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Quality and Compliance (AQTF)
The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools.
The users of the AQF span each education and training sector: schools, vocational education and training and higher education and include the accrediting authorities and institutions providing education and training. The many AQF stakeholders include industry and its representative bodies, unions, professional associations and licensing authorities and governments. Ultimately students, graduate and employers, both Australian and international, benefit from the quality qualifications that are built on the requirements of the AQF.
In Australia, education and training is a shared responsibility of all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. Education, training and employment ministers collectively own and are responsible for the AQF.
- The learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type;
- The specifications for the application of the AQF in the accreditation and development of qualifications;
- The policy requirements for issuing AQF qualifications;
- The policy requirements for qualification linkages and student pathways;
- The policy requirements for the registers of: – organisations authorised to accredit AQF qualifications – organisations authorised to issue AQF qualifications – AQF qualifications and qualification pathways;
- The policy requirements for the addition or removal of qualification types in the AQF; and
- The definitions of the terminology used in the policy.
The accreditation of AQF qualifications, the authorisation of organisations to issue them and the ongoing quality assurance of qualifications and issuing organisations is legislated within Australian jurisdictions.
Verification of AQF qualifications and the organisations authorised to issue them is through the AQF Register.
Components of the AQTF
AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration – Applicants seeking to become a registered training organisation (RTO) must meet these standards in order to be registered to deliver and assess nationally recognised training and issue nationally recognised qualifications. The AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Initial Registration includes nine Conditions of Registration and three Standards. The focus of these Standards is the demonstration of preparedness to deliver quality training and assessment services.
AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration – RTOs must meet these standards in order to deliver and assess nationally recognised training and issue nationally recognised qualifications. The AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration includes nine Conditions of Registration and three Standards, with a strong focus on continuous improvement, as well as a requirement for RTOs to gather information on their performance against three Quality Indicators.
The Quality Indicators – The Quality Indicators have been designed to help RTOs conduct evidence-based and outcomes-focused continuous quality improvement, and assist a registering body to assess the risk of an RTO’s operations. Under the AQTF, RTOs are required to collect and use data on three Quality Indicators which have been endorsed by the National Quality Council (NQC) or its successors: Learner Engagement, Employer Satisfaction and Competency Completion.
AQTF 2007 Standards for State and Territory Registering Bodies – The Registering Body is responsible for registering training organisations and for quality assuring the training and assessment services they provide, in accordance with the AQTF and relevant legislation within each jurisdiction. The Standards and a set of supporting National Guidelines provide a national quality assurance framework.
AQTF 2007 Excellence Criteria – These are criteria that RTOs may use voluntarily to continue improving the quality of their training and assessment and to gain recognition of their performance.
Outcomes Focused – The AQTF focuses on the quality of services and outcomes being achieved for clients rather than the inputs used to get there. This means that RTOs have more flexibility in demonstrating how their individual approaches provide quality training outcomes for their clients.
Nationally consistent – Individuals expect that they can use the skills from nationally endorsed qualifications across Australia and employers expect that the staff they hire have the same skills no matter where they were trained. For this reason the AQTF includes national guidelines for a registering body to ensure consistent interpretation and implementation of AQTF.
Streamlined – The Standards for RTOs have been simplified and streamlined to focus on outcomes. The AQTF places the focus of quality assurance on training and assessment, client services and management systems.
Transparent – National guidelines, handbooks and guides are readily accessible through the national training website at www.training.com.au.