Various phases of the assessment and validation processes (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of the article, where we are discussing the different phases of the validation processes an RTO should be following to ensure they meet regulatory requirements and industry expectations.

In the previous articles, we discussed the following regarding the validation of assessment resources:

  • Explanation of assessment validation
  • Typical benchmarks used during the validation processes
  • Stages of validation (before, during and after the assessment judgements)
  • Regulatory requirements for conducting validation
  • Assessment system
  • Who conducts validation?
  • How is validation different from moderation?
  • How external consultants can help you with validation of assessment and learner resources?

In this month’s article, we will explore the regulatory requirements around validation of learner resources.

Learner resources
Learner resources are also known as “learning resources”, “training resources”, or “companion guides”. The purpose of these resources is to support learners with the underpinning knowledge required to participate in skill-based tasks. These resources include a range of activities to support the learning including, formative assessments and activities, links to further reading, workplace activities and procedures (where relevant to the qualification) etc.

Why you need to validate your learner resources
The VET regulator, ASQA does not currently prescribe the methodology Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) should use to meet the requirements of the relevant standards, training packages and accredited courses for learner resources.

But their expectations under the Standards for Registered Training Organisations, 2015, is to ensure your learner resources meet the following legislative guidelines:

Standard 1, Clause 1.3 (c): 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.

The guidelines further state that:

Learning resources

  • To ensure students are able to obtain and absorb the required knowledge and skills prior to assessment, carefully choose and plan the learning resources you will use to guide them.
  • Identify these resources in your strategy to ensure you obtain full coverage of all required areas.

Therefore, we strongly recommend validating your learner resources to ensure your organisation complies with the relevant legislative requirements and guidelines.

The process of validation of learner resources
The validation of learner resources is not very different from the validation of assessment resources. All learner resources must also meet training package requirements and industry expectations.

Who can be involved in validating the learner resources
There are currently no regulatory requirements around who can participate in the validation of learner resources, however, it should be no different from the validation of assessment resources.

It should be a collective team effort and you must include the following people to validate your learner resources:

  • Subject matter experts
  • Trainers and assessors
  • Compliance or administration manager
  • Industry experts
  • You may also include compliance experts as well as they usually have current and up-to-date knowledge around audit and compliance expectations and requirements.

Stages of validation for learner resources
Stage 1: Validation before using the learner resources
Validation before using the learner resources is to ensure the resources meet training package requirements, how the information is presented and the quality of the formative assessments. This is to ensure the student gains the required skills and knowledge to participate in the summative assessments later. Your review of the learner resources templates in detail ensures they are compliant and meet regulatory standards and Industry requirements.

Stage 2: Validation during or after using the learner resources
Your validation of learner resources during or after use is to ensure:

  • Your resources meet client expectations
  • Your resources meet training package guidelines and provide all required underpinning knowledge to your students
  • Your resources are current and up-to-date in terms of the latest trends, technology and industry guidelines and practices.

In the next and final article, we will discuss:

  • Why you need to keep validators information
  • Why validation of assessment and learner resources should be systematic and ongoing
  • How can you schedule validation
  • What is statistically valid sampling
  • Validation outcomes

(To be continued in the upcoming newsletter and blogs)

Getting acquainted yourself with the VET

VET information at your fingertips

NCVER’s VET Knowledge Bank is a key source of reference information about Australia’s VET system.

Did you know the VET sector is the largest education sector in Australia?

Like most countries, Australia’s VET system is complex and ever-changing. Getting to know VET aims to explain the system via a chart of the key components, including:

The VET Knowledge Bank is an evolving resource. Follow @VOCEDplus to find out when new content is added.

Message from the General Manager (22 August 2021)

Message from the General Manager

If humans are capable of learning from their experiences, one thing that would stand out in this COVID era is that life will never be the same again, no matter how much we want things to return to the way they were. The education industry now requires better communication and collaboration tools, and better infrastructure models. Most importantly, we require technology that works effectively and efficiently, systems that are capable of assisting with learner and staff needs such as virtual reality, gamification, and artificial intelligence, as well as trust, faith, support from technologies.

At CAQA headquarters, we are continuously evolving and we are constantly looking for new methods to assist our clients and the industry in meeting current and future challenges. We are now working on hundreds of SCORM compliant files and we are investing in virtual reality, gamification, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies to meet your needs. Our learning management system CAQA Discover will be launched soon to support clients with eLearning and mobile learning. Interested? Contact us to learn more about what we are doing, opportunities for collaboration, and what the benefits of using our services.

Anna Haranas
General Manager

The VET Sector News II-August 2021

National Skills Week 2021: RETHINK your ideas

National Skills Week, which is now in its eleventh year, will once again aim to bring to life the positive messages by exposing the talents, skills, career routes, and worth of apprentices and trainees across Australia to the general public and business community.

For more information, Click here.

Automation, COVID-19, and labour markets

Rapid technological progress poses challenges for labour markets. Automation can both displace and create jobs. Currently, an unprecedented digitalization of our economy is underway. Artificial intelligence [AI] has become a reality and machines are able to learn how to outperform humans in some cognitive tasks. This ongoing technological transformation of work can interact with the [Coronavirus Disease 2019] COVID-19 pandemic shock resulting in fewer jobs for the less educated and low-skilled workers as well as a further decline in the labour share of national income.

For more information, Click here.

COVID-19 has widened Australia’s educational digital divide. But one program is closing the gap

Right across the country, it’s a similar struggle. An estimated one in three Indigenous children does not have the internet at home.

For more information, Click here.

Australia’s education exports plunge by a third

Australia’s education exports have plunged by a third due to the international border closure, with ­revenue dropping to $26.7bn in the year to June, down from $40.3bn recorded in calendar 2019. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show its largest service ­export sector is mainly made up of international student spending on tuition fees, rent, travel costs and other living expenses.

For more information, Click here.

Rudd joins $622m education start-up board after big raising

Education technology platform Crimson Education has secured $23.8 million in a funding round led by HEAL Partners, valuing the New Zealand-based start-up at more than half a billion dollars, and adding former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to its advisory board.

For more information, Click here.

Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) for the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment have issued a draft of proposed charges for CRICOS registered institutions, after a two-year suspension of the ARC (Annual Registration Charge). Feedback on the Exposure Draft of the CRIS is requested by 5 pm AEST MONDAY 23 AUGUST 2021. Please use the response template to provide feedback.

For more information, Click here.

UQ leads climate action as first Australian university to provide Carbon Literacy training

Helping individuals and organisations tackle the climate crisis is the focus of an Australian-first training program adopted by The University of Queensland.

After a successful pilot, UQ Business School became an accredited partner with the Carbon Literacy Project as the first university in Australia to launch a Carbon Literacy Program.

For more information, Click here.

Consider changes to Australia’s skilled migration program, Canberra urged

The Australian government should consider changes to post-study work arrangements for students on courses leading to jobs in occupations with a “persistent skills shortage” or those who graduated in the top 10% of their courses or achieved first class honours, a report has recommended.

For more information, Click here.

International students, temporary migrants may gain from changes proposed to the migration program as 500,000 migrants leave Australia

Over half-a-million migrants have left Australia since the start of the pandemic, creating a huge skill deficit in the country. Experts say international students and temporary migrants seeking permanent residency could emerge as the biggest beneficiaries if the government accepts the recommendations made by a Joint Standing Committee on Migration.

For more information, Click here.

Only Victoria has the deep skills to lead on Messenger RNA technology (mRNA) development

Messenger RNA technology (mRNA) has demonstrated the ability to change the timeline for developing and delivering a new vaccine from years to months.

It represents one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of our generation. Where we place and operate an mRNA vaccine facility is a critical decision for the future of the nation and for the security and welfare of the population.

For more information, Click here.

Privacy concerns as students are given access to all University of Sydney IDs

Concerns over the University of Sydney’s data management have been raised after a database of UniKeys was found to be openly accessible to students.

Until last Friday, the University’s Services Portal provided access to a searchable list of UniKeys indexed to their owners. This includes those of undergraduates, postgraduates, recent graduates, professional and teaching staff, and management.

While not sensitive information in itself, a UniKey is a unique identifier which could expose individuals to identity theft and unauthorised access to personal data.

“It’s pretty easy to manipulate,” one student said. “If someone gets access to someone’s University account, they can do things like email spoofing or access bank account details, HECS debt, and other personal information.”

For more information, Click here.

Make the move to USI web services version 4

USI web services version 3 will be decommissioned in October 2021. Web Services version 4 went live on 30 September 2020. All providers who use the USI Registry System through their student management systems will need to move to the latest version.

New providers who onboarded after the latest version was introduced will be using version 4 and do not need to make any changes.

To find out if your student management system is using the most up to date version of web services, talk to your software developer (digital service provider). For any queries, contact us at

According to a new report, businesses are increasing their investments in cybersecurity skills

According to new research from cybersecurity firm Sophos, internal IT departments and businesses are making investments in their staff’ cybersecurity skills and knowledge.

According to a new analysis from Sophos, IT teams around the world faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 and 2021, with cybersecurity issues ranking at the top of the list – if not at the top – of the list. As a result, businesses are increasing their investments in cybersecurity, training the staff members, checking their knowledge and skills to protect organisations and themselves from cyber attacks and making reasonable efforts to safeguard the organisation from any cyber threats.

The cybersecurity behemoth interviewed 5,400 IT managers across 30 countries and discovered that workloads for internal IT Teams are increasing as cyberattacks become more advanced, prompting IT professionals to improve their cybersecurity expertise and hire more in-house security personnel. This is the reason why Australia is continuously focussing on improving and enhancing the cybersecurity skills of its skilled labour.

According to the survey, non-security workloads increased in every industry, with 63 per cent of IT managers across all industries reporting an increase in non-security workloads. The most significant increases in workload were observed in Turkey (84 per cent), Australia (81 per cent), and the United States (75 per cent), with IT teams in government and education being the most adversely affected.

However, 69 per cent of respondents stated that their cybersecurity responsibilities have increased even further, with over 70 per cent of managers in business and professional services, government, construction, education, utilities, manufacturing, and retail stating the same.

Given the sophistication of modern cybercrime, a slim majority (54 per cent) of IT managers surveyed indicated they are having difficulty responding to cyberattacks on their own. Businesses, governments, and the healthcare industry all claimed they require outside assistance to handle cybercrime responses.

IT professionals in Australia say they require the most assistance, with 86 per cent stating that assaults are too advanced for internal IT to handle. In contrast, 54 per cent of respondents in the United States agreed.

According to the survey, these difficulties are contributing to longer reaction times, with 61 per cent of IT managers reporting that their response times to IT problems are increasing, while 19 per cent reported that their response times are either remaining the same or decreasing.

Increasing their cybersecurity knowledge and skills, perhaps out of necessity, is something that IT professionals are doing, with 70 per cent claiming to have been successful in doing so.

The events of the last year and a half have also compelled organisations to increase their investment in their cybersecurity workforce, with 68 per cent of IT managers expecting to increase their in-house security teams over the next two years and 76 per cent expecting to do the same over the next five years as a result of the recent events.

Meanwhile, 56 per cent of respondents anticipate an increase in outsourced IT employees over the next two years, and 64 per cent anticipate an increase over the following five years.

The survey also revealed that firms that were negatively impacted by cybersecurity actually experienced an increase in morale. Overall, 52 per cent of respondents indicated an improvement in IT team morale, but when IT experts whose business had been struck by ransomware were polled, 60 per cent reported an increase in morale in their firm. Ransomware did not have a negative impact on morale in 47 per cent of the firms that were not affected.

It was noted that “adversity – in this case, cyberattacks – frequently creates an opportunity for people to join together and work collaboratively towards a common objective, which helps to increase morale.” The ability to sustain the organisation while dealing with growing attacks provides a sense of satisfaction, as well.

A range of VET resources, RPL kits, LLN kits, training and assessment resources, and e-learning resources in cybersecurity have been developed by CAQA Resources for use by any interested training organisation. You can visit our website for more information related to our training and assessment materials or email us at

Introducing Cyber Security BSBSS00094 and BSBSS00093 Skill Set Resources on Virtual Platform

We are excited to announce the complete set of resources for BSB Cyber Security skill set units. These resources are created in collaboration with eduLAB, provider of virtual platforms for education and CAQA Resources, a leading publisher of vocational education and training resources.

CAQA Resources have been providing resources in the VET industry for over 10 years. All resources come with a lifetime audit guarantee and are developed by subject matter experts in conjunction with VET experts.

The units available are:

BSBSS00094 – Cyber Security Awareness Skill Set

  • BSBXCS301 – Protect own personal online profile from cyber security threats
  • BSBXCS402 – Promote workplace cyber security awareness and best practices
  • BSBXCS303 – Securely manage personally identifiable information and workplace information
  • BSBXCS302 – Identify and report online security threats

BSBSS00093 – Cyber Security Threat Assessment and Risk Management Skill Set

  • BSBXCS403 – Contribute to cyber security threat assessments
  • BSBXCS404 – Contribute to cyber security risk management

The complete set of resources includes:

  • eduLAB platform to satisfy the performance evidence
    • Learner Resources
    • Learner Guide
    • PowerPoint Presentation
    • Class Activities (formative assessment)
    • Self-study Guide
    • Session Plan
  • Assessment Resources
    • Trainer Assessment Pack
    • Student Assessment Pack
    • Unit Mapping
    • Unit Requirements

If you have any questions about eduLAB, please contact Michelle at and if you have questions about the resources, please contact Sukh at

Education standards and politics

We are all well aware that in any country, it is hard to separate politics from educational issues and standards. However, it is quite sad when politics begins to have an impact on education for a variety of negative reasons. Educational standards should be upheld at all times, but using education to score political goals, allocating funding or free-tafe in a way that best suits political agendas rather than sorting out the actual needs and requirements of the industry, approving or disapproving contractors close to politicians, preparing and approving training packages or standards that are outdated, full of errors and mistakes, not useful, and impractical create a number of issues for the industry and the general public.

As it is well recognised that politics is related with the distribution of scarce social, economic, and cultural resources to individuals, organisations, regions, and social classes, it should come as no surprise that the allocation of resources to education is impacted highly by political influences and motives.

The result of almost every educational reform since the early 2000s has been an increase in bureaucracy, a system that is always evolving to serve students while really creating a great deal of bureaucratic work for the organisations.

Ludwig von Mises believed that governments should keep out of education altogether, we are not sure if this is the solution, but we want to ensure that Australia has an education system that is:

  1. Adaptable and changes with the time
  2. Free from bad politics
  3. Free from corruption
  4. Has access to most up-to-date, state of the art technologies
  5. Support us becoming a global leader in education and training
  6. Support our infrastructure and industries
  7. Meet the needs and requirements of the stakeholders

Even if we assume that we will never be able to completely remove politics from our education system, our focus should always be on electing leaders who come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and cultures, who are committed to achieving excellence in education and training, from TAFE and private sector education, who are free of biases and judgements, and who only work to achieve excellence through developing and upholding the appropriate and suitable educational standards.

Quality Reforms

Have your say to support the delivery of high-quality training in the VET sector. Click here,

RPL Kits-Let’s discuss compliance with clauses 1.8 and 1.12

The legislative requirements

The legislation is very clear regarding compliance in RPL kits and why you need to have RPL Kits for every unit of competency you are training and assessing.

The legislative instrument includes the following clauses:


1.8. The RTO implements an assessment system that ensures that assessment (including recognition of prior learning):

a) complies with the assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course; and
b) is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence.

1.12. The RTO offers recognition of prior learning to individual learners.

Can you refuse a student RPL

Legislation involves the preparation and enactment of laws by a legislative body through the lawmaking process that it uses to accomplish its purposes. Something written in legislation eliminates all questions and assures that everyone adheres to the requirements, regardless of whether they want to or do not want to do so. As a result, training organisations do not have the privilege of refusing recognition of prior learning to people interested to achieve a unit of competency, skill set or qualification through recognition of prior learning. They have no choice but to offer it.

What should be included in the RPL kit

The regulatory body has not approved any structure or approved a template for RPL kits, the structure of RPL kits is up for debate at this time. However, the practise has been in place as long as RPL kits have allowed the following:

  • Self-assessment should be carried out by the student in order to evaluate their knowledge and abilities.
  • In addition to previous studies – both formal (e.g., TAFE, school) and informal (– for example, community education, workplace training courses), work experience – both paid and unpaid – and life experience, evidence should be gathered from the student.
  • Direct evidence can be gathered by observation, demonstration, simulation, and role-playing, among other methods. Indirect evidence can be gathered through the use of work samples, workplace documentation, third-party reports, projects, and a Portfolio of Evidence, among other methods.
  • Third-party proof can include letters of recommendation from supervisors, team leaders, and managers, as well as evidence of the student performing duties and responsibilities.
  • The assessor guide should be designed to ensure that different assessors should reach the same judgement about a student’s competency, regardless of who is assessing the student.
  • Comprehensive mapping assessment documentation that ensures that all of the training package requirements are addressed.

How can you prepare or evaluate the quality of your RPL Kit

When preparing and developing RPL kits, be certain that they meet the specifications given in clauses 1.8 (and sections 8a and 8b).

Principles of Assessment

Fairness in Assessment:

During the assessment process, the needs of each individual student are taken into consideration.

When necessary, reasonable adjustments are made by the RTO to accommodate the specific needs of each individual student.

Learning and assessment are explained to students by the RTO, who also gives them the opportunity to contest the results of their assessments and have them evaluated if necessary.

Flexibility in Assessment:

Assessment is tailored to the needs of each individual student by:

taking into consideration the student’s needs and requirements;

It is important to evaluate the competencies held by the student, regardless of how or where they were gained.

Making use of a variety of assessment methods and selecting those that are appropriate for the situation, the unit of competency and associated assessment needs, and the individual.

Validity in Assessment:

Each and every assessment decision made by the RTO is justified in light of the evidence of the particular student’s performance.

Validity necessitates the following:

Evaluation in relation to the unit/s of competency and the accompanying assessment requirements encompasses the entire range of skills and information that are required for competent performance;

Evaluation of knowledge and abilities is done in conjunction with their practical application.

It is expected that evaluation will be based on evidence that demonstrates that a student can exhibit these abilities and knowledge in other similar contexts; and

The evaluation of learner competence is based on evidence of learner performance that is related to the unit(s) of competency, associated assessment and evaluation standards.

Reliability in Assessment:

It does not matter who assesses the assessment because the evidence supplied for evaluation should be consistently understood and the assessment outcomes are comparable.

Rules of Evidence

Validity in Assessment:

Assurance is provided to the assessor that the student possesses the skills, knowledge, and qualities indicated in the module or unit of competency and associated assessment requirements for the module or unit of competency.

Sufficiency in Assessment:

The assessor is confident that the quality, amount, and relevance of the assessment evidence will allow a determination of a student’s competency to be made by the assessor.

Authenticity in Assessment:

The assessor is certain that the evidence submitted for assessment is the student’s own original work by ensuring that the student has completed the task.

Currency in Assessment:

When the assessor receives assurance that the assessment evidence confirms current competency, the assessment is considered complete. This necessitates the use of evaluation evidence that is either current or very recent in time.

Contact us at for more information and the availability of RPL kits and resources.

Online learning is much more than access to training and assessment materials online

In spite of the fact that different nations are at different stages of COVID-19 infection rates, there are currently more than billions of learners in 186 countries who are affected by face-to-face classroom closures as a result of the epidemic. This is one of the reasons why we decided to create a few articles to provide assistance to the industry, training organisations, and students.

In order to be successful in teaching online, training organisations must create and deliver courses that are engaging, interactive, effectively supported, and sensitive to the needs of today’s students.

Students will continue to look to you for direction and guidance even if they are learning from home.

Effective online learning

Effective online learning does not only follow the traditional model of uploading materials to a learning management system such as Moodle, but also incorporates a number of interactive ways to engage students, enable and equip them to perform the activities in a simulated environment, provide them with real-life situations and scenarios, and ensure regular interactions with the instructor and other students. In the event that a trainer is not accessible, the student should interact with the learning management system instead.

Suggestions for improving the effectiveness of e-learning..

Here are some good recommendations for making e-learning even more effective:

Provide instructions that are quite specific and clear.

You must present your students with clear directions at all times. It is critical to use clear legends and icons when creating a course for an online learning module. You must also maintain consistency. It should be absolutely clear to students what they need to read, research, observe, participate/do and write about in order to effectively complete a course. No guessing game is appropriate for online learning, especially when students are interacting directly with a machine, not a human being.

Design layout for the online course

What kind of design layout do you employ? When it comes to getting learners to participate in your courses, course design is really important. It should be straightforward, efficient, and engaging. Make it easy for students to move from one course to another or from one link to another without complications.

If you do not have in-house expertise in designing online learning courses, make it crystal clear in what qualities and characteristics you are looking for if you are recruiting. When it comes to an interview, what are the most important things that developers must demonstrate in terms of knowledge and skills, explain everything in as clear and succinct a manner as you can.

Make the courses engaging and interesting

Students’ inability to concentrate on uninteresting and unengaging content is a primary cause for their failure to succeed in online courses. As a result of the current healthcare crisis, this problem has been further compounded further. The inability to retain concentration manifests itself in a variety of ways for different people. Many students find it difficult to concentrate, prioritise, organise their time, and remain on track when they do not have the structure of a typical training day to follow, which is why many students choose to study in face-to-face classrooms rather than online. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions. In the first place, it is vital that students are provided with an organisational framework that will enable them to be effective. Second, the content that is made available to them should be entertaining, interactive, and designed with a high level of professionalism.

Facilitate a process by which students engage with one another

The students must communicate in a manner that is similar to the manner in which they are accustomed to receiving face-to-face education. Making smaller groups of students out of a large group of students can help to enhance interaction, communication, and the development of interpersonal relationships. Initiate conversations with students about participating in icebreaker activities while they are in smaller breakout groups. The breakout sessions, which can be held during the online meetings, after class sessions, or during class sessions, provide an additional opportunity for students to express themselves and share their skills and experience with one another.

Individual learning plans should be developed.

Because every student’s situation is unique, your expectations must be tailored to each individual student’s existing capabilities. Personalise students’ education by developing customised learning plans that allow you to tailor your instruction and expectations to their specific needs and skills. This is especially true for students who have learning difficulties, who may find it challenging to learn in a distance-learning environment.

Make it social

Sharing and commenting on information are examples of social features that most of us are accustomed to doing in our everyday communication. When used in conjunction with gamification, this increases the interactivity of any course. It’s also a lot of fun for the students to participate.

Invite students to contribute to the learning.

Another method of empowering learners is to have them share their expertise by creating materials or holding online group study sessions. Students who engage in task-based learning can produce a genuine, relevant output that can be shared with other students who are at an earlier stage in their learning journey to motivate them and assist them with their studies. Task-based learning is becoming increasingly popular.

Encourage the use of peer evaluation.

A tried-and-true classroom strategy that also works wonders online. Providing learners with the opportunity to assess each other’s work helps them to better comprehend what they are doing and promotes a culture of sharing, which can be beneficial in disseminating best practice.

E-learning content is very different from face to face content

It is possible that your course content will appear uninteresting and unengaging to your students if you do not present them with choices to participate through videos, audios, images, video conferencing tools, emoticons, or other means of online communication.

The ability to concentrate when working online gradually deteriorates, especially when the distractions of social media are readily available. Student requirements for online content are generally higher than those for face-to-face education, and this must be acknowledged.

Interesting and engaging conversations

Take care to ensure that any conversations that students have are actually valuable to their learning. This can be done verbally, in a breakout session, or online using chat or a discussion forum.

Seek stakeholders feedback for continuous improvement

Solicit input from all stakeholders in order to ensure that the quality of the online training materials is continually improved. It is possible to sustain the interest of students, who are one of the most important stakeholders, by soliciting and acting on their feedback, which also helps them feel more connected to the online course and your training organisation in general. When it comes to receiving constructive feedback to students, using efficient online feedback tools such as Google forms, plickers, kahoot, socrative, GoSoapBox, Quizalize, Formative, Poll everywhere, Micropoll, Zoho survey, Survey Monkey, Typeform, SurveyNuts, SurveyPlanet, PollMaker etc. can be extremely beneficial. A variety of other tools can be used to provide constructive feedback to students in addition to the ones listed above such as Audacity (for audio feedback), Jing (the video feedback platform), Kalzena etc. Maintaining genuine connections with students and other stakeholders means keeping feedback as constructive as possible while also remaining approachable.

Constructive and ongoing review of student’s participation

Responses are required for tasks that necessitate participation in a debate or forum. The motivation for giving up can come from teachers or other classmates. Students will frequently give up if they perceive that no one is reading or watching what they are writing, reading, speaking or doing.

Time management tools

Checklists assist students in organising their thoughts as well as the time they have available to complete their learning modules, formative or summative assessments.

Stay away from gimmicky tools that aren’t worth your time. Keep your attention on the teaching and learning process rather than on the bells and whistles, and you’ll be just fine. There are a wealth of great materials readily available, and there is no need to recreate the wheel if you can find something available online that you can use for training your students.

Give students research activities

Provide research tasks that have been pre-planned and critically evaluated in advance. The internet may be a complicated and intimidating world if you don’t know where to look. Project-based learning offers a wide range of alternatives for customisation, and there are many of them.

Self-assessment and reflection activities

Self-assessment and reflection should be made available to students at all levels of education.

Be available to support your students

It is acceptable to say that online learning can be difficult at times. Create a situation where you are available to assist others when they require it. The phrase “remote” does not necessarily imply the idea of being “on your own.”

Offer students choices for learning and submitting the work

It is important that students be given the opportunity to exhibit their work in a variety of mediums.

What is the learners’ perception of the learning environment?

The perceived relevance of the course to a student is almost certainly the single most essential aspect in motivating them to engage in and complete the course, and this perception is required for optimal learning. The importance of describing the usability, value, and relevance of the course from the beginning of each course session cannot be overstated. Make it clear to your students how your course serves as a prerequisite for more advanced courses, how it will aid them in the acquisition of specific abilities, or how it addresses topics that the students find particularly interesting.

Focus on equity and accessibility

The expansion of online learning has exacerbated the problems of equity and accessibility that have long plagued the VET and higher education. Despite the fact that people may have access to technology, not everyone has reliable high-speed Internet connections or a distraction-free study place. Be aware of the obstacles that students may encounter, keeping in mind that students’ degrees of comfort with online learning can vary greatly, and that some students may be located in different time zones than others. The suspicion that their classmates are cheating is widespread among students, and with good reason. As a result of the current political climate, our students are experiencing a wide range of issues. Some students require academic aid, while others require technology assistance to complete their assignments. Many, possibly the majority, of students require non-academic support services. Many people’s mental health requirements are not being provided in a satisfactory manner. Another group of people requires support in keeping a good balance between their various responsibilities and priorities. It is possible to reach out to students in a proactive manner or to send notifications if there is evidence that they are falling behind in their studies. You have the ability to send out alerts to your students, to provide them with support, and to accomplish excellent outcomes. All you have to do is investigate and discover the legally permissible methods of accomplishing your goals.

Show empathy with your students

The importance of empathy has never been greater than it is right now. Encourage your students to try their best in all they do. Using scaffolding, such as rubrics, check lists, sample responses to test questions, background material, glossaries, and so on, students can better structure their learning and achieve greater success. Consider giving yourself some wiggle room when it comes to deadlines and the ability to redo assignments.

Prepare for the future

There is little indication that things will return to normal in the near future and we must assume that a large component of VET and higher education will continue to be given online for the foreseeable future. However, we have a professional and moral obligation to ensure that students learn just as much as they would have in the time prior to the pandemic. Take the initiative and meet the challenge head-on.

Tools, techniques and technologies for e-learning

Let’s discuss some of the tools, techniques and technologies that you can use for e-learning:

  1. Frequent announcements: It may seem obvious, but giving students with a regular announcement about what is occuring in the topic (and the world) – aim to do so regularly – helps them feel more connected and a sense of belonging.
  2. Prepare a brief weekly video announcement, such as the following: Explain the week’s goals and objectives, how this ties to past learning and subject outcomes, and any advise you have for students on assessment progress (for example, “By this time, you should have finished your peer feedback”).
  3. Establish online discussions in your learning management system (LMS) and ensure that you participate in them. This is similar to what you would do in a traditional classroom setting. Encouragement, adjusting assumptions, and remembering to mention and emphasise accomplishment are all important!
  4. Establish “Virtual Office Hours,” during which students are aware that you are available to reply to questions via email or discussion board.
  5. Set explicit expectations for how you want students to behave and engage with one another early on in your subject’s development. Also crucial is to demonstrate these behaviours and interactions yourself, such as being concise, being respectful, and fostering friendly discourse.
  6. You can use discussion boards to address subject-specific issues and also for more informal discussions such as introductory or general discussions.
  7. Bring about conversation by using direct questions, conflicts, cases, situations, and concerns or problems that are relevant to the subject matter.
  8. Make sure to participate in the discussion on a frequent basis and to acknowledge students when they make good remarks, give links to resources, or assist other students in the topic.
  9. Useful aspects that are found in other elements of your subject, such as in your digital lectures, announcements, or online tutorials, should be mentioned explicitly in your digital lectures.
  10. Allocate a minor percentage of the overall grade for participation in discussion forums.

In our upcoming newsletters, we will continue to explore the tools, techniques, and technologies that can be used to deliver quality training online.

CAQA Digital

Through our partner initiatives Online Media Solutions (OMS) and CAQA Digital, we can assist you with your e-learning requirements. Contact us at for more information.

Scorm, HTML5 and m-learning? Need help?

Until recently the high degree of interactivity, immersive graphics, and fascinating animations of Adobe Flash made it one of the most popular authoring tools for eLearning courses. With fewer smartphones and tablets being able to support Flash, HTML5 and SCORM compliant files are quickly becoming the preferred formats and standards among eLearning professionals.

SCORM compliant files, HTML5 files, and e-learning files are now available for purchase from CAQA for use in your learning management systems. We are in the process of developing these files to satisfy the demands and requirements and we are currently accepting orders for the development of any e-learning/ m-learning training and assessment resources that you require.

What is a SCORM file?

SCORM, which stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model, is a set of technical standards for eLearning software products. SCORM instructs programmers and developers on how to construct their code in such a way that it would “play nicely” with other eLearning applications. It is the de-facto industry standard for interoperability in eLearning environments.

What is an HTML5 file?

The Hypertext Markup Language 5 (HTML5) version is the most recent and most stable version of the Hypertext Markup Language standard. It can be used quite easily and effectively on content management systems (CMS) as an extremely sophisticated system for organising and presenting content on the internet. At its inception, its goal was to develop websites that were compatible with a wide range of devices. As learning approaches transitioned to the digital realm, HTML5 became increasingly useful in producing responsive courses and in quick e-learning production, among other applications.

Because HTML5 is capable of supporting rich media, immersive graphics, interactions, and working well on mobile devices, it is an excellent choice for e-learning application development. It comes pre-loaded with the ability to play music and video, eliminating the need for third-party plugins.

Can you convert HTML5 files to SCORM files?

HTML5 content can be created and exported as a SCORM or non-SCORM file, depending on the platform.

What is m-learning?

Learning with mobile devices, also known as m-learning or mobile learning, is defined as “learning in numerous contexts through social and content exchanges while using personal electronic devices.” M-learners, a type of distance education, take advantage of instructional technology on their mobile devices at their convenience.

If you need any assistance related to SCORM files, HTML5 files, e-learning resources, m-learning content, contact us at

Celebrating the 12th anniversary of Career Calling

Can you believe Career Calling has been in operation for 12 years? This is a fantastic opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to making Career Calling what it is today.

Here are a few words from our CEO, Sukh Sandhu, to commemorate the occasion:

What began as a dream, has grown into Career Calling becoming a leading provider of training and education services in Australia. This has been made possible through the dedication and commitment of each and every team member.

I would like to express my gratitude to our clients. Please know that we appreciate your ongoing support, and I hope to continue to work with you for many years to come!

Assessment issues that may have an impact on your RTO audit (Part 2)

This is Part 2 continuing from the previous newsletter. As discussed in Part 1 of this article, there are a number of assessment-related issues that may affect your audit outcome. You should ensure your assessment resources, therefore, meet the following criteria:

  • The context and conditions of assessment. For example, an assessment tool could be developed to cater for a particular language, literacy and numeracy requirements, the learner’s workplace experience or other learner needs that require reasonable adjustment.
  • The context of the assessment may also take into account assessments already completed, and the competencies demonstrated in these assessments. By looking at the context, you can consider the conditions under which evidence for assessment must be gathered.
  • All activities are conducted adequately using the required:
    • equipment or material requirements
    • contingencies
    • specifications
    • physical conditions
    • relationships with team members and supervisors
    • relationships with clients/customers
    • timeframes for completion.
  • Assessment methods or tasks are suitable to the requirements of the units of competency and students are assessed on the tasks and activities according to the requirements of the training package.
  • The language used is simple English
  • The evidence required to make a decision of competency is clearly outlined
  • The types of activities and tasks student need to perform are clearly outlined
  • The level of performance required for each assessment activity is clearly outlined
  • Adequate exposure to workplace conditions, including appropriate simulated environments
  • Sufficient knowledge-based assessment tasks and activities such as written questions and case studies etc.
  • Sufficient practical based assessment tasks and activities such as projects, role plays, workplace tasks and observations etc.
  • Assessment resources are error-free and free from any grammar, copyright or plagiarism issues

It is a wise decision to get your training and assessment strategies and resources validated by independent industry experts to get honest feedback and an unbiased opinion.

Various phases of the assessment and validation processes (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of the article, where we are discussing the different phases of the validation processes an RTO should be following to ensure you meet regulatory requirements and industry expectations.

In the previous article, we discussed the following regarding the validation of assessment resources:

  • Explanation of assessment validation
  • Typical benchmarks used during the validation processes
  • Stages of validation (before, during and after the assessment judgements)

In this month’s article, we will explore the regulatory requirements around assessment validation.

Regulatory requirements for conducting validation

According to the Standards of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, you are required to implement a quality review process (Clauses 1.8, 1.9, 1.10 and 1.11).

Clause 1.8a requires that the RTO’s assessment systems comply with the assessment requirements of the relevant training packages or VET accredited courses.  

Clause 1.8b requires RTOs to ensure that the evidence gathered is valid (one of the Rules of Evidence) and that assessment processes and outcomes are valid (one of the Principles of Assessment). 

These requirements must be met and demonstrated in all assessment policies, procedures, materials and tools of the RTO. Clause 1.8 primarily relates to the development (or purchase) of the RTO’s assessment resources.

Assessment validation has been strengthened in the Standards for RTOs and the requirement is to:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive plan for ongoing systematic validation of assessment that includes all training products on the RTO’s scope of delivery (Clause 1.9)
  • Validate the assessment practices and judgements for each training product at least once every five years with at least 50% of products to be validated within the first three years of each five-year cycle (Clause 1.10)
  • Ensure that validation is conducted by one or more suitably qualified persons, who are not directly involved in the delivery and/or assessment of the training product being validated. (Clause 1.11).
  • These clauses relate primarily to the actual delivery and outcomes of the RTO’s assessment systems, including the performance of the RTO’s assessors.

Assessment system

Documents required for conducting an effective validation session, in the RTO’s assessment system, includes but is not limited to:

Validation related documents:

  • Validation plan
  • Validation schedule
  • Validation record or validation form
  • Validation register
  • Validation report form
  • Continuous improvement form
  • Continuous improvement register
  • Pre-assessment validation documents

Assessment resources:

  • Unit assessment pack/student pack
  • Trainer assessment pack/assessor pack
  • Mapping document
  • Assessment evidence according to a sample size

Other documents:

  • Training and assessment strategy
  • Feedback forms
  • Unit of competency
  • Companion volume/implementation guide
  • AQF framework
  • ACSF framework

You will be required to evaluate if the assessment resources meet:

  • Training package requirements (application, elements and performance criteria, foundation skills, performance evidence, knowledge evidence, assessment conditions)
  • Principles of assessment; fairness, flexibility, validity and reliability
  • Rules of evidence; valid, sufficient, authentic and current
  • The appropriate level of difficulties (AQF Level)
  • Provide sufficient and clear instructions
  • Record any appropriate adjustments

Who conducts validation?

Validation is a collaborative process. The team must hold collectively:

  • Vocational competencies and current industry skills relevant to the assessment being validated
  • Current knowledge and skills in vocational teaching and learning
  • The TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (or its successor) or the TAESS00001 Assessor Skills Set (or its successor).
  • Validators can be employees of your RTO, or you can seek external validators.

The trainer and assessor who delivered/assessed the training product being validated:

  • Can participate in the validation process as part of a team
  • Cannot conduct the validation on his/her own
  • Cannot determine the validation outcome for any assessment judgements they made
  • Cannot be the lead validator in the assessment team.

It is important to keep the records of all validation activities and validators as auditors might ask for it during audit activities and for managing continuous improvement processes at an RTO.

How is validation different from moderation?

Moderation is a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgements into alignment.

Moderation is generally conducted before the finalisation of student results as it ensures the same decisions are applied to all assessment results within the same unit of competency.

The requirement in the Standards to undertake validation of assessment judgements does not affect your RTO’s ability to undertake moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing the quality of assessment.

(ASQA, 2018)

(To be continued in the next newsletter)

The VET Sector News- August 2021

Australia is facing a severe labour crunch

As the world recuperates from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortage has crippled many advanced economies. To deal with this, Australia has released a Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) – a list of skilled occupations that the Australian government has assessed will be needed to fill critical skills needed to support Australia’s economic recovery.

For more information, Click here.

COVID-19 information letting down international students, non-English speakers

Many international students and temporary visa holders are struggling to grapple with information about the COVID-19 vaccine situation here in the ACT.

Chinese student Dahlia is a recent graduate from the Australian National University (ANU) who currently works in a department store while on a student-dependent visa. She says that many non-English speakers like her are relying on news from China about what is happening in Australia regarding vaccines.

For more information, Click here.

6 Must-Have Workplace Learning Strategies For The Hybrid Workplace

The workplace of the future is hybrid. It implies a blend of in-office and remote employees, some of whom may even rotationally work in an office and remotely. This hybrid model implies that team members are geographically dispersed, even potentially spanning multiple time zones.

This presents a host of challenges, many of which can be resolved with an effective hybrid workplace learning strategy and roadmap.

Truly, the hybrid workplace existed before COVID forced most knowledge workers to engage remotely. The response to the pandemic-triggered remote operations proved that many organizations were ready to face the inherent technical and operational challenges. Now that a hybrid workforce is the recognized reality, many organizations have realized its potential to increase productivity, retain and entice top talent, as well as enhance workflows.

For more information, Click here.

Australia in talks to simplify visa process, waive fees for students

International students in Australia universities could be looking at a future with cheaper and simpler visa processes, as the country works towards resuscitating its international education sector. The Australian Financial Review reports that the Morrison government has been given a roadmap to recovery that includes prioritising students from low-risk countries, simplifying the visa process and waiving fees, regulatory relief for some providers and a marketing campaign to reassure international students they are still welcome to study in Australia.

For more information, Click here.

Why Australian universities must offer students a better deal now

Governments and Australian universities are planning for the recovery of the international student market once Australia can start easing border closures that have had huge impacts on universities and the economy. The situation is becoming increasingly urgent: a new ANU-commissioned analysis shows an alarming fall in international student demand for Australian universities. It’s less than two-thirds of what it was before the pandemic.

For more information, Click here.

Tudge handed recovery road map to reverse overseas student crisis

The Morrison government has been handed a road map to recovery for the $40 billion international student sector that includes giving priority to students from low-risk countries, simplifying the visa process and waiving fees, regulatory relief for some providers and a marketing campaign to reassure students they are still welcome.

he plan, which has been with Education Minister Alan Tudge for more than a week, comes as the government faces increasing rancour over the lack of a national plan to regain dwindling enrolments among international students.

For more information, Click here.

Australia plots international education restart from the bunker

Representative groups put preparatory work in place as latest infections undermine plans to reboot arrivals.

For more information, Click here.

Free building and businesses courses for reskilling during lockdown

TAFE NSW will offer 10 new fee-free courses in mental health, digital security, business administration and construction to help people re-skill during the pandemic.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the fee-free training in areas of employment growth was designed to help support the community through the lockdown.

“Whether you are in lockdown in Greater Sydney, or in a regional community, I urge NSW residents to take advantage of the free training options available that will help build the skills needed to get a head-start in a post-COVID economy,” Mr Lee said.

For more information, Click here.

SD73’s insurance provider for international students suffers cybersecurity breach

KAMLOOPS — School District No. 73 (SD73, Kamloops-Thompson) said it was notified that guard me, the travel and medical insurance provider for its international student program, experienced a cybersecurity breach incident.

Personal information that may be impacted by this incident includes identity information, contact information, and other information provided to support submitted claims.

For more information, Click here.

Immigration update: Australian states open skilled visa nomination programs for 2021-2022

Australian jurisdictions receive quotas from the federal government each year, based on which the states and territories nominate skilled and business migrants for the Skilled Nom­inated visa Subclass 190 and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa Subclass 491.

For more information, Click here.

News Corp and Google launch journalism academy in Australia

News Corp Australia and Google have launched an education program to equip news professionals with the skills for storytelling based on the “commercial realities” of today’s media industry.

The academy, which begins in early 2022, will accept 750 local and regional Australian news professionals over the next three years.

The training will focus on skills such as digital journalism, video and audio production, data journalism, audience measurement, reader revenue, digital business models and marketing.

For more information, Click here.

NSW leading the nation in skilling Australians

More than 100,000 people in NSW have taken up fee free courses since the joint Federal-State JobTrainer initiative was first introduced in October last year.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said NSW was now leading the nation in equipping people with skills after more than half of Australia’s JobTrainer enrolments hailed from NSW.

For more information, Click here.

Australia pioneers ‘stacking’ of micro-credentials into degrees

Comparison websites on the way as admissions centres reinvent their services amid emerging needs and demographic change.

For more information, Click here.

Nearly 100,000 international students leave Australia as borders remain closed

Federal government data indicates Australia has lost more than 100,000 international students over the past financial year. Each student lost can cost the economy nearly $60,000 in terms of tuition fees and overall economic contribution, as per estimates of the International Education Association.

Dilpreet Singh, a former student in Sydney, is amongst hundreds of international students who have resolved to never return to Australia.

The second-year undergraduate told SBS Punjabi that his university’s push to online studies coupled with the government’s “dilly-dallying” towards providing a timeline for the return of overseas students, had compelled him to look at other education destinations like Canada.

For more information, Click here.

Another pilot plan for international student return to Australia delayed

The Greater Sydney lockdown will push back any plans for international student return to Australia until August 28, at least. This lockdown was extended for four weeks on July 27 in view of the rising cases brought about by the notorious Delta variant. It will inevitably pause the New South Wales (NSW) pilot plan, which would enable 250 international students to come to Sydney per fortnight.

The Greater Sydney area includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour. The lockdown has most recently been extended to Newcastle and the Hunter region after 262 new active cases in NSW on August 5, including five deaths. It will last for one week, at least.

For more information, Click here.

Survey details learner engagement satisfaction drops in Australia

The overall quality of education experiences of international students at education providers in Australia fell in 2020, particularly among Chinese and Malaysian undergraduates, a survey has revealed.

Surveying more than 87,000 offshore and onshore international students between July and October 2020, the 2020 International Student Experience Survey showed overall education experience remained largely stable among respondents in vocational education and training, with 84% rating positively in both 2019 and 2020.

For more information, Click here.

Post-COVID-19: Connecting Young People to Jobs of the Future

The pandemic has brought devastating effects on young people especially on their livelihood opportunities and employment prospects. Recent ILO data shows that youth employment fell by 8.7 per cent in 2020 compared with 3.7 per cent for adults. Meanwhile, the world of work continues to rapidly transform. Nearly 50 per cent of companies expect that by 2020, automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce, and more than half of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling.

For more information, Click here.

The pandemic has carved $13.6 billion from Australia’s education sector as international student numbers fall

Closed international borders and limited online study options have reportedly carved $13.6 billion from Australia’s overseas education exports since 2019.

Citing the Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Australian reports the annual value of tertiary education exports, accounting for tuition, accommodation, and related travel expenses, fell from $40.3 billion over the 2019 calendar year to $26.7 billion in the 12 months to June 2021.

For more information, Click here.

JobTrainer mops up unmet demand for training, puts people into jobs

She’s a bit ashamed to admit it, but COVID-19 has been good to Patricia Pattison. The former taxi driver from Townsville, Qld, is among the 200,000 Australians who have undertaken a training course under the 2020 JobTrainer initiative.

In need of a life change after the death of her husband four years ago, Mrs Pattison moved to Sydney to be closer to her two sons, took a leap of faith and half way through last year enrolled in a certificate IV in aged care with TAFE NSW.

For more information, Click here.

OECD Conference | Disrupted futures: International lessons on how schools can best equip students for their working lives

As countries turn their attention from handling a healthcare emergency to dealing with its economic consequences, concern rises over youth unemployment. Even before the pandemic, young people in many countries were facing difficulties in their transitions into work. During the pandemic, young people commonly found themselves disproportionately affected by lay-offs and recruitment freezes. Now, with the world coming out of the crisis, young people find themselves particularly vulnerable in the search for work.

This OECD conference focuses on what schools can do to prepare young people for their transitions through education into ultimate employment.

For more information, Click here.

The Covid-19 surge in Australia is threatening plans for student return

The state government of New South Wales has placed on hold its proposal to allow international students to return home after the state government unveiled a trial plan for a limited-phased return of international students in June.

As a result of the most recent lockdown, there has been a pause in the implementation of this pilot initiative, which could mean that the much-anticipated arrival of international students in Australia is pushed back even further. This is unwelcome news for the thousands of students studying remotely who are eagerly awaiting the possibility of coming to Australia to continue their education.

As of the time of this writing, Australia’s borders had been blocked for 503 days total. Since the entry bank took place on March 20, 2020, overseas students have been denied admission and have received little information about their programme and future.

In 2021, the total number of international students enrolling in Australian universities is expected to drop by a significant margin. Because students are increasingly looking for alternatives to their home nations, the country risks losing its competitiveness in the international education sector if the current trend continues.

In the past financial year alone, the country’s economy suffered a loss of about $6 billion as a result of the decline in international student enrolment, which fell by more than 100,000. When compared to the previous year, education exports decreased by 21.4 per cent in 2020, while international student commencements decreased by over 20 per cent in 2021.

In addition to the obvious financial loss, the impact of this collapse can be seen in the widespread layoffs of university staff across the country’s major institutions. In Melbourne, for example, La Trobe University announced 200 layoffs as a result of a $165 million income drop.

The influence on local communities and businesses is already being seen, as overseas students make up a significant portion of the workforce for small and medium-sized enterprises around Australia.

Despite the claims of the federal government, Australia continues to be the most behind the eight other OECD countries in the administration of Covid-19 vaccines to its adult populations. The country’s population has been vaccinated to a level of less than 16 per cent as of now, and it may take another seven months until the current national immunisation goal is met.

According to the prime minister, the country will need to vaccinate 80 per cent of its adult population before it will even consider reopening its border. It has been suggested that this may only be doable by the end of the year by the Grattan Institute, an Australian public policy think tank

In addition, it is being argued that Australia must change its approach to handling Covid-19, and that waiting for the number of instances to reach zero is no longer a feasible option. A proactive approach is preferable, as is taking inspiration from the methods of other forward-looking democratic countries, such as taking a careful and measured approach to opening up to the rest of the world, rather than reacting reactively.

In the future, the Australian federal government may wish to consider a careful and progressive opening of its borders to international students and other necessary travellers, as well as studying the possibility of instituting a vaccine-visa regime.

As more of Australia’s population has been vaccinated, the government may also consider stepping away from the Fortress Australia approach.

Some ESOS courses are no longer required to be registered with CRICOS

It is now allowed for registered training providers to offer certain supplementary courses to international students without having those courses listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

The Education Services for Overseas Students (Exempt Courses) Instrument 2021, which exempts some supplementary courses from the ESOS Act, took effect on June 29, 2021. The legislative instrument can be found at

The instrument allows non-CRICOS registered providers to deliver ESOS-exempt courses to international students, provided that the provider meets all of the domestic RTO standards and requirements for registration and delivery of the courses.

According to a press release from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), the instrument will make it easier for international students to enrol in a variety of supplementary courses, such as hobby and recreational courses, as well as other short courses that may be required for employment while studying in Australia or working here now. These are low-cost and short in duration, and they allow international students to obtain pre-requisite industry qualifications to enrich their Australian experience while also improving their skills, increasing the likelihood of them finding work in a wider range of fields and reducing the likelihood of them being exploited at their place of employment (also known as workplace exploitation). Supplementary courses can be taken by students in addition to their major, CRICOS-registered course at the training organisation. Students will not be eligible to apply for a student visa solely on the basis of their enrolment in a course or courses that are exempted from the requirement. First aid, infection control, construction white cards, and responsible service of alcoholic beverages are among the courses that are excluded from the requirement.

Prior to the implementation of these changes to the definition, of course, the additional administrative and financial investment required to maintain CRICOS registration meant that only a small number of providers offered these courses to international students, limiting students’ access to training for employment in industries such as hospitality, health care, and construction, among others.

These reforms will allow education providers to more easily enter the market and offer a broader range of supplementary courses to international students, as well as assist Australian businesses in filling short-term skill shortages in order to deliver critically important goods and services to the international community. allows students to search for training providers who provide a specific course by entering a specific training course code, title, occupations or a specific delivery location.

List of exempted units of competency and qualifications

Units of competency

The following units of competency and any unit identified in the National Register referred to in section 216 of the National Vocational and Training Regulator Act 2011 as a later version of, or a superseding unit of the following units, are specified:

AHCCHM304 Transport and store chemicals
AHCCHM307 Prepare and apply chemicals to control pest, weeds and diseases
HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation
HLTAID010 Provide basic emergency life support
HLTAID011 Provide First Aid
HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an education and care setting
HLTAID013 Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site
HLTAID014 Provide Advanced First Aid
HLTAID015 Provide advanced resuscitation and oxygen therapy
HLTAID016 Manage first aid services and resources
HLTINFCOV001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures
HLTINF001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures
BSBWHS332X Apply infection prevention and control procedures to own work activities
SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol
HLTWHS005 Conduct manual tasks safely
SITHGAM001 Provide responsible gambling services
SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety
SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices
CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry
SITHFAB005 Prepare and serve espresso coffee
TLILIC0003 Licence to operate a forklift truck

VET courses

The following VET courses and any courses identified in the National Register referred to in section 216 of the National Vocational and Training Regulator Act 2011 as a later version of, or a superseding course of the following courses, are specified:

22556VIC Course in the Management of Asthma Risks and Emergencies in the Workplace
22578VIC Course in First Aid Management of Anaphylaxis

Need clarification or advice? Email or call us on 1300 266 160

RTO Survey: Mandatory Work Requirements for Certificate III in Individual Support

The Human Services Skills Organisation is conducting a survey about Mandatory Work Placement for students completing the Certificate III in Individual Support. RTOs delivering this qualification are encouraged to share their feedback to address their experiences in accessing the mandatory work placements.

For more information, Click here.

COVID-19 and changes in the changes in the Financial Viability and Risk Assessment (FVRA)

It poses significant challenges for RTOs to continue to provide high-quality training and ensure that students complete their courses during periods of lockdown and restrictions. The commercial prospects of many RTOs have been adversely harmed by the quarantine at home and travel restrictions implemented here and overseas. Under these circumstances, RTOs are under a great deal of pressure to meet the standards of the financial viability risk assessment (FVRA).

The market research for any courses you may be considering to offer will need to be conducted in a different manner than it has previously been done. Furthermore, a COVID-like scenario will have to be taken into consideration as part of your plan.

The Financial Viability and Risk Assessment (FVRA) is a method used by ASQA to determine if an applicant who wants to register an RTO or an existing RTO has the financial capability to provide quality training and outcomes for learners.

According to the FVRA, the following circumstances for an RTO would be regarded as “viable” if they occur:

  • There is sufficient financial capacity for the business to acquire the necessary assets and physical resources to meet all of its registration requirements during the RTO registration period.
  • The organisation has the financial resources to engage qualified staff to handle both the administration and the teaching of the courses where the students have been enrolled.
  • Students can still benefit from the services offered by the organisation.
  • The organisation can run on a continual basis to ensure that each student completes the course they enrol in.
  • Even in an uncertain climate, the organisation is able to meet the aforementioned requirements.

The Financial Viability Risk Assessment (FVRA) tool, developed by ASQA, has undergone a number of updates. Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements 2011 is scheduled to sunset in October 2021. The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator’s (Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements) Instrument 2021 is now in force. It has been decided to make these adjustments in order to examine an institution’s financial viability to continue operating in the event of unforeseen situations.

The latest copy of the legislation can be found at

In short, the changes are:

Part 3 Authority

The insertion of ‘Authority’ in order to indicate the parent law. This instrument is made under subsection 158(1) of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

Part 4

In this section, definitions have been clarified in a detailed manner.

Part 6 Intent

  1. The National VET Regulator requires an NVR registered training organisation to demonstrate its financial viability at any point in time, upon request.
  2. The assessment of an organisation’s financial viability risk is directed at evaluating the likelihood of its business continuity, and its capacity to achieve quality outcomes. In particular, the assessment informs a judgement about whether the organisation has the financial resources necessary to:

(a) acquire the requisite assets and physical resources to deliver all qualifications on its scope of registration
(b) employ sufficient appropriately qualified staff to cover the courses for which it takes enrolments
(c) provide appropriate levels of student services to students
(d) remain in business to ensure that each student can achieve completion
(e) meet the above requirements, even in an unsure environment.

In essence, the legislation states that an RTO must be able to demonstrate its financial viability at any moment, independent of what is happening in the real world.

Part 8 Obligation to submit to assessment at any time

Section 8 of the new legislation includes requirements for auditing, which are described below.

  1. An NVR registered training organisation must submit to an assessment of financial viability risk by a qualified independent financial auditor nominated by the National VET Regulator at other times during the registration period as determined by the National VET Regulator in accordance with the Risk Assessment Framework.
  2. The obligation to submit to the assessment referred to in (1) also applies to parent organisations, affiliated companies or organisations that have a vested interest in the organisation.

The top 10 key takeaways

So, what are the top 10 key takeaways from the most recent legislative changes?:

  1. Concentrate on marketing and establishing your organisation as a successful venture.
  2. Prepare a comprehensive risk management plan, with particular attention paid to dealing with unforeseen scenarios (such as COVID-19).
  3. Make certain that the figures and estimates you report are correct.
  4. It is recommended that providers who are coming out of hibernation engage lawyers and RTO consultants such as CAQA before applying to return to regular status.
  5. Concentrate on how your organisation may use digital learning and offer courses online.
  6. Ongoing evaluation of your business plan and financial viability risk assessment should be a top priority (at least once on an annual basis)
  7. Have detailed policies, plans and processes in place to handle financial resources in the event of unforeseen events
  8. Include additional “reserve funds” to provide as a financial buffer in the event of unforeseen scenarios such as COVID-19.
  9. Pay close attention to liquidity and break-even, and whether or not your RTO can manage the cash flow necessary to pay outgoings, tax debt, and other fixed financial obligations especially in the event of unforeseen scenarios..
  10. Note that the FVRA tool must be developed and approved by a certified accountant before it can be used.

Confused? Need advice? Email or call us on 1300 266 160

Message from the General Manager (8 August 2021)

Message from the General Manager

With this edition of our monthly newsletter THE VET Sector, we will discuss the most recent changes to the Financial Viability and Risk Assessment (FVRA) and its impact on training organisations, the best strategies for remaining financially viable, and other important news and updates related to vocational education and training, among other topics.

We’re very interested in hearing how you’ve been getting along during this lockdown period. What strategies did you put in place to ensure your financial viability? What are your thoughts on the most recent developments in the Vocational Education and Training Sector? In order to discuss anything relevant to the VET Sector with us or to request that we include a particular issue in one of our future newsletters, please send us your comments and feedback through email to

Anna Haranas
General Manager, CAQA

Assessment issues that may have an impact on 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