In Australia, the legislative and regulatory framework that regulates the VET sector is complex because it involves both federal and state legislation and regulatory frameworks. In addition government funding for the VET sector is also provided through federal and state funding frameworks.
What is the Australian Skills Quality Authority?
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national body that regulates the VET sector.
More specifically, ASQA regulates registered training organisations (RTOs). This includes the application process involved in becoming an RTO.
What are ASQA’s objectives?
ASQA takes a risk-based approach to the VET sector, which means that it applies a range of regulatory responses proportionate to the risks identified.
From a policy perspective, ASQA’s main concern is to ensure that an RTO does not certify that a person has competencies that do not reflect their skills, knowledge and attitudes.
ASQA also aims to prevent situations where key stakeholders may lose confidence in the VET sector.
Further, ASQA endeavours to ensure that VET courses are industry based and have a connection to a real industry. It tries to ensure that students completing a particular VET course will be qualified to work in a particular industry, and that jobs exist in that industry.
If you want to set up an RTO, do you have to apply to ASQA?
If you are based in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory and you wish to set up an RTO, you will need to apply to ASQA.
The process is far from straightforward. You will have to navigate a complicated and time-consuming set of steps, as well as meet a series of mandatory requirements.
It is also important to understand that ASQA will subject your application to a rigorous assessment process, so you will need to ensure you have ticked all the boxes.
If you wish to set up an RTO, you will need to comply with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Quality Framework, which is administered by ASQA and comprises the following:
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015
- Australian Qualifications Framework
- Fit and Proper Person Requirements
- Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements
- Data Provision Requirements
As you can see, the process for obtaining approval to become an RTO, as well as for maintaining registration, involves meeting a series of standards.
An RTO needs to show that it is:
- Responding to industry and learner needs
- Providing quality assurance
- Providing secure and accurate certification
- Providing accessible information about its services
- Informing and protecting learners
- Handling complaints in a fair, efficient and effective manner.
In addition, the RTO must have effective governance and administration arrangements in place. It must also cooperate with ASQA and ensure that it is legally compliant at all times.
Is the situation different if you want to apply to register an RTO in Victoria or Western Australia?
If you are based in Victoria, depending on what kinds of VET service you are offering, it may be appropriate for you to register with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) rather than ASQA.
If you are based in Western Australia, you will also need to check whether you should register with the Training and Accreditation Council (TAC) Western Australia rather than ASQA. Like Victoria, this depends on the type of VET service you are offering.
How do you ensure that a registered RTO remains compliant, given the constantly changing regulatory framework?
We recommend setting up processes and procedures that monitor the changes in the regulatory framework so that you know when you need to modify the way your RTO is administered.
How can we help?
At Barraket Stanton, we are experts in the VET sector.
We can assist you with:
- Selecting the right business structure for your RTO
- Navigating the RTO registration process
- Ensuring that your RTO meets the requirements for ongoing registration
- RTO registration and other audit processes
- Making changes to your RTO registration
- Renewal of your RTO registration
- Withdrawal of your RTO registration
- Handling complaints about your RTO
- Contesting ASQA and other regulatory decisions
- Appealing decisions made by ASQA and other regulatory and funding bodies.