As the national vocational education and training (VET) regulator, the role of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) includes ensuring that the quality and reputation of Australia’s VET system is maintained through effective national regulation. Students, employers, the community and governments need to have confidence in the integrity and credibility of national qualifications issued by registered training organisations (RTOs). Australia’s VET system is vital to our economic prosperity, training Australians in the knowledge and skills needed for jobs now and in the future as workplaces are rapidly changed by global competition and new technologies.
ASQA applies a risk-based approach to regulation of the VET sector that allows resources to be directed towards the areas that pose the greatest threat to quality VET outcomes, while also minimising the regulatory burden on high-quality providers. ASQA’s student-centred approach to audit supports this risk-based regulation.
ASQA audits are structured according to the five key phases of the student’s journey with their RTO, starting with marketing and recruitment and finishing with the completion of the student’s training and issuance of their qualification. At audit, ASQA seeks evidence of student outcomes and RTO practice (rather than just looking at inputs, outputs and processes).
This version of the Users’ guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 (the Standards) has been developed to reflect ASQA’s student-centred approach to audit, which focuses on the student experience, and the practices of RTOs. The guide aims to help RTOs make sure their practices deliver a quality experience for every student at each stage of their ‘journey’ through the VET system.
The guide follows the five phases of the student’s journey, grouping the relevant Standards/clauses against each stage, emphasising the importance of RTO practice to the quality of the student experience. The sixth chapter of the guide looks at the Standards/clauses relating to regulatory compliance and governance practice.
The guide does not provide definitive checklists: each RTO is different—with significant variance in terms of their offerings, delivery modes, target markets, size and so on—meaning that ‘one size fits all’ compliance checklists are an overly restrictive and limiting tool for Australia’s diverse VET providers. Instead, this guide describes how the Standards are relevant to RTOs at each phase of the student journey, outlines how RTOs might meet the Standards and provides examples and case studies illustrating the types of evidence that might demonstrate what is actually happening for the student at each phase of their journey.
I encourage RTOs and those seeking to become an RTO to use the guide to consider how their practice as well as their systems and processes can best support learning outcomes and high-quality student experiences at each stage of the student journey.
Mark Paterson AO
Chief Executive Officer