Training Ombudsman to investigate training scheme scammers

The State Government has called on the Queensland Training Ombudsman to help crackdown on scammers targeting Queensland job seekers by tricking them into signing-up for government-funded training programs.

With an influx of newly unemployed individuals hitting the job market during the COVID-19 pandemic, dodgy operators are targeting jobseekers in an attempt to lure them into government subsidised training courses under the false allure of a job. The government funds delivered for providing the training would then be split between them and the training organisation.

Looking to put to an end these dodgy dealings, Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman was stern in her warning to those taking advantage of vulnerable jobseekers, saying they would be caught out.

“I’ve got a clear message for scammers who are tricking jobseekers into training programs – we’re coming after you,” warned Ms Fentiman.

“That’s why I’ve asked the Ombudsman to make this issue his number one priority between now and the end of the year.”

As part of the crackdown, the Queensland Training Ombudsman will deliver an independent investigation into dodgy recruiters and training providers who were taking advantage of unsuspecting jobseekers.

The investigation forms part of the government’s five-point plan to take down online scammers.

The five-point plan will see a dedicated online compliance unit led by the Training Ombudsman established to identify scammers and report them to the Australian Skills Authority (ASQA), the Office of Fair Trading and the police.

A hotline will also be set up for jobseekers to report training scammers directly to the Ombudsman.

Penalties for organisations who falsely mislead jobseekers will also be reviewed and, if necessary, strengthened to deter such behaviour in the future.

And finally, every RTO that receives subsidies from the State Government will be reviewed, with penalties to be applied to organisations that are found to be involving themselves in dodgy practices.

The Queensland Training Ombudsman Geoff Favell said most training providers were doing the right thing and delivering essential programs to jobseekers, however, the few choosing not to do the right thing were ruining the scheme for everyone.

“These scammers are in the minority. This is a very small group of unscrupulous operators who are taking advantage of jobseekers,” said Mr Favell.

The crackdown on dodgy job recruiters and training providers comes as a reminder for individuals seeking training to do their research when it comes to selecting an RTO.

To assist with identifying trusted training providers, the Queensland Government has introduced the Skills Assure identifier. Under Skills Assure, RTOs that meet the Government’s requirements may apply to become a Skills Assure provider, recognising them as a reputable training provider that offers industry relevant qualifications and training.

As a trusted provider of automotive apprenticeships and training in Queensland, the MTA Institute has been recognised as a Skills Assure provider, and is a trusted, reputable brand you can trust to deliver the highest quality education for the next generation of automotive professionals.

Any individual who believes they have been taken advantage of by an untrustworthy job recruiter or training provider can report the organisation via the Training Scammer hotline on 1800 773 048, or lodge a complaint online by visiting the Training Ombudsman website.

Source: Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development | Palaszczuk Government cracks down on scammers swindling job seekers

26 August 2020