Newbery Consulting


Thursday 23rd August 2023

Hello and welcome to VET News,


I hope you are doing well. Can you believe there are just only three months to Christmas!! Far out, where has the year gone? Anyway, we have a jam-packed VET News in this edition.


Firstly, I am pleased to release that our next edition of Speaking ASQAneese – Part 2 is available at our website Click. In the last article we looked at questions relating to training and assessment strategies, resourcing training and assessment, industry engagement and lastly assessment. In this article, we will focus on the following topics on which questions will be asked relating to Trainers / Assessors, Continuous Improvement, and Governance. I how this is helpful to you.


Before you jump to the news, there are two current issues that I want to alert you to. These will not apply to everyone but for those that they are applicable to, this will be valuable information:


International Student – Concurrent Enrolments


The first is the emerging issue relating to CRICOS providers and their acceptance and management of concurrent enrolments. This is a big and complex issue, so I am going to explain it in brief. In our current work with clients, we are observing outcomes from audits relating to the regulators focus on the provider’s acceptance of concurrent enrolments. This is particularly problematic where the provider receives an application from student who is on-shore and the student is still within the first six months of their principal course. Standard 7 of the national code imposes some restrictions on allowing students to transfer between courses within the first six months. Students and some agents are attempting to circumnavigate this restriction by instead obtaining a concurrent enrollment with a different provider as a bridge before they then cancel their principal course. Where the provider has accepted these enrolments, they are being found non-compliant by the regulator for the “practice of the provider avoiding their responsibility to comply with Standard 7″.


All CRICSO providers need to have a look at their enrolment arrangements specifically of onshore enrolments. In most cases that I have observed, the problem is that the student has provided false information and the provider has not taken steps to verify this information. It is also the case that providers are not taking steps to verify the arrangements for the student’s principal course and determining the suitability of the student entering another parallel qualification commitment. There is a lot more to this issue than this editorial allows me the space to unpack but, I would recommend that all CRICOS providers consider the following suggestions:

  • Make a blanket policy that you will not accept any application for concurrent enrolment when a student is still within their restricted period. Which is the first six months of their principal course.
  • Verify all the information that an onshore student provides in their application including whether they have any current COE, the institution they are studying with, the start and end date of the current enrolment, the location of this institution, their timetable of study and reasons why there previous COE was ended.
  • Don’t rely on any information that either the students or the education agents provide as all this information must be independently verified using a combination of PRISMS and contact with other institution that the student is or was enrolled with.
  • If you do accept a concurrent enrollment after verifying all the information which is after the restricted period, implement an arrangement to monitor closely the students’ progress and how they are maintaining both significant study commitments.
  • As a general observation I would observe that as the international education market ramps back up, you need to decide if you are in this for the long term or the short term. There are many unscrupulous operators in this market particularly in the education agent market. You need to put in place protections to ensure that you are enrolling genuine students.


Smart and Skilled Contract Compliance


This final issue is relevant to those with a Smart and Skilled contract. There are many new providers that have recently joined this contract and many existing providers that have been on this contract for a long time. Like all funding contracts, they have complex requirements that need to be complied with. These requirements are significantly more than simply complying with the RTO standards. Many of you know this and have highly developed systems to comply with those requirements. For all new providers, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking the time to read the contract terms and conditions and operating guidelines very carefully and make sure that you have put in place appropriate improvements to your operating arrangements to comply with these requirements. You can access these documents along with all other policies and supporting documents at the following link:


I am routinely being asked to provide support to RTOs who have received a breach notification following a Training Services NSW performance assessment. It’s important to note that responding to a breach notice is not the same as responding to a non-compliance with the national regulator. ASQA is a statutory authority that is bound by legislation to apply procedural fairness. Funding authorities like  Training Services NSW are not bound by the same requirements. You enter into a legally enforceable contract with them which essentially gives them all of the power. You don’t have the same rights of appeal based on their assessment findings and are essentially required to provide information and comply with their directions in accordance with the contract. So, I am providing this heads-up so that you can get informed about your obligations under this contract and make sure that you are complying because trying to put the genie back in the bottle after you have operated for some time and not complied with the contract is highly detrimental to your business and your students.


For instance, it seems to be the current practice of Training Services NSW where they identify non-compliance with your training and assessment, to require you to update the USI office to withdraw training products that have been previously issued. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the non-compliance with the assessment was either major or minor, they request you as the issuing authority to withdraw these previously issued training products. Of course, you will need to make a business decision on whether you follow this direction or not. Withdrawing the previously issued training products clearly poses a significant negative outcome for your students. If the student was issued a licence based on the issued training products, then the licence would need to be rescinded. If the student obtained employment particularly in occupations where the qualification is mandatory, this can have the effect of negatively impacting their employment. Even when these highly negative consequences have been explained to Training Services NSW, they don’t seem to care. They don’t seem to care about what impact it has on the student or industry as they are only focused on the fact that they paid for the training and the training and assessment was not delivered according to the required standard. This is just one example of the punitive actions that Training Services NSW will take against your RTO if you don’t comply with the contract. So, please, access the link provided above and get organised. You need to make sure that your training and assessment delivered under these contracts is spot on.


Good training,

Joe Newbery


Check out our most recent article on: Speaking ASQAneese – Part 2

Check out our last article on: Guide to ASQA Audit Process



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