The following terms, definitions and acronyms are used in the VET sector in Australia and by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).
They are provided as general information only and this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
The formal recognition of a course by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), in accordance with the Standards for VET Regulators 2015 and the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012.
accredited VET course
An accredited VET (Vocational Education and Training) course is:
- a structured sequence of training developed to meet training needs that are not addressed by existing training packages
- a course accredited by the national VET regulator or by a delegated body of the national VET regulator, and
- a course that has been assessed by ASQA as compliant with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Australian Qualifications Framework
Australian Quality Training Framework
Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector.
ASQA Info line
ASQA’s contact centre, which responds to general enquiries and emails from ASQA’s providers and stakeholders.
Contact the ASQA Info Line on 1300 701 801, Monday to Friday, between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).
ASQA’s online application and registration management system for vocational education and training providers.
asqanet is also ASQA’s internal business system for managing and maintaining application, registration and regulatory processes, decisions, activity and information.
asqanet allows you to submit applications, pay fees, and track the progress of your applications online.
Further information on audits is available here.
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
The national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system.
The AQF incorporates the quality assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. Further information can be found at www.aqf.edu.au
change of scope
Making changes to a provider’s scope of registration.
‘Changes of scope’ include:
- adding or removing courses
- making changes to the duration of a course (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS))
- changing the mode of delivery*
- changing student tuition fees (CRICOS)
- changing student capacity (CRICOS), or
- adding or removing a delivery site (CRICOS).
* This change must be requested using asqanet.
Council of Australian Governments (COAG). COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia.
The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.
Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
An online database of courses and educational institutions or providers in Australia that are registered to offer courses to overseas students with student visas.
‘CRICOS providers’ are registered on CRICOS and can offer courses to overseas student with student visas.
The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments.
Compliance is reached when requirements of the VET Quality Framework or Standards for VET Accredited Courses have been met.
The systematic and documented process ASQA uses to assess a provider’s ongoing compliance with the VET Quality Framework and other relevant standards.
More information on audits is available here.
Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS)
A document prepared for significant cost recovery arrangements to demonstrate compliance with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.
Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students
Data Provision Requirements 2011
A legislative instrument that outlines the requirements for providers to capture and provide data to ASQA.
Permanent training site, owned or leased by a provider.
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
English language programs for students who require English language training before commencing formal studies in Australia.
Education Services for Overseas Students
financial viability risk assessment(s)
Structured risk assessments of common indicators of financial performance, which determine an organisation’s likely business continuity and its financial capacity to deliver quality outcomes.
Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements 2011
A legislative instrument to ensure that an applicant or provider has the necessary financial resources for business continuity and can deliver quality outcomes.
Fit and Proper Person Requirements 2011
A legislative instrument used to determine fit and proper person requirements for persons who exercise a degree of control or influence over the operation of a registered training organisation.
A direction given by the Australian Skills Quality Authority, under Section 28 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the Act), which outlines the way in which the VET Quality Framework and other conditions defined in the Act are to be complied with.
The bodies that have a stake in the training, assessment and client services provided by vocational education providers.
An organisation representing an industry, including peak business and employer organisations and industry advisory bodies, such as industry skills councils.
industry skills council(s)
National bodies formerly recognised and funded by the Australian Government to develop and maintain training packages specific to particular industry areas; this role is now performed by Skills Service Organisations.
ASQA internal review of a reviewable decision. Only ‘reviewable decisions’ specified in section 169AB of the ESOS Act can be internally reviewed.
Further information is available in the Fact sheet—Reviewing ASQA’s decisions.
A person being trained and/or assessed by the RTO for the purpose of issuing AQF certification documentation.
Moderation is a quality control process aimed at bringing assessment judgements into alignment. Moderation is generally conducted before the finalisation of student results as it ensures the same decisions are applied to all assessment results within the same unit of competency.
The requirement in the Standards for RTOs 2015 to undertake validation of assessment judgements does not prohibit your RTO from undertaking moderation activities, or any other process aimed at increasing the quality of assessment.
National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code)
A set of nationally consistent standards that governs the protection of overseas students and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
training.gov.au, the official national register on vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. It is the authoritative source of information on training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, units of competency, skill sets and registered training organisations (RTOs).
training.gov.au helps people to find information about RTOs that are registered to deliver a particular nationally recognised training (NRT) product.
National Standards for ELICOS Providers and Courses (ELICOS Standards)
The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) National Standards are the standards that set nationally consistent requirements for ELICOS within Australia.
These standards operate as an adjunct to the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code).
national VET regulator
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the national body responsible for registering training providers and accrediting courses in Australia.
National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011
National legislation that governs the regulation of the vocational education and training sector in Australia.
Non-compliance occurs when the requirements of the VET Quality Framework or other relevant standards or registration conditions have not been met.
notice of intention
ASQA may issue a provider with a notice of intention to apply a sanction or condition of registration where non-compliances are identified. The notice of intent letter outlines the proposed sanction or condition, the reasons for the sanction, and invites the provider to submit evidence within 20 working days as to why the action should not be taken by ASQA.
National Skills Standards Council
national VET regulator
‘Provider’ may refer to:
- a registered training organisation (RTO), or
- an RTO that is also registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to deliver to overseas students, or
- an organisation that is registered on CRICOS and delivers English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
Formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs.
Quality indicator reporting
All registered training organisations (RTOs) registered with ASQA are required to provide an annual summary report to ASQA of their performance against three quality indicators:
- learner engagement
- employer satisfaction, and
- competency completion quality.
Quality indicator data is used by registering bodies to inform each RTO’s risk assessment.
Further information is available in the General Direction—Quality indicators.
recognition of prior learning (RPL)
An assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.
ASQA internal reconsideration of a reviewable decision. Only ’reviewable decisions’ (as specified in section 199 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011) can be reconsidered.
registered training organisation (RTO)
An organisation, registered with ASQA in accordance with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework, to provide specific vocational education and training and/or assessment services.
ASQA registers vocational education and training (VET) providers as ‘registered training organisations’. VET registration is confirmation that a training organisation can deliver, assess and issue the qualifications it is registered to provide, or statements of attainment to a nationally agreed standard.
ASQA also registers providers seeking to enrol overseas students who are on student visas as Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers.
An assessment of a registered training organisation (or applicant) conducted by ASQA to identify, analyse, evaluate and treat risks of it breaching its regulatory obligations under the VET Quality Framework.
A rating assigned to each provider by ASQA to indicate the potential effects and likelihood of a provider not complying with its legislative obligations. ASQA began phasing out risk ratings in favour of risk profiles from 2015.
recognition of prior learning
registered training organisation
scope of registration
The particular services and products that a provider is registered to provide.
Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
Senior Executive Service
Skills Service Organisations
Skills Service Organisations develop and maintain training package content – including qualifications, skill sets, and units of competency.
Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
The national standards against which applicants for registration as a VET (vocational education and training) provider, and existing VET providers, are assessed.
Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012
A legislative instrument used to formally identify the requirements for accrediting VET (vocational education and training) courses.
Standards for VET Regulators 2015
A legislative instrument used to formally identify the standards for VET (vocational education and training) regulators performing functions under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.
statement of attainment
A statement given to a person confirming that the person has satisfied the requirements of units of competency or modules specified in the statement.
Industry-wide reviews undertaken by ASQA to obtain information about areas of the training sector that may require targeted regulatory action.
A person being trained and/or assessed by the RTO for the purpose of issuing AQF certification documentation.
student-centred audit approach
An approach to audit that focuses on the practices and behaviours of RTOs, as well as checking on the compliance of RTOs’ systems and processes
superseded training products
Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) may revise training packages. When a training package is revised, the new version is published on the national register, training.gov.au.
When qualifications and units of competency contained in the revised training package replace the previously endorsed qualifications and units of competency, those previously endorsed products are referred to as ‘superseded’.
The Skills Service Organisation must indicate whether the revised qualifications and units of competency are equivalent or not equivalent to the superseded product:
- Equivalent means that the outcomes of the new and old (superseded) products are equivalent.
- Not equivalent means that the outcomes of the new and old (superseded) products are not equivalent.
The national register may also use the term ‘superseded’ for a qualification or unit of competency that has been deleted from its training package without having been replaced.
Technical and Further Education
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) regulates and assures the quality of Australia’s higher education sector.
An official certification document that confirms that a qualification has been awarded to an individual.
Any party that provides services on behalf of the RTO but does not include a contract of employment between an RTO and its employee.
Training package means the components of a training package endorsed by the Industry and Skills Council or its delegate in accordance with the Standards for Training Packages. The endorsed components of a training package are: units of competency; assessment requirements (associated with each unit of competency); qualifications; and credit arrangements. The endorsed components form part of the requirements that an RTO must meet under these Standards. A training package also consists of a non-endorsed, quality assured companion volume/s which contains industry advice to RTOs on different aspects of implementation.
Transition period means, where a training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register, the allowable timeframe within which the learner’s training, assessment, and AQF certification documentation issuance must be completed or, in the case of a superseded training product, within which the learner is transitioned into the replacement training product.
unit of competency
The specification of the standards of performance required in the workplace as defined in a training package.
The quality review of the assessment process. Validation involves checking that the assessment tool/s produce/s valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the requirements of the training package or VET accredited courses are met. It includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments and making recommendations for future improvements to the assessment tool, process and/or outcomes and acting upon such recommendations.
vocational education and training
VET Quality Framework
A set of standards and conditions used by ASQA to assess whether a registered training organisation meets the requirements for registration.
The VET Quality Framework comprises:
- the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015
- the Fit and Proper Person Requirements
- the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements
- the Data Provision Requirements, and
- the Australian Qualifications Framework.
vocational education and training (VET)
Post-compulsory education and training (excluding degree and higher level programs delivered by further education institutions) which provides people with occupational or work-related knowledge and skills.
Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, the VET regulator in Victoria.