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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Do your homework on training providers

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    Do your homework on training providers

    Queenslanders looking to improve their job prospects are being reminded to shop around for the most suitable training course before signing up.

    Consumer watchdogs around Australia, including the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, are targeting unfair practices by training providers and marketers.

    Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath said training providers had been put on notice to be aware of their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law when signing up students and delivering courses.

    “Overall, Queensland has a high-quality vocational training sector,” she said.

    “However, this is a multi-billion dollar industry that receives government subsidies, and unfortunately that makes it particularly attractive to shonks looking to make a quick buck.

    “The OFT has received disturbing reports of training providers targeting vulnerable consumers by offering free tablet computers in exchange for personal information, then using those details to sign the person up for a course and claim a government subsidy.

    “Reports also suggest marketers are approaching job-seekers outside Centrelink offices, attempting to sign them up for training courses they don’t need, won’t be able to complete or that won’t enhance their prospects of finding work.

    “Consumers need to take extra steps to protect themselves from unethical practices that could leave them with a substantial debt for a course they can’t complete or that doesn’t help them to get a job.

    “If you are looking to enrol in a training course, make sure it meets your needs and you understand all the costs involved before signing anything.

    “Think about what opportunities the course will open up for you, how much time it will take to complete, and ask questions about what happens to your payment if you have a change in circumstances and can’t complete the course.”

    Mrs D’Ath said anyone looking to complete a training course should understand the fee they are paying and when it is due.

    “Training providers and marketers might try to make it seem like a course is free, but usually you are simply deferring payment until a later date,” she said.

    “Be particularly wary of offers made door-to-door, over the phone or if you are approached in a shopping centre or on the street. Remember, you have extra protections when you buy this way, including a 10 business day cooling-off period.”

    Before signing up, consumers should:

    • Check the training provider is a Registered Training Organisation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority and make sure they are allowed to deliver the course you want to do.
    • Check the training provider can offer loans from the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Loan Programme. Loans for vocational education and training are called VET FEE-HELP loans.
    • Shop around and compare training courses on the basis of cost, length, course content and likely job opportunities.
    • Be wary of incentive offers or tactics designed to get you to sign up on the spot. Marketers and training providers are banned from offering incentives such as laptops or tablets to get you to sign up.
    • Choose a course that meets your needs. Consider your personal circumstances and what would happen if your circumstances changed.
    • Read the contract very carefully, question anything you don’t understand and keep a copy of everything you sign.

    If a training provider or marketer approaches you uninvited, for example at your home or over the phone, you have extra rights. Salespeople must:

    • explain who they are and the purpose of their approach to you
    • leave or cease contact if you ask them to
    • give you a 10 business day cooling-off period during which you can cancel the contract without penalty
    • provide you with a copy of the written agreement
    • not contact you early in the morning, late at night or on a Sunday or public holiday.

    Anyone with information about dodgy salespeople using high-pressure tactics to sign consumers up for training courses are urged to come forward to the OFT by making a complaint at

    Consumers can check a training provider is registered at and get loan information from

    Media contact: 3247 5968 or 3247 5965

    All other enquiries: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)