ASQA Update - December 2021

8 December 2021

Welcome to the December edition of the ASQA Update

Ms Saxon Rice, Chief Executive Officer
Ms Saxon Rice, Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to our final ASQA Update for 2021, capping off yet another extraordinary year for ASQA and the VET sector. As the year draws to a close, I am inspired to see the work showcased by the winners and finalists of the 2021 Australian Training Awards (ATA). It is clear we have a vibrant and resilient sector and I congratulate the individuals, businesses and registered training organisations who have been recognised for their practice and innovation!

I am conscious of the impact of COVID-19 and its ongoing effects on the sector, particularly on methods of training delivery, access to work placements and delivery to international students. Both internally and in support of the sector, ASQA’s regulatory strategies and approaches continue to use risk-based proportionate responses, working with providers to monitor risks and respond using a range of fit-for-purpose tools.

On 22 November 2021, the Prime Minister announced the easing of border restrictions to enable the return of international students to Australia. Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of concern, on 29 November 2021 it was decided to delay these arrangements coming into effect from 1 December 2021 until 15 December 2021.

The Australian Government also announced an extension of ASQA’s regulatory fee relief which will continue for providers and accredited course owners until 1 July 2022 and for ELICOS-only providers for the duration of 2022.

It has been a busy year for us. Since the release of the Rapid Review in April 2020, ASQA has implemented 8 of the recommendations, with work well underway on the remaining 13. This sees us move from a transitional phase into the next stage of our reform program.

This year was characterised by the implementation of a range of new measures that supported the shift from input and compliance controls towards a focus on self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes. During the year, we made foundational changes to the design and structure of our agency to build our capability across a broader range of interactions and engagement with providers.

  • We improved the transparency around our regulatory approach, so you know what to expect from us. Providers now have opportunities to show how their organisation’s systems and processes support compliance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisation (RTOs) 2015 (Standards for RTOs) and deliver quality outcomes for students. There are also opportunities to remedy non-compliance and for early dispute resolution.
      
  • We published our Regulatory Risk Framework and refreshed our Regulatory Operating Model to provide for, among other things, much greater focus on education as one of our key regulatory tools. This includes the introduction of our Spotlight On compliance series, which has been well received by providers.
      
  • We made fundamental shifts in the way in which we engage with the sector around risk. The recent publication of our Regulatory Risk Priorities 2021-22 was a significant achievement in this regard, as we continue to enhance the transparency of our regulatory risk focus. We also continue to share more about our insights into self-assurance for providers as a cornerstone to achieving our regulatory purpose. Self-assurance leads to improved market performance, facilitating our regulation, and ultimately leading to improved quality and confidence in VET.
      
  • We continued to share insights from our Strategic Review of online learning as we investigated providers’ experiences, opportunities, and challenges in a year of rapid uptake in online learning. Indeed, these insights have helped bolster our adaptive approach to regulation to ensure we remain responsive to evolving needs across the sector.
      
  • Finally, as we continuously improve our regulatory practice, I have found it incredibly valuable to participate as a member of the Regulator Leadership Cohort (RLC) over the past year. The RLC is coordinated by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and is made up of senior representatives from across the regulator community. Through these quarterly meetings I have gained great insights from other regulators and have taken the opportunity to share some of our experience in reform. ASQA staff also continue to participate in the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) Regulator Community of Practice, which is valued.

On behalf of the ASQA team, I thank you all for your hard work, support, and feedback over the year as we worked together for quality training outcomes.

Stay safe and well,

In this edition

  • VET fee relief and ASQA’s full cost recovery model deferred
  • Join us to co-design an effective self-assurance model
  • Provider survey insights
  • Our stakeholder engagement activity
  • Skills reform: revising the Standards for RTOs
  • International education sector news
  • Understanding Performance Assessment: Webinar recording

and more

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