Role of VET regulators

Vocational education and training (VET) regulators are independent bodies that ensure training providers, both public and private, satisfy a suite of requirements to gain entry to the VET system and contribute to the quality of VET delivered in Australia.

To operate as a registered training organisation (RTO) and offer nationally recognised training, VET providers must adhere to regulatory practices that cover initial provider registration and accreditation, frameworks for qualifications, external reviews combined with institutional self-reviews, and the presence of regulatory and accrediting bodies or agencies. Regulatory practice is based on standards and practices that allow consistent interpretation and implementation.

Regulators register training providers under the Standards for registered training organisations (RTOs) 2015, monitor compliance of training providers with the VET Quality Framework, and regulate accredited vocational education and training courses in accordance with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012. Regulators use audits to monitor the quality of training and training providers through audits and will de-register an RTO if it stays non-compliant after audit.

The Standards for VET regulators 2015 enhance consistency in the VET regulators' implementation and interpretation of the national VET standards, and promote the accountability and transparency of the operations of the VET regulators.

Prior to the establishment of the national VET regulator in 2011, each state and territory had its own statutory authority for the registration of RTOs and the accreditation of courses. With the establishment of a national VET regulator, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania came under ASQA's jurisdiction. However, Victoria and Western Australia did not refer their powers to the Commonwealth. Consequently, there are three VET regulators in Australia.

Australian Skills Quality Authority

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia's VET sector. It was established under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (NVETR Act) and is responsible for registering RTOs and monitoring their compliance with the national VET standards in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. It is also responsible for managing the registration of some RTOs in Victoria and Western Australia that offer courses to overseas students or to students in states that come under ASQA's jurisdiction.

ASQA also has related responsibilities, including the regulation of VET accredited courses and functions as a designated authority under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

Occupational licensing authorities issue VET graduates with licences to operate in a particular industry or vocation. To ensure VET graduates meet industry licensing competency requirements, wherever possible, ASQA has entered formal agreements with relevant government regulatory authorities. While each state and territory administers its own occupational licences, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (MRA) allows people licensed or registered to practise an occupation in one jurisdiction to practise an equivalent occupation in other jurisdictions.

Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the statutory authority responsible for ensuring that employers of apprentices and trainees in Victoria and providers of education and training (including course and qualification owners) meet quality standards, and that information is readily available to support informed choice in education and training. It was established under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and operates within a legal framework comprising legislation, ministerial directions and delegations and the Australian Quality Training Framework.

VRQA is responsible for registering VET providers that deliver accredited training to: (1) domestic students in Victoria only, or Victoria and Western Australia only; (2) school education; (3) senior secondary education, both school and non-school providers; and (4) overseas secondary student exchange organisations.

VRQA:

  • registers certain education and training providers and awarding bodies
  • registers certain qualifications and accredits courses
  • registers children for home schooling in Victoria
  • regulates apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria.

Training Accreditation Council (TAC) (Western Australia)

The Training Accreditation Council (TAC) is the independent statutory body for quality assurance and recognition (VET) services for domestic students in Western Australia. It was established under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 and operates within the National Skills Framework as the Western Australian VET regulator.

TAC is responsible for registering training providers delivering nationally recognised training to domestic students in Western Australia only, or in both Western Australia and Victoria. It does not register or regulate providers in WA delivering nationally recognised training to: (1) students in states other than Western Australia and Victoria, including online delivery; and (2) international students on a student visa.

TAC can:

  • register training providers
  • accredit courses 
  • inquire into training providers and courses
  • vary, suspend or cancel registration or accreditation
  • cancel qualifications.

Where to go for more information

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How to cite this overview

NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research) 2018, Getting to know VET overviews: VET regulators, VET Knowledge Bank, NCVER, Adelaide, <http://www.voced.edu.au/vet-knowledge-bank-getting-know-vet-overviews-vet-regulators>.

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