When things go wrong
In any business relationship, there’s a risk that things won’t go as planned and there’ll be some issues or disputes.
If you have a healthy and professional working relationship and good communication practices, most issues can be quickly resolved.
… we’re also very respectful and professional. So if there’s an issue, we don’t point fingers, we just look to resolve issues… we openly talk about it and then we talk collectively from both sides as to how we can resolve some things. We’ve had plenty of issues, but we’ve always, just through our professional relationship, been able to resolve them
(Aged care service provider)
If you’re facing a complex, serious or not easily resolved issue, the following steps may help you to work through it.
Understand the issue and identify solutions
First make sure you clearly understand the problem. Talk to your employees and clarify any misunderstandings.
Refer to the agreement you made with the training provider about what each party would do and how disputes will be resolved.
The information given to your employees before they started training should also outline the training provider’s complaints process.
When you’re clear about the issue, follow the appropriate process.
Clearly articulate your understanding of the issue and any proposed solution/s. Give the training provider an opportunity to respond and listen to their perspective. Be prepared to negotiate, compromise and work through mutually beneficial solutions together.
Keep a written record of any discussions for future reference.
Take further action if needed
If you can’t resolve a dispute on your own, you might consider getting help from a training ombudsman or consumer protection agency and/or making a complaint to the Australian Skills Quality Authority.
Each state and territory has a training ombudsman. They review and resolve enquiries and complaints from anyone in the VET system, including students, RTOs, apprentices, trainees, employers, and other stakeholders. Their service is free, confidential, and independent. It includes:
- providing free and impartial advice about your rights and responsibilities
- reviewing issues and offering recommendations
- referring complaints to other relevant agencies if required
- mediating between parties to reach a mutually beneficial solution.
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for vocational education and training and oversees the quality of training provided by RTOs. You can find further information about concerns relating to an RTO, or submit a complaint through the online portal called asqaconnect.
Note though that ASQA doesn’t investigate and substantiate individual complaints received. Rather it will look at the provider’s pattern of behaviour identified through complaints and use this information to inform decisions about if and when further regulatory scrutiny of a provider is required.