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Place of recognised qualifications

The place of recognised qualifications in the outcomes of training

Lee RidouttKevin HummelRalph DutneallChris Selby Smith

The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author/project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of ANTA or NCVER.

Australian National Training Authority, 2005

This work has been produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) with the assistance of funding provided by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). It ispublished by NCVER under licence from ANTA. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of NCVER. Requests should be made in writing to NCVER.

The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author/project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of ANTA and NCVER.

ISBN1 920896 51 1print edition

1 920896 52 Xweb edition


Published by NCVER

ABN 87 007 967 311

Level 11, 33 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000

PO Box 8288 Station Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

ph +61 8 8230 8400, fax +61 8 8212 3436



5Tables and figures


Key messages8

Executive summary9

1Qualifications as outcomes of training14


Qualifications as a measure of training outcomes14

Value of qualifications15

Types of training and qualifications15

Other perspectives on qualifications16

Practical problems with qualifications18

2Different perspectives on training outcomes20

Training outcomesdifferent perspectives20

Employer perspectives21

Worker/employee perspectives25

Union perspective25

Summary remarks26

This project27



Selection of case studies29

Data collection31

Data analysis36

4Exploratory themes37


Defining competencies37

Recognition and non-recognition of competence41

Recognised competencies44

Non-recognisable competencies45

Assessment practices45

Effect of enterprise type46

Relationship between training and assessment50

Use (or non-use) of training packages52

Impediments to pursuing qualifications56

Assessment outcomes (other than qualifications)57

Relationships with registered training organisations59

Change as a motivating factor61



Different perspectives on outcomes63

Not all competencies are the same65

Assessment model66

Comment on the model67

Risk-management approach to assessment68

Who makes assessments?69

Link between training and assessment70

Demand side of training71

Required job competencies72




1 Interview protocol78

2 Examples of competency lists82

3 Job titles84

4 Description of industries85

5 Research partners89

6 Survey form90

Tables and figures


1List of case study training packages27

2List of case-study enterprises27

3Distribution of companies by industry sector28

4Number of units of competency by training package32

5Segmentation of training package units of competency into defining and enabling categories33

6Type of competency by industry type34

7Average number of competencies per job in each industry type34

8Number of competencies required for certificate III qualifications in each of the training packages covered in this study35

9Number of competencies by degree of assessment categories and defining or enabling type competencies37

10Proportion of competencies by degree of assessment categories, type of competence (defining, enabling) and industry sector38

11Competencies that required recognition38

12Type of competency by level of technology41

13Type of competency by public/private sector41

14Type of competency by size of organisation41

15Type of competency by ownership41

16Type of competency by history of recognition42

17Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment and technology level42

18Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment and history of qualifications42

19Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment and type of organisation43

20Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment and ownership43

21Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment and size of organisation43

22Proportion of defining and enabling competencies by level of assessment undertaken and type of training44

23Assessment of competence60

24Training package implementation-units of competency achieved at 31 December 199974

25Employment: average annual percentage growth rates for selected industry sectors74

TOC \t "Figuretitle" \c Figures

1Organisational strategy and training purpose relationship21

2Employers view of competencies25

3Proportion (%) of units of competency in each of the four classification categories37

4Assessment model57

5The relationship between levels of formality in training and assessment effort61


The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the following people and organisations in the undertaking of this research project.

Jeremy Gilling: (Manufacturing Learning Australia) and Cassandra Parkinson (CREATE Australia) for contributing conceptual energy to the research method discussions and facilitating access to enterprises for data collection.

Jennifer Gibb: (formerly of NCVER) for providing patient encouragement, valuable additional review comments (and interpretation), and fostering collaboration with other relevant projects and individuals.

Raju Varanasi: (state manager, ITAM, TAFE NSW; formerly program manager, MEES, TAFE NSW) for providing advice during the conceptualisation stage of the project.

Case-study organisations for their cooperation during the data collection phase, including the dedication of considerable personal time, and a general willingness to openly discuss their situations and their views.

Report reviewers for valuable insights and recommendations that drove early developments of the research and facilitated the fine tuning of this report.

Key messages

Employers do not significantly value qualifications in the same way as the vocational education and training sector. The approach taken to qualifications by enterprise managers is generally to seek recognition only of a small number of competencies, not a whole Australian Qualifications Framework qualification. However, this point of view varies significantly in relation to a number of variables, including the job under consideration, and types of competencies being contemplated.

The main types of competencies that employers target for recognition through part qualifications in the form of statements of attainment include: competencies associated with specific licences; permits and tickets conferred by non-training bodies; competencies associated with occupational health and safety; and competencies associated with training and assessment.

Executive summary

Project brief

The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between requirements for the performance of particular jobs and that specific part of the competence requirement that is needed, in the opinion of employers, to be formally recognised. A large number of competencies were identified by employers as required for jobs to be performed well. Generally, this was significantly in excess of those needed to obtain a qualification at an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level appropriate to the job. It was also found that almost all competencies identified by managers were covered by training packages.

This research set out to explore the following areas:

the relationship between the various recognised and non-recognised competencies that form the total competence of an employee

the types of competencies most likely to fall within the different competency groups

patterns in the way in which competence is achieved and recognised for different enterprises and industry groups

competency outcomes recognised and valued by enterprises in ways other than through national recognition or qualification, such as promotion and higher salary

structural, procedural or other impediments to the recognition of competence achieved in the workplace, but not at present assessed or recognised.


Given the exploratory nature of the project, the data collected were primarily qualitative, gathered through interviews with managers (sometimes in conjunction with supervisors and experienced workers) during a site visit to 23 organisations from five different industry sectors. Two instruments supplemented the case-study approach, one of which collected detailed quantitative data on the competencies of selected jobs. Thus, observations could be made at two different levels of analysis the enterprise or case level and the unit of competency level. Quantitative demographic data were collected through a survey administered during the site visit.

The competencies from each of the dif


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