With the development and creation of the new Jobs Skills Councils (JSCs) The Federal Government has recently released the details associated with the Training Package Assurance Team. They have also announced a new integrity unit within the Vocational Education Sector (VET) regulator Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).
With the advent of the JSCs, the Federal Government released the “Standards for Training Packages”. These give the rules with which JSCs need to adhere to maintain consistent development of training packages. Training packages form the basis of training qualifications in Australia, with JSCs responsible for training packages based on their industry alignment.
The Standards form part of the Training Package Organising Framework (TPOF), which also includes policy and process requirements. To support the TPOF is the creation of the Training Package Assurance Team. Recently the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations released how the Training Package Assurance function will be enacted.
This team will be independent of JSCs and will assess the training package products against the framework, particularly the quality principles, as these encapsulate the requirements across the framework. The content of the quality principles include justification driven by industry need, government priorities and broad stakeholder feedback. Relevance to students, this being portability of skills, regulatory licensing requirements, diversity for individuals and businesses and allowing transition between education sectors. In addition, the principles require the JSCs to undertake an assessment of existing units and where possible use those units, to recognise convergence and connectivity of skills.
If the assurance team find that these quality requirements are not met, they will provide guidance to the relevant JSC as to how to address these matters. This review will form part of a mechanism to promote learning on best practice in training package development to ensure fit for purpose, high quality training products are created.
When the training package final review is complete, the Skills Minsters will make the endorsement decision which could include conditions or even non endorsement. It is hoped that this new system will create training packages that are user friendly, relevant and succinct, with the content similar or purposeful regardless of the industry of which it will serve.
The introduction of a new integrity unit, within ASQA will further bolster quality in the training sector. As part of this, data matching and intelligence gathering capabilities will be improved to ensure sharing with other government departments.
The unit will work in conjunction with Commonwealth and State law enforcement agencies as well as other departments such as Home Affairs. Such agencies will perform intense compliance checks on high-risk providers to prevent unlawful behaviour and exploitation of students.
A confidential tip off line will be established further strengthening other improvements ASQA has made to ensure a safer VET system.