[“I reiterate my point that practical experience is the key, because if you do not use that “core body of knowledge” on a regular basis, then you will most likely forget what you have learned, or at a minimum it may become redundant.”]
It goes to the heart of what has to drive the core body of knowledge and accreditation.
Every qualification is no more (or less) than a catalyst for future learning. I heard someone mention there is a rule of thumb that any qualification, at any level, becomes redundant within 5 years after completing it if it isn’t supplemented with on-going learning.
Clearly the question of a minimum qualification to start the passage of on-going learning has to be informed by the complex thing of describing a core body of knowledge. A complex project can only be dealt with properly by dividing into discrete bunches of key issues. And ideally, that division should be done with as few preconceived ideas as possible.
For mine I think there have been some preconceived ideas brought to the project table that look like they are sending the project into a “solutions cul-de-sac”. I’ve used this idea of cul-de-sacs back in me legislation drafting days. You start with a preferred outcome, usually with a bunch of ideas and you move down a path of steps and suddenly find you have reached a place where the preferred outcome is isolated; it has gone down a path that disconnects it with other related elements and there doesn’t seem to be anyway to make the connections: a cul-de-sac.
More often than not the thing to do when at a cul-de-sac is to look back down the route. And invariably, you find the cul-de-sac was created by a flawed preferred outcome, or at very least flaws in the assumptions surrounding that preferred outcome.
So far it seems to me that the body of knowledge and accreditation issue has fallen into the cul-de-sac trap.
Apparently a “clean-sheet” approach is being taken to formulating a body of knowledge platform to support the accreditation idea.
In this specific context (of working out a body of knowledge for the qualification to start the process of on-going learning), an absence of any reference to the material produced in the guidelines for incorporating OHS into training packages is a big flaw. All that can be expected of a new OHS generalist practitioner is competence in the fundamental skills. To expect anymore is just silly. Training packages and the associated units of competency target this issue of competency full on.
When it comes to the minimum qualification there is a preconceived idea that it’s essential for a beginner generalist practitioner to already have a degree before they even start the preferred minimum qualification. (The nature of a graduate diploma is that, as a general rule, one must have an ordinary degree as a pre-requisite.) This is where we hit the cul-de-sac.
For mine the most significant contribution to the shape, smell and look of the cul-de-sac is who is in charge of deciding on the core knowledge for the qualification. The guts of this is, will it be better for the community and the profession to have this core knowledge determined by higher education institutions (predominantly universities) or be determined by Industry Skills Councils through the vocational education and training sector (VET).
An important distinction to be made here is that the VET mob are compelled by the Australian Qualifications Framework to formulate and maintain qualifications based on “nationally endorsed competency standards where they exist, or on competency standards developed by relevant industry, enterprise, community or professional groups.” By comparison the higher education sector institutions are at liberty to set their own academic requirements
“….having regard for requirements set by peer review and the requirements of relevant professional bodies and employer groups….Universities and other self-accrediting institutions are authorised to accredit their own courses.”
So, this comes down to a decision about whether the OHS profession should be looking at its core body of knowledge for entry level qualifications to be set by “nationally endorsed competency standards” or by each university who is at liberty to accredit their own courses. To date it seems the latter is being preferred. Hmm … nationally consistency in OHS, a bit of an issue right now.
Does someone have a torch? I think we have ended up in a cul-de-sac, damn!