I am getting a lot of questions from our owner builders asking why they can no longer complete the White Card course (General Safety induction Training) online.
That is a question that you would need to ask WorkSafe.
To be quite honest, I know the answer...
There were simply too many RTO's out there not doing the right thing by owner builder students or anyone else need to do the training. There were many offerings of 'shonky' course which did not provide the fundamental thing required of a training course. They simply did not transfer knowledge. They were only interested in your money.
It is very sad that operators out there exist and that they make it impossible for the good operators to complete. Not only is it sad, but it is incredibly worrying when the knowledge and skills that need to be transferred to a student are for the sole purpose of keeping them safe. Achieving genuine transfer of knowledge through online learning is not easy. It takes a skilled and experienced course writer to author a course and set assignments, task and questions that truly allow the candidate to demonstrate competence.
Over the years we developed a great system for achieving this and expended an enormous amount of effort and resources to make certain not only our students (owner builders and others) got value for money and truly developed skills and knowledge that would help to keep them safe in a construction workplace. Importantly, as the vast majority of our students were owner builders, we contextualised the course over the years to ensure it had even more relevance to them in their role as Persons in Control of A Business Undertaking (PCBU) or as a Principal Contractor.
An owner builder has the added responsibility to ensure eveyone employed on their sites remain safe and have access to appropriate facilities. Further, they are responsible for ensuring each of the contractors engaged on the owner builder site that is undertaking a High Risk Construction Activity, is doing so under the provisions of a Safe Work Method Statement or similar.
All that said, the rest of the states have not yet followed suit, even though Work Health and Safety legislation is supposed to be harmonised across the states and territories.
So,guess what? Those same RTO's who did not do the right thing by their previous students, continue to wrought the system by offering the White Card online and issuing a Western Australian card. (they have the least stringent requirements in respect to ID and record keeping).
Hopefully, sanity will prevail at some time soon and we will be able to compete again in this very competitive market.
Sales even for our owner builder courses have dropped off considerably because we can non longer offer a package deal.
Is that fair? Probably not, but we will continue to only offer a quality product to our students, so if you can get to our offices, we are more than happy to offer the course face to face.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.