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FAQs

Is there going to be a revised set of standards drafted to better align to the student experience?

ASQA regulates providers against the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 (as well as the National Code 2018 and the ELICOS Standards 2018 for some providers) but does not set these legislative requirements.

The Standards for RTOs 2015 are endorsed by The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Industry and Skills Council (CISC).

The Council comprises the Australian, state and territory ministers with responsibility for industry and/or skills within their jurisdiction.

When future CISC reviews of the Standards are undertaken, ASQA will be likely to make submissions based on its regulatory experience, including its experience of developing and administering the student-centred audit approach.

What if students provide inaccurate responses to the student survey—what rights/opportunities do I have to reply?

The student survey collects information from students about their individual experiences.

An individual student’s survey response will not, on its own, result in a training provider being found non-compliant. Student survey responses are one of many inputs that inform the areas that ASQA uses to inform the audit process and identify areas of an provider’s operation that may be of concern.

If concerns with a particular area are identified through the student survey, ASQA will seek further evidence to support this information, including through student interviews in some cases.

The training provider has an opportunity to respond to findings and evidence outlined in the audit report.

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.

Our students do not read emails—how will ASQA deal with this?

ASQA is seeking an average response rate of 10 per cent of students invited to the survey. If the response rate is not achieved, ASQA will seek to improve this rate through reminders, including text (SMS) reminders. ASQA may also ask the provider to encourage students to participate in the survey.

How will ASQA survey students with, for example, intellectual disability?

Where students have specific communication needs, ASQA will work with the provider to identify these and to determine the best way to seek information on these students’ experiences. ASQA may use alternative methods such as face to face or phone interviews.

Do the ASQA student surveys replace the learner questionnaire?

No, the requirement for providers to collect and submit data relating to learner engagement is a requirement of the VET Quality Framework/Data Provision Requirements 2012.

ASQA’s collection of data from students as part of the audit process is a separate procedure.

How will ASQA survey students who are studying English (i.e. students who may have very limited English capacity)?

The survey questions have undergone cognitive testing to ensure that they are easy to complete for most students, including students who speak languages other than English.

Where students have specific communication needs that make completing the survey difficult, ASQA will work with the provider to identify these and to determine the best way to seek information on these students’ experiences. We may use alternative methods such as face-to-face or phone interviews.

What happens if we do not have email addresses for students or former students (for example, some VET in schools students or former students for whom we have deleted the provider-issued email address)?

ASQA will also provide the survey link by text message/SMS.

I am a student and my training provider has asked me to complete gap training as the result of an ASQA audit. What does this mean?

When ASQA audits a training provider, we look at the quality of the training and assessment that the provider is currently delivering and has delivered to former students.

In some cases, ASQA will find that the provider has not delivered training and assessment properly for a particular qualification or for some students.

When this happens, ASQA may ask the provider to undertake remedial action to make sure that their current and former students have received the quality of training and assessment that they are entitled to.

In some cases, a training provider may offer students ‘gap training’ or the chance to undertake ‘gap assessments’ to allow the students to develop the skills and knowledge they need. This gap training helps students to make sure that they have the required skills and knowledge expected for their qualification.

Training providers may offer gap training to current students, or students who have graduated in the past six months.

To ensure credibility of qualifications from the VET sector, training providers must meet the requirements of the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy, which states that issued qualifications and statements of attainment can be revoked under the terms of the issuing organisation’s policy.

Training providers must have controls in place to ensure qualifications, statements of attainment and records of results are not issued unless the learner has completed all requirements. This means in some cases, a training provider may seek to revoke a qualification where a learner has not completed all the requirements.

I am a former student who has completed a qualification, and now my RTO is approaching me and asking me to complete gap training. Do I have to complete the gap assessments?

Students who have already graduated may be asked to undertake ‘gap training’ or ‘gap assessment’ by their former RTO.

This means the RTO has identified a ‘gap’ in the student’s training and/or assessment and the RTO is seeking to help the student remedy that gap. RTOs may need to offer this training and/or assessment to current students or students who have graduated in the past six months.

Students are not obligated to undertake gap training offered by an RTO if they are no longer enrolled. However, in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), RTOs must have controls in place to ensure qualifications, statements of attainment and records of results are not issued unless the learner has completed all requirements. This means in some cases, an RTO may seek to revoke a qualification where a learner has not completed all the requirements.

Students should also consider that their original training may not have provided them with all the skills and knowledge that they need. Gap training and assessment can provide students with the opportunity to supplement or improve the skills and knowledge they developed when undertaking their qualification.

Students should not be charged a fee for gap training or assessment provided by an RTO beyond the original enrolment fee.

What happens if an RTO’s assessment of the impact of non-compliance is different to ASQA’s assessment of the impact of non-compliance?

This is something that can be addressed in the rectification process; however, ASQA will move forward with the audit assessment of the impact and expects that RTO undertakes the required remedial action.

What is happening in relation to accredited course transparency?

On 24 November 2017, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council (CISC) endorsed the recommendations of the review into alignment of the Standards for VET Accredited Courses with the Standards for Training Packages.

One recommendation of this review was to publish additional information on accredited courses on the national register of VET (www.training.gov.au). Additional information to be published will include the titles and codes of units of competency/module. In the future a description of the course will also be published.

For courses accredited by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, the titles and codes of units of competency/modules are already published on the national register. Publishing this information for courses accredited elsewhere will ensure that the available information on these courses is nationally consistent.

What if I do not want information on my accredited course to be made publicly available?

Information to be published will only include the titles and codes of units of competency/modules and a brief description of the course. Course owners will control the description that will be published for their course on the national register, which they will provide upon either accreditation or reaccreditation.

Will publishing additional information on my accredited course allow others to copy my course?

The substantive course content will not be published. Information to be published will include the titles and codes of units of competency/modules, as well as a brief description of the course.

What if the information published on my accredited course is incorrect?

If the information that has been published on your accredited course is incorrect, please contact the VET regulator responsible for accrediting your course. Contact details are as follows:

  • Australian Skills and Quality Authority: accreditation [at] asqa.gov.au
  • Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority: vrqa [at] edumail.vic.gov.au
  • Training Accreditation Council of Western Australia: taccourseaccreditation [at] des.wa.gov.au

Where else will additional information on my accredited courses be published?

Additional information on accredited courses will also be made available on the My Skills website (www.myskills.gov.au), which sources information from the national register of VET. My Skills entries for accredited courses will show the unit of competency/module titles and the course description (when available).

I have heard rumours my provider might close, what should I do?

If you hear rumours about your provider closing, contact ASQA on 1300 701 801 or email via enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au and we can tell you the most up-to-date information we have received, or we can investigate further.

I am part way through study and I cannot get in contact with my provider. What should I do?

Contact ASQA on 1300 701 801 or email via enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au ASQA can tell you the most up-to-date information we have received about the provider or investigate further.

What is RPL?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a process that assesses your competency—acquired through formal and informal learning—to determine if you meet the requirements for a unit of study.

You can use a variety of documentation to apply for RPL. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • records of completed training
  • assessment items
  • assessment records
  • declarations from your employer, and/or
  • a copy of your student records provided by ASQA.

Each provider has its own RPL process, so when you are accepted by a new provider, speak to your new provider for assistance with applying for RPL.

What fees am I obliged to pay to my closed provider?

All students are obliged to pay the fees for the part of a course they have completed and for which they have been assessed.

How do I get a refund from my closed provider?

When a provider is in liquidation, or ceases to operate, you need to contact the training provider or the liquidator for any matter regarding course fees. ASQA does not have a role in recovering fees; however, ASQA can provide you with contact details for the liquidator, or for the relevant consumer protection agency in your state or territory.

  • Please refer to ASQA’s information on ‘What to do when your provider closes’

How can I apply to become a registered training organisation (RTO)?

Before applying to ASQA for initial registration as an registered training organisation (RTO):

What is the required staff-to-student ratio?

The required staff-to-student ratio is indicated in Standard 14 of the National Code 2018, which states:

‘The registered provider must have and implement policies and procedures to ensure its staffing resources are adequate and have the capabilities as required by the quality assurance framework applying to the course. Where the course provided by the registered provider is not subject to an appropriate quality assurance framework, the registered provider must have and implement appropriate documented policies and processes for the recruitment, induction, performance assessment and ongoing development of members of staff involved with the recruitment or delivery of education or client services to students.’

The staff-to-student ratio for the teaching of ELICOS should not exceed 1:18 per class.

How can I demonstrate vocational competency?

Vocational competency includes broad industry knowledge and experience, usually combined with a relevant industry qualification.

A person who has vocational competency will:

  • be familiar with the content of the vocation, and
  • have relevant, current experience in the industry. (See Clause 1.13 of the Standards for RTOs 2015)

Vocational competency must be considered on an industry-by-industry basis and with reference to the guidance provided in the assessment guidelines of the relevant training package.

Training packages include industry-specific advice on vocational competencies of assessors. This may include advice on the industry qualifications and experience required for assessing against the training package (or against specific qualifications within the package). The training package will also provide industry-specific advice on acceptable forms of evidence to show currency with vocational competency.

What are the requirements for training or assessing under supervision?

The Standards for RTOs 2015 requires that a person that does not hold the required competencies (regardless of their skills and knowledge):

  • must be supervised by a qualified trainer, and
  • must not determine assessment outcomes.

Training must only be provided by those who have current industry skills and knowledge.

From 1 January 2016, people working under such supervision arrangements must hold the:

  • Enterprise Trainer Skill Set (in either mentoring or presenting), and/or
  • Enterprise Trainer and Assessor Skill Set.

For more information see Clauses 1.17 – 1.20 of the Standards Guide.

How do we submit report our learner engagement and employer satisfaction quality indicator data to ASQA?

You must use one of the following systems to report your learner engagement and employer satisfaction quality indicators to ASQA:

How can I access the ASQA and Skills IQ webinar on the Early Childhood Education and Care strategic review?

You can watch the webinar at ASQA’s YouTube channel. The slides from the presentation are also available from ASQA’s website (PDF) and as a SlideShare presentation.

What actions do RTOs need to take in response to the recommendations of ASQA’s Strategic review—early childhood education and care training?

The strategic review made ten broad recommendations to ASQA, Skills IQ, ACECQA and other stakeholders, as well as to RTOs.

The recommendations most relevant to RTOs include:

  • Recommendation 6, which advises RTOs to consider strengthening their engagement with industry employers to ensure that structured workplace learning and assessment is embedded in course delivery
  • Recommendation 10, which advises RTOs develop or enhance their ongoing professional development processes by providing advice on relevant professional development for trainers and assessors, and investigating more systematic models that will assist trainers and assessors to demonstrate compliance.

ASQA encourages all RTOs delivering ECEC training to read the review report and consider the issues that ASQA found concerning at audits of ECEC providers.

The review report will help providers understand the issues that ASQA is continuing to focus on and will be looking at during audits.

Why publish additional information on accredited courses?

As part of the review into alignment, many stakeholders noted that the lack of information on accredited courses made it difficult for prospective students and employers to understand the content and suitability of a course. This lack of information also means that students that have completed an accredited course currently only have the title of the course reflected on their Unique Student Identifier (USI) transcript.

Publishing additional information on accredited courses on the national register will have clear benefits for both students and employers, as it will assist them in determining the suitability of an accredited course.

The publication of the titles and codes of units of competency/modules will assist registered training organisations with their total VET activity reporting obligations and corrections to USI transcripts.

When will additional information on accredited courses be made publicly available?

Over the coming months, the titles and codes of units of competency/modules for a large number of accredited courses will be entered onto the national register by the VET regulators. The accredited courses selected include currently accredited courses as well as expired courses with training delivery reported in the Total VET Activity collections.

In addition, course owners will soon be required to provide a description of their course for publication purposes as part of their initial accreditation or reaccreditation process. The exact timing of when this condition will apply is yet to be determined.

Further details on timings will be made available in the near future.

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