ASQA rejects registration renewal for The Ashmark Group Pty Ltd

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national vocational education and training (VET) regulator, today announced it had rejected an application by The Ashmark Group Pty Ltd, operating as The Ashmark Institute, to renew its registration as a training provider.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the decision, to take effect from 30 October 2012, applies to all courses offered by The Ashmark Group under its registration as a national training provider.

“The decision comes after comprehensive compliance assessments of The Ashmark Group’s activities, including multiple site visits by ASQA officers,” Mr Robinson said.

The ASQA audit concluded The Ashmark Group was critically non-compliant with the standards that providers in Australia are required to meet in the delivery of training to domestic and international students.

Some of the more serious areas of non-compliance included training and assessment not meeting the requirements of relevant training packages and issues surrounding very poor student attendance.

ASQA’s decision applies to The Ashmark Group’s registration as a registered training organisation (RTO) as well as to its registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

“The decision to reject a training organisation’s registration is not one we take lightly but the interests of students and the integrity of training standards across the VET sector have to be upheld,” Mr Robinson said.

The Ashmark Group currently offers training to more than 900 students, a majority of these being international students.

“The organisation has the right to have ASQA’s decision reviewed which may delay or change the decision,” Mr Robinson said.

“ASQA is working closely with the state government authorities in Victoria and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to try to minimise disruptions to student training.

“Already-established procedures are in-place to protect students should The Ashmark Group close and be unable to deliver their courses.”

Mr Robinson said the national VET legislation sets clear expectations for RTOs and course owners to take responsibility for the quality of their qualifications and services.

“It is critical that students, employers and governments providing support for tuition have full confidence in the quality of training outcomes delivered,” he said.

“In ASQA’s first year of operation we received a total of 4873 applications for initial registration, renewal of registration or change of training scope. Of those applications that were completed by 30 June 2012, some five per cent were found to have serious issues of non-compliance.

“Where there is evidence operators are not meeting quality standards we do not apologise for taking strong action, including deregistration.  The delivery of high quality training to international students is of particular importance given its impact on Australia’s global reputation.”

Further information on ASQA regulatory decisions:

Information regarding regulatory decisions made by ASQA in its capacity as the national VET regulator pursuant to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 can be located on the ASQA website.

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