The national vocational education and training system

Australia boasts a truly national, world-class vocational education and training system. Australia's national vocational education and training system was initiated in 1994 with the establishment of the Australian National Training Authority. Prior to this, Australia had eight separate training systems operating independently of each other, and there was no recognition of qualifications between each state and territory.

In consultation with the state and territory training authorities the Australian National Training Authority developed national vocational education and training policies to improve training in Australia. On 1 July 2005 the responsibilities and functions of the Australian National Training Authority were transferred to the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training.

Which body is responsible for overseeing the system?

The Department of Education, Science and Training is responsible for overseeing Australia's vocational education and training system. The Ministerial Council for Vocational and Technical Education leads the national training system. It comprises ministers with responsibility for vocational education and training from the Australian, state and territory governments.

What are the key elements of the national training system?

The national training system has three key elements which promote quality and national consistency in terms of qualifications and the delivery of training.

These elements are training packages, the Australian Qualifications Framework and the Australian Quality Training Framework. Collectively they are referred to as the National Skills Framework.

The National Skills Framework

A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing people's skills in a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise. Training packages ensure the quality, consistency and industry relevance of training products.

Training packages describe the skills and knowledge that individuals need to possess to be able to perform effectively in the workplace. However, a training package does not describe how an individual should be trained. Teachers and trainers develop learning and assessment strategies depending on learners' needs, abilities and circumstances.

When there is a training need that is not addressed by an existing training package, an accredited course may be developed in response to that need. The National Training Information Service records all training packages, accredited courses, qualifications and units of competency.

Under the Department of Education, Science and Training, the priority areas for enhancing the quality and national consistency of training packages include:

  • rationalising training packages across industries and identifying cross-industry skills
  • increasing their flexibility and responsiveness, including moving from a time-based approach, to a genuine competency-based approach to training
  • harmonising licensing requirements within training packages
  • continuing the implementation of the recommendations from the High Level Review of Training Packages.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) sets out all nationally recognised qualifications in schools, vocational education and training and higher education. It ensures the quality, consistency and portability of training outcomes across Australia. There are 15 national qualifications within the framework, including eight vocational education and training qualifications.

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the set of nationally agreed quality assurance arrangements for training and assessment services delivered by training organisations. It assures the quality and consistency of training outcomes. The Australian Quality Training Framework comprises two sets of standards:

  • Essential Standards for Registration
  • Standards for Registering Bodies.
  • Registered training organisations

Registered training organisations are providers and assessors of nationally recognised training. Only registered training organisations can issue Australian Qualification Framework qualifications. In order to become registered, training providers must meet the Australian Quality Training Framework Essential Standards for Registration. This ensures the quality of vocational education and training throughout Australia.

Training organisations must register with their relevant state or territory registration authority to provide nationally recognised training.

Types of registered training organisations

Registered training organisations include TAFE colleges and institutes, adult and community education providers, private providers, community organisations, schools, higher education institutions, commercial and enterprise training providers, industry bodies, and other organisations that meet registration requirements.

The details and scope of registration of all registered training organisations are listed on the National Training Information Service.

What is national recognition?

A key principle of the Australian Quality Training Framework is national recognition (previously referred to as mutual recognition). This means that all states and territories will recognise:

the decisions of all other states and territories in registering training organisations and accrediting nationally recognised courses. Once registered by one jurisdiction, this enables a registered training organisation to operate in any state or territory without a further registration process.

Australian Qualifications Framework qualifications and statements of attainment issued by other registered training organisations. This enables individuals to receive national recognition of their qualifications and statements of attainment.

The nationally recognised training logo is used on all Australian Qualifications Framework qualifications and statements of attainment. Only registered training organisations may use the logo and only for training that is within its scope of registration.

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This page was generated on 11 February, 2010