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Learner transition

This is a General Direction made under section 28(1) of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the Act).

A General Direction may be given by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), as the National VET Regulator, on how registered training organisations (RTOs) are to comply with the VET Quality Framework and other conditions of registration as defined in the Act.

It is a condition of registration that a RTO must comply with any such General Direction.


The purpose of this General Direction is to detail arrangements concerning:

  1. the commencement of a new learner in a training product which is no longer current (i.e. the training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register); and
  2. the time frame in which a RTO must complete the training, assessment and AQF certification documentation issuance for learners enrolled in a training product which is, or becomes, no longer current.

These arrangements are made in accordance with the provisions of Clause 1.26 of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 (the Standards for RTOs 2015).


This General Direction will come into effect on 1 April 2015.

Terms and definitions

All terms used in this General Direction have the meaning as described in the Standards for RTOs 2015.

In addition:

  • teach-out is a term used in earlier ASQA General Directions to describe the timeframe after a training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register, and any transition period has expired, in which a learner’s training, assessment and AQF certification documentation issuance must be completed. (While this term has been used by ASQA in the past, it is not a feature of the Standards for RTOs 2015.)
  • transition period means, where a training product has been superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register, the allowable timeframe within which the learner’s training, assessment, and AQF certification documentation issuance must be completed or, in the case of a superseded training product, within which the learner is transitioned into the replacement training product.

Principles underpinning this General Direction

Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, VET stakeholders benefit when learners are trained, assessed, and awarded AQF certification documentation in the currently endorsed or accredited training product.

ASQA does not foresee any circumstances where it would approve a variation to the requirements of Clause 1.26(d) i.e. the provisions related to RTOs not commencing training and assessment of a new learner in any training product that has been removed or deleted from the National Register.

It is only where, in ASQA’s view, extraordinary circumstances exist that an extension to the transition periods specified in the Standards for RTOs 2015 (Clauses 1.26 (a), (b) and (c)) will be considered.

To avoid any confusion, ASQA makes clear that the provisions of this General Direction (and the requirements of the Standards for RTOs 2015 generally) apply where a RTO is providing training services to domestic and / or overseas VET students.

Approved transition arrangements

  1. For any learner enrolled before 1 April 2015 in a training product which is or becomes superseded, removed or deleted from the National Register (regardless of when the learner is scheduled to complete training and assessment), ASQA approves that, should the RTO desire, the teach-out provisions detailed in the General Direction – Transition and Teach-out (dated 1 January 2014—see Attachment 1, General Direction – Learner transition) may be applied.

(It is noteworthy that an existing addendum to that document provides that a RTO may extend the teach-out period to complete the training, assessment and awarding of AQF certification documentation to a learner without ASQA’s approval where the learner would be genuinely disadvantaged should the RTO adhere to the defined teach-out periods.)

  1. For learners enrolled on 1 April 2015 or later in a training product which is, or becomes, superseded (noting that no new enrolments are permitted in training products which are removed or deleted from the National Register), the provisions of the General Direction of 1 January 2014 do not apply. To be absolutely clear, RTOs may not continue to train, assess or issue AQF certification documentation for learners enrolled on or after 1 April 2015 beyond the periods specified in Clauses 1.26 (a), (b) and (c) of the Standards for RTOs 2015 except as provided below.

While ASQA is empowered to approve transition periods longer than those detailed in Clauses 1.26 (a), (b) and (c) of the Standards for RTOs 2015, ASQA will only consider applications for a longer transition period where it can be demonstrated that there would be genuine disadvantage to a cohort of learners if such an extension was not approved.

While applications on the basis described above may be submitted by individual RTOs or other interested parties (for example, an industry group), it is unlikely that such applications would be approved unless accompanied by appropriate supporting material (for example, by a State/Territory training authority where apprenticeships are involved; a licensing body; or a State/Territory Education Department where school students are involved).

ASQA does not intend to accept applications for extended transition periods from an individual learner or groups of learners.

Should ASQA approve an extended transition period, that arrangement will apply to all RTOs delivering the specific training product to the identified learner cohort (e.g. plumbing apprentices in a specific jurisdiction where the qualification has been superseded), regardless of who made the application.

ASQA publishes these approvals on its website.

Applications should be lodged using the online form—Request for consideration of an extended transition period of a training product.

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