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ASQA and the VET Reform

ASQA and the VET Reform

About This Episode

Over the last 10 years we have experienced massive changes within the training industry. Since the inception of ASQA in 2011, we have experienced the highs and lows of regulation, including the pressure on RTOs with over regulation.

The tides are changing, with ASQA taking a whole new approach to how we are regulated. This has been driven by the Joyce Report from 2019 (a Report on Strengthening the VET sector) and the VET Reform.

Exciting times are ahead. Listen to this Podcast to learn more about the future of ASQA and the VET Sector.

In this episode:

  • VET Reform and the impact on RTOs
  • ASQAs new leadership direction
  • Exciting changes to the training industry and how they will impact you
  • The meaning behind the new ASQA logo
  • Working together with ASQA…

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Vivacity Update – ASQA Audits – May 2019

ASQA Audits… is it a case of being over regulated?

Since ASQA’s inception in 2011 we have experienced a roller coaster ride of changes and challenges to the ASQA Audit model, from the personal interpretation of the legislation by ASQA Auditors, to changes in the way ASQA are regulating through Audits. From our experience, it has never been tougher going to an ASQA Audit compared with the last ten years of our experience we have had servicing the training industry at Vivacity.

Some interesting statistics sourced from www.training.gov.au on 6 May 2019:

  • 1155 RTO registrations have been cancelled (including ASQA cancelling the providers registration and the provider cancelling their own registration) and
  • 163 registrations withdrawn since ASQA took over regulation in July 2011
  • There are currently 3,837 RTOs in Australia, down from over 4,400 RTO’s in October last year.

These statistics do not include RTO’s registered under WA TAC or Vic VRQA.

On 1 May 2018, ASQA announced increased scrutiny on new applications for organisations that wish to deliver VET and/or international education. ASQA’s aim for the additional scrutiny was to ensure that only providers who can demonstrate they are resourced, ready and willing to deliver high-quality training and assessment are registered. Since this announcement, ASQA has received an unusually high number of applications, which has led to delays in ASQA finalising applications. Vivacity has experienced through our clients, that ASQA are taking over a year to process initial applications, which has had an impact on the time frames for additions to scope and re-registrations too.

For the first time ever, Vivacity has had a number of clients who have gone to Tribunal, over what would have been considered minor non-compliance’s in the past and would have been rectified by submitting further evidence to ASQA in previous years.

Recently we had a case whereby a client ended up going to Tribunal over a simple matter that could easily have been resolved if the Auditor had simply picked up the phone or sent an email, instead they undertook the audit with the documentation submitted and deemed the application non-compliant with no opportunity to provide further evidence, except by paying for a Reconsideration application as ASQA have removed the Rectification stage for initial registrations. We submitted a Reconsideration application, which did not go to a site audit, and the client was deemed non-compliant again, which was stated within ASQA’s own report that the non-compliances were minor. Due to the minor non-compliances and the fact that we were not given the opportunity for a site audit, we decided to go to Tribunal. As I stated earlier, this whole case could have been sorted by a simple phone call or an email, which is exactly what the ASQA Solicitor had identified during the mediation session. Following more than a year since submitting their application, we are finally going to a site audit, which is a great outcome except for the fact that our clients, Vivacity and ASQA have wasted more than 12 months in time and expenses that did not need to be incurred when it could have been sorted by a simple phone call.

Last September ASQA released their Annual Report for 2017-2018 (sourced https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/publications/annual-reports2 on 6 May 2019), which addresses ASQA’s purpose and their KPIs against each Purpose. In the report it includes the KPI to “refuse entry or reject renewal applications from existing providers that do not meet the requirements for registration”, even though ASQA have not shared with the RTO community what these stricter requirements are and how we are to address them.

ASQA’s purposeASQA KPIs, more prominent this year than last year, is to close RTO’s down in an effort to “clean” the market up and remove the dodgy operators. Unfortunately, from what we are experiencing, is that in ASQA’s effort to clean the market of dodgy operators, the good operators with limited knowledge or understanding of how to meet the compliance requirements are getting swept up with the dodgy operators.

 

 

Regulatory CancellationsThe Annual Report reveals an alarming increase of cancellations in 2017-18, with the percentage of cancellations higher than in any financial year since 2013–14, we suspect that this percentage will have a dramatic increase in the next report for 2018-19.

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the following table, the percentage of providers who were deemed non-compliant in previous years at the time of being audited has increased extensively over the last five years:

We have heard through our connections that there are a number of RTO’s that intend to take a stand against ASQA through a class action, it will be interesting to see the results of that action and how many RTO’s actually get involved.

We believe that as a collective body, we should unite and be heard, especially considering the legislation is under review and there will be more changes. If you would interested in attending a forum with other RTO and CRICOS Providers to discuss this further, please register your interest by sending an email to enquirenow@vivacity.com.au and provide your name, title, RTO Name and your phone number. If we get enough interest, we will be holding a forum in Sydney and will be in contact.

If you have an ASQA Audit in the next 12 months, we highly recommend that you conduct an internal audit to identify your current compliance risks, so that you don’t become another ASQA statistic. The best way to prepare for an ASQA Audit is to conduct an internal audit and even more so that you get a compliance expert from outside your organisation to conduct the audit, who is not part of your culture and can review your RTO from an unbiased point of view with experience in the current ASQA audit processes.

Vivacity has a special on this week for a one-day SystemsScan or a two-day SystemsCheck, whereby we come into your organisation and conduct a site audit. Call 1300 729 455 for more information.

Vivacity Update – Education Facilities – Compliance and Profitability

Education Facilities – RTO & CRICOS Compliance and Profitability
by Chris Green, c2cglobal

In the Education space both Public or Independent, Domestic or International, there is a huge compliance requirement and one area there is often a lot of confusion is the compliance requirements for education facilities for both the CRICOS and RTO sectors.

Vivacity invited Chris Green from C2C Global, who specialises in 9b and building compliance requirements specifically for the education sector in Australia, to be our guest writer for this months Vivacity Update providing clarification on this sometimes confusing requirement.

The compliance requirements for premises fall under the National Construction Code (NCC) and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and are driven by the Australian Standards (AS/NZ). These are Federal requirements and cover all of Australia. Each State or Territory then has its own legislation that these requirements are applied through via the local Councils and/or Principle Certifying Authority (PCA) often referred to as  Private Certifier’s, Building Surveyors etc.

Achieving compliance for your new or existing premises is a 2 step process, first being “approval” which is usually done by Council and then “compliance and certification”  which can either be done by Council or a private PCA.

The first step is to confirm that Education and/or Training is a “Permissable Use” under the Councils Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and the Development Control Plan (DCP). This is done via an application to council such as a Development Application (DA) or a Planning Permit (PP) depending on what State you are in.

Depending on the Council this process can take 3-4 months plus and once you have the successful approval back, it will confirm that education and/or training is approved and you now move to the next stage which is compliance and certification.

The council approval will be conditional on the new premises complying with the NCC and BCA and under the code, Class 9b is the Building Classification that an education provider operates from and is achieved through a Construction Certificate in NSW. This certificate is provided by the PCA and is what you will require before you can start to build the new campus fitout and the PCA ensures the new works all comply with the BCA and AS/NZ.

Once the works are completed, the PCA will inspect the works and confirm they have been installed to comply and in NSW will then issue an Occupation Certificate (OC) which will confirm the campus is Class 9b compliant so you are good to go!

The reason for this change of use and building classification is that under the code, it is permissable for education premises to have significantly higher occupation numbers and this makes sure that the facilities can provide the comfort and safety of all the occupants incase of a emergency event.

It is important to note that under the Code, there is no difference between an International or a Domestic campus, it’s a campus so the Education approval and Class 9b certification applies to both International and Domestic alike.

Also, AQSA or TEQSA may be the regulators for the RTO and HE sectors however, it is the local councils and the PCA’s that regulate the BCA and AS/NZ so just because ASQA or TEQSA don’t directly ask for a Class 9b OC, you are still required to have one to operate legally as an education provide from your premies’s.

Something to be mindful of when selecting a new campus is under the BCA, there are 6 elements of the building that will impact on the numbers that can supported under the code and only one of them is the actual size of the space.

It is very common for providers to have the space for more students however, one or more of these elements will restrict the student numbers which can have a significant impact on the revenue that can be generated form the campus which can make a premises unviable based on fixed lease and fitout costs or require extra space be taken on a lot sooner which adds to costs and risk.

The good news is this is not always the case and one of the specialties of c2cglobal is working with provides to unlock the unused potential of their existing campus and provide 30%-40% plus extra occupancy numbers within the same floor plate and fixed lease costs.

This process also reduces the need for extra space so you are not taking on extra space and/or moving the whole campus thus avoiding the extra lease costs and extra fitout cost which are a major overhead in setting up a new campus.

It also reduces your growth risk and if there is a down turn in the sector, you are not left holding the cost of the extra space which can place a significant strain on any companies finances.

If you would like to know more about c2cglobal and the services they provide, please contact the team at c2c on  +61 2 9906 6523 or email c2c@c2cglobal.com.au. You can also visit c2cglobal’s website by going to: https://c2cglobal.com.au/

Want to learn more about how Vivacity can assist you with your CRICOS Registration?

Check out our documentation, such as the International Student Handbook and CRICOS Documents or if you are looking for both, check out our CRICOS Compliance Package

Vivacity Update – Quality Indicator Report

This is a courtesy reminder that your Quality Indicator Report is due to be submitted by no later than next week, this applies to EVERYONE who is registered as an RTO, whether you have had any students or not.

You must submit your quality indicator data reports in full to qidata@asqa.gov.au by close of business 30 June 2018.
Quality indicator data is required for the previous calendar year (1 January to 31 December 2017).

As an RTO you are required to collate and analyse the information and report these results to ASQA using the Quality Indicator annual summary report template go to: https://www.asqa.gov.au/topic/quality-indicator-reporting