What Role Does ASQA Play in Vocational Education and Training (VET)?

  • By: Jennifer Pazaratz

  • 7 February ‘22

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9 minutes read

If you’re involved in Vocational Education and Training (VET), you’ll likely know that ASQA is the national regulator of Australia’s VET sector. But what does this mean for your organisation?

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at ASQA’s role in VET and explore how they work to ensure quality training standards are upheld. We’ll also discuss some of the benefits of being registered with ASQA.

So, if you’re curious about how this important regulatory body works, read on!

What we’ll cover:

ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority): An Overview

As mentioned above, ASQA is the national regulator of Australia’s VET sector. Their purpose is to ensure quality Vocational Education and Training (VET) so that students, employers, governments and the community can be confident in the integrity of qualifications being issued by training providers.

ASQA’s Role and Functions

To ensure quality in VET, ASQA regulates the following:

  • Providers who deliver VET qualifications and courses (Registered Training Organisations, or RTOs)
  • Providers who deliver VET courses to overseas students (CRICOS)
  • Accredited VET courses
  • Some providers who deliver English Language Intensive Courses to Overseas Students (ELICOS)

ASQA also accredits VET courses to make sure that they meet the nationally approved quality standards.

Through these regulations, ASQA aims to provide nationally consistent, quality Vocational Education and Training, that meets the needs of the Australian workforce.

ASQA’s Strategic Direction

ASQA’s purpose to ensure quality Vocational Education and Training is summarised by their strategic direction as outlined in their 2021-22 Corporate Plan:

ASQA

Source: https://www.asqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-10/21785_asqa_-_annual_report_2020-21_accessible.pdf

Improving Australia’s Vocational Education through Collaboration and Engagement

ASQA supports quality and compliance through collaboration and engagement.

One of the ways which ASQA has improved engagement with the sector has been through their Stakeholder Liaison Group meetings.

The purpose of these meetings is to engage and consult with providers and other key stakeholders about ASQA’s approach to engagement and education and to identify and respond to any major issues that providers are facing.

In addition, in 2021 ASQA also completed the following:

  • Implementation of COVID-19 response and commencing strategic review on online learning
  • Introduced ‘Spotlight On’ series
  • Participated in 56 sector events
  • Hosted 10 live webinars for nearly 10,000 attendees with an additional 13,000+ recording views
  • Produced 7 new guidance videos

ASQA’s Stakeholders

ASQA has a large and diverse group of stakeholders, including policymakers, Vocational Education and Training providers, students, industry representatives and other regulatory bodies in the education sector.

ASQA

Source: https://www.asqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-10/21785_asqa_-_annual_report_2020-21_accessible.pdf

Legislation and Standards

ASQA was established on 1st July 2011 through the:

  • NVR Act
  • National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011
  • National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Transitional Provisions) Act 2011.

ASQA’s internal regulatory practices are supported by an extensive framework of legislation and standards, including the Vet Quality Framework, the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012, and legislation specific to providing courses to overseas students.

ASQA also monitors providers using the ESOS Act; the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training for Overseas Students 2018, and the ELICOS Standards 2018 when applicable.

For more information on the legislation and standards, including a complete list of what makes up the VET Quality Framework, click here.

Unpacking the Standards for RTOs 2015

The Standards Guide for RTOs 2015 is an important document in the Vocational Education and Training industry.

It was developed to help Registered Training Organisations understand their obligations as well as maintain quality for every student during their journey through Vocational Education and Training.

The Standards are broken down into the five phases of the Learner Journey, plus Regulatory compliance and governance practice:

Marketing and recruitment

This focuses on the first phase of the learner’s journey, the marketing and recruitment of your training organisation, and deals mainly with ensuring that potential students and employers receive clear, accurate and readily accessible information to make an informed choice that will best meet their training needs.

Read more about the marketing and recruitment phase here.

Enrolment

This focuses on the second phase of the learner journey: their enrolment experience.

Under the Standards, during this phase Registered Training Organisations are responsible for:

  • informing and protecting students
  • protecting pre-paid fees by students
  • providing credit for prior studies

Students have also expressed that it is important that the following happens during the enrolment phase:

  • they receive accurate advice about courses to make sure it meets their needs before enrolment
  • they understand details about the course, including the time required to complete the course, study requirements and assessment methods
  • they understand their rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of their training provider
  • they are aware of all costs, payment terms and conditions, including refund policies

Read more about the enrolment phase here.

Support and progression

This focuses on the third phase of the learning journey, how Registered Training Organisations support their students’ learning progression.

Under the Standards, during this phase Registered Training Organisations are responsible for:

  • supporting students
  • keeping students informed
  • managing complaints and appeals

This Clause also requires RTOs to ensure that the training, assessment and support services they receive meets their individual needs.

Read more about the support and progression phase here.

Training and assessment

This focuses on the training and assessment phase of the learner’s journey and requires training providers to provide high quality training and assessment that will prepare students for employment or further study; make sure their qualification is credible; and ensure they possess the skills and competencies as specified in their qualification.

Students have expressed that it is important for the following to happen during this phase of their learning journey:

Read more about the training and assessment phase here.

Completion

This focuses on the fifth and final phase of the learner’s journey where they complete their experience with their RTO, the end of their training and assessment; and the issuance of their certification.

The quality and integrity of the qualification earned is critically important to learners and their employers. They must be confident that the training and assessment received has been high quality.

Learners also want to receive their certification quickly so as not to be disadvantaged when looking for work.

Under the Standards, during this phase RTOs are responsible for:

  • providing secure certification
  • participating in the Student Identifier scheme

Read more about the completion phase here.

Regulatory compliance and governance practice

This focuses on the relevant reporting and governance practices that underpin the good management of RTOs, and create effective functioning and sustainability as a business.

These Standards support RTOs in providing high quality student experiences and learning outcomes.

Under the Standards, during this phase RTOs are responsible for:

  • ensuring authorised executive officers are in place and meet Fit and Property Person Requirements
  • satisfying Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements
  • complying and reporting
  • recording, monitoring and reporting third-party arrangements
  • holding public liability insurance
  • meeting Data Provision Requirements
  • providing requested information to ASQA

Read more about the regulatory compliance and governance practice phase here.

Who’s In Charge?

ASQA is an independent statutory authority with three Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor-General for five years. They are:

  • the Chief Commissioner
  • the Deputy Chief Commissioner and Commissioner Risk Intelligence and Regulatory Support
  • The Commissioner, Regulatory Operations

The Chief Commissioner also acts as Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for all of ASQA’s management and administration.

The Current Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer is Saxon Rice, who was appointed for five years in October 2020, taking effect on 1st January 2021.

Organisation Structure

This figure shows ASQA’s national organisation structure as at 30th June 2021:

ASQA

Source: https://www.asqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-10/21785_asqa_-_annual_report_2020-21_accessible.pdf

What are the Benefits of Being Registered with ASQA?

ASQA registration is verification that the provider can meet rigorous government standards and can issue nationally recognised qualifications.

This verification gives your organisation credibility and tells prospective students that you meet established industry, enterprise, educational, legislative and community needs.

ASQA Snapshot

What is ASQA’s Role?

Regulate Australia’s National Vocational Education and Training sector.

What is ASQA’s Purpose?

To nationally consistent, risk-based regulation of Vocational Education and Training that contributes to an informed, quality VET sector that meets the needs of Australia’s workforce and economy.

What is ASQA’s Approach?

ASQA uses risk-based regulation, and engagement and support to ensure they understand the sector and provider risks to regulation, and support quality, compliance and self assurance.

What is ASQA’s Intended Outcome?

To contribute toward high quality Vocational Education and Training.

What are the Benefits?

  • Trust and confidence in Vocational Education and Training from students, providers, the community and government
  • Improved outcomes for Vocational Education and Training students and employers
  • Options for different types of education based on knowledge and information
  • A strong Vocational Education and Train sector that is committed to quality, continuous improvement and accountability

For more information on ASQA and compliance within the Vocational Education and Training sector, see below:

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