ASQA initiated a review into the marketing and advertising practices of Australia’s registered training organisations (RTOs) in December 2012. The review was developed in response to serious and persistent concerns raised by the training sector about RTOs and other bodies providing misleading marketing and advertising.
The review assessed the websites of 480 organisations' marketing and advertising services. Of these websites, 421 belonged to registered training organisations and 59 to unregistered training organisations.
The report was published in September 2013. The findings, recommendations, and outcomes from this review are discussed below.
Key findings of the review include:
- Up to 45 % of the RTOs were marketing and advertising misleading information.
- Some marketing and advertising practices breach the standards. Organisations that are not RTOs are acting as brokers for those that are, which in many cases is misleading consumers.
- Consumers (including students and employers) are often provided with ambiguous information, or insufficient information to make informed training choices.
The review's key recommendations include:
- that ASQA prioritise RTOs’ marketing and advertising in its regulation
- that ASQA undertake periodic random sampling of websites to identify potential non-compliance with the standards, and conduct national workshops to reinforce and explain to registered training organisations the requirements of the standards
- that the standards relating to marketing and advertising are enhanced
- that the standards-setting body and vocational education and training (VET) regulators to work together to address volume of learning concerns identified in the strategic review, and
- that measures to ensure the protection of consumers using VET brokers are considered.
The review made eight recommendations, some of which proposed that ASQA take certain actions in carrying out its regulatory functions. Others recommendations involved VET sector stakeholders. ASQA is progressively implementing those recommendations that relate directly to its regulatory functions, and is working with VET stakeholders to implement the other recommendations.
The ASQA help centre includes a range of marketing and advertising frequently asked questions.