Training packages and accredited courses-What's the difference?

Training packages and accredited courses

Training packages cover most training needs and are regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure they reflect changes in industry. But what happens when there is no training package qualification to cover a particular training need?

Accredited courses fill that gap. This article explains the basic processes involved in accrediting a course, and the relationship between accredited courses and training packages. There are also contact details for the course accrediting body in each state and territory. Although course accreditation conforms to national guidelines, the specific processes within each state and territory do vary.

What are accredited courses?

Accredited courses are developed to meet training needs that are not addressed by existing training packages. A course will not be accredited if it duplicates existing endorsed training package qualifications, or if the outcome can be achieved through the contextualisation of a training package qualification.

Registered training organisations know that a training package is a set of nationally endorsed competency standards, qualifications and assessment guidelines for a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise.

Accredited courses are similar:

  • They are based where possible on nationally endorsed units of competency. An accredited course may consist of:
    - a combination of units of competency from more than one training package;
    - some training package units of competency (from one or more training packages) and some newly developed units*;
    - completely new material, comprising only custom-developed units of competency*.

  • The development process must include consideration of the Australian Qualifications Framework requirements (the Australian Qualifications Framework Implementation Handbook is referenced below); articulation and credit transfer information; access and pathway issues; and relevant contextualisation rules.

  • They are nationally recognised.

*Any new units of competency are developed and documented according to the same guidelines that govern the development of training package units of competency (the Training Package Development Handbook is referenced below). However, it is generally not expected that the consultation process will be at a national level.

There are two types of accredited courses:

  • courses that result in an Australian Qualifications Framework qualification - these are referred to as 'Certificate II in...', or 'Diploma of...';
  • courses that result in an Australian Qualifications Framework statement of attainment and are not complete qualifications - these are referred to as a 'Course in...'.

Accredited courses are listed on the National Training Information Service. (Select 'courses/qualifications'. To view all accredited courses select the 'search' button at the bottom of the page.)

How is national consistency ensured?

Any product put forward for accreditation must comply with national standards. The Australian National Training Authority has published Australian Quality Training Framework Guidelines for Course Developers. This document provides a template and clear guidelines on the required form and content for an accredited course.

All state and territory accrediting bodies are bound by the Australian Quality Training Framework Standards for State and Territory Registering/Course Accrediting Bodies. Standards 26, 27 and 28 relate to accreditation; they govern the recognition of qualifications and statements of attainment, how and when the need for a new course is justified, and the criteria for the design of a new course.

(Both these publications are referenced below.)

How are accredited courses developed?

Before beginning the process of developing an accredited course it is important to take the following steps:

  • Establish a need for the course. The state and territory accrediting bodies will not accredit courses that duplicate qualifications from an existing training package. Prospective developers should also be aware of any similar accredited courses, and follow up the possibility of licensing or franchising an existing course before developing a new one.
  • Seek advice from the relevant state or territory accrediting body about its requirements and processes for course accreditation. The processes differ from state to state. Contact details for the accrediting bodies in each state and territory are given below.

Generally the process of accrediting a course will involve:

  • providing evidence of research to indicate that the content is not covered in any existing training package;
  • providing evidence that consultation has been undertaken, and that there is an industry need for the course;
  • clearly identifying the course developer (and the course copyright owner if this is not the same person or organisation as the course developer);
  • following the Australian Quality Training Framework Guidelines for Course Developers to develop the course documentation (a comprehensive template is provided in the publication, which is referenced below);
  • submitting the course, and the fee where applicable, to the appropriate accrediting body and working with them to refine the course if required;
  • committing to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the course once it is accredited and is being delivered.

How long does course accreditation last?

A course may be accredited for up to five years. If it is expected that the training needs of an industry sector will be covered in the near future by a training package, or revisions to an existing package, accreditation will be approved for a shorter period of time.

Courses can be re-accredited. Developers should check with the accrediting body for details about the process in their state or territory.

Who owns accredited courses?

The course copyright owner owns the accredited course. In the case of courses developed through a TAFE institute the material may be publicly available. If the course is developed privately it is up to the course copyright owner to define whether or not they wish to license the product and what the terms of licensing will be.

What kinds of areas are covered by accredited courses?

There is no limit to the range of areas covered by accredited courses, but generally they are developed to fill training gaps-for example, in such areas as emerging industries, natural therapies, general education and pre-vocational and pre-apprenticeship courses.

How are accredited courses delivered?

An accredited course can be delivered only by registered training organisations with scope to deliver that particular course. The process of registering to deliver an accredited course is the same as the process for registering to deliver qualifications from a training package.

Registered training organisations wishing to deliver an existing accredited course must also contact the course developer/course copyright owner and find out about copyright and licensing opportunities. These contact details are available through the National Training Information Service website.

More information

Australian Quality Training Framework Guidelines for Course Developers**

**Please note that these guidelines refer to particular sections of the Training Package Development Handbook. These references are no longer relevant as that publication has recently been revised. The Guidelines for Course Developers will be revised to reflect these changes in early 2005.

Australian Quality Training Framework Standards for State and Territory Registering/Course Accrediting Bodies

Australian Qualifications Framework Implementation Handbook

Training Package Development Handbook

National Training Information Service

This page was generated on 26 August, 2009