Fake online White Card scammers and how to avoid them

Training participant completing coursework on a tablet computer.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, regulators across many states, including SafeWork NSW, began to approve ‘Connected Real-Time Delivery’ options for registered training organisations (RTOs).

This incorporated the ability for students to complete various accredited training programs via live video streaming using platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.

Unfortunately, some organisations have been taking advantage of this announcement and are offering training courses that appear to be the ‘real thing’, but are in fact as scam.

A number of hastily constructed websites purporting to offer a variety of online training courses have appeared since the outbreak started, specifically promoting White Cards. These sites are often designed to mislead people into believing they will achieve a nationally recognised qualification, when that is not the case. They leave people out of pocket and without the qualification they believed they would acquire.

These RTOs are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to exploit people, steal money and fail to provide any sort of legitimate qualification to those looking to make a start in the building and construction industries.

What exactly is a White Card?

As you may be aware, the White Card (or, to give it its proper name, CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry) is a pre-requisite for all employees who perform construction work or may otherwise be required to enter a construction site as part of their job role.

Specifically, according to SafeWork NSW, obtaining a White Card is mandatory for the following:

  • Workers whose employment causes them to routinely enter operational construction zones.
  • People who access operational construction zones (unaccompanied or not directly supervised by an inducted person).
  • Site managers, supervisors, surveyors, labourers and tradespeople.

Fake RTO websites

To lure unsuspecting consumers in, scam websites will often use terminology such as “100% success rate”, “no assessment” and “complete at your own pace, in your own time”. Keep an eye out for such terminology as it is usually a sign everything may not be as it immediately appears.

By law, RTOs cannot guarantee successful completion of a course and training should not be self-directed. The ‘Connected Delivery Option’, which is an approved course delivery method by WorkSafe, must include an assessment and must be delivered by Zoom (or similar) with the trainer directly facilitating:

  • The student identification process
  • The course delivery process
  • The student assessment process.

An RTO must also list their registration number. This can be easily checked. For example Height Safety Engineers’ RTO number is 91277. You can easily find it listed in the government directory of accredited training providers. The RTO must also visibly display the accredited course code and title. In the case of a White Card, this is: CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry.

While the pandemic has introduced new challenges for ensuring training is what it says it is, problems with untoward operators have been documented prior to the outbreak in 2019. For example, in 2016 a Sydney man was charged over the sale and issue of a large number of White Cards to unqualified and untrained construction workers.

Supplying construction workers with illegitimate qualification poses huge problems as the construction industry is a very high risk environment to work in. Not having the right skills or in-depth knowledge to properly assess and monitor safety hazards not only puts the worker at risk, but also their colleagues and the wider community.

How can you check that you are signing up for a properly accredited White Card course?

Fortunately, misleading websites are relatively easy to spot, if you know what to look for. Here are some useful tips to avoid being scammed:

  1. Visit training.gov.au and make sure the provider is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
  2. At the completion of the course, ensure you will be issued with a Statement of Attainment for the National Unit of Competency, CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry. It is important your training and assessment is completed against the unit of competency.
  3. Check the training delivery mode as these vary by each state and territory. Pre-recorded videos and presentations are not allowed in any state or territory. In some jurisdictions, online training can be offered in real time via Zoom or an alternate live-streaming platform. Tasmania and Western Australia have different rules, and in Queensland online training can be completed by those who live 100km from their nearest RTO. You should check with your state or territory government for more details.
  4. Finally, it should be noted that the White Card qualification must be issued by the regulator in the state you have completed the training in – not by the RTO who provided the training.

So, please ensure you do your research when looking for a training provider and be on the lookout for deals that seem too good to be true. Follow our checklist and look at reviews from past students who have completed the course with your chosen provider.

Interested in enrolling in our nationally accredited White Card course?

At Height Safety Engineers (HSE), we pride ourselves in providing training that goes beyond just ‘ticking all the boxes’.

Our CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry course (White Card) is designed to give students all the skills and knowledge they need to enter the construction industry, preparing them completely for any situation they are likely to come across on a work or job site.

Our courses are held at our state-of-the-art facilities, where our purpose-built setups allow us to accurately and safely replicate a number of real-life hazardous working environments so students can practice their new skills and gain confidence.

To discuss your training needs with the experts at HSE, call our experienced team on 1300 884 978 or emailing enquiries@heightsafety.net.

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