Cannabis makes the grade: A resource to support the development of a ‘cannabis competent’ AOD workforce

April 2015
White, M., Roche, A., Trifonoff, A., Matalon, E., & Elkins, K. (2014). Cannabis makes the grade: A resource to support the development of a ‘cannabis competent’ workforce in the AOD sector. Adelaide, South Australia: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University.

This resource was developed to address the shortage of cannabis content contained in the vocational education and training (VET) sector’s alcohol and other drug courses. The VET sector is responsible for the delivery of qualifications and ongoing professional development to a significant proportion of the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector. As cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, resources are required which deliver training on cannabis in an evidence informed and nationally consistent manner and which meet the needs of VET AOD trainers by supporting face-to-face, online and distance delivery and assessment procedures. By improving the quality of training content and delivery, the VET sector can positively impact clinical service delivery and client outcomes.

This resource is intended for use as a resource by VET practitioners who are responsible for developing and/or delivering AOD units, skill sets and qualifications. It is designed to be used by a range of VET practitioners, from frontline trainers and course coordinators through to registered training organisation (RTO) managers. It is hoped that resource will encourage VET practitioners to increase the cannabis content they deliver by highlighting opportunities to incorporate cannabis content at unit, element and performance criteria level. It is also intended that this should lead to an increased focus on cannabis in assessment activities, including those involving recognition of prior learning.

The resource contains five parts:

  • Part A - Information for VET AOD Course Coordinators:is a brief overview of ‘cannabis competency’, recent NCETA research and the risks and harms associated with cannabis use
  • Part B - Information for VET Educators provides an overview of the importance of ‘cannabis competency’ and basic information on cannabis, its prevalence in the community and harms associated with its use
  • Part C - The Training Delivery Framework describes training activities aligned with the Units of Competency at element, required skills and knowledge level
  • Part D - The Assessment Framework describes activities that can be used to assess ‘cannabis competency’
  • Part E - Further Resources Available on the Web contains description of and hyperlinks to a range of resources to support training development and delivery.

In addition, the resource is a fully editable word document so RTOs and trainers can readily update it with new information, links and activities.

PowerPoint slides were also developed for the ‘Cannabis Makes the Grade’ (CMTG) forums delivered as part of the resource development consultation process. These slides may be downloaded from the NCETA website.

What is Cannabis Competency?

Cannabis competency is defined as the ability to:

  • identify and use evidence-based guidelines, tools and intervention strategies to facilitate effective screening, assessment and interventions for clients experiencing cannabis-related problems, including dependence, withdrawal, co-morbidity with mental health disorders and polydrug use; and
  • apply specific skills and knowledge to deliver interventions that ensure individuals (including those from high risk groups such as young people, pregnant women and Indigenous Australians) can readily access relevant cannabis information and treatment.