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By now your brain is literally exploding acronyms. It's time
for an informal meeting of Acronyms Anonymous (AA) – either online or
One of the things you'll quickly discover when you become a TAFE
student or employee is that, like many industries, TAFE has its own
peculiar language. TAFE-speak uses an eclectic mixture of specialised
terms, the most challenging being a huge bunch of educational
abbreviations and acronyms.
So that you know what I'm talking about, here's the NSW Government's
Department of Education and Communities' up-to-date list
of acronyms (or abbreviated terms). You won't get a more
comprehensive list than this one!
So here's a two minute look at a few common abbreviations and
acronyms you're likely to encounter in the early part of your TAFE journey.
Your decision to come to TAFE (Technical and Further Education) will
begin by getting yourself educated on the difference between the
various levels of qualifications – or quals, as they're known.
Which course should you take? A Statement of
Attainment is the most basic level offered, and the highest an
Advanced Diploma. Quals go up from Cert II, to III, IV and then, at
the higher level, Diploma and Advanced Diploma. Each qual is based on
the complexity of the course, not its length.
But before you've enrolled you'll be asked whether you're
eligible for any RPLs. "What?" I hear you say.
RPLs are the skills and knowledge you've accumulated through previous
education, training, work or life experience - aka (also known as)
industry credibility. They can help fast track your TAFE course by
taking this into account. See a full explanation of RPL
on the TAFE NSW website. If you have lots of relevant experience, this
might be the way to go to fast track your way through the system.
Once you've enrolled online, your details will go into the CRM
(Customer Relationship Management System). Of course, if you change
your home or email address we'd like to know about it so we can keep
in contact. Both online and traditional classroom methods of study use
the Student Assessment Guide (or SAG) to orientate you to your course
and its requirements.
By this stage, you're getting so confused that you consider joining
Acronyms Anonymous to sort yourself out. Your brain is in overdrive,
so it's time to learn to breathe!
Just as you thought you were making some progress and feeling less
stressed, your teacher/trainer tells you the acronyms are going to get
more plentiful along the way as you study for your future career. In
Community Services, there's the WWCC (Working with Children Check).
You must apply for this well before it's time to go on Work Placement
(Voluntary Work Experience).
If you're intending to become a librarian you'll be soon getting
familiar with ALIA (Australian Library Information Association) to get
access to professional journals, develop networks and look out for job
opportunities. And in Business Services, it's even worse coming to
grips with the requirements of ASIC (Australian Securities and
Investments Commission), the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) and the
ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), particularly if
you're studying accounting.
By now your brain is literally exploding acronyms. It's time for an
informal meeting of Acronyms Anonymous (AA) – either online or in
person - to debrief and share your concerns with others in the same predicament.
Chatting with TAFE colleagues you start to ponder the philosophical
question of how you're going to get any DRAW (Dignity and Respect at
Work) if you walk around talking nonsense after learning all these
acronyms at TAFE. Some group members of AA have already been labelled
a PEST (political, economic, social and technological enemy) for
rebelling against acronyms.
But once you go out on Work Placement, you realise that acronyms are
rolling off people's tongues everywhere. You sit back, resigned to the
fact that the sooner you master the workplace language, the sooner
you'll be just like everyone else.