Reform is the cornerstone for development and the VET sector understands it very well. The vocational education regulator ASQA along with the Australian government has set forth the task of reforming and developing RTO standards.
To help RTOs stay compliant with this new chapter of quality reforms we have brought this blog which will include everything about the changes and how they will affect RTO standards and the RTOs.
Why are quality reforms needed?
Reforms based on quality offer development to the existing system and that is exactly why the Australian Government has decided to bring changes in the VET system.
The current issues as identified by ASQA which RTOs are facing with RTO Standards 2015 are:
- The ASQA standards are regulatory and don’t leave much room for high-quality training.
- RTO Standards are focussing on the results but not on quality training and assessments hampering the growth of the learners.
- The standards are expansive in their expressions but don’t address the fine issues related to learners.
- RTO Standards are focussed highly on the RTOs’ operations and other details which is cumbersome for the RTOs.
- The standards are dependent on rules and regulations not that rules are not important, but the goal of a highly skilled learner gets missed in such a highly regulated system.
- RTO requirements are not aiming to deliver quality training but majorly on administrative processes.
These issues have come forward after interviews with RTOs, industry experts and relevant stakeholders across Australia and the quality reform’s objective is to resolve these issues.
What are the new quality reforms and their relation to RTO standards?
In October Development of the Draft Revised Standards for RTOs Paper was released in which the revised standards are given. The draft revised Standards will be now sent for pilot testing in late 2023.
According to the government and Skills reform, the new quality reforms will help RTOs understand how to deliver training that is both high in quality and focused on training relevant knowledge and skills.
The new RTO standards that quality reforms will bring forth will have three parts to it with each part fulfilling various objectives. Let us now deep dive into these three parts to understand how the changes will be so that RTOs can understand them completely.
What are these three parts?
Part 1- Development of RTO standards that focus on learner outcomes and their requirements.
The quality reforms aim to help RTO deliver quality training. Since the current existing standards are not able to completely fulfil this task, the quality reforms aim to introduce new standards and revise the existing standards for better learning experiences.
What will be the changes in standards?
The reforms will be focussing on five areas that impact quality training and are crucial for RTOs. The new draft for standards will contain instructions on these five quality areas.
The draft standards will bring clarity to all requirements related to validation in the form of statements. These statements will clearly define desired outcomes for RTOs. The assessment principles and evidence rules will be revised for better outcomes. There will be new requirements for the pre-validation of assessment tools so that RTOs can offer better assessments to learners. The Recognition of prior learning will be made more accessible so that learners with relevant experience will have better chances at qualifications and jobs. These reforms are aimed at boosting the overall quality of training.
- Support for Learners
The reforms want to enhance the overall learner experience and well-being. To achieve this there will be policies that are inclusive and supportive to learners like minorities, disabled learners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners. Learners’ language, literacy, numeracy and digital upskilling will be focal points and consultation will be provided during pre-enrolment to avoid the disadvantage of learners. There is a provision to add a requirement that will relate to reasonable adjustments for disabled students that will come under the Disability for Standards of Education 2005. These steps will be further supported by the accessibility of trainers and resources also by updating training packages.
- Workforce building
The draft standards provide clear directives on the knowledge requirements of relevant industries and current skills. Special attention to improving the trainers and assessors will be given. This will help the VET system to build a stronger workforce. The current requirements mandate the trainers to work under supervision and it is being revised to trainers working under the supervision. The new directive will be applied to Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and the Diploma of TAE (Teaching and Education) so that trainers get to work under the direction of expert and qualified trainers as well as assessors.
The number of trainers and assessors working in the VET sector will also be increased. Professional development of trainers and assessors will be made the focus of workforce building so that learners receive the best training.
- Improving engagement
According to the draft standards, RTOs will have to create communities to improve their engagements with other educational institutions and networks potentially offering jobs. This will help RTOs to offer assurance on quality resources and employment. RTOs will also have to link to social groups and well-being groups to provide holistic support to the learners.
Training delivery will have to be guided by good governance according to the draft standards. According to the draft standards governance should be culturally and socially responsible and accountable to its learners. Systematic and periodic performance reviews will evaluate RTOs and offer further insights and a chance to improve in the future.
To read further about the changes download the Consultation paper of the Draft Standards for RTOs.
Part 2- Development of guidelines for RTOs so that RTOs operate towards the requirements of their training programs. Also, to figure out which training products need supplementary validation and their requirements.
The guidelines will have 2 parts. Part 1 will include guidelines for credentials and Part 2 will include specific training packages.
- Guidelines for credentials
These guidelines will provide credentials for the trainers and assessors who are working under the direction of expert trainers and assessors. It will also guide trainers to provide directions to trainers and help in the validation of assessments. It is mentioned as such in Standards 1.26 and 3.1.2. Standards 1.26 also give requirements for the eligible validators and other validation-related requirements.
- specific training packages
The training packages that come under 1.26 are specific. They help with the validation of the assessments.
Part 3 – Development of requirements that will fulfil compliance with RTOs. These will be purely administrative requirements for RTOs.
The proposed RTO standards are not highly administrative as RTOs have the current RTO Standards 2015 hampering their outcomes. RTOs will not have to have public liability insurance covering the RTO scope of registration through the entire registration period. The time restriction for informing the VET regulator of issues has been lifted. Under the proposed RTO standards RTOs are not mandated to use the Nationally Recognised Training Logo. Though these are mandatory under the current RTO standards they will be like conditions in the proposed RTO standards.
The progression of the quality reforms till now
The proposed standards for RTOs and the Consultation papers can be accessed on the Skills Reform website. The proposed standards are being refined while ASQA is developing additional support documents that will help RTOs devise effective tools and training resources.
Meanwhile, the development of a VET workforce blueprint is underway which will help the VET trainers and assessors to be more effective in training.
The effect on RTOs
The reforms and the new standards will help RTOs provide high-quality training as these changes specifically target quality training.
The changes proposed will fundamentally make the requirements easy for the RTOs. This will aid in rule-following as well as learning outcomes.
The proposed standards for RTOs will offer more freedom to the RTOs in their training delivery journey.
The directives will be more clear and inclusive boosting RTO’s reputation for future training programs.
What should RTOs do?
Until the proposed standards for RTOs are not finalised RTOs can be proactive in discussion forums by the VET regulator ASQA. These forums are held in person and online. This way RTOs can be a party to change and current news.
RTOs should also read the draft of the RTO standards thoroughly to understand what the changes might look like in the future.
The Australian government is dedicated to reforming the VET sector with better standards, guidelines and training. To fully participate in this step RTOs should keep themselves updated and be prepared to stay ahead of the rest.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1 What is the meaning of the VET workforce blueprint?
A.1 The VET ministers lobbied for the VET workforce blueprint as a guiding framework for the industries. The industries are expected to formulate effective plans to employ highly capable trainers and assessors.
Q.2 Where can RTO find Standards for RTOs 2015 to read or to download?
The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.