There has been recent concern that ASQA is insisting an RTO must be CRICOS-registered to deliver First Aid training to overseas students. The Department of Education in Canberra is currently reviewing the Code of Practice for providers operating under the ESOS framework. The current (2007) code includes a statement that only full-time courses can be registered on CRICOS. The proposed new Code omits this statement, so it remains unclear whether it would apply to all training.
AECP and the other major first aid organisations have lodged submissions on the proposed changes. AECP has argued strongly that First Aid is a public good, and people who have come to Australia under student visa arrangements should not be excluded from the benefits of First Aid training. Some overseas students will need work placement as part of their training. Many will seek part-time work as permitted under a student visa. First Aid is often a pre-requisite to employment.
There are no CRICOS-registered providers able to offer stand-alone first aid training. No specialist First Aid providers can become CRICOS-registered because the fees and additional administrative burden are prohibitive. AECP has recommended short WHS courses be exempt from the need for CRICOS registration.
It may be some time before we see the final outcome of the current review. In the meantime, AECP recommends members continue to provide First Aid training to any international students that may request it. The interests of public safety must be placed above bureaucratic whim.