachelor degree or above. A slight majority are female (53%). Of the graduates, over 90% are employed after training if already employed prior to training, but this proportion drops to 64% if they were not employed before undertaking the Cert IV TAE.  Overall satisfaction was high at 86%.

So what else do we know about the Certificate IV?

Korbel’s paper on specialist and other providers makes for an interesting read too. In 2016 the Certificate IV TAE is the most common qualification studied in providers, whether specialist or non-specialist. There were 63 specialist providers. Of these, only 22 had Certificate IV enrolments and “a further eight had more than 90% of their program enrolments in that qualification.” They were significant providers of the Diploma TAE as well. Specialist providers were hit harder in the enrolment drops in the Certificate IV between 2014 and 2016, declining 29% against that of the non-specialists (19%). In 2016 around 510 providers had the TAE on their scope. Following ASQA’s crackdown announced on April 1 around 75 providers presently have the course on scope nationwide.

The transition from the TAE 10 to TAE 16 has not been easy or quick for providers, but the higher standards being required of them is – hopefully – all to the good given the criticality of this qualification to the quality of VET teaching, learning and assessment. However, access to on-going and high quality professional development, mentor support and higher-level qualifications is equally vital.