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All Australian Governments are committed to supporting high-quality training in the VET system. While the quality of training is affected by many variables, registered training organisations (RTOs) have a critical role in ensuring training delivery on the ground is high-quality and meets the diverse range of learner and employer needs.
Reforms are currently underway to better support RTOs to achieve this. These reforms include revising the Standards for RTOs 2015 (the Standards) to ensure they are clear and outcome-focused and developing a Blueprint for the VET Workforce to support, grow and retain a quality VET workforce. These reforms will be supported by work to help build RTO capability and capacity, including developing tools and resources and supporting continuous improvement.
Revising the Standards for RTOs
The Standards are currently being revised to strengthen the focus on quality outcomes for learners and employers, provide greater clarity for RTOs and regulators, and allow for more flexibility and innovation in training delivery.
Draft revised Standards have been developed and finalised for piloting based on feedback from the sector, along with analysis of other sectors, expert reviews, and research. The draft revised Standards propose significant changes to the structure and content of the Standards, providing a clearer and more direct link between the requirements RTOs are expected to meet and the outcomes they are expected to deliver.
A public consultation process on an earlier draft of the revised Standards was held from November 2022 to January 2023. This included opportunities for the sector to provide written feedback and participate in a range of online and face-to-face forums across all states and territories. A summary of consultation findings is available on the RTO Standards Consultation page.
Taking into account feedback received, the draft revised Standards have been refined in preparation for piloting. These draft revised Standards are available here:
Piloting the revised Standards
Now that the intent and wording of the draft requirements has been thoroughly tested and refined, the next step is to test that RTO performance against the draft revised Standards is measurable and can be effectively evidenced across different RTO settings. During late 2023, a pilot will be undertaken to test the practical application of the draft revised Standards and ensure they support effective regulation.
Piloting activities are designed to ensure that the draft revised Standards:
- enable RTOs of different types, sizes and focus to demonstrate compliance in different ways,
- allow for sufficient flexibility to enable excellence and innovation, and
- enable regulators to effectively identify risk and differentiate providers.
The pilot will also gauge the extent to which there is consistent understanding of the draft requirements across RTOs and regulators, and identify areas where additional guidance materials and resources would be of most benefit to support the sector to meet the revised Standards.
As part of the pilot, the Department is running a brief online survey which seeks input on how RTOs would demonstrate compliance with the draft revised Standards relevant to their operational context. This targets all RTOs and other VET stakeholders who are involved in delivering quality services, and would like to contribute examples of how this could be evidenced. To provide input, click the link below:
The pilot will also involve focus groups and simulated performance and monitoring activities with a sample of providers identified by states and territories, RTO peak bodies and ASQA. Consideration will be given to RTO type, size, scope and location to ensure the findings are representative of the sector. RTOs nominated to participate will be approached directly by the Department or ASQA.
The Training Accreditation Council Western Australia is also conducting pilot activities during this time. This pilot will include a call for an expression of interest, workshop, and feedback on the Standards. A focus group in conjunction with the Department is also planned.
Pilot outcomes and next steps
Pilot outcomes will be published on the Department’s website. Following the pilot process, refinements will be made to the draft revised Standards to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and meet the needs of the sector prior to agreement being sought from Skills Ministers on the final version early in 2024. It is anticipated that the finalised Standards will be released in early to mid-2024.
The outcomes of the pilot will also inform the development of guidance materials and regulatory policies, practices and tools. A body of work will be undertaken to enable the revised Standards to take effect from January 2025 and support the sector to transition to the revised Standards.
Blueprint for the VET Workforce
Like many industries across Australia, supply and retention issues are a significant concern facing the VET workforce, with RTOs under increasing pressure to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
Development of a VET Workforce Blueprint (the Blueprint), announced as an outcome of the Jobs and Skills Summit, will ensure the long-term sustainability of the VET sector by supporting and growing a quality VET workforce. It will aim to identify effective strategies for VET workforce issues such as attraction, retention, career development and succession planning.
Work has previously been undertaken to examine the quality and capability of the existing VET workforce through the development of a draft VET Workforce Quality Strategy (Quality Strategy), however, it has become increasingly apparent that any successful actions taken should consider the context of broader workforce issues. The Blueprint presents the opportunity to take a broader framing, while still considering and incorporating feedback and proposed actions developed as part of the draft Quality Strategy.
A Steering Group has been established to provide strategic guidance and oversight to inform the development of the Blueprint. The Steering Group includes representation from the Australian Government, States and Territories, VET peak bodies, and unions and industry peak bodies.
You can find out more about the Steering Group through the following resources:
Opportunities to engage on the Quality Reforms
Opportunities to further engage on the draft revised Standards and development of the Blueprint will be provided in the coming months.