Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)
Registered training organisations (RTOs) are educational organisations delivering Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses in Australia. They are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Government body responsible to ensure that nationally approved standards are met.
RTOs must submit an application for initial registration in order to get registered. They must complete a self-assessment compromised of:
- Marketing and recruitment
- Learner support and progression
- Training & Assessments
- Regulatory compliance and governance
Further to that, they must demonstrate financial viability, fill out fit a proper person declarations of the owners and managerial staff. They must also outline how they address the The VET Quality Framework, Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and the Standards for registered training organisations (RTOs) 2015.
In addition to the organisational regulations above, they must develop the learning resources and systems to deliver the training. The training package guidelines for each Unit of Competency is available on training.gov.au.
For example, they must show how the training covers all topics required by creating a training matrix.
There are many companies offering commercial Learner management Systems (LMS) and selling learning resources to help organisations get off the ground.
Once registered, RTOs get regularly audited by ASQA to ensure that the organisation is compliant. RTOs are typically allowed a rectification period if non-compliance is found. Failing to address the regulator's concerns can result in the RTO being shut down.
Most RTOs are private companies, but some larger RTOs such as TAFE NSW (which trains over 500,000 annually) are partly or fully owned by Government agencies and departments. The Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business is responsible for TAFE NSW for example.
RTOs are obliged to have Learner handbooks, Refund policies, Complaints and appeals policies etc. They must also report all enrolments and training activity through the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) system, which is why they require learners to enter their user details and Unique Student Identifiers (USI) during the enrolment process. RTOs must provide support if required by learners, but can refer to external third parties if necessary.
The Government started an initiative called MySkills to help workers find VET courses and pick RTOs to undertake the training with. The vast majority of RTOs also have reviews left online on external reviews platforms, which can be used to select the best organisation.
In Australia, only RTOs can deliver nationally recognised courses and VET qualifications or apply for Australian state and territory funding to deliver vocational education and training.
RTOs are organisation that provide VET qualifications, for example:
- technical and further education (TAFE) institutes
- adult and community education providers
- agricultural colleges
- industry skill centres
- commercial and enterprise training providers
- some universities, higher education providers, and high schools