How to navigate COVID-19 as an RTO

May 27, 2020

Advice on what you can do as an RTO during the COVID-19 outbreak

You have worked hard on your RTO and have probably been achieving great things for many years, or were only just starting to before the pandemic came along and stopped you in your tracks.

Don’t let this pandemic stop you from achieving the great work you’ve been doing. As COVID-19 continues to impact on the RTO sector, even as restrictions start to ease, it is important to note that you have a few options available to you in order to help support your RTO. Here’s our advice:


Review your mode of delivery

You may be able to move much of your delivery to an online and/or distance mode of delivery, if you haven’t already. In order to do this, you need to: 
  1. You may be able to move much of your delivery to an online and/or distance mode of delivery if you haven’t already. You may have already done this or have put interim measures in place. As we head into more eased restrictions, you may now be looking to your longer-term plans. Here are some things to think about.

  2. Do you have suitable technology to deliver online learning – often you’ll need a learning management system that your students and staff know how to use. If you decide to use an online mode of delivery, its important to consider the learning management system you will use. Trying to manage lots of student records through emails and file-sharing systems, will become an administrative burden and will easily end in a compliance mess. Making a small investment to get the right software now, could potentially save you a lot in the future.

  3. Do you have resources that suit online or distance delivery? Do your resources fit the online or distance model?

  4. Consider if your students have access to the required resources – meaning computers at home, reliable internet, and suitable computer skills.

  5. Ensure that you have assessed individual learner needs in consideration of your revised delivery mode. Consider conducting a further assessment of individual learner needs and their support needs if you are adjusting the format of your delivery. You may need to conduct a digital literacy assessment to ensure individual learners are able to study via an online study platform.

  6. Continue to support students as you would when providing face-to-face delivery – it is important that the student feels connected and supported as they change the way they study.

  7. Ensure you continually monitor progress and attendance and don’t assume that going to an online or distance model means that progress should be left up to the student. Learning management systems have great ways of checking student attendance through logins, completed activities and so on.

  8. Notify ASQA as soon as possible of your change to your delivery model by completing the COVID-19—Notify ASQA of temporary changes form.


Go into RTO hibernation

You may consider hibernating your RTO for a period of time until the changes in relation to COVID-19 are lifted by the Government, and in turn, ASQA. To place your RTO in hibernation, you must:
  • Update your website to indicate that your RTO is currently in hibernation.
  • Not accept enrolments or payment of any fees whilst in hibernation.
  • Not deliver any training or assessment whilst your RTO is in hibernation.
  • Transfer active students to another RTO. You must provide the student with their transcripts and remain able to verify these for the new RTO.
  • Notify ASQA as soon as possible by completing the COVID-19—Notify ASQA of temporary changes form.

Worried about what happens after hibernation?

Whilst it is impossible to determine whether notifying ASQA that you are reopening your RTO will trigger an audit, it is important to note that ASQA will look at the provider based on the risks they pose in general when calling an audit; coming out of hibernation will not necessarily be a factor in calling an audit.


Review your scope

Now is your chance to review your scope. Make sure you are capturing the needs of your students and the market. ASQA has introduced a number of cost saving measures. This means RTOs won’t be charged any fees for extending their scope at the moment. Ensure you consider the risks that come with adding a new course to your scope of registration, including that you might bring about an audit.


Save on costs & seek government support

Along with the removal of fees for adding courses to scope, ASQA has also waived fees for a number of other activities that would normally attract fees. You can read more about these waivers by visiting

Additionally, the Commonwealth government has introduced a number of packages to support small to medium businesses. This includes the JobKeeper packages, so make sure you keep abreast of your eligibility and entitlements to the support you are able to receive.

In addition to Commonwealth support, many states have additional state-based support such as payroll tax relief and more.


Make use of this time

If you slow things down at your RTO or decide to go into hibernation, you can utilise this time wisely to ensure your RTO is compliant moving forward.

At RTO Advice Group we are compliance experts who can support you in many ways to get your RTO up to speed with compliance, and ensure you stay on track moving forward.

*Eduworks Resources has a number of options to help you get online



We can help you by setting you up in your own instance of Canvas. We’ll help you with all the implementation, training and support. You will have your own Canvas instance and be able to set up your own courses and enrol your own students. To find out more visit or call us today on 1300 761 141.


Eduworks LMS

Eduworks Resources is currently rolling out its very own LMS where you can access the resources you know and love through its LMS. This means if you don’t have an LMS already, you can sign up to ours and enrol your students through our LMS.


**Compliance management packages are available. To find out more visit or call us today on 1300 676 870.