The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system. COAG endorsed key reforms to the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Essential Standards for Registration in December 2009 in response to issues that had been identified in relation to training provided to international students.
These important changes strengthen the AQTF and ensure regulators have the tools they need to protect the interests of all students undertaking vocational education and training in Australia. The changes are reflected in:
- Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration – for organisations seeking registration for the first time; and
- Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration – for existing RTOs.
AQTF Condition 5
RTOs are required to comply with all components of Condition 5 of the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards from 1 July 2011, including the section relating to the protection of student fees paid in advance.
Condition 5 sets out the financial management requirements that a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) or an applicant to be an RTO must meet for registration. It includes, amongst other things, the requirement that RTOs (at both initial and continuing registration) must meet one of five options if they intend to or collect student fees in advance. It is important to note that RTOs which do not collect student fees in advance, and which can demonstrate as such, are not required to meet any of the options described within Condition 5. RTOs seeking further information on AQTF Condition 5 are advised to contact their Registering Body.
Option 2 – membership of an approved Tuition Assurance Scheme
One of the five options available under Condition 5 is that ‘the RTO holds or applicants intend to hold current membership of an approved Tuition Assurance Scheme (TAS).
Unless advised by its Registering Body, there is currently no TAS approved under AQTF Condition 5 (Option 2) that is available to RTOs or applicants to be an RTO. Further, it is unlikely that a TAS will be approved before October 2011.
RTOs that collect and applicants that intend to collect student fees in advance are therefore required to comply with one of the remaining four options under Condition 5.
At its 29 June 2011 meeting, the National Quality Council (NQC) endorsed Criteria for an approved Tuition Assurance Scheme. This Criteria is to be used in assessing applications to be an approved TAS under AQTF Condition 5.
The body that is responsible for, and has the authority to, approve a TAS under AQTF Condition 5 has yet to be identified. Further details will be provided to the sector regarding the TAS approval body once identified, along with information regarding the process for submitting an application to be an approved TAS.
Option 5 – alternative fee protection measure of equal rigour approved by the Registering Body
This option provides Registering Bodies with the power to approve alternative fee protection measures. This ensures the Registering Body has the flexibility under Condition 5 to consider and endorse alternative fee protection measures based on their individual merits.
In June 2011, the NQC endorsed Principles underpinning the approval of an alternative fee protection measure of equal rigour (Option 5).
These Principles have been provided to all Registering Bodies for consideration in determining an alternative fee protection measure.
This information will be published within the AQTF National Guidelines for a Registering Body.
RTOs are advised to contact their Registering Body for further details regarding Option 5.
AQF – Australian Quality Framework
The AQF defines all Australian qualifications. It provides a single framework for all qualifications form Secondary School to PhD. AQF qualifications are recognised Australia wide and internationally.
There are three sectors within the AQF:
- Secondary school
- Vocational Education & Training (VET); and
- Higher Education
The VET sector qualifications are as follows:
- Certificate I
- Certificate II
- Certificate III
- Certificate IV
- Advanced Diploma
- Degree – University
- Graduate Diploma
- Masters – University