Commencement of the national VET regulator in the NT

In December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to establish a national regulator for the VET sector. The new regulator will be a Commonwealth statutory authority. All jurisdictions except Victoria and Western Australia have agreed to refer powers to the Commonwealth to establish the national regulator. The creation of a national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), which will be responsible for registering training organisations and accrediting courses.

All Northern Territory registered RTOs transferred to the new national regulator on 1 July 2011.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 has established a new approach to national regulation of the vocational education and training (VET) sector in Australia. While the approach is new, most of the regulatory requirements have not changed at all.

On a national basis, all providers wishing to operate in more than one jurisdiction or enrol international students in post-secondary studies must be registered with the national regulator.

A standards council will be established which will provide advice to the Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE) on national standards for regulation including registration, quality assurance and accreditation of VET qualifications.

Australian Quality Training Framework

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system. All registered training organisations (RTOs) must comply with the AQTF Standards.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed key reforms to the 2007 AQTF Essential Standards for Registration in December 2009. These important changes strengthen the AQTF and ensure regulators have the tools they need to protect the interests of all students undertaking vocational education and training in Australia. The changes are reflected in:

  • essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration for organisations seeking registration for the first time
  • essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration for existing RTOs.

The revised version of the AQTF is effective from 1 July 2010. Further information on the AQTF can be found on the frequently asked questions page on training.com.au website.

The new AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration and the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration are included in the full list of publications.

Key features:

  • strengthened requirements in areas of financial viability, financial management, fee protection and governance conditions
  • compliance with the Conditions of Registration will now be audited in the same way that compliance with the Standards is audited
  • an organisation must comply with the Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration at the date that it is approved for registration
  • non-compliance with the new Essential Conditions and Standards may result in a range of sanctions being placed on the RTO which may include additional conditions being placed on an RTO's registration, an RTO being de-registered, or an application for registration being rejected.

Trainer and assessor competency requirements

The National Quality Council (NQC) endorsed the Training and Education Training Package (TAE10) on 12 May 2010.

The new training package includes the revised TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment which replaces the TAA40104 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as the qualification required by all trainers and assessors in the vocational education and training (VET) sector by 17 June 2012.

It was agreed at the NQC June 2010 meeting to amend the policy on AQTF trainer and assessor competencies by:

  • replacing references to the TAA04 Certificate IV training and assessor competencies with references to the revised TAE10 Certificate IV training and assessor competencies
  • requiring all trainers and assessors to have these qualifications/competencies or be able to demonstrate equivalent competencies.

All references to BSZ98 Certificate IV competencies have been deleted.

The new policy has been published as Appendix 2 to the Users’ Guide to the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration and the Users’ Guide to the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration.

Registered training organisations

Registered training organisations (RTOs) provide nationally recognised training. Only RTOs can issue nationally recognised qualifications and statements of attainment.

To become registered, training providers must meet the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration. This ensures the quality of services throughout Australia.

RTOs are authorised to provide specific nationally recognised VET products and services, including:

  • training package qualifications
  • units of competency
  • accredited courses.

In the Northern Territory, RTOs must apply to the ASQA to be eligible to deliver training and assessment services.

RTOs include adult and community education providers, private providers, community organisations, schools, higher education institutions, commercial and enterprise training providers, industry bodies, and other organisations that meet registration requirements. All registered training organisations are listed on the training.gov.au (TGA) database including details of their scope of registration.

Training providers that are not registered are not permitted to deliver nationally recognised training and assessment services or to issue qualifications or statements of attainment. However, these training providers can deliver non-accredited training.

Group training organisations

Group training organisations (GTOs) are independent organisations that employ apprentices and trainees and hire them out to host employers on a short or long term basis. Some specialise in servicing a particular industry, while others will work with many industries in their region.

A GTO acts as the primary employer and:

  • selects the apprentice or trainee carefully to ensure that they are suitable for a business
  • arranges and monitors the on and off-the-job training
  • takes responsibility for all paperwork connected with wages, allowances, superannuation, workers compensation, sick pay, holiday pay and other benefits
  • ensures that each apprentice or trainee receives a broad range of training and experience by rotating, where necessary, the apprentice or trainee from business to business.

For more information, go to the training.gov.au (TGA) website.

Professional learning

The Department of Business is dedicated to supporting professional development for RTOs and continually strives to ensure the quality and integrity of the VET system is maintained across the Northern Territory.

Professional development is one of many strategies supported by DET to assist in maintaining a base of highly skilled vocational education and training practitioners to support the AQTF and improve the quality of VET products and services.