This study investigates the relationship between VET course durations and training quality and outcomes. Feedback from discussions with training practitioners, representatives of industry and government, and relevant Skills Service Organisations, reveals that for many there is a tension between a desire to respect the non-time-based principles of a competency-based training system, and for durations to be specified and of adequate length to enable trainers the time to effectively cover required content, and students adequate time for learning and practice. Although course durations on their own are not felt to guarantee quality outcomes, they are felt to be a key factor when suitably aligned to the level and size of the qualification, and the demands of the intended occupation. The statistical analysis of subject results in four different areas showed higher proportions of subject withdrawals at RTOs with the highest median course durations. This in turn resulted in lower shares with a pass in courses of longer median durations.

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