Where ASQA identifies systemic risks to the vocational education and training (VET) sector, it may undertake a ‘strategic review’ of a particular sub-sector of the VET system, or of a particular type of qualification, course, or method of delivery.
These reviews involve examining systemic poor practice through a range of research methods.
ASQA’s first three strategic reviews were completed and released in 2013.
The reviews considered:
- Training for aged and community care in Australia
- Training for the 'White Card' for Australia's construction industry
- Marketing and advertising practices of Australia's registered training organisations
The three reviews made recommendations to strengthen the underpinning VET regulatory framework; clarify the specific requirements for the relevant training packages; strengthen regulatory oversight; and ensure the findings of the review are communicated to training providers.
Since the release of the reviews, significant enhancements have been made to the regulatory framework that have addressed the recommendations made. These enhancements include:
In 2015, revised Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 were implemented. Amongst other things, the Standards strengthened the requirements for RTOs to:
- be accurate and specific when marketing their training. Specifically, Clause 4.1 requires information, whether disseminated directly by the RTO or on its behalf, is both accurate and factual, and accurately represents the services it provides and the training products on its scope of registration; and
- implement an assessment system that ensures assessment is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence (which have been included at Clause 1.8).
In December 2015, a revised Aged and Community Care training package was introduced. The new training package included:
- mandatory work placement of 120 hours in the core of the Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications;
- a requirement that assessment in the workplace be undertaken in critical units, some requiring assessment first in a simulated environment prior to assessment in the workplace; and
- greater specification in the revised units HLTHPS006 Assist clients with medication and HLTHPS007 Administer and monitor medications, whereby assessment is to be undertaken by a Registered Nurse who is also a qualified VET assessor, and assessment must be undertaken in the workplace.
In December 2016, CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry was released. The new unit of competency requires RTOs to ensure that:
- the learners are observed during assessment directly or via audio visual media in real time; and
- assessors hold the specified unit of competency CPCCOHS2001A Apply OHS requirements, policies and procedures in the construction industry (or its successor).
In April 2016, a revised Training and Education training package was released.
The new TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment introduced higher standards for trainer and assessors across the VET workforce. It includes an additional core unit on the development of effective assessment tools (design and develop assessment tools). The additional unit aims to ensure that:
- trainers and assessors have a greater depth of knowledge about good assessment tools; and
- students graduating from VET courses will be more effectively assessed as having the necessary skills and knowledge to do the job.
ASQA is applying continuing regulatory scrutiny to relevant training packages:
- Aged and community care qualifications and the white card unit of competency are included in audits where these courses are on the scope of registration of a RTO subject to an audit; and
- ASQA is applying enhanced scrutiny in assessing applications to add the updated TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification to an RTO’s scope of registration, including focusing on past practice. This approach reflects the critical role this qualification plays in assuring quality in the VET sector.
ASQA has implemented a range of information and communication strategies to ensure RTOs are fully aware of these new arrangements:
- In late 2014, ASQA conducted the first of their RTO information sessions. The first sessions focussed on the 2015 RTO standards and included specific sessions on marketing and advertising and assessment strategies and practices (including white card assessment strategies). The information sessions in 2016 and 2017 have also included sessions on assessment strategies and practices. Further information is available on the Presentations page.
- Specific information materials, including Frequently Asked Questions
- Fact sheets and a User’s guide to the Standards for RTOs 2015 have been released; and
- In late 2015, ASQA and the Community Services and Health Industry Council (CSHISC) hosted a series of free webinars for RTOs offering qualifications in aged and community care. The webinar provided an update on the 2015 RTO standards, revisions to the aged and community care training packages and achievements since the release of the aged and community care strategic review (Training in aged and community care webinar, November 2015).
In relation to the recommendations that sought to address course duration, these issues are further explored in ASQA’s review of issues relating to unduly short training. The report was released on 30 June 2017 and makes recommendations to government as to how the risk posed by unduly short courses can be addressed across the VET sector.
ASQA considers that the recommendations from the three strategic reviews have been addressed appropriately:
- Training for aged and community care in Australia;
- Training for the ‘White Card’ for Australia’s Construction Industry; and
- Marketing and advertising practices of Australia’s registered training organisations.
ASQA acknowledges the effort and commitment made by the relevant stakeholders in pursuing these improvements.