Alcohol and other drug training education within the Australian Qualifications Framework: what are the options?

April 2023

Dr Jane Fischer, Mr Armin Muminovic, Dr Ashlea Bartram

Other investigators: 

Dr Jacqui Cameron (University of Wollongong)

Project description: 

Education and training are important components of alcohol and other drug (AOD) workforce development. It is one means of attracting and retaining a qualified and competent workforce, centred upon client safety and quality service delivery.

In the past decade there have been substantial changes across the AOD sector; and in the provision and delivery of education and training Australia-wide. It is uncertain how many AOD education and training providers and programs currently exist, or their associated program attributes, within the context of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. The AQF provides the standards for all Australian qualifications, along with supporting the development and maintenance of pathways to assess people to move between different education and training sectors and the labour market.

To inform the development of initiatives to promote pathways into AOD sector, and collaborations with education and training providers, NCETA is currently undertaking a program of work to:

1. Establish a Teaching and Learning Network, for:

      • Providing an online space for AOD educators and trainers within the sector to connect
      • Sharing education, teaching and learning knowledge, skills, and experience
      • Promoting AOD education and training initiatives between providers.

2. To identify, map and describe:

      • Program attributes of vocational education and training (VET) (Certificate IV and Diploma) and higher education (Graduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters) leading to a specific AOD specific qualification.
      • Specific AOD core and elective topics delivered within higher education degree programs leading to a professional qualification, starting with social work

To date this program of work has identified:

      • Over 60 VET programs leading to a Certificate or a Diploma, most commonly delivered by private providers
      • Ten programs leading to a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters, delivered by six higher education providers
      • Amongst 59 AASW accredited social work programs examined, as few as ten provide an elective or core AOD specific topic, nearly all were electives.

This program of work is ongoing. It is being supported under NCETA’s core funding agreement by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.