ASQA has this week released their latest regulatory strategy for 2019 – 2021. The strategy identifies two target areas and a number of strategic initiatives that the regulator will focus on over the next two years.

The biggest changes that we’ll see in the next two years are as follows:

ASQA intend to change the process for RTOs selling or buying an RTO. There will be changed processes around change of RTO ownership.

  • ASQA has added standards of concern that they will focus on monitoring the compliance of, which won’t be surprising to many  – specifically training and assessment strategies, sufficiency and availability of resources, assessment practices, amount of training and certification.
  • There are also a range of CRICOS standards that will be focused on
  • The white card unit and Diploma of Business have been added as training products that ASQA will focus on.

The target areas and strategic initiatives that ASQA have focused on arise out of these reports that were released in the past two years:

  • All eyes on quality: Review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. Read the report here

Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System. Read the report here.

Target Area 1: Trainer and assessor capability

This target area was included in the last two regulatory strategies and continues to be a focus.

The new strategy identifies that steakholders have indicated a shortage of skilled trainers and assessors and a need within the sector for the knowledge and skills of trainers and assessors to be upgraded.

The TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment has also been identified as a training product of concern as steakholders are indicating that this qualification does not produce quality trainers and assessors.

ASQA recognises that the quality of this qualification has a direct impact on a number of areas within the sector as it is directly linked to quality of training and assessment and therefore student outcomes.

So what does this mean?

Well from the strategy it doesn’t seem that much is changing. Providers who wish to put this qualification on scope will continue to face scrutiny of their TAS and materials, and providers with the qualification will be monitored closely.

ASQA has however mentioned that they will be undertaking a review in partnership with the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business of VET workforce challenges to drive improvement within the sector.

Target Area 2: VET in Schools

The second target area identified in VET in Schools.

Since 2008 VET in school enrolments have accounted for 30% of all school enrolments. 

However, there are a number of areas of VET in Schools delivery that ASQA will focus on:

  • The provision of accurate information to students allowing them to make informed decisions.
  • Ensuring teachers are appropriately qualified to deliver the program.
  • Alignment between training and assessment delivery and the requirements of the training package.
  • Availability of sufficient learning and assessment resources to support students.
  • Timely certification of students upon completion of their training.
  • Adequacy of partnering arrangements.

To address these issues ASQA will be working with relevant state and territory bodies to research and analyse these key areas of concern and consider the approach required.

Strategic initiatives

Along with the above two strategic areas ASQA has identified 5 strategic initiatives as a focus over the next 2 years, some of them continuing the focus of the last strategy of 18-20. The initiatives are:

  • Recognising and supporting quality in the VET Sector
  • Austalia’s international education sector
  • Strengthening registration requirements
  • Training products of concern – however the training products have changes since the last strategy.

New to this strategy is a focus on:

  • Standards of concern

Australia’s International Education Sector

If you’re a CRICOS or ELICOS provider then this one will impact you. ASQA intends to focus on the following risk areas:

  • Student non-attendance
  • Enrolment growth
  • English-language capabilities
  • Education agents
  • Student transfers between providers
  • Providers with multiple operations
  • PRISMS data issues.

ASQA also plans to focus on providers who:

  • Are delivering VET offshore,While  specifically China
  • Are offering assessment-only services in foreign countries
  • Offering 100% online delivery to international students.

ASQA will be working on improving their ability to detect risks through PRISMS data inter agency information.

Strengthening Registration Requirements

For anyone looking to become an RTO or sell their RTO expect it to get tougher in the coming years. ASQA plans on raising the bar on all applications for initial registration and examining the impact a change of ownership can have on the quality of training and assessment.

In the past year we have seen ASQA release new self-assessment tools, financial viability risk assessment tools and revised their application guide. All of which have lead to a decrease in applications for registration.  ASQA plans to introduce new requirements surrounding change of ownership processes. What these requirements are, no one yet knows. Will it mean an audit of the new provider by the regulator, will there be new self-assessment tools released? At this stage, we don’t know. As soon as we know of any updates to the process we’ll let you know so ensure to keep your eyes peeled.

In addition to the above areas ASQA plans on once again strengthening the fit and proper person requirements to ensure the people in charge have ‘the required characteristics’ to deliver high-quality training.

Training products of concern

ASQA has identified five qualifications as training products of concern in their latest strategy. These following qualifications continue to be training products of concern:

  • CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support
  • CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • TAE40116 Ceritifcate IV in Training and Assessment

While the following training products have now been added:

  • CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry
  • BSB50215 Diploma of Business

ASQA intends to monitor all providers with these qualifications on scope.

If your RTO delivers the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care expect additional scrutiny surrounding training and assessment practices and work placement management.

Standards of concern

ASQA has outlined a focus on the following standards for RTOs:

  • 1.1 Have appropriate training and assessment strategies and practices, including amount of training
  • 1.2 Appropriate amount of training is provided, taking account of the skills, knowledge and experience of the learner and mode of delivery
  • 1.3 Have the resources to provide quality training and assessment – including sufficient training and assessors, learning resources, support services, equipment facilities.
  • 1.8 Implement effective assessment systems
  • 3.1 AQF Certification is issues only where the learner has been assessed as meeting the training product requirements

In addition to these standards for RTOs, ASQA have identified the following CRICOS standards as areas of concern:

  • 2 Implement a process for assessing English language proficiency
  • 4 Ensuring education agents act ethically, honestly and in the bests interests of overseas students
  • 8 Supporting overseas students to complete their course within the required duration by appropriately monitoring student progress and participation
  • 11 Meeting the registration requirements for registration on CRICOS, including that the delivery of all courses is for a minimum of 20 course contact hours per week.

That’s a lot to take in we know! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused as to what this means or just not sure what to do this information don’t worry. We are here to help!

Over the next few months, we will be dissecting this strategy further and providing you guidance on areas to keep your eye on.

What should you do now?

We recommend making a plan to review your Training and Assessment Strategies, learning and assessment resources and policies and procedures that directly relate to the above areas.

Make sure all your staff understand the requirements and the ramifications if policies and procedures are not followed. If you feel your staff are not across the policies and procedures and requirements we can run workshops with your staff to get them up to speed.

Now more than ever it’s important to make compliance and good practice a priority.

Interested in our sourcing your compliance? Get in touch to talk with us about our compliance management packages.