As the national regulator for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) seeks to make sure that the sector's quality and reputation is maintained through the effective regulation of training providers and accredited courses.
ASQA takes a risk-based approach to regulation that is consistent with The Australian Government Guide to Regulation. Taking a risk-based approach means that ASQA assesses identifiable risks to the reputation and quality of the VET sector and applies a range of regulatory responses proportionate to the risks identified.
ASQA’s Regulatory Risk Framework (PDF) outlines how ASQA identifies and responds proportionately to two types of risk in the VET sector: systemic risk and provider risk.
Taking a risk-based approach recognises that ASQA cannot mitigate all risks, but must focus effort on the most significant risks identified. This can involve working with other regulatory, funding and policy bodies to treat risks beyond ASQA’s jurisdiction that may undermine confidence in the sector or in ASQA’s ability to regulate effectively.
Managing risk in the VET sector
The primary risk for ASQA to manage is a registered training organisation certifying that a person has competencies that do not reflect his/her skills, knowledge and attitudes.
The potential damage flows not just to the individual, but to employers, and the wider community.
On a broader level, ASQA seeks to manage risks likely to impact stakeholders’ confidence in the VET sector, particularly where the resulting harm is significant and impedes ASQA ability to effectively undertake its functions. Risks of this kind are identified as priorities in ASQA’s Regulatory Strategy.
Ensuring training meets the needs of Australian industry
In its regulatory approach, ASQA works to achieve a balance between the wider interest of Australian industry and Australian employers and the specific interests of the vocational education industry.
Australian businesses need a skilled workforce. Through the work of Skills Service Organisations in developing training packages, industry defines the skills required by the labour market. ASQA ensures that registered training organisations are meeting the requirements of these industry-developed training packages, so that VET graduates have the required skills and competencies for employment.