Contextualising assessment resources (Part 1)

Contextualisation of training packages, accredited curricula and learning resources can be achieved without compromising the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. Contextualisation is the addition of industry-specific information to tailor the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 to reflect the immediate operating context and thereby increase its relevance for the learner. Contextualisation is ultimately defined as; the activity undertaken by a Trainer/Assessor to make units of competency, accredited curricula or learning resources meaningful to the learner.

WHAT is contextualisation?

Contextualisation means adjusting units of competency or packaging certain units of competency together to meet the needs of the enterprise or the learner.


WHY is contextualisation so important?

Contextualisation gives VET providers the flexibility to create a meaningful program for learners whilst ensuring standards are met, and an accredited AQF qualification is obtainable. Contextualisation can make learning more realistic by providing real life and actual workplace examples. Contextualisation also accommodates specific industry needs.


WHAT are the rules for contextualisation?

Contextualisation must comply with the guidelines for contextualisation. Contextualisation must not change the unit of competency’s elements or performance criteria. It can only provide additional information to the range of assessment conditions and assessment requirements in a unit of competency. You must meet the requirements of foundation skills provided under the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) which places mandatory facilitation and assessment compliance requirements associated with: Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Numeracy and Digital Technology. 

It must not limit the breadth or portability of the unit/s.


HOW do you contextualise?

There are two ways in which contextualisation occurs:

  1. Delivery of units of competency to reflect a local need by providing additional options or contextualizing assessment to meet the needs of the learner group being assessed.

  2. Packaging units together using elective options to achieve particular outcomes


WHY do you need to contextualise assessments?

Contextualising assessment resources ensures that candidates are able to apply their skills and knowledge in a work setting and can be assessed as competent for a particular work context.


WHO is responsible for contextualising assessments?

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are responsible for:

  • identifying the target audience/ or client group for whom use of the assessment resources will be relevant

  • adapting and contextualising learning resources and, in particular, assessments, to address group and individual needs, relevant to industry and local conditions It is advisable that trainer/ assessors consider each assessment in the context of the specific industry sector and/or organisation and make adjustments or contextualise as necessary.

RTOs should contextualise in line with reasonable adjustment practices, ensuring that contextualisation will result in consistent assessment practices throughout the organisation.


Read more here…

Victorian TAFE free-for-all – is it beginning of another “Crisis”?

From January 2019, the Victorian Government will cover the cost of 30 TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses. The free courses run for up to two years and include accounting, agriculture, construction, plumbing, engineering and nursing.

The free TAFE courses

Non-apprenticeship courses Apprenticeship pathway courses
Accounting, Certificate IV/Diploma/Advanced Diploma Automotive Air Conditioning Technology, Certificate II
Ageing Support, Certificate IV Automotive Body Repair Technology, Certificate II
Agriculture, Certificate II/III/IV Automotive Servicing Technology, Certificate II
Agriculture (Dairy Production), Certificate III Automotive Vocational Preparation, Certificate II
Allied Health Assistance, Certificate III/IV Construction Pathways, Certificate II
Building and Construction (Building), Certificate IV/Diploma Electrotechnology (Career start), Certificate II
Civil Construction, Certificate III Electrotechnology (Pre-vocational), Certificate II
Community Services, Certificate III/IV/Diploma Engineering Pathways, Certificate II
Concreting, Certificate III Engineering Studies, Certificate II
Construction Waterproofing, Certificate III Furniture Making, Certificate II
Dental Assisting, Certificate II/IV Glass and Glazing, Certificate II
Disability, Certificate IV Horticulture, Certificate II
Education Support, Certificate III/IV Meat Processing (Food services), Certificate II
Engineering, Certificate IV Plumbing (Pre-apprenticeship), Certificate II
Horticulture, Certificate III Printing and Graphic Arts (General), Certificate II
Hospitality, Certificate III Retail Baking Assistance, Certificate II
Individual Support, Certificate III Salon Assistant, Certificate II
Mental Health, Certificate IV Signage and Graphics, Certificate II
Diploma of Nursing
Plumbing and Services, Certificate IV


They will be reviewed each year to ensure they cater to community demand, with students who are already studying not eligible.

“This is the biggest overhaul of TAFE, skills and training in Victoria’s history,” Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said.

Two new education centres will be created, including a precinct at Bendigo Kangan Institute McCrae campus ($59.9 million) and a Federation Training campus at Port of Sale in Gippsland ($25 million) while Federation Training’s Morwell campus will be transformed with $35.5 million.

Interstate and overseas students will be welcome to take advantage of Victoria’s free TAFE courses, but training sector insiders have warned the funding model may backfire.

There will be no residential restriction or other obligations for anyone wanting to study one of the courses, he confirmed on Wednesday.

“We live in a democracy, people have a free right of movement around this country and it’s not going to be this government’s intention to try and put a prohibition on that,” Mr Pallas told 3AW.

“Turn up, get yourself an education (but) the reason they’ll stay here, by the way, is there’s all this work going on, I mean $13.7 billion worth of infrastructure this year.”

He estimated an increased demand of about 30,000 places and said while some of the applicants may be from interstate, the vast majority will be Victorians.

The opposition has slammed the government for not limiting course participation to Victorians.

“(Premier Daniel Andrews’) desperate attempt to beef up student numbers by offering free training to people from overseas and interstate will come at the expense of Victorian students,” opposition training spokeswoman Steph Ryan said.

“This money should be invested to benefit Victorian workers and Victorian jobs.”

The Australian Council for Independent Education and Training said its members are annoyed about missing out on the funds and the Victorian government is risking student outcomes.

The council cited a recent TAFE “crisis” in South Australia where guaranteed funding led to substandard courses and fewer enrolments because of higher overheads.

“We have seen firsthand in South Australia that this type of approach is not in the best interest of the students,” Council chief executive Rod Camm said.

Mr Pallas, Mr Andrews and senior ministers started the post-budget sell on Wednesday with breakfasts, talkback radio, lunches and doorstops.

India to be top study destination in two years

The Indian government has promised fee waivers to foreign students choosing India as their study destination as part of a campaign that has a commitment to welcome 1 million inbound students.

Following the launch of the Study in India web portal on April 18, which will be a one stop solution for international students, the government has now proposed few waivers, funded by various institutions.

Satya Pal Singh, the Minister for State, confirmed that the “fee waivers to meritorious students” will be decided by the university concerned and could be: a 100% waiver of tuition fees (to the top 25% students); 50% for the next 25%; followed by 25% to the next 25% students.

Singh explained that “no additional funding has been allocated” by the government for the fee waiver program but the subsidies will be borne by the university/ institution offering admission and will be “based on cross-subsidisation or through its existing funding”.

Sixty institutions are on board including the top ranking Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management and some private universities too.

The government hopes to extend this number to 100 before the beginning of the academic year.

It means that up to 75% of international students applying to Indian institutions could receive a graded fee waiver determined by their SAT scores.

While India is the second largest supplier of international students to global destinations, it has failed to create a niche as a student destination. The Study in India program hopes to change that.

The Human Resource Development minister, Prakash Javadekar, is spearheading the program and spoke at the Internationalisation at Home conference recently.

“If 600,000 students [are] going out, then the mission of Study in India programme is to bring 1,000,000 students into the country”, he announced.

While he was not specific about a time frame, it’s an ambitious target considering that only 47,575 international students came to India in 2016-2017, according to official data. Technology and management degrees have been the most popular.


Top source countries for India include Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan

Top source countries for India include countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperations (Nepal – 23.65%, Afghanistan – 9.3 %, Bhutan 4.8%) and Africa (Nigeria and Sudan together accounting for almost 9%) and Malaysia at 3.3%.

The Study in India program will see a massive expenditure on branding India as a lucrative study destination over next two years (approximately $23m allocated).

The first phase of the programme will see 30 countries targeted which will later expand to 60 more.

These include SAARC nations, ASEAN nations, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

First published by “The Pie News

The VET Sector Newsletter – Edition 1, April 2018

The official Newsletter from Compliance and Quality Assurance (CAQA)


By Anna Haranas

Welcome to The VET Sector, our official newsletter for the Australian VET education and training sector.

This monthly publication is an initiative of the team at Compliance And Quality Assurance (CAQA).

The newsletter will be a vehicle for news and views on the current vocational education and training issues. It will cover some of the fundamental VET concepts, provide a number of professional development opportunities and we aim to support everyone who is involved in the Australian vocational sector.

I look forward to hearing from you and your thoughts regarding our VET sector.

Write to me at
or call on 1800-266-160

Anna Haranas
General Manager
Compliance and Quality Assurance (CAQA)



By Sukh Sandhu and Anna Haranas

A training and assessment strategy is a roadmap to how your RTO will deliver quality training and assessment to your students.
It should be written in a clear, easy-to-follow and concise manner.
As a minimum you need to include the following information:

  • Qualification code and name
  • The mode of delivery
  • Characteristics of your learner cohort and explanation how their training needs will be met
  • Explanation of how training and assessment will take place (when, what, how and where)
  • Qualification packaging rules including elective and core units
  • Course aims and outcomes
  • Entry requirements set by the training package
  • Pre-requisite or co-requisite set by the training package
  • Admission requirements set by the RTO
  • Explanation of how the special needs and requirements of each learner will be addressed


“TASs are your roadmap to deliver quality training and assessment to your students.”

  • The pathway from (the course), the pathway into (the course) and employment pathways
  • Relevant entry and exit points
  • Industry consultation and how it has contributed to changes
  • Information about having sufficient trainers and assessors
  • Information about sufficient educational and support services to meet the needs of the learner cohort/s undertaking the training and assessment
  • Information about learning resources to enable learners to meet the requirements for each unit of competency, and which are accessible to the learner regardless of location or mode of delivery.
  • Information about sufficient facilities, whether physical or virtual and equipment to accommodate and support the number of learners undertaking the training and assessment.
  • Training plan covering the sequence and structure of training and assessment delivery
  • The delivery arrangement including types of assessment and teaching methods
  • Amount of training and AQF volume of learning for each learner cohort
  • Validation plan
  • Licensing requirements Would you like to check your TAS against this criteria?

Download our TAS checklist, here

How to handle stress at audit!

By Sukh Sandhu

  1. Be ready!
  2. Have all information handy
  3. Follow directions
  4. Listen carefully to the auditor
  5. Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question
  6. Work with the auditor
  7. Have realistic expectations
  8. Be respectful, the Auditor has a job to do
  9. Make sure you understand the framework
  10. Have support staff or consultants available to help you!

“How good are your communication skills?”

By Anna Haranas

In order to be good trainers, we need to be good communicators. The ability to communicate effectively is important in relationships, education, and at work. Here are some tips to remind you of good communication skills. Communication starts with building rapport with the receiver, your students. Building rapport and engaging with people takes practice and much of it is based on intuition. It’s about creating a bond, link, connection, and understanding, in order to get your students thinking, feeling, reacting, and involved: –

Be approachable: a nice, friendly, open nature will make you more approachable. Use the student’s name: take the time to listen and remember people’s names and use them in your interactions. People will appreciate you taking the time to learn their name and its use shows they are important to you
Stay upbeat: be known for your positive attitude and willingness to help others.
Communication is transmitting the correct message: written words e.g. in presentations and student manuals, nonverbal cues e.g. body language, and spoken words.
We need to practice good communication skills by;

  • Making eye contact -whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person/people can make the interaction more successful.

  • Using gestures by including your hands and face in face-to-face communications -using smaller gestures for individuals and small groups, with gestures getting larger with larger groups.

  • Be aware of what your body is saying -an open stance with arms relaxed at your sides indicates that you are approachable and open to questions or hearing what people have to say.

  • Develop effective listening skills -one must listen to the other person’s words and ask for clarifications or summarise back to them the important points, as you understand them. Avoid the impulse to listen only to the end of their sentence so that you can get out the ideas or memories in your mind while the other person is speaking.

  • Excellent trainers have an extensive knowledge and skill base, they take the time to build rapport, and they practice good communication and listening skills. If you want to be an expert trainer, you need to be effective at all points in the communication process.


Updates from the Australian Skills Quality Authority

By Sukh Sandhu and Anna Haranas


ASQA’s updated statement on TAFE SA (RTO 41026)

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has announced that it will revoke its 1 December 2017 regulatory decision to suspend ten qualifications from the registration of TAFE SA (RTO ID 41026). ASQA has today issued TAFE SA with a written direction to rectify minor outstanding non-compliances in relation to its delivery of vocational education and training.

For more information news/updated-statement-tafe-sa-rto-41026

Upcoming events

If you have not booked your training session yet, you still have time. ASQA is running a number of face-to-face and online briefings during May and June.

For more Information, please visit



Improving the VET Student outcomes

VET student outcomes can be improved if training providers take a more regional approach to their course offerings and institutional learning support. Improving participation and success in VET for disadvantaged learners shows that VET providers who focus more on immediate regional needs can also help improve opportunities for disadvantaged Australians and their communities..

The report presents three main areas for training providers to consider when developing a successful regional approach, drawn from thirteen case studies where both participation and completion rates were high for disadvantaged learners.
The findings from this report have been included in another new release, From school to VET: choices, experiences, and outcomes, which brings together recent research and data to highlight the often complex issues school students face when transitioning into the VET system..
For more Information, please visit media-releases/regional-approach-to-vetmay- improve-student-outcomes


Other Events and News

Professional Development Events by ACPET

Message from the AISC Chair – April 2018 
Copyright: changes to the Statutory Education Licence 

CEO Declaration

Annual declaration on compliance

Have you submitted your Annual Declaration on Compliance?

Are you confident that your RTO meets current compliance requirements with RTO standards? Or do you need help?

All Australian Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to submit an annual declaration on compliance with the RTO standards applicable to their organisation on or before 31st March 2018.


The CEO Declaration

The declaration is a legal document and the CEO must be truthful and completely open and transparent in making the declaration. The CEO is making the declaration to ensure that the RTO complies with all requirements of the VET Quality Framework as relevant to the training products on the RTO’s scope. There are a number of penalties under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 that all CEOs should be aware of.

Failure to submit this annual declaration is a breach of conditions of registration as an RTO.


Annual declaration requirements

An annual declaration confirms the CEO has systematically monitored the RTO’s compliance with the Standards and whether any issues identified they have been rectified or otherwise appropriately risk-managed. The declaration must be signed by the RTO’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is responsible for the RTO’s operations.
The declaration requires the CEO to testify that:

  • all information about the RTO on is accurate (or, if it is inaccurate, that ASQA has been notified of necessary changes

  • to the best of the CEO’s knowledge, all owners and high managerial agents meet the Fit and Proper Person Requirements.


Demonstrating compliance includes, but is not limited to, showing how the RTO complies with (if applicable):

  • the NVR Act and the legislative instruments it enables

  • the VET Quality Framework

  • legislation, regulations and standards related to delivery of training to overseas students

  • VET Student Loans legislation and rules

  • workplace health and safety legislation and regulations

  • anti-discrimination legislation and regulations

  • consumer protection requirements


The CEO needs to ensure that the RTO currently complies with each national standard and if not, what actions are being taken to remedy non-compliance, especially but not limited to, the following compliance areas:

1. Training and assessment strategies

The RTO has a compliant Training and Assessment Strategy (TAS) for each course delivery type (such as online, classroom, workplace, distance, blended) and cohort of student (domestic, International).

2. Industry consultation

The RTO has conducted a ‘range of Industry consultations’ and systematically used the outcome of the Industry engagement to ensure the Industry relevance of the training and assessment strategies, practices and resources and current industry skills of the trainers and assessors.

3. Trainers and assessors

The RTO has sufficient trainers to deliver each training product on the scope. The trainers/assessors have demonstrated their vocational competency and Industry currency at each unit level and meet VET knowledge and currency requirements. The trainer and assessor files contain signed copies of their annually updated resumes, certified qualifications and skills matrixes.

4. Pre-enrolment information

Information, whether disseminated directly by the RTO or on its behalf, is both accurate and factual and provides students with sufficient information to make an informed decision to enrol in the course with your RTO.

5. Validation schedule

The RTO has implemented a plan for ongoing systematic validation of assessment practices and judgements for each training product on the RTO’s scope of registration including;

  • when assessment validation will occur;

  • which training products will be the focus of the validation;

  • who will lead and participate in validation activities;

  • how the outcomes of these activities will be documented and acted upon.

As per ASQA’s Standards for RTOs 2015, the RTO’s validation plan must ensure that:

  • All training product on the RTO’s scope of registration undergoes validation at least once every five years.

  • The RTO must validate at least 50 per cent of the training products in the first three years of the cycle.

You may need to validate certain training products more often where specific risks have been identified, for example, if your RTO’s industry consultation identifies areas of particular risk. ASQA may from time to time determine specific training products that must have particular attention paid to them and this advice is published to

You can read more about validation schedule and conducting validation at

6. Training and assessment materials

The RTO has sufficient, industry-relevant, compliant resources and materials to train and assess all training products on your RTO’s scope. The training and assessment materials meet the training package requirements and Industry expectations.

7. Language, literacy and numeracy and support requirements

The RTO can demonstrate how it identifies language, literacy, numeracy and learning requirements for each and every student in every course and how the RTO will provide adequate support for them.

8. Transition planning

The RTO has prepared a compliant transition plan to demonstrate that:

  • the commencement of a new learner in a training product which is no longer current (i.e. the training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register); and

  • the time-frame in which an RTO must complete the training, assessment and AQF certification documentation issuance for learners enrolled in a training product which is, or becomes, no longer current.

9. RTO Policies and Procedures, Forms and Manuals, Records management system and Practices

The RTO has compliant policies, procedures, forms, manuals, records management systems for effective retrieval, retention and protection of records, complaints management, regulatory compliance, minimising litigation risks, safeguarding important information, better management decision making, version control and RTO practices to ensure the organisation follow a compliant framework to maintain its registration with the regulatory bodies.

10. AVETMISS compliant database

The RTO has collected and reported ‘Total VET Activity’ data. This includes full Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) data, in accordance with the National VET Provider Collection Data Requirements Policy.

11. Compliant testamurs, statement of attainment and record of results

The RTO must ensure it is issuing compliant testamurs, statement of attainment and record of results to all eligible students

12. Collection and reporting of Quality Indicators and Total VET activity data

The Data Provision Requirements 2012 requires all registered training organisations (RTOs) registered with ASQA to provide an annual summary report of their performance against the learner engagement and employer satisfaction quality indicators to ASQA. You must also make sure, your organisation has recording and reporting Total VET activity data according to the requirements of NCVER and regulatory bodies. Your RTO is required to meet these data provision requirements as a condition of registration. Regulatory body may impose regulatory penalties if your RTO does not meet these data provision requirements.




Format and requirements for making an annual declaration with each of the three Australian VET Regulators

The requirements and format of the declaration are slightly different and vary between each of the three Australian VET Regulators:

  • The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

  • Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA – VIC based RTOs)

  • Training Accreditation Council (TAC – WA based RTOs)

Conduct an Internal audit

During the RTO’s registration period, the RTO must remain compliant at all times. We recommend completing an independent internal audit of an RTO at least on an annual basis to understand how healthy and compliant the RTO is. This will help you tremendously when you are in the process completing the annual declaration on compliance.


We are providing free consultation with our VET and Industry experts to answer and assist you with all/any questions you may have regarding CEO Declaration of Compliance.


Retainer services

We also provide “retainer services” to organisations to look after their compliance and quality assurance requirements. Our VET experts can visit your premises to work ‘in house’ and develop systems and strategies to support your RTO’s compliance requirements.


Our Consultants

Sukh Sandhu

has worked as a as “Chief Operating Officer” for an International College, as the National Compliance Manager for the RTO arm of the Australian Catholic University and several other RTOs, TAFEs and Universities and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) over a 20+ year career in VET and Higher Education. Sukh has strong skills in ASQA/ VRQA compliance standards, ANMAC, AHPRA, CRICOS, ESOS, ISO compliance audits. Sukh is member of several independent professional development organisations and Government bodies including ACPET, VELG, ACS, AITD, MARA, MIA, APEX, IEEE, The Internet Society (Global Member), AISIP, IAMOT, ACM, OISV, APACALL, IWA, Eta Kappa Nu, EDSIG, and many others.


Anna Haranas

has 35+ years of management experience in the Education and Training, Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), Hospitality, Retail and Allied Health Industries. She has managed several RTOs, managed apprenticeship services and participated in a number of regulatory audits by Federal and State regulatory bodies. She has been responsible for planning, directing, leading and managing strategic and long-range goals of many organisations. She has strong skills with managing effective networks, enhance relationships, develop, direct and control the strategic and operational planning frameworks and planning outcomes for organisations in the short, medium and long term; and understands and responds appropriately to emerging trends, expansion opportunities, competitive threats, viability of outside business partners, and internal business process improvement.


Raj Kiran

has extensive experience in the Education and Training and Nursing fields. She has worked as a lecturer for 5+ years and have taught Bachelor of Nursing Students. Raj has worked in a variety of different clinical environments, gaining invaluable clinical and management experience in Critical Care/ ICU and as a registered nurse. She has developed training and assessment resources for a number of training packages, including First Aid, Nursing, Health Support Services, Hospital/Health Services Pharmacy Support, Health Administration, Ambulance Communications (Dispatch), Individual support, Disability support, Dementia, Mental Health, Community Services and Occupational English Test: OET for a number of organisations.

Our team also consists of a number of VET consultants and Industry experts covering a wide range of industries.


Legislative and regulatory requirements

Clauses 2.1 and 8.4 to 8.6—Compliance and reporting

Clause 2.1

The RTO ensures it complies with these Standards at all times, including where services are being delivered on its behalf. This applies to all operations of an RTO within its scope of registration.


Clause 8.4

The RTO provides an annual declaration on compliance with these Standards to the VET [vocational education and training] regulator and in particular whether it:

  • a) currently meets the requirements of the Standards across all its scope of registration and has met the requirements of the Standards for all AQF [Australian Qualifications Framework] certification documentation it has issued in the previous 12 months

  • b) has training and assessment strategies and practices in place that ensure that all current and prospective learners will be trained and assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Standards.


Clause 8.5

The RTO complies with Commonwealth, state and territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its operations.


Clause 8.6

The RTO ensures its staff and clients are informed of any changes to legislative and regulatory requirements that affect the services delivered.

Current VET sector a disgrace: CEDA

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) is calling for a national review of the VET sector, claiming the area has been “significantly weakened” by recent scandals and a lack of focus from the government.

CEDA has put forth a number of recommendations to strengthen the sector, hoping the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will consider them when discussing a new National Partnership on Skills Reform (NP). The recommendations coincide with the start of National Skills Week, which will run from August 29 until September 4.

The current NP concludes at the end of the next financial year. CEDA chief executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin says there “are currently no signs of how or if this will be extended,” which is a “significant issue”.

“The government is taking the right approach to cutting off dodgy private operators with poor outcomes from utilising VET FEE-HELP. However, much more needs to be done,” Martin says.

CEDA’s recommendations include a new VET agreement to be decided on by COAG and a comprehensive review done of the sector, with CEDA stating “holistic VET policy has been sorely missing”.

This review would include a look at where VET sits in the broader education sector, and an improving of national data quality to allow stakeholders to make better decisions. CEDA hopes this review would form the basis of a new agreement to be made once the NP expires.

Another primary recommendation is to broaden the skills provided by VET courses to provide better skills that are “transferable across occupational clusters”, with CEDA criticising the current courses as being “restrictive.”

CEDA believes a shift away from VET’s current training packages is needed to broaden skills taught. Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell agrees.

“The system needs to be performance-based, you’re training people for jobs so it should be based on people getting jobs”.

The final recommendations involve further oversight to prevent fraudulent behaviour from some operators, and better training opportunities for those who want to become VET teachers.

CEDA believes regulators should be given the power to act if standards around student cohorts, provider performance and student outcomes are not being met. Carnell agrees, saying there should be a “focus on outcome not input”.

“It’s run by the trainers for the trainers, there is no consideration for the people they are training,” Strong says.

“The best way to fix this is to design a system in conjunction with the small business community. In a world of budget problems, we don’t need more money spent on it, just better allocate the millions already available.”

CEDA has said a focus on working with industries themselves should be a high priority when conducting a VET review, claiming a disconnect with industry was a reason for the sector’s recent weakening.

Carnell cites some “extraordinarily bad policy decisions from both sides” as a reason for the sector’s dwindling, and believes there is “no doubt” closer work with industries is needed.

“Part of the national review has got to be about working with the business sector, both nationally and regionally,” Carnell says.

“Each region is different and has different requirements, and the governments need to recognise that. Courses offered need to be appropriate for the region, and that’s not necessarily how the current system works.”

There’s still a huge amount of work to be done, and there needs to be a fundamental change in the sector.”

For more Information, please read

Fake universities may have produced bogus lawyers and doctors in UK

More than 30 fake UK universities have been shut down in the past year as concern grows about students being mis-sold fraudulent degrees.

The Law Society Gazette reports that 32 fake academic institutions were closed by the government over the past year; 25 of them claimed to be in the UK but were found to be overseas.

The organization appointed to oversee the investigation and verify universities in the UK said that fake courses tend to focus on medicine, business and law.

University watchdog the Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd), which monitors fake degrees, identified a total of 62 bogus institutions in the past year. So far, 32 have been closed by law enforcement and trading standards agencies, and 30 investigations are still in progress.

Of the 32 fake institutions closed, 25 were based overseas, according to Jayne Rowley, director of Hedd. The agency is advising another four institutions, which are legitimate businesses, to make clear to prospective students that they cannot award UK degrees.

“All the ones that were shut down were completely bogus,” said Rowley. “The completely fake sites that talk of campuses of students when there’s literally nothing there at all.” Rowley cited one case that Hedd is working on at the moment that involves a university whose address, listed on its website, is actually “an empty shop front in Hyde in Cheshire”.

Since 2011, 220 bogus UK universities have been identified and 80% of them are no longer active, Rowley said. But she added that even the defunct fake universities remained a problem because employers were failing to check whether prospective candidates’ qualifications were valid.

“The overall figure of the number of recruiters who check degree qualifications with the awarding body is only around 20%,” said Rowley. “So an awful lot of fraud goes undetected. Only two-thirds of employers actually ask to see a degree certificate, a third will rely on CVs.

Rowley warned that the situation could get worse because of the government’s plans to open up the sector and give instant degree-awarding powers to new private providers with no track record in education.

“I think there’s a very big risk this will become a more serious problem,” she said. “I think the proposals to expand provision in the HE bill can lead to people abusing the new degree-awarding powers. If the number [of universities] swells by several hundred it’s going to be easier for … bogus operators to get in under the radar.”

The rise of online degree programmes, such as massive open online courses, could also worsen the problem, Rowley added.

“With the onset of the internet and distance learning, degree fraud is a borderless crime and we must collaborate with agencies around the world to deal with it. The fact that so much can be delivered online means it’s very, very easy, you don’t even have to have a building any more to run a supposed [higher education] institution.”

Over the past year, Hedd has worked with the Metropolitan police, the National Crime Agency and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, Trading Standards, depending on whether a fake institution was in breach of trademarks and copyright, by copying the website or logo of a real university, or breaching the Education Reform Act by misleadingly calling itself a university.

VET Industry News 11-Sep-2018

New course accreditation application lodgement fee

On 6 July 2018, ASQA introduced an application lodgement fee of $500 for all initial and renewal applications submitted for course accreditation by ASQA.

At time of lodgement, a completeness check of the application will be conducted to review:

  • Sufficiency of evidence demonstrating industry support
  • Sufficiency of evidence demonstrating an established need for the course to be nationally recognised
  • Evidence of consultation with the Skills Service Organisations
  • The course document has been developed in accordance with the requirements of the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012, including the units of competency against the Standards for Training Packages, and
  • All sections of the form completed and witnessed.

ASQA will provide written advice on the outcome of the completeness check.

Regulatory decisions update

ASQA has made recent regulatory decisions. Read them here

USI RTO Bulletin 10 – 31 August 2018

The Unique Student Identifer’s RTO Bulletin was released on 31 August 2018. Read more

Successful tuition protection program to expand

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) will be expanded to protect VET Student Loans and non-university higher education FEE-HELP students from the closure of training facilities. Read more

TAFE welcomes new strong protection for students

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) today welcomed the federal government’s decision to introduce a new scheme to ensure that students taking out loans for training and study can shift to a new provider if their current one shuts down. Read more

How does quality assurance differ from compliance (Part 3)

In this third and final part of our “compliance and quality assurance,” articles, we are continuing to discuss compliance and quality assurance requirements, standards, expectations and the differences between them. 

How does quality assurance differ from compliance?

It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of all your organisation’s compliance obligations. That’s why many businesses put programs in place to ensure they can meet their obligations and identify any potential breaches of law, regulations or standards. These programs are often called quality assurance or quality control.

Quality assurance may include documenting your RTO processes and practices, having a specific organisational structure, or putting in place policy framework that guides how your registered training organisation operates. These give your RTO a systematic approach to meeting its professional and legal obligations. 

While every business is different, there are some general standards that businesses can be certified in, as developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Although not always essential, following these ISO processes can bring trust and confidence to your staff and clients. 

Therefore, when differentiating between quality assurance and compliance, you can consider meeting VQF requirements to meet compliance needs and ISO to meet the quality needs of your organisation. 

Putting in place quality assurance measures can benefit your business by:

  • Ensuring you identify potential compliance issues and resolve them quickly
  • Reducing your risk of missing any compliance obligations
  • Improving how your RTO is run and giving your employees more certainty over how to do their job
  • Reducing your risk if your RTO is subject to any legal issues or claims
  • Increasing the efficiency of your RTO because you will be spending less time working out how to do things or fixing mistakes.

Quality assurance is part of running a well-managed registered training organisation.

Do I need to do both compliance and quality assurance?

Compliance is not something you can choose to do; it’s legally required by bodies like ASIC. While quality assurance is not demanded by law, it is good business practice to put programs in place to help you meet your compliance obligations and run your business. Sometimes, Industry stakeholders may even ask your RTO to have quality assurance programs in place.

Different phases of assessment and learner validation processes (Part 1)

In this article, we will discuss different phases of validation processes that you should be following in your RTO to ensure you meet regulatory requirements and industry expectations.

Validation of RTO assessment resources

You must validate all your assessment resources to ensure they meet the principles of assessment, rules of evidence, training package requirements, regulatory guidelines and Industry expectations.

Explanation of assessment validation:

Validation is a process of checking that the assessment tools, methods, judgements, evidence and processes to ensure that the training product meets:

  • ​Principles of Assessment – i.e. valid, reliable, flexible and fair
  • Rules of Evidence – i.e. valid, authentic, current and sufficient
  • The judgment made by the trainer/assessor is benchmarked with colleagues or industry experts
  • There is sufficient evidence to support the judgment of the trainer/assessor
  • Whether the requirements of the Training Package or accredited course have been met.

Typical benchmarks used during the validation process include:

  • National training package which are developed by Skills Service Organisations (SSOs)/ Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and can be found on the website.
  • Units of competency which consist of competency standards and need to be unpacked so that those validating the assessments can compare the actual competency against the tools being validated.
  • Industry standards and consultation will vary, and these standards form the basis of the skills and knowledge required to perform work roles.
  • AQF Guidelines and Framework
  • Information provided to candidates, assessors and third parties
  • Legislation relevant to the assessment such as privacy, health and safety, anti-discrimination, copyright law and so on.

Validation occurs through different stages:

Stage 1: Validation before assessment judgements i.e. pre-validation of assessment resources

Validation before assessment judgements are made; look at the design of the assessment activities, if it meets the training package requirements, how the instructions for tasks or questions are presented and the benchmarks against the learner performance. This is where the mapping is undertaken. You review the assessment tool templates in detail to ensure they are compliant and meet regulatory standards and Industry requirements.

Stage 2: Validation during assessment

Validation during assessment is looking at the actual benchmarking answers or performance the learner has provided, and making a judgement with another assessor, either together or separately. This often is coordinated within assessors who undertake training and assessment of the same vocational area. This process was also known as moderation and always remember prevention is always better than the cure, therefore, any issues identified at stage 1 or stage 2 should be eliminated as soon as possible and gaps should be filled with gap-analysis to ensure your organisation is bullet-proof.

The requirement in the Standards to undertake validation of assessment judgements (post validation) does not prohibit your RTO from undertaking moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing the quality of assessment.

Stage 3: Validation post assessment (i.e. post validation)

Validation post assessment concentrates on the learners’ performance and their responses to questions, the actual assessment decision that was made, the task and processes that align to the assessment, any feedback from students, and the reporting processes.

The purpose of this post-assessment validation is to verify the validity and consistency of assessment decisions to bring assessment judgements and standards into alignment.

It is a process that ensures the same standards are applied to all assessment results within the same Unit(s) of Competency. It is an active process in the sense that adjustments to assessor judgements are made to overcome differences in the difficulty of the tool and/or the severity of judgements. It aims to ensure assessors have a common understanding of the unit requirements

It involves checking that your assessment tools have produced valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence, enabling RTO to make reasonable judgements that the training package requirements have been met.

(To be continued in the upcoming blogs) 

Assessment issues that may impact your RTO audit (Part 1)

It is important to look into ASQAs 2017 report that shows:

  • Around 72% of RTOs FAIL audit on Assessment
  • Approximately 50% of those FAIL to be able to rectify their assessment tools on resubmission under the OLD audit mode

According to the new audit model:

  • There may be NO opportunity to rectify critical non-compliances
  • Initial registration clients with critical non-compliances are unlikely to get an opportunity to rectify and potentially would be unable to reapply
  • Registered RTOs risk sanctions, conditions, or even worse cancellations for critical non-compliances on the first audit

There are a number of assessment-related issues that may affect your audit outcome. You should ensure your assessment resources meet the following criteria:

  • Assessment resources have sufficient and clear information regarding what, when, how, where, why for your assessment template and all assessment tasks and activities. 
  • Assessment resources have robust benchmarking and/or trainers guide. 
  • Assessment resources are allowing the trainer/assessor to assess the skills and knowledge of students through different assessment tasks over a period of timeto ensure “consistency” and “sufficiency” 
  • Each and every question and assessment task has very clear guidelines around what is expected from the students in terms of both “quantity” and “quality” 
  • You have customised the off-the-shelf resources according to your RTO needs and requirements and not using them “as-it-is”
  • Your assessment resources are written by Industry experts with subject matter experts and are “Industry-relevant” and “current”
  • Your assessment resources address all requirements of the training packaging rules
  • Your assessment resources have detailed and valid performance checklists/observation checklists for assessing and observing the students before, during and after any skill assessment activity or workplace task 
  • Your trainers and assessors gather sufficient, valid evidence for competency assessment
  • Your organisation offers appropriate simulated environments for conducting assessments 
  • The authenticity of assessment, particularly in distance and online delivery is established and maintained