The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has significantly tightened the rules and procedures to become an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
The ASQA increased scrutiny on new applications for RTO registration comes into effect on 1 July 2018.
ASQA’s notice, dated 1 May 2018, reads:
“Vocational education and training (VET) and the education of overseas students make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. More than four million people undertake VET in Australia each year and the quality of the training sector has a direct impact on students, the workforce and the Australian community.
“ASQA’s aim as the national VET regulator is for providers to deliver high-quality training and assessment so that all VET students can receive the training experiences they expect and deserve.
“ASQA also seeks to support good-quality training providers through protecting the integrity and reputation of the training sector. This includes requiring all applicants to meet stringent requirements to enter the market.
“ASQA’s 2017-18 Regulatory Strategy identified the implementation of stronger controls on new training providers entering the market as a key priority.
“On average, ASQA rejects around one in four applications for initial registration. ASQA receives approximately 500 applications for initial registration each year and spends a considerable proportion of its regulatory resources on these applications. However, many of these applications are submitted by organisations without the educational capacity or the financial resources to deliver quality training.
“The changes to the application and assessment process for initial registration will help people considering entering the VET and/or international education training market determine if they have the resources and skills needed to seek initial registration.”
Comment by Community Colleges Australia (CCA)
“CCA welcomes ASQA’s tightening of the application procedure for new RTOs. There is an astonishing turnover in RTOs each year - 500 applications per year in a system with only 5000 RTOs is debilitating and concerning,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CCA CEO.
“According to ASQA’s 2016/17 Annual Report, the opening of the VET market to private providers has resulted in a significant ‘churn’ whereby numerous providers enter and exit the system each year. This is an unhealthy and unstable situation that has added to the reputation damage that the VET sector has been suffering. We note that the overwhelming majority of the new and departing RTOs are private for-profit providers. Too many of these providers are only in the game to make money, not to provide quality training. Thus CCA strongly supports ASQA’s new procedures,” said Dr Perlgut.