As part of the extensive work being done on Skills Reform, a consultation paper on the proposed revised standards for RTOs has just been released focused on improving the quality of delivery and help build RTO capability and capacity. We gave you a heads up to this in the last issue.

Because many RTOs and other stakeholders find the current Standards ASQA uses to be complex and difficult to navigate “draft revised Standards have been developed based on extensive consultation with the sector, along with analysis of other sectors, expert reviews, and research.” Thus, they are, hopefully, now written more in plain English.

There are 5 focal areas

These focal points are training and assessment, including consideration of facilities, equipment and resources as well as arrangements for RPL and credit transfer; learner support to help them make informed decisions and access to support services that meet their individual needs and VET workforce capabilities in terms of industry currency and teaching skills as well as a commitment to continuing professional development. The remaining two focal areas concern effective industry, employer and community engagement, community linkages and pathways and, finally, governance concerned with leadership and accountability as well as a focus on ongoing monitoring and evaluation to advise continuous improvement.

The new standards are outcomes focused

They contain “outcome-focused requirements that go to the heart of quality training delivery” rather than

“the current focus in the Standards on administration and prescription [which] drives a focus on ‘administrivia’ and administrative processes rather than giving RTOs the flexibility they need to deliver quality training to their learners.”

We are pretty sure that this will be a change that many will welcome so that “prescription is minimised and administrative (or ‘compliance-based’) requirements are taken out of the Standards and relocated elsewhere” so they are treated more like conditions of registration.

Thus, “a key benefit of the revised structure, along with the clear linkages to outcomes, is the ability to present all outcomes statements on one page.” Having a clear and less ambiguous set of guidelines operating alongside the standards will help.

These all seem to be changes for the good.

They are also aimed at improving quality

Given the diversity of provider types, their ‘missions’ and student cohorts the new standards will, hopefully, “support flexibility in delivery and innovation through enabling RTOs to evidence the outcomes in a way that is tailored to their context.” There will be a stronger focus on the quality of training and ensuring learner wellbeing. Monitoring and evaluating to guide improvement will also help – although we suspect there will be a need to develop evaluation capacity and skills at provider level.

About the VET workforce

This potentially involves a “change of language from ‘working under supervision’ to ‘working under the direction of’ to better encapsulate that one-on-one supervision is not always required” and the “inclusion of the ability for people ‘working towards’ the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or a diploma from the Training and Education (TAE) training package, or a relevant higher qualification, to work under the direction of a fully qualified trainer and assessor.”

In addition, an “improved capacity to engage industry experts to deliver training and assessment under direction” is proposed along with an “increased focus on professional development and ensuring training and assessment skills are current.”

Documentation you can access

In addition to the consultation paper itself, the site also provides a clean version of the draft RTO standards as well as a technical document that explains the proposed changes and provides information about the intent of the revised requirements. Finally, a set of outcomes statements is also provided.

Providing feedback

The site ‘Having your say’ outlines the options. These include a survey closing at the end of January 2023 and a series of face to face and online forums running through November and into December this year.