About the Standards for RTOs 2015
The Standards were endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council in 2014.
The Standards are enabled by the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVR Act), which aims to:
- provide national consistency in regulation of the VET sector, using a standards-based quality framework and a risk-based approach
- promote quality, flexibility and innovation in VET
- promote Australia’s reputation for VET locally and overseas
- promote a VET system that meets Australia’s social and economic needs
- protect students undertaking or proposing to undertake VET in Australia
- ensure access to accurate information regarding the quality of VET.
The VET Quality Framework
These Standards form part of the VET Quality Framework, a system which ensures the integrity of nationally recognised training in Australia. RTOs are required to comply with the VET Quality Framework at all times. As the national regulator for the VET sector, ASQA regulates training providers against the VET Quality Framework.
The VET Quality Framework comprises the:
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
- Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
- Fit and Proper Person Requirements (which, as of 2015, are part of the Standards)
- Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements 2021, an instrument that sets out details of the financial viability risk assessment of registered and applicant training organisations
- Data Provision Requirements 2020, an instrument which sets out the requirements for providers in relation to the submission of data to ASQA upon request and to submit quality indicator data annually.
Purpose of the Standards
The purpose of the Standards is to:
- describe the requirements that an organisation must meet in order to be an RTO in Australia
- ensure that training delivered by RTOs meets industry requirements (as set out in training packages and accredited courses) and has integrity for employment and further study
- ensure RTOs operate ethically and consider the needs of both students and industry.
The Standards describe outcomes RTOs must achieve, but do not prescribe methods by which RTOs should achieve these outcomes. This allows RTOs to be flexible and innovative in their VET delivery—an acknowledgement that each RTO is different and needs to operate in a way that suits their clients and students. RTOs take many forms, including very large Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and other public providers; enterprise RTOs that are part of larger organisations and only train staff of those organisations; community-based providers; commercial colleges; and many more. These organisations are diverse in size, structure, and governance and in the scope and volume of services they provide. By describing outcomes rather than inputs, the Standards encourage flexibility and innovation while assuring the quality of training.
The structure of the Standards
Each Standard consists of:
- the Standard itself, which provides a broad statement about the required outcomes of that Standard
- a context statement, which provides background information to aid understanding, but is not part of the Standard itself and does not describe any compliance requirements
- one or more clauses that describe the outcomes an RTO is required to achieve to comply with that Standard (for an RTO to comply with the Standard, it must fully comply with all of the clauses in the Standard).
Related legislation and standards
The Standards should be read together with the:
- Standards for Training Packages 2012, which govern the design and development of training packages
- Standards for VET Accredited Courses, which apply to the course design of VET accredited courses, and
- Standards for VET Regulators, which outline the outcomes that VET regulators, including ASQA, must achieve in their regulation of the standards applying to RTOs and VET-accredited courses.
Australian Qualifications Framework
The AQF establishes the quality of Australian qualifications. Implementation of the current AQF commenced on 1 July 2011 (The Australian Government is undertaking a review of the AQF to be completed by the end of 2018. For information refer to DESE website).
The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It incorporates the quality-assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. As well as applying to VET, the AQF applies across school and higher education.
While some parts of the AQF are primarily intended for course development rather than training delivery, delivery of training products must ensure students have the opportunity to properly develop the skills and knowledge that have been described in the training package or course document. By ensuring that delivery aligns to the AQF in the same way training product design does, the skill level and employability of VET graduates is assured.
RTOs are required to be fully compliant with all aspects of the AQF. RTOs have been required to fully comply with all aspects of the AQF since 1 January 2015. This is articulated largely through:
- Standard 1 (in regard to the amount of training provided)
- Standard 3 (in regard to issuance of qualifications and statements of attainment).