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Course design standards—Overview

The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 is a legislative instrument comprising eight parts; Part 3 consists of the course design standards.

VAC 6.1

The course must not duplicate, by title or coverage, the outcomes of an endorsed Training Package qualification.

VAC 7.1

VET accredited courses are based on an established industry, enterprise, education, legislative or community need.

VAC 7.2

VET accredited courses are based on nationally endorsed units of competency where these are available and where these are not available the course is based on:

  1. units of competency developed as part of the course, or
  2. modules.

These units of competency or modules are developed in consultation with, and validated by, industry, enterprise, community and/or professional groups and documented in accordance with nationally agreed specifications, consistent with the requirements of the Training Package Development Handbook.1

Consultation with Industry Skills Council2 must take place to ensure that the course does not duplicate, by title or coverage, the outcomes of an endorsed Training Package qualification.

VAC 7.3

VET accredited courses either:

  1. lead only to a VET qualification and have course outcomes that are consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework qualification descriptor identified for the course, or
  2. lead only to a VET statement of attainment when course outcomes meet an identified industry/enterprise/community need but do not have the breadth and depth required for a VET qualification as stated in the guidelines for qualifications in the Australian Qualifications Framework. The course title will read ‘Course in…’.

VAC 7.4

VET accredited courses identify employability skills3 relevant to the course outcomes.

VAC 7.5

VET accredited courses confirm recognition to be given to the course by licensing, regulatory, professional or industry bodies where applicable.

VAC 7.6

VET accredited courses specify rules for the structure of the course.

VAC 7.7

VET accredited courses identify exit points from the course which provide for vocational or educational outcomes where applicable.

VAC 7.8

VET accredited courses provide information on educational pathways and articulation where applicable.

VAC 7.9

VET accredited courses specify any entry requirements to the course and justify any explicit limitations to access.

VAC 7.10

VET accredited courses specify course assessment strategies, which:

  1. are valid, reliable, flexible and fair
  2. support the collection of evidence that is sufficient, valid, authentic and current
  3. are consistent with the assessment requirements in the relevant Training Package(s) where nationally endorsed units of competency are used
  4. ensure that workplace and regulatory requirements, where relevant, are met, and
  5. identify and justify any requirements for workplace and/or simulated assessment.

VAC 7.11

VET accredited courses provide guidance on appropriate delivery modes, together with advice on limitations on course delivery modes and any requirements for on-the-job training.

VAC 7.12

VET accredited courses specify specialist facilities and resources and the vocational competency requirements of trainers and assessors essential for the delivery of the course.

VAC 7.13

VET accredited courses identify course monitoring and evaluation processes which will ensure that the course content and outcomes are reviewed and remain current and relevant throughout the period of accreditation.


  1. ASQA is complying with development requirements endorsed by the then Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) for training products developed and delivered in the VET sector. The Standards for Training Packages supersede the Training Package Development Handbook. The Standards for Training Packages do not accommodate the development of modules in VET accredited courses.
  2. The Standards require consultation with Industry Skills Councils (ISCs). However, under the new arrangements for training package development introduced on 1 January 2016, Industry Skills Councils no longer have responsibility for the content of training packages. Industry Reference Committees (IRCs), supported by their Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) now have that responsibility.
  3. Research evidence reveals that increasingly, the term ‘foundation skills’ is used to describe the five core skills of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) plus Employability Skills. That is, foundation skills include employability skills. Foundation skills’ is the term that Australian Government agencies have started to use to cover the ACSF’s five core skills, plus the employability skills or the Core Skills for Work framework. However, this is not a definitive definition and it’s worth noting that the Foundation Skills Training Package covers core skills plus digital literacy. The changes to the VET accredited course template used by ASQA were made to streamline the development process for training products in the VET sector.
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