Program changes – Diploma of Dental Technology
Recent change to the duration of the Diploma of Dental Technology from four years to three has prompted a review of the way RMIT delivers dental technology training. In response to this change and to industry demand and new government policy RMIT is implementing a new training model centred on competency-based completion.
The new training package will allow greater flexibility to employers and apprentices. The changes are designed to encourage employers to become actively involved in the training of their apprentices, and to provide suitable apprentices with the ability to fast track through the program.
These changes move away from the previously rigidly structured delivery model which centred on training one day per week, (block release for country and interstate students) followed by a one and two week block release system. The content and running dates were pre-determined by RMIT—the new model aims to be more responsive to individual training needs and to allow for greater input from employers and apprentices
How will the new training program work?
Initially all apprentices will undertake eight weeks of training. This time can be discounted if the apprentice has gained skills prior to entry. To asses skills a recognition of current competency assessment will be conducted prior to commencement of the initial block training.
Recognition of current competency is one of the cornerstones of the new program. It aims to identify the skills apprentices have already gained in the workplace in order to build upon these skills rather than to duplicate them. Following the initial eight weeks (stage one), the program is divided into industry-specific blocks. By negotiation with the employer, the apprentice and RMIT the following stages (two and three) are flexible, allowing a choice of what courses are taken and when. Apprentices will be required to attend the theory sessions to gain the underpinning knowledge for all areas.
All apprentices will be required to complete all 27 units of the program within the three years of their apprenticeship contract. However this may be discounted with the recognition of current competency assessments.
What differences will it make to the employer and the apprentice?
The new structure will affect all employers differently, depending on several factors, including:
- whether the laboratory is multi discipline
- the amount of on-the-job training offered by the employer
- the capability of the apprentice to increase knowledge and skills over a shorter period of time.
What are the benefits of the new structure?
With greater flexibility and a commitment to meeting the individual needs for employer and apprentice, the benefits of the new program structure will:
- ensure employers have a say in what’s studied and when
- encourage employers to provide high quality on-the-job training with the view to having the apprentice in the workplace more often
- enable the employer and apprentice to fast-track training.
Mark Doherty, program leader
School of Life and Physical Sciences
Tel. +61 3 9341 1407