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About the International Skills Training Courses Program

The International Skills Training Program is managed by the Department of Education. More information can be found at www.education.qov.au/internationalskillstraininq and enquiries can be directed to internationalskillstraininq [at] education.qov.au.

The International Skills Training (IST) Courses have been developed by the Australian Government for offshore delivery by approved Australian RTOs to support offshore skilling needs. The courses are not AQF qualifications and therefore are not accredited or regulated by ASQA. The Department of Education and Training manages the program and its associated compliance requirements. Information or queries relating to the regulation and oversight of the program should be referred to internationalskillstraininq [at] education.qov.au.

Not all Australian registered training organisations can deliver the IST courses. RTOs must apply for a licence to deliver the IST courses. A detailed list of eligibility criteria can be found in the Program Guidelines − available at www.education.gov.au/internationalskillstraining.

Are all partnerships between RTOs third party arrangements?

There are some circumstances where two RTOs may work together, but it is not a third party arrangement. This table shows some example scenarios of commercial arrangements between RTOs that are not third party arrangements.

Scenario RTO 1 activities RTO 1 activities 2
RTO 1 (for example, an enterprise RTO) engages RTO 2 to deliver training and/or assessment to its staff.

RTO 1 engages RTO 2 to deliver training to its staff.

There may be some involvement from RTO 1, which may include workplace training and supervision.

RTO 2 is responsible for enrolling students and for all aspects of training, assessment and compliance.
RTO 1 (for example, an employment services agency) refers a recipient to RTO 2 to deliver training and/or assessment for that person. RTO 1 refers a person to RTO 2 to deliver training. RTO 2 is responsible for enrolling students and for all aspects of marketing, recruitment, training, assessment and compliance.
RTO 1 rents space or facilities from RTO 2. RTO 1 rents classrooms or other facilities from RTO 2 in order to deliver training and/or assessment to students of RTO 1. RTO 2 has no involvement in training and/or assessment.

Are electronic signatures instead of original signatures acceptable on testamurs and statements of attainment?

Electronic signatures are acceptable if you can demonstrate that there are effective systems in place to prevent fraudulent use of the signature.

Are equivalent training products automatically added to CRICOS providers’ scopes?

Where a superseded training product is replaced on an RTO’s scope of registration with an equivalent product, and the same superseded training product is on the provider’s CRICOS registration the equivalent training product is automatically added. The superseded training products end dates are changed to reflect the end of the transition period.

Are nominal hours referred to as supervised hours for assessment?

Yes. Nominal hours are also referred to as supervised hours for course accreditation. Nominal hours represent the supervised, structured learning and assessment activity required to sufficiently address the content of each unit.

Are providers required to create a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for students studying more than one course?

While the ESOS Act does not compel a provider to create a CoE for a student who is studying a secondary course, ASQA considers it important that providers issue a CoE for every overseas student enrolled to ensure students are protected by the Tuition Protection Service and to ensure clear information is available to the Australian Government on the scope and extent of the export education market.

Where a provider is registered for single units or skill sets, a CoE cannot be issued, as ASQA is unable to include these courses on the CRICOS register.

Are providers required to print all testamur and statements of attainment?

There is no specific requirement in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) regarding printing testamurs and statements of attainment. Providers should retain a soft copy.

ASQA auditors will often require that you provide a sample of testamurs and statements of attainment.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 requires that you retain student records for a period of 30 years.

Are state or territory occupational regulators/licensing bodies involved in ASQA audits?

A representative of a state or territory occupational licensing body may be invited to be part of the audit team and contribute to an ASQA audit as a technical advisor.

The technical advisor may provide ASQA with evidence-based recommendations.

Are there fees associated with the accreditation of ELICOS courses?

Yes—fees depend on the number of accredited courses. Refer to ASQA’s Guide to fees for more information.

As a staff member or consultant, how do I link my user account to my organisation?

  1. First, you will need to Register to use asqanet as a staff member or consultant. When registering, you should select the option Represent an existing stakeholder.
  2. Click on your name in the top right corner of any non-form asqanet page and select My Account.
  3. Select Request Agent Access for Organisation.
  4. You can now search for and select your organisation. You can request agent access to one or more organisations.
  5. To search, begin typing the name of the organisation in the Organisation field and then select from the drop down list. Press the ‘+’ (plus) icon to include additional organisations and the ‘-‘ (minus) icon to remove organisations.
  6. Click Send request to finish the request.
  7. Your Account administrator will need to approve your access request.

Can a CRICOS provider deliver a skill set to overseas students?

Providers are able to register explicit units, short courses and skill sets for delivery to overseas students on CRICOS, however they will not appear on PRISMS or the public CRICOS register. Students are unable to search CRICOS for individual units, but may enrol with providers who have the unit approved for CRICOS.

Can a person own more than one RTO?

Yes—the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 does not limit the number of registered training organisations (RTOs) that a person can own.

However, the application requires you to disclose any current, past and pending RTO ownership and RTO association. You will also need to complete the Fit and Proper Person Requirements form, which will ask you about your ownership of and association with other RTOs. This information will be taken into consideration as part of a risk assessment of the entity.

Can a third party issue invoices to students?

Yes. A third party can invoice a student for the course cost on behalf of the RTO. While the invoice may have the name of the third party on it, it must be clear to the learner what RTO is actually offering the course the invoice relates to.

However, the existence of a third party agreement does not absolve the RTO of responsibility for compliance with the NVR Act and the Standards for RTOs. An RTO must ensure its third parties are acting in accordance with all requirements of these legislative and regulatory obligations, including where fee amounts greater than $1,500 are collected in advance.

Can a trainer or assessor sign a testamur or statement of attainment?

The AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy requires that testamurs and statements of attainment include the authorised signatory. In most cases, that is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO is able to delegate that authority; however, there needs to be a formal delegation of that authority.

Can an overseas student who holds a student visa undertake additional study at the same time as their principal course?

An overseas student is defined in Section 5 of the ESOS Act as a person (whether inside or outside Australia) who holds a student visa (as defined in regulation 1.03 of the Migration Regulations 1994), excluding:

  • a Subclass 576 (Foreign Affairs and Defence Sector) visa, or
  • a person who satisfies the secondary criteria, but not the primary criteria, under the Migration Regulations 1994 for the grant of the visa, or
  • a secondary exchange student within the meaning of the Migration Regulations 1994, or
  • an overseas student who has been approved under a scholarship scheme, or an exchange scheme, sponsored by the Commonwealth to undertake a course of study or training in Australia.

As specified in Section 8 of the ESOS Act, a provider must be registered on CRICOS to provide a course at a location or do so in accordance with an arrangement they have with another registered provider.

As such, an overseas student in Australia on a student visa is permitted to undertake additional study (that is, a course of education or training) at the same time as the principal course for which they hold a student visa. However, any course undertaken by a student visa holder must be registered on CRICOS. A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) should be issued for any additional study in a course undertaken by an overseas student whilst in Australia on a student visa.

CRICOS providers are responsible for all aspects of compliance with the requirements under the ESOS Act and its associated legislation. For example, as a CRICOS provider, you must have a written agreement with each student, and you must complete the visa-related reporting requirements relating to the student’s enrolment for each course. Failure to comply with the requirements in one course could lead to a student’s visa being cancelled and the student defaulting in both courses.

A student on a student visa who is seeking to undertake additional study should be aware of the requirements of their student visa and the need to:

  • remain enrolled in a registered course
  • achieve satisfactory course attendance, and
  • progress in their principal course of study.

Can an RTO enrol an overseas visitor into a course and not be CRICOS registered?

In some cases, registered training organisations (RTOs) may enrol students who are temporarily visiting Australia on certain visas, other than study visas. However, some visas include restrictions on training. Further information is also available from the Department of Home Affairs.

However, any course undertaken by a student visa holder must be registered on CRICOS. A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) should be issued for any additional study in a course undertaken by an overseas student whilst in Australia on a student visa.

Can an RTO provide ASQA with the results of its own student survey, or undertake the survey on ASQA’s behalf?

Auditors may look at any relevant internal survey results; however, whether or not a provider conducts internal surveys will not affect the requirement for ASQA to survey a provider’s students.

The student survey is administered by ASQA to ensure students are able to provide honest and accurate information about their journey to an organisation independent of the training provider.

Can ASQA explain the validation process?

ASQA has a published fact sheet on conducting validation. This fact sheet includes information on:

  • scheduling validation
  • how to determine a statistically valid sample
  • conducting effective validation
  • what to do with the validation outcomes.

To ensure assessment is effective, RTOs must review a statistically valid sample of their assessments and make necessary recommendations for improvements to tools and processes. ASQA’s fact sheet includes a validation sample size calculator which may assist RTOs to determine the number of assessments to be validated during a validation process.

Can ASQA help my RTO to develop an application?

ASQA does not offer consultancy services, or meet with applicants to discuss their applications. Our resources and information regarding processing procedures and timeframes are available on the ASQA website for all applicants and registered providers. The ASQA Info Line and enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au email address are also available to provide general information and advice.

Can ASQA provide advice about obtaining funding to provide VET?

ASQA cannot provide advice on funding.

ASQA’s role as the national vocational education and training (VET) regulator is to register VET and Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers and accredit VET courses.

There are a range of funding bodies in different states and territories. State/territory governments provide funding for VET in various ways, and Australian Government funding is for the most part provided through agreements with those state/territory governments.
Providers are advised to contact their state funding body or state training department for information on funding.

Can ASQA provide advice on attendance monitoring requirements in the National Code?

ASQA has recently published a new fact sheet for CRICOS providers delivering VET courses to assist them to understand the requirements of the National Code in relation to student attendance and course progress.

Can ASQA provide ‘ASQA-approved’ resources for RTOs?

Assessment and other resources should be developed specifically for individual RTOs and should take into consideration the training context and the intended learner cohort. A compliant assessment resource for one RTO may not be suitable for another RTO, therefore, ASQA does not provide examples of compliant assessment resources.

ASQA has developed a number of fact sheets and guides that may assist RTOs in selecting and developing assessment materials

Can ASQA verify if my training and assessment strategies are compliant before I submit them with my application?

ASQA cannot teach providers specifically how to comply with the standards and cannot provide private rulings. This is because it is important for training providers to design tools and systems that meet their specific business needs and for each unique business to demonstrate to ASQA how the standards are being met.

ASQA assesses the compliance of your training and assessment strategies through the application process. If your strategies are not compliant, ASQA will provide you with 20 working days to rectify the situation and provide evidence that you have done so.

Can consultants to the provider participate at an audit?

Yes, a consultant may participate in the audit proceedings together with the RTO.

However, an RTO’s executive officers and high managerial agents must be vested with sufficient authority to ensure the RTO complies with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Standards for RTOs) at all times.

  • An executive officer includes a person who is concerned with or takes part in the management of the RTO.
  • A high managerial agent means an employee or agent of the organisation with duties of such responsibility that his or her conduct may fairly be assumed to represent the organisation in relation to the business of providing courses.

As part of ensuring an RTO complies with these requirements, executive officers and high managerial agents need to (either individually or jointly) have an in-depth knowledge of the organisation’s operations.

While a consultant is able to participate in the audit process together with the RTO, the primary interactions between an auditor and the RTO should be with those people who have an ongoing involvement in the day-to-day operations of the RTO. This includes discussions with the RTO’s CEO, managerial staff and employees (including contractors).

Can course owners use an industry expert to meet the requirements of Standard 7.12?

The Assessor competencies identified in a course must ensure RTOs will meet the requirements of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015.

Can credit transfers be applied across different AQF levels?

Credit transfer is offered for a unit of competency or module, and not for a qualification. Units of competency are not assigned an AQF level.

Where a student has been found competent in a unit of competency, they have demonstrated they have met all requirements of that unit. A student may complete a unit of competency as part of a qualification and then seek to have that unit recognised in another qualification that may be of a different AQF level.

Providing the qualification packaging rules allow it, an RTO must accept and provide credit to the student for that unit of competency.

Can entry requirements be completed during the course?

No, a learner must satisfy all entry requirements, including holding specified units of competency, prior to commencing the course.

Can I add an ELICOS non-award course to my scope?

Yes―you must be registered on Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to add an English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) program to your scope of registration.

Non-award ELICOS programs are covered under ASQA’s definition of ‘qualification’ for the purpose of calculating registration fees.

Can I advertise a qualification or unit of competency if I have applied to ASQA to add it to my scope of registration (if ASQA has not yet approved the application)?

No—it is an offense under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 to advertise a qualification or unit of competency that is not on your scope of registration.

Can I apply for RTO registration if I have been convicted of an offence against the law, previously had my RTO registration cancelled or suspended, become bankrupt, or if I answer ‘yes’ to any of the other fit and proper person questions?

The Fit and Proper Person Requirements are designed to ensure that key registered training organisation (RTO) personnel have the characteristics and principles necessary to ensure the delivery of high-quality vocational education and training.

The Fit and Proper Person Requirements Declaration form requires information about your personal and professional history. ASQA uses this and other information that you submit to conduct a risk assessment of your organisation.

While answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions will not preclude you from applying for RTO registration, it will be a factor that is taken into consideration along with the other information submitted.