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Clause 4.1

Provide accurate information to learners about services and qualifications

Clause 4.1

Information, whether disseminated directly by the RTO or on its behalf, is both accurate and factual, and:

  • accurately represents the services it provides and the training products on its scope of registration
  • includes its RTO Code
  • refers to another person or organisation in its marketing material only if the consent of that person or organisation has been obtained  
  • uses the NRT Logo only in accordance with the conditions of use specified in Schedule 4
  • makes clear where a third party is recruiting prospective learners for the RTO on its behalf  
  • distinguishes where it is delivering training and assessment on behalf of another RTO or where training and assessment is being delivered on its behalf by a third party  
  • distinguishes between nationally recognised training and assessment leading to the issuance of AQF certification documentation from any other training or assessment delivered by the RTO
  • includes the title and code of any training product, as published on the National Register, referred to in that information
  • only advertises or markets a non-current training product while it remains on the RTO’s scope of registration
  • only advertises or markets that a training product it delivers will enable learners to obtain a licensed or regulated outcome where this has been confirmed by the industry regulator in the jurisdiction in which it is being advertised  
  • includes details about any VET FEE-HELP, government funded subsidy or other financial support arrangements associated with the RTO’s provision of training and assessment, and
  • does not guarantee that:
     
    • a learner will successfully complete a training product on its scope of registration, or
    • 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 the RTO.

What this Standard means for your RTO

Your RTO is subject to all relevant consumer protection law that applies in any jurisdiction where your RTO operates.

Your RTO must enable informed choice for clients and learners by providing clear and factual information, whether this is done directly (including through your website) or by a third party, including an education agent or broker. Your RTO is responsible for all marketing or other material disseminated on its behalf, regardless of the channel or method used.

As the information must be accurate, your RTO must ensure it honours all commitments it makes.

RTO code

  • You must include your RTO code in all marketing material.
  • The RTO responsible for the training and/or assessment and for issuing a qualification or statement of attainment must be absolutely clear to anyone viewing any marketing or advertising material.
  • If another person or organisation is delivering training under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation that relates to that training and/or assessment.
  • If another person or organisation is recruiting learners under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation.
  • If you are delivering under a third-party agreement with another RTO, that RTO’s code must be included in all marketing or other material relating to those courses.

Nationally Recognised Training

  • All nationally recognised training is listed on the National Register at training.gov.au. The Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) logo is a recognised trademark that confirms training is nationally recognised. To maintain the credibility of the logo, it must be used only in accordance with the conditions of use in Schedule Four of the Standards (refer to Appendix 2).
  • It must be clear where training is not nationally recognised. If your RTO delivers training that is not nationally recognised (including school and higher education programs), you must clearly separate marketing or other information about this training from marketing and information about training that is nationally recognised.
  • RTOs can obtain a copy of the NRT logo by sending an email from an RTO contact listed on the National Register at training.gov.au to enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au.

Code and full title of the training product

  • Whether you offer qualifications, skill sets, accredited courses or individual units, all marketing material must include the code and the full title of the training product (as listed on the National Register) to ensure that there is no confusion about what is being offered and to allow potential learners to verify the information. This also means that all RTOs are describing courses in the same way, reducing confusion in the marketplace.

You must only promote training or assessment for training products that are currently on your scope of registration.

Your marketing or advertising material must only provide accurate and factual information about your training. You must not:

  • guarantee that a learner will be issued with a qualification or statement of attainment
  • guarantee that any employment outcome will result from training and/or assessment at your RTO, unless you have arranged guaranteed employment for any learner that successfully completes their training and/or assessment at your RTO, or
  • claim that a learner will be eligible for any licence or accreditation as a result of your training and/or assessment, unless the issuer of that licence or accreditation has confirmed this to be the case.

In developing marketing or advertising material, remember the likely audience, particularly for online marketing. Often, Australian states and territories have different regulatory arrangements and potential learners must be able to clearly see where any licencing or accreditation outcomes may apply.

Your RTO’s marketing or advertising material must also be consistent with its training and assessment strategies, including any variations or additions for courses delivered to overseas students. For example, you must not claim a course takes two weeks to complete if learners complete the course over a period of several months, including doing so by also undertaking a period of independent study.

Your RTO must not guarantee that a learner will obtain a qualification or statement of attainment by studying at your RTO. You must not guarantee that a learner is able to complete a training product where this would breach Clause 1.1 or 1.2 of the Standards (including by misrepresenting or understating the amount of training required).

If you use any reference to another person or organisation (such as testimonials or photos) in marketing or advertising material, you must gain consent from the person or organisation before you make that reference public. This applies to, for example, displaying photos of other training or educational institutions on your website, which can lead people to believe your RTO operates those facilities.

Where learners would be accessing VET FEE-HELP or any other government loan or subsidy, your RTO must provide details of the arrangements. You must provide details of:

  • any costs associated (including interest or similar costs), and
  • any debt that will be incurred.

You must provide details of any loss of entitlement that may occur should a learner undertakes a course at your RTO. This includes information about limited entitlement schemes (where learners are only able to access one course or there are restrictions on what courses may be subsidised after a learner completes their study at your RTO).

RTOs are not required to have marketing or advertising policies and procedures, but you should:

  • ensure all marketing material is checked and approved by an appropriate person before publication, and
  • monitor all marketing to ensure it remains current and accurate.

Significant numbers of complaints are submitted to ASQA and other agencies about RTOs making inaccurate or misleading statements in their marketing—being vigilant about monitoring the accuracy of your marketing will increase learner satisfaction and reduce the chance of complaints being submitted to regulators, which may lead to expensive compliance action against your RTO.

Don’t forget to monitor marketing carried out on your behalf by other parties, such as training directories or brokers. Your RTO is responsible for ensuring all marketing complies with the Standards, no matter who actually creates or publishes the material.

ASQA reviews your RTO’s marketing when:

  • preparing for an audit
  • considering applications, and / or
  • investigating complaints.

ASQA’s reviews include activities such as conducting Internet searches to discover marketing about your RTO other than your RTO’s website.

A guide to compliance

As evidence of applying this Standard, RTOs need to retain copies of actual advertising and marketing material, including any material created by a third party. Retaining a copy and register of all approved material, while not mandatory, makes it easier for RTOs to monitor marketing and allows this to be presented as part of an audit or in the investigation of a complaint.

If you reference another person or organisation in your advertising or marketing material, you must retain evidence that permission was obtained prior to any material containing the reference being published. This could be an exchange of emails, a signed release form or a letter giving permission to use the relevant material. If you regularly include information about learners in social media (including any photos where a learner can be recognised), a release clause in the enrolment form giving your RTO permission to use photos in public material may be useful, as long as the RTO can demonstrate that relevant learners actually agreed to the release. Learners must be able to ‘opt out’ of such a release if they wish.

Regardless of how the evidence is presented, it must demonstrate that all of the requirements of Clause 4.1 have been complied with in full.

If you are seeking registration as an RTO, you may not yet have marketing material developed.

Provide any developed material as evidence of what will be used. While not essential, procedures outlining how marketing material is to be developed and approved may demonstrate that an applicant has the capacity to comply with these requirements once registered.

Case study: Monitoring the market

YZA Training delivers training in allied health from four locations in New South Wales and South Australia. In addition, it has a third-party agreement with BCD Health Education to deliver first aid units at workplaces in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The RTO’s Marketing Manager approves all new marketing and promotional materials, and any other public information about the RTO, before it can be used. A register is kept of all approvals, along with a complete copy of the material. This requirement is included in the subcontract agreement with BCD Health Education.

Regular monitoring is carried out on all currently approved material, particularly online material, to ensure it remains consistent with the RTO’s scope of registration and operations. When material is no longer in use, it is marked as ‘non-current’ in the register after being confirmed as no longer in circulation.

The Marketing Manager conducts regular searches of the Internet for YZA Training, BCD Health Education and other relevant terms that would reveal any information about the RTO. On one occasion, a search discovered that BCD Health Education had entered information about first aid courses into a ‘careers directory’ online and did not identify YZA Training as the RTO. As this information had not been approved by the RTO, BCD Health Education was required to have the material removed. Shortly after, BCD Health Education submitted a request for advertising on the same site to be approved. As the request now included all required information and was accurate, the Marketing Manager approved the request, the information was entered in the directory and the item was added to the register for future checking.