The diploma of business in Australia is a popular vocational education qualification that traditionally has attracted high enrolment figures for registered training organisations (RTOs). Its format and scope has remained largely unchanged for most of the past decade: an 8-unit course delivered usually over a period of 9 to 18 months catering for students aspiring to become executive officers. This however has now changed markedly with the National Register of Vocational Education and Training in Australia establishing a new diploma from October last year that will supersede not just the diploma of business, but also six other diplomas including business administration, international business and customer engagement.
Most notably the new diploma of business now comprises twelve units and offers students a much wider range of subjects; some of which might not have been immediately associated with a diploma of business just a few years ago including sustainability, developing critical thinking in others and resource management. The qualification now reflects the role of individuals in a variety of business services jobs.
Tracy Kearney, CEO and Founder of Prestige Service Training (PST), says that “The addition of four units presents us the opportunity to offer a more comprehensive diploma; one that will give an enhanced foundation for those going on to associated higher education degree courses and a broader range of skills to students on other career pathways.”
The majority of students are high school students; the diploma of business being an excellent grounding for transition into undergraduate studies. Indeed, some RTOs like PST are articulated with universities and work closely with them to monitor the transition and improve methodologies. Some universities offer credits towards related degree courses and this is a major attraction for aspiring undergraduates.
Timescales for delivery will change, PST for instance has elected to adopt an 18-month course and this will sit well with high schools. The diploma of business can be delivered optimally when a high school student begins their 11th Year allowing them to finish mid-way through Year 12. The remainder of the year allows time for any resits, administration and reporting of results to the Department of Education and Training whilst the graduating students can focus on university or employment applications. Some schools also offer the diploma to students mid-way through Year 10 with a finish date at end of Year 11 with equally beneficial time benefits.
So, what does the new diploma of business look like? There are five fixed core units:
- Lead communication in the workplace
- Manage budgets and financial plans
- Develop workplace policies and procedures for sustainability
- Manage business resources
- Develop critical thinking in others
An array of over 97 electives is available from which RTOs can choose seven to bring the total of units up to twelve. PST’s focus is on giving its students the best possible diverse grounding and subsequently offers:
- Make Presentations
- Identify and evaluate marketing opportunities
- Manage recruitment and onboarding
- Manage personal and professional development
- Undertake project work
- Manage business risk
- Facilitate Continuous Improvement
The diversity of the subjects is further endorsement of the diploma of business and its role in both assisting students along career paths and equipping them with the skills to successfully complete tertiary education and/or enhance existing career paths. Ultimately a qualification of any sort does verify a person’s ability in a certain field but also, and importantly, it demonstrates to a potential or existing employer that the holder has the stickability to see something through to a successful conclusion. Given the new format of the diploma – 12 units over 18 months – the successful graduate certainly has the opportunity to demonstrate that.
For adult students the expanded diploma of business is of greater value than its predecessor. Popularly the motivation of adult learners is to acquire new knowledge and skills; successful graduation of course is still a motivation but the main aim is improvement. With a 12-unit diploma the scope of learning is clearly greater and sets the graduate up with arguably better promotional prospects.
For some high school students university is not an aspiration and their career paths are structured around opportunities that a diploma in business might, and does, offer. Whatever the motivation for taking it, the new diploma of business although much more demanding offers increased benefits, not just for students, but for employers also.
The variety of courses that students can now engage upon continues to grow, for example the Certificate IV in Crime and Justice Studies is a new addition to the PST portfolio and is proving popular, however it is satisfying to see a makeover and enhancement of the mainstay qualification, the diploma of business.