ASQA Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Paterson presented at this year’s Velg Training National VET Conference. One of the themes for the conference was to Activate which, Mark tackled well as he went about instilling the audience with positivity. He said, “Keep up the good work”, citing that there is a 90:10 split of Registered Training Organisations doing the right thing which, he stated, is commendable for any industry.
The presentation gave an overview of the storms the VET sector has weathered recently, through to what RTOs can expect from ASQA in the next few years. The key message was to focus on the students and he also held his hand up to some areas where ASQA could improve too.
Take a read of the main points from the speech in this 4 minute blog.
Improve the reputation of the sector
Since the abolishing of the VET FEE-HELP program which led to a downward spiral in opinion of the VET sector, there is a strong desire from all stakeholders in the industry to enhance the reputation of VET. The newly focused Student Centred Audit approach aims to support the needs of students. He clarified, that students are the reason we’re all here.
Raised the bar
In July 2018 the application process to become an RTO became more robust. ASQA wanted to ensure that those wanting to enter this market and serve our nation’s students and future workforce were, fit and proper, financially sound, understood obligations and had the relevant resources. As such they saw a 75% decline of new applications. He noted, this was also due to a flurry of applications that came in before the cut off date from the old process.
Let’s not focus on cancellations
Mr Paterson stated, there is too much attention on cancellations. Only 6% of RTOs were cancelled last year. Plus they are not just terminated, they have time to change things to become compliant.
The new risk based approach to audit is to ensure the focus is spent on the “dodgy providers”. ASQA acts when red flags are raised. For example, a change in enrolments, student feedback, shared arrangements and student growth.
Overall the numbers of RTOs in the market is decreasing which is an opportunity for those providers out there doing the right thing.
Regulatory Strategy 2019-21
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 VET sector. The focus for the next few years is on International Education, Trainer & Assessor Capability and VET in Schools as well as looking at Training Products of Concern and Recognising and Supporting Quality.
Image above taken from the slides in the Training Provider Briefing Presentation.
If you are interested in the common compliance issues, they all fall into Clause 1 as can be seen in the slide from the Training Provider Briefing Presentation.
Timeliness and consistency
Mr Paterson went on to acknowledge that ASQA can be rightly criticised for a lack of timeliness and consistency, however, it is not for their desire to do well. They aim to communicate to RTOs in a timely and consistent manner. Details of this commitment are outlined in the strategy document and include:
- an annual series of face-to-face training provider briefings delivered in every state and territory,
to educate and inform the sector about regulatory obligations and ASQA activities
- comprehensive educational and information resources published on the ASQA website including
the Standards for RTOs, fact sheets, infographics and videos
- regular newsletters, with summaries from ASQA and other government and industry
organisations of the latest activities impacting the sector
- simple regulatory advice and reminders of key dates for provider obligations, including an
- an Info Line enquiries service, able to supply information and advice via telephone and email
- interactive webinars discussing important topics at appropriate points throughout the year.
He went on to discuss the new communications in relation to Third Party Arrangements. He stated, that they haven’t changed the rules, they are still the same as 2011.