Hi everyone,

Firstly, I apologies for being so quite lately. Over the last couple of months I have had my head down progressing client projects and refining our systems alignment and compliance with the new standards. This has all been very positive but has come at the expense of other things. Anyway,, we are back on track now and racing through the fourth quarter. There are lots of interesting items in this newsletter. I particularly like the guide on the development of assessment tools released by ASQA. I strongly encourage the regulator to continue to publish these types of guides as they really do help RTOs to strengthen their alignment with training packages and the standards. We are in the process of developing a range of tools that will assist RTOs to prepare for their renewal of registration. These will all be free to download for everyone and will include a republished guide to audit evidence against the new standards.

As many of you know, I have a theory about compliance in the VET sector that I called the “Thick Grey Line”.  This is the wide grey area of auditor subjectivity that pervades in ASQA which is flanked by white being compliant and black being non-compliant. We see this subjectivity every day and are absolutely committed to educating the sector to understand this subjectivity and to prepare for it. It is the subject of a workshop I am presenting at the Velg 2015 National VET Conference in Adelaide (Sep 2015) titled the “The Thick Grey Line of Compliance”. So if you are coming to the National VET Conference, please join me for this session. Also, please make use of our new suite of tools when they are released.

As a general notice, Newbery Consulting will be implementing a general price increase as of the 1st July 2015. These price increases will be across the board and really reflect the demand for our products and services. They will still represent great value and those clients who have current subscriptions with RTO Data, these increases will not come into effect until 1st July 2016. I think 14 months’ notice is fairly generous! All price increases will be published on the site this week. Those considering a purchase of our products and services have until the 30th June to purchase those items at the current price. Keep an eye out on the site for this information.

Enjoy the news and good training!

Joe Newbery

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Compliance and Regulatory News

ASQA update

Standards for using third parties. ASQA has issued a formal letter to all RTOs highlighting the requirements in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 relating to the use of third parties and, in particular, the use of brokers and similar service providers in the enrolment of prospective learners.

New General direction. ASQA has issued the General direction—Learner transition. It replaces the former General direction—transition and teach-out. A point of note is that ASQA has approved the application of the ‘teach-out’ provisions in the former General direction for learners who were enrolled before 1 April 2015.

TDA tuition assurance scheme. ASQA has approved a tuition assurance scheme (TAS) operated by TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) as suitable for the protection of fees prepaid by vocational education and training (VET) students.

Updates to ASQA website. Recent updates to the ASQA website include new fact sheets for: – Sample AQF documentation – Amount of training – Marketing and advertising – Meeting trainer and assessor requirements.

Transitioning from VRQA to ASQA. ASQA has published transition arrangements for RTOs transferring from VRQA to ASQA after 1 April 2015. ASQA says it will use a fair and reasonable approach to ensure that there is no disadvantage to VRQA RTOs in the transition.

New version of ASQAnet allows online notification of third party arrangements. RTOs should now use ASQAnet to notify ASQA of the commencement and cessation of third party service arrangements. ASQA will continue to accept the previously required ‘Notification of Material Change or Event form’ until 15 May 2015, after which all notifications relating to third-party arrangements must be submitted in ASQAnet.

Guide to developing assessment tools. ASQA has published this guide to help RTOs and their assessors to develop practical assessment tools that meet the requirements of the new Standards, and deliver skilled graduates who are job ready from day one.

Annual fees reminder. ASQA annual fees will be invoiced on 1 July 2015. Annual fees are based on an RTO’s scope of registration as at close of business on 30 June 2015. ASQA’s Fee Schedule includes information about how fees are calculated.

VET Reform update

New Australian Apprenticeship Support Network. On 27 April 2015, the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, announced the successful organisations that will form the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network. Eleven organisations make up the new Network with services being delivered through more than 280 network provider sites.

Infringement notice scheme. In a media statement by the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, it was confirmed that RTOs found to be in breach of standards could be issued with an immediate fine under the new infringement notice scheme that came into effect on 2 April 2015.

Possible two-step enrolment provision. As reported in the TDA Newsletter on 7 April 2015, the federal government is considering a new ‘cooling-off’ provision that would allow students signed up by some colleges to back out of agreements.

New model for training product development. On 21 April 2015, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, announced the new model for Training Product Development for Australian Industry. The new model places industry at the centre of training product development through industry reference committees which will be overseen by the industry-led Australian Industry and Skills Committee.

Vocational Training and Education Advisory Board appointment. In April 2015, the Hon Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training, appointed Mr Paul Edginton to the Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board. Mr Edginton has been the Chief Executive Officer of SYC Limited since 2004 and is a Board Member of White Ribbon Australia.

TAC Update

Users’ Guide published. TAC has released its Users’ Guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. The guide is intended for use by those applying to become an RTO, existing RTOs, auditors and other regulatory staff.

Training Package News

Recent Training Package Updates

The following training package updates have been published on training.gov.au:

  • BSB Business Services (Release 1.1) 9 April 2015
  • FNS Financial Services (Release 1.1) 22 April 2015
  • ICP Printing and Graphic Arts (Release 1.1) 9 April 2015
  • ICT Information and Communications Technology (Release 1.0) 25 March 2015
  • MEA Aeroskills (Release 1.1) 14 April 2015
  • FPI11 Forest and Forest Products (Release 2.3) 1 May 2015
  • FPP10 Pulp & Paper Manufacturing Industry (Release 1.3) 1 May 2015

IBSA launches four new training packages

IBSA has reviewed and updated four of its training packages in line with the new standards, and in response to industry needs. They are:

  • BSB Business Services Training Package
  • FNS Financial Services Training Package
  • ICP Printing and Graphic Arts Training Package
  • ICT Information and Communications Technology Training Package



Events, Resources & Funding News

Australian apprenticeship update

Click on the link below to view the Training Package qualifications recently implemented in States and Territories.

Trade Support Loan take-up

In a media statement by Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham on 9 April 2015, it was stated that more than 20,000 applications had been received for a Trade Support Loan to help ease the financial strain on apprentices. The Trade Support Loans Programme began in July 2014, providing eligible applicants with up to $20,000 worth of loans that are repaid through the tax system once the minimum income threshold has been reached. 

South Australia’s Work Ready policy

Work Ready is the new strategic policy for skills, training and employment activity and investment in South Australia. The policy brings together existing initiatives and funding streams into one strategy to support the development of a skilled and adaptable workforce, essential to driving innovation and productivity growth.

Victorian TAFE Back to Work Fund

In a media release on 24 March 2015, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the TAFE Back to Work Fund. A $50 million fund will save TAFEs that are struggling financially and help institutes build partnerships with companies in the six growth sectors of the economy identified by the Labor Government’s Back to Work Plan to create at least 100,000 jobs.

ASIC’s Be MoneySmart training

ASIC’s Be MoneySmart is an online training resource to help students develop money management skills which support their future careers in small business or as contractors. It has been designed to support the delivery of the unit of competency FNSFLT301. 

Two new funding programs for NSW

State Training Services has announced the release of two new funding programs. The Aboriginal Training Program and the People with Disability. Expressions of Interest for this funding will be considered from both non-Smart and Skilled and Smart and Skilled Contract providers.

Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative

The Queensland Government is making an investment of $240 million over four years to support up to 32,000 Queenslanders into work. There will be two contestable funding rounds held each financial year. The first funding round will open on 1 May and close on 19 June 2015.

Recent VET publications

Skills DMC: 2015 Environmental Scan

This growth outlook analysis is a critical planning document containing analysis of commodity price impacts, as well as skills supply outlook and current and emerging trends across the Resources and Infrastructure Industry. Forecasting the likely path of demand for the Industry’s diverse skills base, the Environmental Scan is used by the Industry to prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead; and by Governments to shape skills policy in partnership with Industry.

Government Skills Australia: Environmental Scan 2015

This environmental scan identifies the macro and micro factors currently impacting on the skill needs of the workforce and its composition for the government and community safety sectors, namely correctional services, local government, public safety, public sector and water. It considers how well the national training system, its products and services, and industry itself are responding.


Other News of Interest

Record Victorian TAFE losses

As reported on 16 April 2015 in The Age, annual reports tabled in State Parliament show only two institutes generated a positive operating result for 2014. The combined operating deficit was expected to hit $52.5 million in 2014, the state government reported.

Hundreds of Vocation private training college graduates forced to hand back qualifications

As reported by ABC News on 22 April 2015, Private training provider Vocation has been forced to recall more than 1,000 of its qualifications, including hundreds in child care and aged care, after Victorian regulators found the courses were sub-standard.

ABC’s Four Corners turns its attention to universities

A Four Corners investigation aired on 20 April 2015 has claimed to unearth alarming new evidence of a decline in academic standards at institutions around the country.

ACPET clears Evocca – with conditions

As report in ABC News on 30 April 2015, ACPET has agreed to maintain Evocca’s membership as long as the organisation improve its practices and quality oversight processes, including:

  • Separating the academic decision-making process from the commercial aspects of Evocca’s operations
  • Reviewing and reporting back to ACPET on supporting students, reducing attrition rates, protecting students from unwarranted debt, appropriate enrolments and better entrance testing.


The news articles presented in this edition of VET News have been researched and prepared by Anne Maree Newbery.

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