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ASQA Rapid Review: What This Means For RTOs

01 - April - 2021

It’s been almost a year since the final Rapid Review Report was released which outlines the recommendations that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) need to work through.

The report was borne out of the Joyce Review, that proposed a roadmap of recommendations to strengthen the Australian VET sector and determine if the sector was prepared to secure a well trained and skilled Australian workforce now and in the future. In response to this, the $585.3 million Skills Package, Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow, was implemented by the Government, aiming to ensure the delivery of skills critical to the Australian economy. 

In response to the Rapid Review, ASQA has rolled out a reform program in line with best practice governance, regulation and engagement for the Australian VET sector. Working closely with the sector to improve quality and confidence, ASQA’s aim is to move from input and compliance controls, to a focus on self assurance and excellence in training outcomes.

The Executive Summary

We examine short, medium and long term measures that the report proposed to ASQA and summarised some of the ‘can’t miss’ info that you need to know.

ASQA Rapid Review_Body

 

4 Key Changes RTOs Want to Know

1. Encourage Continuous Improvement 

ASQA will develop and provide training providers with more Self-Assessment tools to encourage continued improvement. This will provide more opportunity to self diagnose before an audit, or worse, an incorrect judgment call, and overall will promote best practice. 

How does this benefit your RTO?

Well, not only does this help with audit time and preparation of the annual declaration of compliance, it also builds valuable understanding of quality student experiences and outcomes. Learners of today require engaging, immersive and interactive learning experiences and with so much competition, RTOs need to focus on creating the best Learner Experience possible. 

2. Provide a More Transparent Process of How RTOs Are Monitored  

This will provide RTOs with more insight and ability to adjust and figure out when and why they might be audited or running into non-compliance.

ASQA are narrowing down their scope when it comes to monitoring performance by differentiating teams into assessment and compliance teams. 

Publishing more information on provider performance will help support students and employers to differentiate between providers. Access to this valuable information may increase communication measures, create stronger trust, drive innovation and an overall healthy learning/working environment.

It is worth noting that ASQA are addressing Non-Compliance in a more progressive way by allowing a period of time for sustained changes to be made. This approach includes allowing providers to remedy non-compliance within 20 working days, or within reasonable grounds, and enhancing opportunity to undertake early dispute resolution.

3. Training Providers Able to Access More Meaningful Reporting

ASQA will be tasked to provide more meaningful reports for RTOs where they can act on any causes for concern. They will include less jargon and distinguish between minor and major non-compliances.

It is important to mention the "Student-Centred Audit Approach”, which aims to focus on the experience training organisations provide to their students from Marketing through to Completion. 

What does this mean for your day to day process? 

Training organisations need to ensure processes are well documented, transparent and consistent across each learner’s journey. This is one of the key requirements of ASQA’s reform, which is, “The need to focus regulation on student outcomes rather than inputs, outputs and processes”. We explored these changes to the audit process in this blog, which also outlines how Cloud Assess provide a holistic solution that aligns to this requirement from ASQA. 

RTOs need to be mindful and consistently monitor their processes and procedures at all times. ASQA’s RTO obligations checklist makes it easier for training organisations to keep on top of their main reporting obligations. You can read more about this here.

The saying, “If you’re prepared you shall not fear!” could be every RTOs mantra!

4. Greater Transparency Around Decision Making

When a decision has been made by ASQA they must include the main reasons for the decision. This will improve transparency rather than RTOs being left in the dark.

Transparency around decision making in the VET sector, will ensure compliance and regulatory measures are being met. Transparency may not be about knowing every detail, but rather understanding how and why the decisions are made and what action can be taken by training organisations to improve.

The VET sector is a highly regulated industry, and for good reason. It is important to ensure quality and integrity of of Vocational Education and its providers in Australia. Looking at things optimistically, the reforms will help support the ‘Job Maker’ policy plan, providing changes to the skills and training sector.

It’s great to see that ASQA is already making changes from the Rapid Review Recommendations. It’s important to remember that we must all work together proactively to benefit from a fair, transparent, effective and consistently regulated VET sector. 

ASQA Rapid Review