Clauses 1.1 – 1.4
Implement a comprehensive training and assessment strategy
The RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices, including the amount of training they provide, are consistent with the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses and enable each learner to meet the requirements for each unit of competency or module in which they are enrolled.
For the purposes of Clause 1.1, the RTO determines the amount of training they provide to each learner with regard to:
- the existing skills, knowledge and the experience of the learner
- the mode of delivery; and
- where a full qualification is not being delivered, the number of units and/or modules being delivered as a proportion of the full qualification.
The RTO has, for all of its scope of registration, and consistent with its training and assessment strategies, sufficient:
- trainers and assessors to deliver the training and assessment;
- educational and support services to meet the needs of the learner cohort/s undertaking the training and assessment;
- 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; and
- facilities, whether physical or virtual, and equipment to accommodate and support the number of learners undertaking the training and assessment.
The RTO meets all requirements specified in the relevant training package or VET accredited course.
What this Standard means for your RTO
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for qualifications in the Australian education and training system. The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 requires that RTOs comply with the AQF as a condition of their registration. The AQF recognises RTOs as ‘authorised issuing organisations’, able to issue AQF qualifications and statements of attainment to learners who have satisfied the relevant competency requirements. All authorised issuing organisations are required to comply with the requirements of the AQF, including the volume of learning. The AQF has full effect from 1 January 2015.
Your RTO is required to develop and implement approaches—including by providing access to suitable resources, facilities and trainers—that ensure learners gain all relevant skills and knowledge.
The AQF provides a guide to the volume of learning (see table below), which describes how long a learner who does not hold any of the competencies identified in the relevant units of competency or modules would take to develop all the required skills and knowledge. The volume of learning includes all teaching and learning activities such as guided learning (classes, lectures, tutorials, online or self-paced study), individual study, research, learning activities in the workplace and assessment activities. The amount of training provided by your RTO is part of the overall volume of learning and relates primarily to formal activities including classes and other activities as well as workplace learning.
Your RTO is required to comply with the AQF in applying the volume of learning to your programs. You must therefore develop and implement strategies for training and assessment that are consistent with the AQF.
In a competency-based training environment, learners aren’t required to study for a specified number of weeks or months; however, your RTO must still be able to identify and explain any significant variations from the time periods described in the AQF.
If a course is structured so as to be completed in a shorter time period than that described in the AQF, you will need to clearly describe, using a rationale based on the previous skills and knowledge and the needs of learners, how a specific learner cohort:
- has the characteristics to achieve the required rigour and depth of training
- can meet all of the competency requirements in a shorter timeframe.
Your description must take into account the need to allow learners to reflect on and absorb the knowledge, to practise the skills in different contexts and to learn to apply the skills and knowledge in the varied environments that the ‘real world’ offers before being assessed.
Australian Qualifications Framework volume of learning indicators*
|0.5 – 1 year
||0.5 – 1 year
||1 – 2 years
||0.5 – 2 years
||1 – 2 years
||1.5 – 2 years
||0.5 – 1 year
||1 – 2 years
|600 – 1200 hours
||600 – 1200 hours
||1200 – 2400 hours
||600 – 2400 hours
||1200 – 2400 hours
||1800 – 2400 hours
||600 – 1200 hours
||1200 – 2400 hours
Hours above are sourced from the AQF ‘Volume of Learning: An Explanation’
- Certificate III qualifications are often the basis for trade outcomes and undertaken as part of a traineeship or apprenticeship. In these cases, up to four years may be required to achieve the learning outcomes.
- Certificate IV qualifications are often either:
- shorter duration specialist qualifications that build on existing skills and knowledge
- longer duration qualifications that are designed as entry level requirements for specific work roles.
* These indicators are considered to be a starting point only and many factors can affect the amount of training required.
A shorter course may be acceptable if, for example, the learner cohort comprises experienced workers who already have most of the required skills and knowledge. Because these learners have previous relevant experience, it may be appropriate to deliver the program over a shorter period. Assessment requirements must still be met in such programs, although some assessment may be undertaken by recognising existing skills and knowledge. Be aware that, in some cases where learners have been employed long-term in an industry, their range of skills and knowledge may be very narrow. They may not have the capacity to fully demonstrate these in a broader context or in different environments.
Where the learner cohort consists of new entrants or inexperienced workers, before assessment you must give them the opportunity to fully absorb the required knowledge, and to develop skills over time in the different contexts they would experience in the workplace. This may require a longer timeframe than for those learners with significant industry experience.
RTOs must provide equitable access to all required educational and support services, so that no learner is disadvantaged regardless of their mode of study or location. Make any limitations regarding access to these resources clear in your pre-enrolment information so clients and learners can make an informed choice about which RTO and course of study best meets their needs.
Your RTO must provide learners with access to necessary resources, either by owning, leasing, or renting these resources, or by arranging for resources to be accessible to the learners in another way.
In the case of workplace delivery, many of the required resources may be readily available; however, some workplaces will not have access to all required resources and you will need to address any such gaps.
Training packages and VET accredited courses describe the requirements for assessment of learners, including any specific environments or equipment that must be used. Assessment methods must ensure that only properly skilled learners are determined as competent. When conducting assessment, adhere to all requirements such as the context of assessment and essential resources, as described in the unit or module.
When using ‘simulated’ workplace environments, ensure they fully replicate the resources, environment and any time and productivity pressures that exist in the actual workplace. It is important to ensure the development and use of simulated environments is informed by consultation with industry stakeholders to ensure relevance to real workplaces.
You must, at all times, have all resources available to deliver every training product on your RTO’s scope of registration—whether you are currently delivering it or not. These resources must comply with any specific requirements in the training package or accredited course. The quantity of these resources required will depend on how many learners you are delivering to, or intend to deliver to. Your training and assessment strategies should include guidance on the level of resources needed per learner or per group.
If you are seeking initial registration as an RTO, you are expected to have access to all of the required resources, as stated in the training package or accredited course, in place at the time of submitting your application, for all training products included in your application. ASQA will conduct an audit against all training products you have applied for to establish that you have:
- access to all resources
- sound strategies ready to implement.
If ASQA grants your registration, future compliance audits will assess whether the strategies have been implemented.
A guide to compliance
RTOs must develop a strategy or strategies for each training product they are registered to deliver, in the format they choose. Different strategies may need to be developed for different delivery models or target groups. The strategy may consist of multiple documents; however, there must be consistency between these documents so that the overall strategy is clearly described.
Your training and assessment strategy should not be ‘static’. It needs to be regularly updated to take into account changes in industry technology and techniques, legislation, and the training package itself, as well as the availability of resources within your RTO. The strategy must also be consistent with the advertising and other material you provide to prospective learners.
You may need to develop multiple strategies where the needs of different learner cohorts require different approaches to the delivery of training and/or assessment.
RTOs should address, at minimum, the following areas in each strategy:
Ensure that you clearly identify the training product the strategy relates to. Include the code and full title to ensure this is clear.
Core and elective components (full qualifications)
If delivering a full qualification, identify core and elective components in accordance with the structure defined in the training package or course. Define which elective units or modules are being offered so you can properly plan for all delivery variables. Identify any entry requirements, as well as pre-requisite and co-requisite units, and the sequencing of delivery and assessment.
Mode of delivery
Identify how the training and assessment is to be delivered—face-to-face, online, through workplace training or a mixture of different modes.
Identify any mandatory requirements for learners commencing the program, such as qualifications that must be held or periods of industry experience. It can also be useful at this stage to identify any areas where learners may need additional support (e.g. if they have low English levels) and to identify whether leaners’ physical attributes may influence their ability to complete the training and assessment (e.g. if heavy lifting is required).
Duration and scheduling
Analyse the nature of your learner cohort. Use the analysis and any specific requirements of the training package to determine how your RTO will schedule training and assessment activities to ensure learners are able to fully develop the required skills and knowledge prior to being assessed. It may be necessary to indicate variations for some cohorts due to their specific learning needs.
Assessment resources, methods and timing
Training packages and VET accredited courses often specify resources that must be used in assessment at a unit of competency level. Include details of how you will ensure learners have access to the resources that will give them the best chance of completing their study. Identify:
- assessment resources
- assessment methods to be used
- timing of assessment
- any adjustments that may be needed to cater for different learner characteristics.
To ensure learners 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.
Either in a strategy or separately, document the human resources available to deliver the training product. This ensures suitable trainers and assessors are available for all training products on your RTO’s scope of registration. Record this at a unit of competency level to ensure any specific requirements are met, and to allow your RTO to deploy staff efficiently.
Compare the physical resources required to deliver a training product with the resources available to your RTO. Many units of competency include detailed specifications of resources required, so conducting this analysis at a unit of competency level ensures these requirements are addressed.
Strategies for ‘stand-alone’ single units or skill sets
Develop and implement a strategy in the same way as you would for a qualification, noting that some information may not be relevant, such as information on core and elective units.
Often, this type of delivery is aimed at an industry licence or accreditation. Identify all of the requirements of that licence or accreditation in the strategy (including any possible entry requirements such as minimum age) and explain how learners can readily attain the desired outcome. Identify any pre-requisite and co-requisite units, and the sequence of delivery and assessment.
Strategies for ‘assessment only’ pathways
Where your RTO offers an ‘assessment only’ pathway, develop and implement a strategy that covers:
- assessment methods, timing and resources
- how issues will be addressed (for example, if a learner does not achieve the competency requirements)
- You may set specific requirements such as a minimum period of industry experience before commencing the program (if so, these requirements need to be made clear to prospective learners prior to enrolment).
Case study: Providing workplace assessment at a mine site
ABC Mining delivers the Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response and Rescue to its staff working in a large open-cut mine. Many learners have two years’ experience and already hold some of the units for the qualification (e.g. first aid). Training and assessment are carried out in both on-site training facilities and the workplace. The course is delivered over 12 months, with formal training and assessment one day a week and on-the-job observation by assessors. Between one and two hours a week is allocated for each learner for observation and assistance, depending on the stage of the course and any additional support needs identified.
After selecting suitable elective units, the Training Manager discusses suitable opportunities for workplace assessment with the Mine Site Supervisor. ABC Mining decides to simulate some tasks, such as conducting rescue activities, where permitted by the training package. To ensure the simulations accurately represent workplace conditions, the Training Manager arranges access to an unused area of the site and establishes simulated environments that replicate workplace conditions.
As these activities are carried out in a team, ABC Mining ensures every learner is assessed for all components by repeating the simulations regularly, with each learner carrying out every role in the team over time. These activities are separated by formal training sessions. The activities commence with simple, routine tasks then gradually introduce further complexity and different conditions. This ensures learners are assessed on the actual skills and ability to apply knowledge to a variety of contexts in the same conditions they will experience in the workplace. It also ensures they can build on their skills over time.
Where it is suitable to observe learners undertaking regular workplace tasks, a schedule is developed with the Mine Site Supervisor that allows assessors to observe each learner on multiple occasions. These observations include the assessor asking the learner a range of questions to test their knowledge and ability to apply knowledge to different contexts.
The learning resources refer to the actual workplace procedures used on the site. This ensures the resources are up to date and relevant. Using actual workplace procedures also allows ABC Mining to conduct the course at other sites with minimal changes.
To ensure all unit requirements are addressed, and to identify opportunities to conduct holistic assessment of multiple requirements, the performance evidence and knowledge evidence requirements are documented, then ‘mapped’ to the assessment tasks prior to assessment being conducted.