ASQA Update-Issue 60, ‎‎‎‎‎‎October 2019

The Australian Government has announced significant reforms to the VET sector including a new VET Stakeholder Committee and plans to expand ASQA’s role to provide more education to providers.

We are making some improvements to asqanet. A new feature will change how stakeholders and students lodge complaints to ASQA, helping us better identify and target provider risk.

In response to user feedback, ASQA has made a number of revisions to the Financial Viability Risk Assessment (FVRA) tool to make it more user friendly.

ASQA has developed an Industry Consultation form to assist course developers in meeting requirements.

ASQA is updating its policy around change of ownership obligations from 31 October 2019.

 

ASQA is now able to upload the academic results from closed RTOs to students’ Unique Student Identifier (USI) transcripts outside the regular data submission windows.

ASQA is aware that unfortunately, there are unqualified organisations issuing fake certificates in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

Read the ‎October 2019 edition of the ASQA Update newsletter.

 

SOURCEAAP:https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news

Ministers observing ASQA

The recent Skills Ministers’ Communique showed all Ministers are clearly focussed on ASQA and its performance

BY CLAIRE FIELD

The Communique stated that:

* effective regulation is central to the quality of and confidence in the VET sector

* the national regulator, ASQA, should improve its engagement with the VET sector and expand its educative role

* the Braithwaite Review and the Joyce Review emphasised that it is critical to ensure that training providers are aware of, and supported to understand, their compliance requirements, and that regulatory decisions are transparent

Ministers went on to call for immediate work to be done to reform ASQA’s regulatory approach, improve confidence in the regulator and support continuous improvement in training provision across the VET sector.

When you look at what ministers are calling for it is clear that they are expecting significant cultural change to occur within the organisation. Based on the experiences of providers that I am familiar with (and the more balanced comments on social media) senior staff within ASQA have some hard thinking to do about whether they can genuinely shift to new ways of working with those they regulate.

Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.

Sourceaap:https://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/ministers-observing-asqa/

ASQA Chief Commissioner Steps Down

Summary —

As the Australian Government sets about reforming the way the Australian Skills Quality Authority (AQSA) interacts with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), its Chief Commissioner, Mark Patterson AO, has decided the proposed shift in direction for ASQA provides an appropriate time for him to step down.

Key Issues for providers —

The Australian Government today announced reforms to the agency responsible for regulating the vocational education and training sector, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the reforms respond to key recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce Reviews, including supporting ASQA to expand its scope to adopt a more educative approach to lift quality in the delivery of vocational education and training (VET).

The Minister said improving the quality of VET is a priority of the Australian Government, and this includes ensuring the sector’s regulatory environment is reasonable, transparent and effective.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Hon. Steve Irons MP, said the Government has set a strong direction for the future of VET.  His view was that with appropriate regulatory reforms, the nation can have a vocational education sector that provides workforce skills and relevant up-to-date qualifications that are well-matched to the evolving opportunities of Australia’s modern economy.

As the national regulator for Australia’s VET sector, ASQA regulates training providers to ensure they meet nationally approved quality standards.

The Australian Government’s priority is to to ensure that training organisations are well placed to understand their requirements and that the regulator has the right tools and information to regulate them effectively.

It’s been announced that as part of these changes the Chief Commissioner of ASQA, Mr Paterson, has decided the proposed shift in direction for ASQA provides an appropriate time for him to step down and pass responsibility for managing the next phase of ASQA’s evolution to others.

ASQA Commissioner Saxon Rice will act in the role of Chief Commissioner as of 7 October 2019.

Member Engagement:

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.iteca.edu.au/ITECA/Content/News/News_Archive/20190927_Article_ASQA_Chief_Commissioner.aspx

BREAKING NEWS-Ministers announce changes to the Australian Skills Quality Authority

  • Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
  • Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships

The Australian Government today announced reforms to the agency responsible for regulating the vocational education and training sector, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the reforms respond to key recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce Reviews, including supporting ASQA to expand its scope to adopt a more educative approach to lift quality in the delivery of vocational education and training (VET).

“Improving the quality of VET is a priority of the Australian Government, and this includes ensuring the sector’s regulatory environment is reasonable, transparent and effective,” Minister Cash said.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons MP, said the Government has set a strong direction for the future of VET.

“With appropriate regulatory reforms, we can deliver a vocational education sector that provides workforce skills and relevant up-to-date qualifications that are well-matched to the evolving opportunities of Australia’s modern economy.”

As the national regulator for Australia’s VET sector, ASQA regulates training providers to ensure they meet nationally approved quality standards.

“I am keen to ensure that training organisations are well placed to understand their requirements and that the regulator has the right tools and information to regulate them effectively,” Minister Cash said.

“As part of these changes Mark Paterson AO, the Chief Commissioner of ASQA, has decided the proposed shift in direction for ASQA provides an appropriate time for him to step down and pass responsibility for managing the next phase of ASQA’s evolution to others,” Minister Cash said.

“I would like to thank Mark for the leadership he has provided to ASQA since January 2017, including managing the removal of a large number of poor quality training providers that arose as a result of past practices and the VET FEE-HELP debacle.”

ASQA Commissioner Saxon Rice will act in the role of Chief Commissioner as of 7 October 2019.

SOURCEAAP:https://ministers.employment.gov.au/cash/ministers-announce-changes-australian-skills-quality-authority

New ESOS Regulations for CRICOS-registered providers

19 September 2019

From 1 October 2019, CRICOS-registered providers must comply with new Regulations: Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2019. The ESOS Regulations will cease on the same day.

It is important for providers to understand any changes to their obligations.

Key changes

  • Education Agents – providers must now give information about education agents that facilitated an overseas student’s enrolment
  • English language tests – providers must give more information about English language proficiency tests
  • Breach of visa requirements – providers must give more information about students who have failed to meet attendance or course progress requirements
  • Tuition fees – the definition of ‘tuition fees’ has been expanded to clarify what class of fees should be regarded as tuition fees.

Where to find more information

The Department of Education has released material to assist providers with understanding and complying with the new regulations.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/new-esos-regulations-cricos-registered-providers

ASQA Update-Issue 59, September 2019

Message from ASQA’s Chief Commissioner

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Welcome to our September ASQA Update. This is a large issue covering some important recent publications including guidance on requirements for third-party arrangements, our strategic review on international education and an updated regulatory strategy. Since the last update we also held our annual training provider briefings, where I and my colleagues met with many of you to provide updates on ASQA’s work, and invite and answer questions. I enjoyed this opportunity to connect with many of you directly and look forward to further opportunities for engagement.

A common query from audiences at this year’s events centred on a misconception that ASQA takes regulatory action against providers for minor administrative oversights. This has also been the subject of recent public discussion. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you directly about ASQA’s regulatory processes and assure you that ASQA does not make adverse decisions against providers for minor non-compliances.

Earlier this year, a small number of cancellations were triggered by providers failing to submit Total VET Activity (TVA) data or the Annual Declaration of Compliance. TVA data is the only reliable information on delivery that exists, so is of a critical nature to our sector. It is necessary for this information to be collected in a timely and complete manner, so it can inform decisions that have a significant impact on the sector and on providers.

The majority of RTOs submit their data on time each year, however, there are a small number that do not. ASQA provides numerous reminders to RTOs, collectively and individually, about deadlines for submitting data.  If RTOs miss deadlines following these efforts, ASQA issues notices of intent to impose a sanction with opportunities to respond. Given how important accurate data is to ensuring quality of the sector, the refusal to submit it is a serious failure to comply with regulatory obligations and not a minor issue.

When ASQA carries out other regulatory activity including audits, we identify non-compliances that pose major risks to learners and the sector more broadly. ASQA’s risk-based approach to regulation means we only conduct regulatory activities where we have evidence of potential risks to quality – we do not seek to identify minor non-compliances that could unnecessarily impact the work of quality providers. Our audit reports do cover the range of non-compliances, however, minor administrative non-compliances do not result in sanctions.

I hope this offers some insight into ASQA’s processes, and reminds all providers of the importance of their regulatory obligations. I thank the majority of providers for complying with requirements.

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Mark Paterson AO
Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer
Australian Skills Quality Authority


ImageStrategic review into international education published

ASQA has published its strategic review into international education, Protecting the quality of international VET and English language education. The report finds that overseas students have good experiences studying in Australia, however, work is needed to ensure this continues to be the case.

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Regulatory strategy for 2019-21—what are the strategic issues on ASQA’s agenda?Image

ASQA has released its regulatory strategy for the 2019-21 period. The strategy is informed by ASQA’s evidence-based approach to identifying and addressing systemic risks to the vocational education and training (VET) sector. The latest update announces continued focus on international education and trainer and assessor capability, and a new focus on VET in Schools.

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New guidance on third-party arrangements for delivery of training and assessment

ASQA has published guidance to provide clarity on the third-party arrangements permitted under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. The guidance addresses existing requirements for RTOs and responds to the specific risks associated with third-party arrangements for delivery of Training and Education (TAE) products. The updated guidance comprises of a new fact sheet and new General Direction.

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ASQA Training Provider Briefings 2019 presentation slides now available

ASQA recently held 23 briefings for training providers across Australia. It was an opportunity to inform training providers about ASQA’s work and core activities, and invite questions from the audience. We have now published the briefing presentation slides along with the most popular questions and answers.

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Meeting trainer and assessor requirements

ASQA has recently updated its fact sheet on the requirements for trainers and assessors.

► Read the fact sheet​


Extended transition period for 13 High-risk work Units of Competency

ASQA has approved an extended transition period for 13 High-risk work Units of Competency. The extended training, assessment and certification issuance period ends on 1 January 2020.

► Read more​


Extended transition period for four RGR racing qualifications

ASQA has approved an extended transition period for four RGR racing qualifications. The extended training, assessment and certification issuance period ends on 31 December 2019.

► Read more


Extended transition period for four MEA Aeroskills qualifications and UEG30114
ASQA has approved an extended transition period for four MEA Aeroskills qualification and UEG30114 Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations. The extended training, assessment and certification issuance period ends on 31 December 2019.

► Read more


Reminder of the recent change in how unit codes are allocated in VET accredited courses

This is a reminder that the method for allocating codes to units of competency recently changed and applies to VET accredited course applications received from 1 September 2019.

► Read more


Recent regulatory decisions

► Stay up to date with ASQA’s latest regulatory decisions
Careers with ASQA

If you or anyone you know is interested in working for ASQA, you can send us your resume or keep up to date with our employment opportunities via the links below. Our current vacancies are also listed below. As employment opportunities become available, they will be listed on our website and on the Australian Public Service jobs website, apsjobs.gov.au.

► View all of our employment information on ASQA’s website.

► Keep up to date with our recruitment via ASQA’s LinkedIn page.

► ASQA’s current vacancies are:
APS Level 6 Lead Regulatory Officer – Perth
APS Level 6 Lead Regulatory Officer – Adelaide
APS Level 6 Lead Regulatory Officer – Sydney, Canberra
Executive Level 2 Manager, Regulatory Operations – Sydney

SOURCEAAP:https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/asqa-update-september-2019

Clarification on third party arrangements for VET in schools

19 August 2019

Following the release of the General Direction and fact sheet on third party arrangements, we have been asked to clarify the impact where a school engages an RTO to deliver a course to VET in schools students, and the school provides some support in the delivery.

1) Where a school is also an NVR Act RTO then the school is the principal that enters into a third party agreement with an external RTO and that agreement specifies the services and facilities that the school will provide and the activities that the third party will be responsible for.

Where the school RTO does not have the qualification on scope, then the third party RTO will be responsible for enrolment, the outcomes of the training and assessment, and the issuing of the qualification to the student. The third party RTO must have the qualification on its scope of registration at all times.

The school RTO is not required to have the qualification on scope to enter into a third party agreement with an external RTO that has the qualification on scope.

2) Where the school is not an NVR Act RTO, then the school procures the service from the external RTO and the RTO as principal enters into a third party agreement with the school to cover the provision by the school of facilities, staff etc. to the extent that is part of the arrangement.

The RTO will be responsible for enrolment, training and assessment, and the issuing of the qualification to the student. The RTO must have the qualification on its scope of registration at all times.

We acknowledge that this in some cases differs from current practice where the school has acted as if the school was a separate entity from the school RTO which in some cases is not the case.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/clarification-third-party-arrangements-vet-schools

New guidance on third-party arrangements for delivery of training and assessment

9 August 2019

ASQA has published updated guidance on third-party arrangements that will come into effect from 1 September 2019 for new third-party arrangements and 1 November 2019 for existing arrangements’.

This updated guidance comprises:

Why has ASQA revised its advice?

Registered training organisations (RTOs) have indicated that they are unclear of the extent to which they can use third parties for the delivery of training and assessment. ASQA has found some RTOs hold arrangements for delivery of training and assessment by third parties that do not meet the requirements of the NVR Act and, therefore, cannot be entered into.

ASQA holds concerns with third parties undertaking marketing and recruitment on behalf of RTOs that is not in line with the requirements of the NVR Act. ASQA’s guidance clarifies the existing requirement for VET courses to be marketed in the name of and on behalf of a registered training organisation that is registered to deliver that course only. This helps to ensure students know who will provide their course.

In addition, ASQA has identified a risk to the quality of VET through a number of RTOs entering into third-party arrangements for delivery of training products from the Training and Education (TAE) Training Package. TAE training products have been identified by ASQA as ‘VET courses of concern’.

The General Direction—third-party arrangements for training and or assessment of VET courses sets a requirement for RTOs to seek written agreement from ASQA prior to entering into a new third party arrangement for any VET course of concern as of 1 September 2019. The General Direction requires RTOs to seek written agreement from ASQA before 1 November 2019 to continue existing arrangements.

I have existing arrangements for delivery of training and assessment by a third party—how will I be affected?

ASQA has emailed all training providers that have previously notified the regulator that they hold third-party arrangements with information about the new requirements and the transition period. If you have not received this email, please contact the ASQA Info Line on enquiries@asqa.gov.au

When does the revised advice come into effect?

You may not enter into any new arrangements that do not meet the requirements outlined in ASQA’s guidance from 1 September 2019.

All third-party arrangements, including existing arrangements, must meet the requirements outlined in ASQA’s General Direction from 1 November 2019. For more information on what this means for your RTO, please refer to the email advice ASQA has provided.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/new-guidance-third-party-arrangements-delivery-training-and-assessment

Regulatory agency targets VET risk areas

Source: Getty Images

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has released a new regulatory strategy to address systemic risks to the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

The national regulatory agency’s latest strategy has been designed to inform Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and the broader VET community of the risks that will receive greater regulatory focus.

The evidence-informed strategy outlines ASQA’s priorities to 2021, with a focus on international education, trainer and assessor capability, and VET in schools.

ASQA Chief Commissioner and CEO Mark Paterson says future regulatory activity will focus on tackling the most significant risks in a sector largely made up of quality providers.

“ASQA’s risk-based approach to regulation allows us to target efforts to address serious non-compliances that risk damaging the reputation of our world-class VET sector,” he said.

Paterson maintained that ASQA does not impose regulatory sanctions for minor administrative or technical non-compliance, despite “claims to the contrary”.

“All of ASQA’s regulatory activity, including audits, investigations and reviews of specific training areas or products is informed by our assessment of risk that RTOs or potential RTOs represent—ASQA does not conduct regulatory activity unless we have determined a potential threat to quality.”

The commissioner’s comments refer to growing complaints from the VET industry about the approach taken by the regulator, which was also criticised by education experts for being too soft in its first few years of operation under Paterson’s predecessor.

Last week the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia, a peak body representing private-sector education and training providers, said federal government MP Andrew Laming had expressed these concerns in a “hard-hitting speech” to a near-empty federation chamber.

The body claims “award-winning RTOs are being accused of failing to meet regulatory standards for minor technical breaches of the legislation or on matters that have no bearing on student quality such as the colour of a logo on a website” in a statement.

Troy Williams, ITECA’s chief executive, said “good people running quality RTOs” were worried that they would face serious penalties for “compliance issues that have little to no outcome on the provision of quality providing of training to students”.

“ITECA isn’t calling for the regulatory system to be wound back, simply that the approach of ASQA be modified to focus less on what Mr Laming correctly called administrivia,” Williams said.

The peak body is pleased with the results of former New Zealand minister Stephen Joyce’s review of the VET sector, however.

“ITECA and our members are supportive of the board direction set out in the Joyce report and we’re comforted by the engagement that we’ve had at a ministerial and departmental level to assist the government develop an appropriate response,” said its CEO.


READ MORE: Mark Paterson to lead VET regulator amid student loans overhaul


While recent reports have raised concerns over VET courses delivered in secondary schools, “there has not yet been national scrutiny of this area”, the regulator said.

Courses provided in schools give students “valuable opportunities” to prepare for the workforce and learn specific technical skills. However, this value is diminished when courses do not meet the required standards, according to ASQA.

Mark Paterson

The agency has planned to conduct a study and consult with other government agencies to respond to this issue.

For a fourth consecutive year, ASQA has said it will “continue close scrutiny” of trainers and assessors.

The strategy has also outlined the second phase of an initiative which aims to improve how quality VET delivery is recognised and support providers through engagement and advice.

ASQA released the report on its strategic review into international education last month, following reports of international students coming to Australia primarily to work under the guise of attending a “ghost school”.

The report found that some VET providers have failed to fulfil their obligations, including ensuring overseas students receive accurate course information and meet their required outcomes. It recommended that international students be required to attend courses full-time, strengthening cross-agency collaboration to prompt consistent access to data and intelligence, and ensuring offshore students have the same protections as domestic students.

ASQA’s new strategy outlines plans to implement the recommendations of the review, including close monitoring of providers delivering to overseas students in Australia and offshore.


READ MORE: Australia’s tertiary sector is in need of “urgent” reform, says report


The points of focus in ASQA’s strategy are:

  • Continued focus on the capacity of trainers and assessors;
  • Implementing recommendations of the recently published strategic review into international education;
  • A new focus on the delivery of VET in schools; and
  • The second phase of the “recognising and supporting quality in VET initiative” that seeks to better recognise quality VET delivery.

Five courses of concern include:

  • CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support
  • CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care,
  • TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment,
  • CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry,
  • BSB50215 Diploma of Business

SOURCEAAP:https://www.themandarin.com.au/113121-regulatory-agency-targets-vet-risk-areas/

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