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COMPLAINTS & GRIEVANCE POLICY (ACADEMIC & NON ACADEMIC)

POLICY

VFA Learning is committed to providing its clients with a complaints process that is transparent, fair and easily accessed. Students will be informed of VFA LEARNINGs complaints process/ procedure through the student handbook, and online at www.vfalearning.vic.edu.au. . The process is set out in a step by step approach in relation to complaints. All staff are made aware of all steps in the complaints process and their own responsibilities in relation to this process. VFA Learning are proactive in implementing processes, gathering feedback, followed by action through continuous improvement, and discussion at meetings, which assist in reducing the number of complaints. It is also vital that homeroom trainers understand their responsibility in relation to pastoral care as many potential formal complaints can be resolved very easily and quickly through appropriate action and care early. Complaints and appeals regarding assessment are dealt with as two separate procedures. Refer to assessment appeals policy and procedure for more information.

STAGE 1 (INFORMAL COMPLAINT)

  • The student will be encouraged to resolve the problem directly with their trainer or homeroom trainer. Students will be made aware of whom their homeroom trainer is at the start of the course as well as the homeroom trainer’s responsibilities.
  • All complaints need to be taken seriously by the homeroom trainer/ trainer. Remember that all individuals think differently and have varying levels of sensitivity and values.
  • If the trainer/homeroom trainer feels that the issue is above their understanding, skill set or outside their comfort zone they will need to involve the academy manager or department head.
  • It is important the trainer/ homeroom trainer establishes a timeline in relation to when a decision/ action will be taken in relation to the complaint.
  • The length of time to remedy an issue will often vary depending upon the issue. However all staff need to attempt to resolve issues as quickly as possible to prevent the complaint from escalating.
  • If the issue is more serious the complaint may go straight to stage 2

Try to resolve the problem directly between the complainant and/or homeroom trainer. Homeroom trainers have been designated to the class to provide pastoral care so they can be a good contact. The majority of issues can be remedied at this level. If an issue arises that requires remedying, expect to establish a timeline in relation to when the issue will be resolved. All students get several opportunities during the course to provide feedback. We encourage you honesty during this process and welcome any feedback, both positive and negative that you feel may improve the services delivered at VFA Learning.

Example

  • You may wish to complain to your trainer about a student in the back row who is using offensive language. You would expect this issue to be resolved straight after class or during the next suitable break by the trainer speaking to the student.
  • You have emailed a trainer 3 times about assessment work or learning resources and have not heard back. In this case you may wish to make an informal complaint with your homeroom trainer. You can expect the homeroom trainer to establish how and when you will receive the resources you are requesting.

STAGE 2 (FORMAL COMPLAINT) ACADEMIC GRIEVANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES

Definitions

For the purposes of this document the following applies: The Act refers to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 Student/s refers to all persons enrolled in a VET unit of study that meets the course requirements under subclause 45(1) of Schedule 1A of the Act who are, or would, be entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance under clause 43 of Schedule 1A of the Act. Complainant refers to Students (as defined above) who have lodged an academic complaint with VFA Learning.

Overview

VFA Learning is committed to providing an effective, efficient, timely, fair and confidential academic grievance handling procedure for all students including those students eligible for VET FEE-HELP. Complainants (students or prospective students) are entitled to access this grievance procedure regardless of the location of the campus at which the grievance has arisen, the Complainant’s place of residence or mode of study. Academic matters include those matters which relate to student progress, assessment, course content or awards in a VET course of study.

Responsibility

The RTO General Manager is responsible for implementation of this policy and procedure and ensuring that all staff are fully trained in its operation and Students and Complainants are made aware of its availability.

Formal Grievance Procedure

General principles applying to all stages of this grievance procedure which will be adhered to by VFA Learning are:

  • The Complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to present their case at each stage of the procedure.
  • The Complainant and the respondent have the option of being accompanied/assisted by a third person (such as a family member, friend or counsellor) if they so desire.
  • The Complainant and the respondent will not be discriminated against or victimised.
  • At all stages of the process, discussions relating to complaints, grievances and appeals will be recorded in writing. Reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of this procedure will be provided to the Complainant and/or the respondent if requested.
  • Records of all grievances will be kept for a period of five years. These records will be kept strictly confidential and stored in the office of the RTO General Manager.
  • A Complainant shall have access to this grievance procedure at no cost.

Stage One Formal grievances should be submitted in writing to the Compliance Manager (VFA Learning, 78 Yarra St, Geelong, 3220) The Compliance Manager (the responsible officer, within VFA Learning) will then assess the grievance, determine the outcome and advise the Complainant in writing of their decision within fourteen days. The Complainant will be advised of their right to access stage two of this procedure if they are not satisfied with the outcome of Stage One. Stage Two If the Complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage One they may lodge an appeal in writing with the RTO General Manager (VFA Learning, 78 Yarra Street, Geelong, 3220). The Complainant’s appeal will be determined by the Director of Quality at VFA Learning Learning. The Reviewer will conduct all necessary consultations with the Complainant and other relevant persons and make a determination of the appeal. The Complainant will be advised in writing of the outcome of their appeal, including the reasons for the decision, within fourteen days. The Complainant will be advised of their right to progress to Stage Three of the grievance procedure if they consider the matter unresolved. Stage Three If the Complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage Two they may request that the matter be referred to an external dispute resolution process by a body appointed for this purpose by VFA Learning. The contact details for the external body are:

Mediation Solutions 13 Claremont Avenue Newtown Vic 3220 Ph: (03) 5221 0422

VFA Learning will give due consideration to any recommendations arising from the external review within 14 working days. Publication This Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure will be made available to Students enrolled with VFA Learning through publication on the website at www.vfalearning.vic.edu.au This Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure was agreed to and ratified by the Board of Directors at VFA Learning Learning on 16th May 2012.

NON ACADEMIC GRIEVANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES

Definitions For the purposes of this document the following applies: The Act refers to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 Student/s refers to all persons enrolled or seeking to enrol in a unit of study that meets the course requirements under subclause 45(1) of Schedule 1A of the Act who are, or would be entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance under clause 43 of Schedule 1A of the Act. Complainant/s refers to students (as defined above) who have lodged a non-academic complaint with VFA Learning. Overview VFA Learning is committed to providing an effective, efficient, timely, fair and confidential non-academic grievance handling procedure for all Students including those students eligible for VET FEE-HELP. Complainants (students or prospective students) are entitled to access the grievance procedures regardless of the location of the campus at which the grievance has arisen, the Complainant’s place of residence or mode of study. Non-academic matters include those matters which do not relate to student progress, assessment, course content or awards in a course and include complaints in relation to personal information that the provider holds in relation to the Student. Non-academic grievances tend to arise from events occurring at a provider or from decisions made by a provider. Responsibility The RTO General Manager is responsible for implementation of this policy and procedure and ensuring that all staff are fully trained in its operation and Students and Complainants are made aware of its availability. Formal Grievance Procedure General principles that apply to all stages of this grievance procedure which will be adhered to by VFA Learning are:

  • The Complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to present their case at each stage of the procedure.
  • The Complainant and/or the respondent have the option of being accompanied/assisted by a third person (such as a family member, friend or counsellor) if they so desire.
  • The Complainant and the respondent will not be discriminated against or victimised.
  • At all stages of the process, discussions relating to complaints, grievances and appeals will be recorded in writing. Reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of this procedure will be provided to the Complainant and/or respondent if requested.
  • Records of all grievances will be kept for a period of five years. These records will be kept strictly confidential and stored in the office of the RTO General Manager.
  • A Complainant shall have access to this grievance procedure at no cost.

Stage One Formal grievances should be submitted in writing to the Compliance Manager (VFA Learning, 78 Yarra St, Geelong, 3220) The Compliance Manager (the responsible officer, within VFA Learning) will then assess the grievance, determine the outcome and advise the Complainant in writing of their decision within fourteen days. The Complainant will be advised of their right to access stage two of this procedure if they are not satisfied with the outcome of Stage One. Stage Two If the Complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage One they may lodge an appeal in writing with the RTO General Manager (VFA Learning, 78 Yarra Street, Geelong, 3220). The Complainant’s appeal will be determined by the Director of Quality at VFA Learning Learning. The Reviewer will conduct all necessary consultations with the Complainant and other relevant persons and make a determination of the appeal. The Complainant will be advised in writing of the outcome of their appeal, including the reasons for the decision, within fourteen days. The Complainant will be advised of their right to progress to Stage Three of the grievance procedure if they consider the matter unresolved. Stage Three If the Complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage Two they may request that the matter be referred to an external dispute resolution process by a body appointed for this purpose by VFA Learning. The contact details for the external body are:

Mediation Solutions 13 Claremont Avenue Newtown Vic 3220 Ph: (03) 5221 0422

VFA Learning will give due consideration to any recommendations arising from the external review within 14 working days. Publication This Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure will be made available to Students enrolled with VFA Learning through publication on the website at www.vfalearning.vic.edu.au This Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure was agreed to and ratified by the Board of Directors at VFA Learning on 16th May 2012.

VRQA COMPLAINTS

  • If the student feels the complaint has not been resolved appropriately they can lodge a complaint with The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. The management team member dealing with the complaint is required to direct the student to the VRQA website: www.vrqa.vic.gov.au !
  • Note- during the complaints process the student should be encouraged to continue attending class so that they do not fall behind. If the complaint is with a trainer this may be difficult. In this case a VFA LEARNING representative needs to discuss other class or learning options with the student.

ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTATION

  • Complaints
  • Complaints Register (Academy Specific)
  • VFA Complaints and Appeals Form
  • Higher Education Skills Group Hotline/Complaints
  • Assessment Appeals Policy and Procedure
VFA Learning