Marketing and advertising
This fact sheet aims to help registered training organisations (RTOs) understand the marketing and advertising requirements of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015, specifically Clause 4.1.
Your RTO must provide—and ensure third parties provide—clear, current and accurate information about your RTO, the training and assessment you offer and the performance of your RTO. Providing accurate information enables informed choices by clients and learners. Whether your RTO provides the information directly, or it is provided by a third party (such as a recruitment agent, broker or RTO delivering training and assessment on your behalf), your RTO is ultimately responsible ensuring the requirements of the Standards for RTOs 2015 are met.
This includes meeting the standards relating to marketing and providing accurate information in all of your marketing material, regardless of the channel or method used, such as:
- advertising—(newspaper, radio, television)
- brochures or other hard copy publications
- websites—including your RTO’s own website and any other sites where your RTO is referred to
- social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram),
- Online Directories (Yellow pages, TrueLocal, HotFrog)
- Online Advertisements (Google Adwords, Groupon, Scoupon), and
- any marketing by third parties that relates to your RTO or to any training and assessment that you provide (or that is delivered on your behalf).
Your RTO is also subject to all relevant consumer protection law that applies in any jurisdiction where you operate.
Meeting the marketing and advertising requirements of the Standards
Your RTO must honour all commitments made in any marketing or advertising materials.
All information on any advertising or marketing material referring to your RTO and training and assessment must be accurate.
Advertising and marketing material provided by your RTO—or a third party on your behalf—must:
- include the registration code of your RTO
- include the code and title of any training product (as published on training.gov.au)
- If you are not marketing or advertising a specific VET training product, but rather promoting training in a general industry area, you may not need to reference the title or code of the training to be provided. For example, if you are undertaking promotion using terms that could relate to a number of courses on your RTO’s scope of registration, such as ‘XYZ RTO offers a range of business training’.
- the name and RTO code of any third party that will be delivering training and assessment on your behalf
- clearly include details about any VET FEE HELP, government-funded subsidy or other financial support associated with the RTO’s provision of training and assessment, including details about debts the learners will incur, and how those debts will be repaid
- not guarantee that:
- a learner will successfully complete a training product on your scope of registration
- a training product can be completed in a manner which does not meet the requirements of Clause 1.1 and 1.2, or
- a learner will obtain a particular employment outcome where this is outside the control of your RTO
- only refer to another person or organisation if the consent of that person or organisation has been obtained prior (for example, if you have obtained written consent through a disclaimer in a student enrolment form which the student is required to sign)
- only use the nationally recognised training (NRT) logo in accordance with the conditions of use, as specified in Schedule 4 of the Standards
- make it clear where a third party is recruiting prospective learners for your RTO on its behalf
- distinguish between nationally recognised training and assessment leading to the issuance of AQF certification document and any non-accredited training or assessment delivered by your RTO
- The use of an NRT Logo in a website footer could potentially be misleading if your RTO delivers both accredited and non-accredited training. Be sure to only include the NRT logo on any webpages that are associated with nationally recognised training.
- only include a non-current training product while it remains on your RTO’s scope of registration
- only state that a training product your deliver will enable learners to obtain a licensed or regulated outcome where this has been confirmed by the industry regulator in the jurisdiction of the advertisement and/or training and assessment.
Tips for specific types of marketing and advertising
Newspaper / Brochures
- With printed advertising and marketing material, ensure that the RTO code is visible.
- Include the NRT logo only when you are advertising a training product that is registered on your scope of registration.
- Your RTO code needs to be easily identifiable. It may be useful to include your RTO Code in the website header or footer to ensure that your RTO code is prominent on every webpage..
- On any page that references a training product, the code and title of that training product (as published on training.gov.au) must be used.
- Keep your website up to date. Your RTO may only advertise non-current training products while the product remains on your scope of registration.
- Only include the NRT logo in association with a training product that is registered on your scope of registration.
Social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram
- Social media pages must include your RTO code.
- Communication on social media, such as posts/tweets, must include your RTO code
- Replies to comments made in response to these communications do not require your RTO code.
- Where advertising on social media references a specific training product, you must include the code and title of that training product (as published on the National Register).
- Your RTO may use the name and registration code as the name of your social media page. This may be beneficial where advertising mechanisms have word limits.
Online directories—Yellow Pages, TrueLocal
- Your RTO code must be included in your RTO’s directory listing.
Online advertisements—Google AdWords, Groupon, Scoupon
- Ensure that your RTO code is included.
- In order to keep the number of adwords to a minimum, RTO’s may choose to have a general advertisement with their RTO code, industry area of training and website address.
- Any specific references to training products must include the title and code of the training product as published on training.gov.au.
- Television and radio advertising must include your RTO code. This can be included as a disclaimer at the end of the advertisement.
- If a student is speaking on behalf of the RTO, written consent must be obtained from the student prior to publishing the advertisement.
- Ensure that any statements made about the duration of a course are accurate. Course durations must be consistent with the amount of training identified in your training and assessment strategies and comply with the AQF Volume of Learning requirements.
- Ensure that any statements made about employment outcomes following completion of a course are not misleading. Generally, employment outcomes are also contingent on job interviews which may be outside the control of your RTO.
- Ensure that any references to nationally recognised training are associated with an AQF qualification, accredited course, skill set or unit of competency that is registered on your scope of registration
Marketing by other parties
- Your RTO must ensure that any marketing undertaken by a third party meets the requirements of Clause 4.1.
- It must be made clear that a third party is recruiting prospective learners on behalf of your RTO.
- If training and assessment is also being provided by a third party, this must be clear.
- As stipulated by the NVR Act 2011, where any person promotes all or part of a VET course, or offers to provide all or part of a VET course, the name and registration code of the RTO who would award the qualification/statement of attainment must be included. Where a VET course is being promoted that may be offered by multiple RTOs, the name and code of all RTOs that may issue certification must be included.
Case study: Third party marketing
Blue Sky Training recruits learners on behalf of First Training for training and assessment in HLTAID003 Provide first aid. Blue Sky Training has a written agreement with First Training which specifies that First Training must approve any marketing activities that Blue Sky Training does on its behalf. Blue Sky Training utilises its website to receive enrolments for HLTAID003 Provide first aid. Blue Sky Training identifies First Training’s RTO code and provides a link to First Training’s website when recruiting learners for HLTAID003 Provide first aid. Blue Sky Training includes a statement on its website stating that First Training conducts the training and assessment and issues the statement of attainment for HLTAID003 Provide first aid.
Marketing and government-funded subsidies
Where the course being offered is paid via a VET FEE-HELP arrangement; or is offered under a funding subsidy; or is offered with other financial support arrangements, details must be included about:
- the applicable government loan or subsidy, for example, Certificate III Guarantee, User Choice, VET FEE-HELP,
- the debt incurred by the learner, payments to be made and interest and other charges incurred, and
- any loss of entitlement that may occur as a result of a learner undertaking a course associated with a funding subsidy (for example, where learners are only able to access one course through a particular funding subsidy or there are restrictions on what courses may be subsidised after a learner completes their study at your RTO).
Case study: Using a Facebook page for marketing
Uptown Training delivers training and assessment in dance and fitness in Queensland and New South Wales. Uptown Training chooses to market its RTO using Facebook, in order to capture its core client group of school leavers.
The RTO’s marketing manager approves all marketing activities generated on Facebook in order to ensure its compliance with Clause 4.1 of the Standards for RTOs 2015.
Uptown Training includes its RTO Code as part of its Facebook page name. This ensures that every post made by Uptown Training includes the RTO Code and name. This also guarantees that every post which is liked or shared by others includes the RTO’s code and name.
References made to the dance and fitness training products always include the code and full title of the training product as published on training.gov.au.
Using images to represent the RTO on Facebook
Uptown Training uses photos of its students and premises on its Facebook page to ensure that an accurate image of the RTO is portrayed. The RTO’s Marketing Manager obtains signed consent forms from students before publishing their images on Facebook. The marketing manager scans the signed consent forms and notifies the RTO’s compliance manager of the secure location in which the consent forms are stored, which ensures that this evidence is readily accessible at audit.
Providing accurate information about potential employment pathways
Uptown Training displays a testimonial on its Facebook page from the CEO of Healthlike Gym. The testimonial highlights that previous fitness students have gained employment at Healthlike Gym. Uptown Training includes a proviso with the testimonial stating that the RTO does not guarantee employment with Healthlike Gym. Uptown Training has received a signed consent form from the CEO of Healthlike Gym allowing publication of the testimonial on its Facebook page.
Correct use of the NRT logo
Uptown Training also provides non-accredited dance lessons; therefore, it does not include the Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) logo on the Facebook page. This ensures that Uptown does not give a reader the impression that all training provided by the RTO is accredited.
- ASQA’s website includes frequently asked questions on marketing
- ASQA conducted a strategic review into the marketing and advertising practices of RTOs in 2012-13.
While this review was conducted with consideration to RTOs’ compliance with the former Standards (Standards for NVR RTOs 2012), the report includes discussion of the concepts of misleading marketing and discussion of consumer and industry concerns with RTOs’ marketing and advertising practices. This information may provide valuable insight for RTOs seeking to ensure that their marketing practices meet student, community and industry expectations.
Read the Strategic review report—Marketing and advertising practices of RTOs
- Refer to the Users’ Guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, in particular, the section on Clause 4.1.
Contact the ASQA Info line on 1300 701 801 between Monday and Friday, 9.00 am to 7.00 pm AEST, or email enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au