In June last year, the assistant minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews announced a major review of the legislative framework governing regulation of the vocational education and training (VET) sector, saying that the review will look at whether Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) legislative powers enable the agency to effectively protect students, employers and the public against providers that don’t meet quality standards.
According to Andrews the independent review supports the Australian Government’s significant improvements to the quality and reputation of the VET sector.
“A review of the NVETR Act will determine if the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has appropriate legislative capacity to efficiently and effectively regulate the sector,” said Andrews.
“Professor at Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance Valerie Braithwaite is leading the review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVETR Act) and I expect a report by the end of 2017.
“The regulator must have powers to act swiftly to protect students, employers and the public against providers that don’t meet high quality standards and it will also evaluate if ASQA’s functions and powers are consistent with best regulatory practice and how well the system meets the needs of industry and students.”
“Any changes to strengthen ASQA’s regulatory approach will fuel the Government’s efforts to maintain a high-quality VET sector that works for students, employers and taxpayers,” said Andrews.
So what is VET?
Vocational education and training (VET) is an important part of any industry as it enables people to gain qualifications for all types of employment, and specific skills to help them in the chosen profession.
The are a number of providers of VET courses including TAFE institutes, adult and community education providers and agricultural colleges, as well as private providers, community organisations, industry skill centres, and commercial and enterprise training providers. It is provided through the federal government states and territories that work together to ensure that training courses are consistent throughout Australia.
It’s important to understand that when undertaking VET that it’s done through a registered training organisations (RTOs) who is registered by ASQA to deliver VET courses and services. If the RTO is not registered with ASQA, inadequate training may compromise health and safety.
Currently there are 5000 RTO’s recognised as providers of quality-assured and nationally recognised training and qualifications.
ASQA say there are a number of advantages of registered training organisations including:
- deliver nationally recognised courses and accredited Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) VET qualifications,
- apply for Australian, state and territory funding to deliver vocational education and training.
- Certificates I, II, III and IV
- Advanced Diploma
- Vocational Graduate Certificate
- Vocational Graduate Diploma.
What are RTO’s and what role does ASQA?
RTO’s are also regulated by ASQA in accordance with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012. Accreditation means the course is nationally recognised and that a registered training organisation (RTO) has the authority to issue a nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualification or VET statement of attainment following a courses full or partial completion. The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 include the course design standards that must be met for accredited which is regulated by ASQA.
The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 apply to all courses regulated by ASQA, including those courses that were accredited by referring state and territory course accreditation bodies prior to 2011.
The Industry and Skills Council has also endorsed the Standards for VET Regulators 2015 with the purpose of the standards ensuring:
- integrity of nationally recognised training by regulating RTOs and VET accredited courses
- consistency in the VET regulators’ implementation and interpretation of the standards applying to RTOs and VET accredited courses, and
- accountability and transparency of VET regulators.
Under Australian legislation the Standards set out by the Industry and Skills Council require ASQA to:
- use a risk-based approach to regulation, implementing processes that are fair, transparent, responsive and consistent and which uphold the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness
- use auditors and accreditation assessors who meet agreed competency requirements
- develop and implement a code of conduct for auditors and course accreditation assessors to ensure contemporary best practice approaches to regulation are used
- assist RTOs to comply with the Standards for RTOs 2015and provide information to the sector on emerging risks
- manage the scope of registration of all RTOs so that only current training products are delivered
- publish decisions to impose sanctions on RTOs, together with the reasons for the decisions
- accept and manage complaints about RTOs, and about ASQA’s role as a regulator, using publicly available processes
- report and respond to requests from the Industry and Skills Council
- make service standards publicly available, and regularly review their performance against these service standards and the regulator Standards.
- analysing complaints about RTOs, and
- engaging with industry, industry regulators and other VET regulators.
- less regulatory intervention, while those that are considered higher risks are subject to more frequent intervention.
Alertforce are recognised as one of the leading VET training centres in Australia. They offer a number of training courses in asbestos management and removal, fatigue management, working from heights, traffic control plus many more WHS courses designed to ensure workplaces are safe. https://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training-courses/