Karen Lomas
March 14, 2015

Private Education Providers

by Stuart Miles from Free Digital Photos

by Stuart Miles from Free Digital Photos

As I say to all of my clients who are searching for the right course, do your research well. There is much press attention around private education providers in particular and so how do you assess the relative merits of these institutions? Indeed, should you even look at private training and education providers at all?

A fellow careers practitioner, the lovely Jacky Burton, from Knox College, told me that she would use the analogy of buying a car, or a pair of designer shoes, when talking to a student about further education options. She’s so right in saying that if there is nothing to recommend a brand/product then, find out more before plunging into a big financial investment.

In The Age on Thursday 12th March, Matthew Knott wrote of “a series of recent scandals at some of the country’s largest private education providers. Some are said to be promising what Assistant Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, has described as “miraculously” short Diplomas. Others have been found to have given cash or gift incentives, and prizes, to sign up to courses and, in response, government regulations are about to be introduced to stamp out such practices (Knott 2015).

But as the co-authors of ‘A Few Dodgy Private Training Colleges shouldn’t Taint the Rest’ (The Conversation 12 March) assert, making sweeping generalisations is unhelpful too.

So do your own due diligence when it comes to researching both public and private education providers. For example:

  • Open Days and Careers Fairs are a really good avenue to finding out about facilities at the many and various institutions
  • At Open Days, ask lots of questions rather than just taking the show-bag and allowing yourself to be seduced by the chat from the representative
  • Websites will often detail graduate outcomes
  • Talk to your network of friends and family, to see what others have heard, and if possible talk to some current/past students of the institution
  • Read the prospectus/course guide thoroughly and check the fine details of a course, comparing 2-3 for cost, duration, units of study, location, facilities, credentials of the teaching staff etc
  • Investigate the cost of the course(s) you are interested in, how the fee payment is structured and whether you are able to access fee support.

I hope that you will now feel better equipped to do your own research into private education providers.



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