ANTA and MA unite in their feedback to the recent SkillsIQ Massage Therapy Draft 1 review.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the first consultation draft of the proposed updated Diploma of Remedial Massage training package. 

We appreciate that 2020 has been a difficult year for you, as for so many of us. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to industry during this proposed update of the training packages, both through this consultation process and through your processes to date. 

We note that this first consultation draft is long, complex, very technically detailed and has been released at a difficult time in an extraordinary year. This means that, while we have done our best to provide feedback on the consultation draft, it is unlikely that we have had the time to fully understand the proposed changes and their implications for industry. 

For the next consultation draft, it would be useful to provide industry sessions that step through the proposed changes in detail, with the opportunity for questions and answers. We appreciate that this may mean half- or full- day sessions. 

Helping Train “Job-Ready” Graduates 

Given the level of technical detail, we have kept our input to high-level comments. Our aim is to help ensure: 

• Students:

➡️ know what they are signing up for ahead of time; 

➡️ graduate “job-ready”; and 

➡️ are provided with value-for-money training; 

• Industry:

➡️ students graduate “job-ready”. This means having the necessary skills and knowledge required to fulfil the role of a Remedial Massage Therapist and to be eligible for provider recognition under private health insurance requirements. 

ANTA and MA Joint Submission on November Remedial Massage Consultation Draft, page 2 

Mapping the Proposed Changes Back to the Reasons for the Changes 

We note that the proposed changes to the training packages are based on SkillsIQ’s Industry Forecast, which identified a number of issues with the current remedial massage training. These issues provide the basis of the case for change for remedial massage skilling packages submitted to the AISC. 

It would be useful to map the proposed changes in the training packages back to this Industry Forecast. This would help identify how the proposed changes may help address this “case for change” and resolve the identified issues of concern in the industry. 

We continue to be concerned that many of the issues with the current remedial massage training are unlikely to be addressed through a new training package. 

We are keen to be involved in developing a plan that will build on an updated training package for remedial massage training, and address the issues identified by SkillsIQ in its industry forecast. 

Specific Proposed Changes to Consultation Draft 

1. Remove relaxation massage requirements a. Students study remedial massage assessment and treatment because they have a specific interest in remedial therapy. 

b. These students are likely to become frustrated with the amount of relaxation massage hours required before they can progress to remedial massage based techniques within a clinical context. 

c. Relaxation massage is not covered by health insurance. 

d. This unit seems to impose additional, unnecessary cost and/or debt on students. 

e. It diminishes the clinical relevance of the qualification. 

We suggest you reduce the number of hours required and move this requirement to the Cert IV. 

2. Provide a clear study pathway a. A clear study pathway would be Cert IV -> Diploma -> Advanced Diploma -> further studies, where each training package builds on the outcomes of the previous package. 

b. Ensure the different stages align, by creating a “guiding principle” for each training program, for example: i. Cert IV provides the skills and knowledge to prepare and provide relaxation massage within a very defined scope 

ii. Diploma provides the skills and knowledge to evaluate diverse client presentations, develop and implement remedial massage treatment plans based ona remedial massage context (“job ready”) 

iii. Advanced diploma provides further skills and learnings to broaden their scope of practice to assess and treat more complex client presentations 

c. This would provide students an opportunity to integrate their learnings from each stage of study, before choosing whether to move on to a more advanced training option. 

ANTA and MA Joint Submission on November Remedial Massage Consultation Draft, page 3 

We note the change of units around professional end ethical practice, workplace health and safety and infection control have changed in the Cert IV. This will make it more expensive and time consuming for those Cert IV graduates who are interested in pursuing the Diploma. 

3. Create uniform and specific minimum graduation requirements a. We are concerned that the updated training packages will create greater disparity in training outcomes. 

b. One of the reasons underlying the review of the Cert IV and Diploma was a perceived current disparity in student outcomes and quality between different RTOs (see SkillsIQ Industry Forecast). 

c. A lack of minimum graduation/assessment requirements may also lead to unforeseen and unnecessary additional financial burdens on students, if they are required to “upskill” in training courses they have already paid to complete. This may be required by employers, private health insurance for provider numbers, industry accreditation, or work insurance providers. 

d. The draft document does not seem to specify minimal expected assessment criteria. This increases the ability for some RTOs to “cut corners” and deliver a sub-standard product that does not meet student expectations or industry requirements. 

e. This seems to run counter to efforts of the industry to improve its credibility. 

4. Refine the outcomes of the Diploma a. There is a big “jump” in the course, from basic levels of relaxation massage, through to complex issues, such as psycho-neural science, bio-psycho-social issues, and clinical rehabilitation. 

b. It would make sense for the diploma-level course to cover the concepts needed for a remedial massage therapist in everyday work. 

We would like to see the Diploma tailored to meet student expectations of a one year course. 

5. Ensure appropriate “hands on” experience a. The new requirement is for a complete client assessment on three people. i. This is a very low number, compared to current requirements. 

ii. There is no requirement for the people to have different issues. 

b. A remedial massage therapist should be able to assess the whole body of their patients. 

c. The unit should focus on regional assessment, to ensure that students have the skills necessary to confidently assess all parts of the body for varying presentations and contexts. 

We suggest you increase the performance evidence requirements to: 

• A complete client assessment on all the major regions of the body 

• At least one assessment per body region (eg neck, lower back, etc) 

• Assessments must cover a range of client issues and body parts according to the client presentation 

ANTA and MA Joint Submission on November Remedial Massage Consultation Draft, page 4 

Who are We? 

The Myotherapy Association of Australia (MA) is Australia’s only association dedicated solely to the needs of myotherapists and the myotherapy profession. 

The Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) is a registered not for profit association representing 5000 health workers and 3000 health science students across Australia 

Both association members adhere to Codes of Professional Ethics and the Australian National Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners in this case. Similarly, we are both committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and furthering the interests of our members through programs that support, promote, develop, and endorse their professions and maintain the highest standards of practice for our members and their clients. 

Sincerely, 

Anna Yerondais 

Chief Executive Officer 

Myotherapy Association Australia 

Jim Olds 

Executive Officer 

Australian Natural Therapists Association 

Read more feedback on the Draft review at https://www.skillsiq.com.au/FeedbackForum/TrainingPackages1/HLTHealth/MassageTherapyDraft1