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General questions about the program
What is VET Data Streamlining?
The VET Data Streamlining program will modernise the way VET student activity data is collected, managed, and utilised by the whole sector with a focus on improving outcomes for the sector at a national level.
The key changes include:
- the introduction of a new VET Information Standard specifying national and state specific VET data elements to be collected from training providers
- the introduction of new technology to enable progressive reporting of data, supported by changes to the legislative framework.
Why is this change being introduced now?
Currently the information needs of students, training providers and decision makers in much of the VET sector are not being met. The way we collect and manage student activity data at the national level is multi-layered, complex and inconsistent.
If Australia is to maintain its position as a global leader in VET training, our ability to respond rapidly to emerging challenges, address skill gaps and take advantage of market opportunities is critical. The ability to harness the power of information through modern systems and a new Information Standard, will be a key enabler to achieving this goal.
Who is responsible for introducing this change?
The Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, in partnership with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, state and territory governments and sector regulators are working together to deliver the VET Data Streamlining program.
What is changing?
The program will introduce several changes relating to what student training activity information is collected and how it is submitted. As a result, there may be changes to the way training providers conduct their business, such as submitting data progressively rather than periodically. This may have flow on impacts to the systems these providers use and how staff involved in data submission engage with these tools.
There are three main pillars of work:
- the introduction of a new VET Information Standard, to replace the existing Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) VET Provider 8.0 collection. This specifies national and state specific VET data elements to be collected from training providers
- the introduction of new technology to enable data submission, validation and reporting of VET Information Standard data
- changes to the legislative framework to support the progressive submission of data.
When will the changes be introduced?
The VET Data Streamlining program will be gradually rolled out over a reasonable period to allow time for the system changes to be implemented and to give training providers and student management system providers time to prepare and adjust. The changes will be introduced progressively across the sector, which means that not all training providers will be impacted at the same time.
While you don’t need to make any changes immediately, there are many ways to engage with the program to ensure your organisation is well informed and ready for the changes. For example, the program has an active External User Reference Group which meets regularly. This group has been established to ensure feedback from the sector is captured and actioned, as necessary.
You can also stay up to date by regularly checking in to the Department of Education and Workplace Relations, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and your state or territory training authority websites. You can also email questions to the VET Data Streamlining team at VETDataStreamlining@dewr.gov.au.
How has the VET sector been engaged so far?
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, state and territory governments, and sector regulators are committed to engaging early and often with the VET sector and have established several groups with representatives from across the sector and each jurisdiction.
These include the External User Reference Group and several sub-groups which focus on user design, technology and systems, training and support, change management and stakeholder needs and analysis.
The External User Reference Group meets around once a month and is attended by representatives from large and small training providers including TAFEs, each state and territory training authority, Student Management System providers, VET peak bodies, and regulators.
The Department has commissioned research into the VET sector to better understand the current reporting arrangements and reporting ‘pain points’ for providers. A summary of this research can be found on the VET Data Streamlining program webpage on the department’s website.
The Department is also undertaking a regulation impact assessment and has commissioned KPMG to support this work.
How can we get involved?
There are a few different ways you can get involved in the program. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has established several forums with representatives from across the sector and each jurisdiction. The primary channel for engagement is the External User Reference Group. Underpinning this forum are several sub-groups which focus on different aspects of the program such as user design, technology and systems, training and support, change management and stakeholder needs and analysis.
If you are interested in participating in one or more of these groups, please email the program team at VETDataStreamlining@dewr.gov.au for more information.
The program is working closely with the state and territory training authorities, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, peak bodies, Australian Skills Quality Authority and Student Management System vendors. Information is shared regularly, and you can stay up to date by checking the website from time to time.
How long will we have to transition?
The program will be progressively rolled out nationally over a reasonable timeframe to give organisations plenty of time to transition to the new data submission arrangements. Extensive engagement has already taken place and will continue to be a priority for the program moving forward.
The Department and our program partners will make sure support information is available in the lead up to the changes being introduced and to ensure that your organisation has time to prepare for the transition. The exact timeframes for organisations to transition to the new arrangements are still being worked through with the state and territory training authorities and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research. However, we do know that not all training providers will be impacted at the same time as the program will be implemented progressively.
Will we be able to access help so we can adjust to the change?
The VET Data Streamlining program is working closely with training providers, Student Management System (SMS) vendors, VET peak bodies, the Australian Skills Quality Authority and state and territory governments, to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and that people responsible for submitting data are supported through the change.
With this in mind, we will be providing support material to training providers. These will likely include user guides and stories, frequently asked questions, and possible eLearning and other support materials.
SMS vendors may also be developing their own support materials specific to their systems. Typically, these could include user guides, online help, and training materials.
What’s in it for training providers?
There are several anticipated benefits for training providers, such as:
- simpler data submission
- faster validation of student information
- the ability to submit data progressively at a time that is convenient to them.
However, it is important to note these benefits may not be universal for all providers. This is due to the complexity and diversity of providers in the VET sector, many of whom have bespoke systems and business practices, differing information needs and competing priorities and objectives.
Some of the program benefits include:
- reduced duplication through the introduction of a national dataset (including state and territory elements) in a consistent and consolidated Information Standard
- the provision of data which can be used many times with permission
- an easy-to-understand Information Standard that is supported by plain English data descriptions and validation rules, including fact sheets and user guides
- easier processes for providers to update students’ training records at any time, allowing current and past students to access updated USI transcripts sooner
- streamlined validation processes by only returning records with errors if one occurs on submission rather than whole files
- easier and faster updates to consumer information on planned training courses
- access to high-quality data and information will provide useful and timely insights on the VET sector which can lead to new courses and services being developed
- improved evidence-based decision making, which will result in better outcomes for the sector.
What’s in it for VET sector decision makers?
The key benefit for VET sector decision makers relates to improved data quality and timeliness. Currently the way we collect and manage student activity data at the national level is multi-layered, complex and inconsistent. This can mean that decision makers are relying on information that is sometimes out of date. The rapidly changing global landscape we now operate in, means this is no longer viable if Australia is to remain globally competitive.
Modernising the way we collect and manage data at the national level means that decision makers will be able to use the insights gained to make better, faster decisions based on the most up to date information.
The program aims to ensure that Australia’s VET education sector remains a global leader that is resilient to emerging challenges and well positioned to harness the power of information. We want to support economic growth and improved outcomes for Australia and its citizens.
What’s in it for students?
When fully delivered, students can expect to access to up to date records of their studies, which they can use to demonstrate competencies and gain employment. Former students with a national USI (unique student identifier) can obtain a transcript of their VET achievements from the Student Identifiers Registrar. The VET Data Streamlining program will enable faster updates of records, so that VET transcripts are always up to date.
Where can we find more information?
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations is working closely with all the state and territory training authorities, peak bodies, Student Management System vendors, the Australian Skills Quality Authority and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research to introduce the changes gradually over the next few years. For now, you can access general information about the program on the following websites.
Commonwealth—Program related information
If your organisation has government reporting obligations at the state/territory level, we expect information about the VET Data Streamlining program and how it will be implemented in that jurisdiction will be available soon.
The timeframes for organisations moving to the new arrangements are still being worked through. As this becomes clearer, information will be available on the following websites:
Jurisdictional reporting arrangements (state and territory governments)
- South Australian Department for Education
- New South Wales Department of Education
- Government of Western Australia Department of Training and Workforce Development
- Victorian Government Department of Education
- Queensland Government Department of Employment, Small Business and Training
- Northern Territory Government Skilling Territorians
- Tasmanian Government Department of State Growth, Skills Tasmania
- Australian Capital Territory Government – Skills ACT
Questions about national VET data submission
What is the VET Information Standard?
A new VET Information Standard will provide a nationally consistent framework for the collection of VET data and will be managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.
The current standard is called the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) and has been updated several times since it was first introduced in 1994. A new VET Information Standard will replace the AVETMISS 8.0 and is a key component of the of the VET Data Streamlining program.
Why is the VET Information Standard changing?
The Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) is over 25 years old and, while it has been updated during that time, it no longer reflects the VET sector’s information needs.
A new Information Standard is essential to reflect the current data requirements. It also needs to be flexible enough to include future and emerging information requirements as well as being easy to understand and engage with.
What is changing with the new Information Standard?
The VET Data Streamlining program introduces a new VET Information Standard which will replace the current AVETMISS VET Provider 8.0 Collection.
Along with consolidating state and national reporting into a common national framework, the new standard aims to reduce duplication and support improved consistency. Importantly, the new VET Information Standard has been designed to be flexible so that it can quickly and easily accommodate future changes.
The VET Information Standard will introduce new data elements which focus on qualification specialisation information, third party provider details and predominant modes of delivery. Several data elements that are currently captured under AVETMISS have also been modified to improve data quality, or to separate out multiple concepts that had been collected under a single element.
NCVER will work closely with the sector once the new standard is approved by governments to ensure that changes to national data standard reporting obligations are clearly understood by training providers and student management system vendors.
For the latest VET Information Standard updates, visit the NCVER website.
Questions about the technology changes?
What is STARS?
STARS stands for ‘Student and Training Activity Reporting System’ and is a key deliverable for the program. It is a new modern system and a secure central repository for VET data, that will be managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and used by all VET sector stakeholders. STARS will modernise the way VET data is collected and managed for many training providers by allowing for progressive submission of data, and easier and faster validation of data.
Will the changes be integrated into our commercial Student Management System?
For the changes to be effectively introduced, Student Management System Vendors (SMS) will be required to made ‘back-end’ changes to their systems and the Department is working closely with them to facilitate this.
Most SMS vendors routinely make improvements to their systems to accommodate changes such as new regulations, to ensure their systems are compliant.
We don’t use a Student Management System; does my business need one or can we submit data differently?
If you do not use a commercial Student Management System (or you use a system that is unable to connect to STARS [Student and Training Activity Reporting System]), alternative submission arrangements will be available. Although you may like to take this opportunity to consider if a commercial student management system service is appropriate for your business and warrants the investment.
The program is also developing a portal so that training providers can access STARS directly if necessary. We expect the portal to come online over the next couple of years.
Will our data be secure?
The department, and our delivery partners, take privacy and cyber security seriously. The new ICT system (STARS) will be developed in-line with the Australian Government’s Information Security Manual and Protective Security Policy Framework, and industry best practice cyber-security standards.
RTO’s will be provided with options for submitting VET data to STARS, with one being via student management systems using modern application program interface (API) technology. The submitted RTO data will be encrypted, and in-system controls will be used to limit the data that can be accessed by users of STARS. Access to data will be based on assigned user-roles and the specific items of data that can be accessed by each role.
Didn’t find the answer to your question?
If you have a question about the VET Data Streamlining program that isn’t answered here, please let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to provide an answer as soon as possible.
These FAQs will be regularly reviewed and updated as more information becomes available on the program, so make sure you check in regularly to keep up to date.