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tickThe regulation for delivering elective units and standalone units has been very inconsistent among different regulators. In the past, RTOs wishing to deliver elective units within a qualification as a standalone unit were required to formally apply to add the unit to its own scope of registration.

The above approach was one of those regulatory measures that represented an administrative cost without adding value to the quality of the education provided (red tape). If the RTO demonstrates it has adequate strategies and resources to deliver the unit within the qualification, why does the RTO need to demonstrate this again when it is a standalone unit?

Well, the good news is that ASQA has taken a flexible approach here, and for RTOs that want to offer/deliver units of competency that are either a core unit, or a named elective unit, within the packaging rules of a qualification the RTO has on its scope of registration; they can do it, and issue a statement of attainment for the unit(s) without first applying to ASQA to have the unit explicitly listed on its scope of registration.

It is expected that the RTO's training and assessment practices for this training product, are supported by a specific Training and Assessment Strategy, and meets all requirements under Standard 1, as any other training product.

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Red card 300The decision to issue an infringement notice is one of a range of enforcement actions ASQA can take in order to enforce compliance with the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. An ASQA infringement officer may issue an infringement notice if they reasonably believe that a person has contravened a relevant civil penalty provision of the NVR Act.

For the 2014-2015 financial year activity, the National Regulator has recently reported more than 80 decisions to cancel or suspend registrations, 50 rejected applications to register or re-register as an RTO, and 17 administrative sanctions.

ASQA is determined to use infringement notices (a ticket issued on the spot) to manage RTOs continuous compliance with the VET Quality Framework.

What happens if you receive an infringement notice?
You have 28 days from the day after the notice issued date in order to pay the infringement penalty. You can apply for an extension of time in which to pay the infringement penalty provided you do so within 28 days of the day after the 'notice issued' date.

If the penalty is paid by the payment due date your liability will be discharged and no criminal or civil penalty proceedings will be brought against you in relation to the alleged contravention.

If you don't pay within 28 days, then:

  • Your liability for the alleged contravention is not discharged.
  • Proceedings seeking a civil penalty order may be brought against you for the alleged contravention.
  • If you are found by a court to have committed the alleged contravention, you may be liable for the maximum penalty specified (plus court costs).

Can I make an appeal against an infringement notice?
You may apply in writing within 28 days of the day after notice is given to you for withdrawal of an infringement notice.
Your application must:

  • state that you request a withdrawal of the infringement notice, and
  • detail the grounds upon which you base your request for withdrawal.

ASQA will notify you in writing if the notice is withdrawn. If the notice is withdrawn, proceedings seeking a civil penalty order may still be brought against you in relation to the alleged contravention.

If ASQA withdraws the notice and you have already paid the amount stated in the notice, you will be refunded an amount equal to the amount paid.
If ASQA makes a decision not to withdraw the notice, you will also be notified of this decision in writing. The time for payment is extended to 28 days, starting from the day after notice of the refusal is given.

How are the penalties calculated?
Section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 sets the monetary amount of a penalty unit. This amount is $180.00 (amount valid on September 2015). If you do not pay the infringement notice on time and you are found by a court to have committed the alleged contravention, you may be liable for the maximum penalty prescribed for contravening that provision. (See below).

ASQA is able to issue infringement notices for NVR Act civil penalty provisions that fall within six broad categories:

  1. Conduct that is outside the scope of an RTO's registration
  2. Conduct relating to a failure to return a certificate of registration
  3. Conduct relating to non-RTOs
  4. Conduct that is false or misleading
  5. Conduct that relates to specifying the issuer of a qualification or statement of attainment in advertising
  6. Conduct that relates to purportedly registered courses.

1- Conduct that is outside the scope of registration

An infringement notice may be issued to an RTO for the following contraventions:

Infringement Penalty
s.94 Providing all or part of VET course outside scope of registration 
  • the VET course is provided (in whole or in part), and 
  • the VET course or part of the VET course is not within the RTO's scope of registration.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $4320 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $43,200 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $4,320.

- Maximum court penalty amount $43,200

s.96 Issuing VET qualification outside scope of registration 
  • an RTO purports to issue a VET qualification, and 
  • the qualification relates to a VET course that is not within the RTO's scope of registration.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.98 Issuing VET statement of attainment outside scope of registration 
  • an RTO purports to issue a VET statement of attainment, and 
  • the statement of attainment relates to part of a VET course that is not within the RTO's scope of registration.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800.

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.100 Advertising all or part of a VET course outside scope of registration 
  • an RTO itself publishes or broadcasts an advertisement or causes an advertisement to be published or broadcast, and 
  • the advertisement makes representation that the RTO does or will provide all or part of a VET course, and 
  • the VET course or part of the VET course is not within the RTO's scope 
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $4320 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $43,200 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

2- Conduct relating to failure to return certificate of registration

This type of infringement notice may be issued to

  • a RTO that has not had its registration renewed, or
  • a former RTO whose registration has been cancelled under section 39 of the NVR Act.
Infringement Penalty
s.112 Failure to return certificate of registration 
  • an organisation that is no longer registered fails to return its certificate of registration to ASQA within 10 days of the date of effect of cancellation/withdrawal of registration. 
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2160 
  • Provision penalty units Maximum court penalty amount $21,600 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2,160.

- Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

3 - Conduct relating to non-RTOs

This type of infringement notice may be issued to:

  • a ‘person’ (natural or corporate) that holds him/her/itself out as an RTO
Infringement Penalty
s.115 Falsely claiming to be a NVR RTO 
  • a person holds him/her/itself out to be an RTO, and 
  • the person is not an RTO.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800.

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.117 Providing, or offering to provide, all or part of a VET course without registration 

1. 

  • a person provides or offers to provide all or part of a VET course in a referring State/Territory, and 
  • the person is not an RTO. 

Or 2. 

  • a person is a registered provider (i.e. under ESOS Act) other than a secondary school, and 
  • the person provides or offers to provide all or part of a VET course in a non-referring State, and 
  • the person is not an RTO.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.119 Issuing a VET qualification 
  • a person purports to issue a VET qualification, and 
  • the person is not an RTO.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000 

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800.

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.121 Issuing a VET statement of attainment 
  • a person purports to issue a VET statement of attainment, and 
  • the person is not an RTO. 
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

4 - Conduct that is false or misleading

This type of infringement notice may be issued to a ‘person’ (natural or corporate). This type of infringement notice can be issued to either an RTO, or a non-RTO:

Infringement Penalty
s.123 Making false or misleading representation in advertisement 
  • a person makes a representation that relates to: 
    • all or part of a VET course, or 
    • a course that is held out to be a VET course, or 
    • part of a course that is held out as being part of a VET course, or 
    • a VET qualification, or 
    • a qualification that is held out as being a VET qualification, and 
  • the representation is made in connection to an advertisement, and 
  • the representation is false or misleading in a material particular.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2160 
  • Provision penalty units Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2,160.

- Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

s.125 Making false or misleading representation relating to VET course or VET qualification 
  • a personmakes a representation that relates to: 
    • all or part of a VET course, or 
    • a course that is held out to be a VET course, or 
    • part of a course that is held out as being part of a VET course, or 
    • a VET qualification, or 
    • a qualification that is held out as being a VET qualification, and 
  • the representation is false or misleading in a material particular
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2160 
  • Provision penalty units Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2,160

- Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

5 - Conduct that relates to specifying the issuer of a qualification or statement of attainment in advertising

This type of infringement notice may be issued to a ‘person’ (natural or corporate). This type of infringement notice can be issued to either an RTO, or a non-RTO.

Infringement Penalty
s.123B Advertising or offering VET course without identifying issuer of VET qualification or statement of attainment 
  • a person publishes or broadcasts an advertisement or causes an advertisement to be published or broadcast, or continues to allow an advertisement to be published or broadcast relating to a VET course, or 
  • a person offers to provide or continues to offer to provide all or part of a VET course, or makes a representation about the availability of or continues to make a representation about the availability of all or part of a VET course, and 
  • the advertisement, offer or representation does not include the name and registration code of the RTO that will issue a VET qualification or VET statement of attainment relating to the VET course or part of the VETcourse.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2160 
  • Provision penalty units Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $2,160.

- Maximum court penalty amount $21,600

6 - Conduct that relates to purportedly registered courses

This type of infringement notice may be issued to a ‘person’ (natural or corporate).

Infringement Penalty
s.127 Purporting to issue a VET qualification 
  • a person purports to issue a VET qualification, and 
  • the qualification is not a VET qualification.
  • Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800 
  • Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800.

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

s.127 Purporting to issue a VET qualification 

  • a person purports to issue a VET statement of attainment, and 

the qualification is not a VET statement of attainment.

- Maximum infringement notice penalty amount $10,800

- Maximum court penalty amount $108,000

Source: asqa.gov.au 

 

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Facilitation PhotoOften people come to our courses looking for advice to transition into training after having done something else for a while.

Becoming a vocational educator, a trainer, a facilitator, a performance improvement professional is not going to happen overnight. It is a skill that is built over years.

To work in the vocational education and training sector there are some "compliance requirements" that can open a first important door to your future as trainer, but only a balanced combination of skills, knowledge, experience, and a lot of hard work to keep up with changes, will help you to succeed.

Firstly it's important to understand that being a trainer in vocational education is very different to be an orator or a motivational speaker.
Let's look at some basic skills you will require to become a good trainer or facilitator.

Choose a domain in which to train. You must be very thorough in the area of expertise you choose. Whether it is painting, quilting, athletics, robotics, physics, computers, accounting, leadership, team building, or interpersonal skills—it does not matter. You need to be good at what you do. Only then can you train others in that vocational area. You can't teach someone to do something you haven't done in vocational education!

Start small. Start by training a small group of people, ensure you understand your students expectations, prior knowledge, and motives to complete the training. As you begin to facilitate for different groups, you will experience how different facilitation skills are required for different groups.

Improve your facilitation skills. These skills are basic requirements to develop into a good facilitator.

  • Communication skills: Both verbal and non-verbal communication is essential to becoming an expert trainer. How do you say what you want to convey? How do you come across to others? What does your body language tell others about you? As a trainer, you need to be aware of these cues, and practice good communication skills.
  • Presentation skills: Using PowerPoint or other media to present content to an audience involves presentation skills. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that training is the same as having good presentation skills—they are related, but very different.
  • Public speaking skills: You must develop the ability to address an audience with confidence, and get your message across.
  • Interpersonal skills: Communicating with and relating to other people, understanding diverse points of view and cultures, learning to manage your emotions, having respect for all individuals, and possessing assertiveness as well as humility—these are some of the skills that will serve you very well as a facilitator.
  • Networking skills: Network with other professionals, in your area of expertise, or in training. It can open different avenues of opportunity.
  • Time management skills: You have only so much time to conduct your session meaningfully. Develop time management skills for not just managing time within the session, but learning to prioritize and manage the activities that go along with any training.
  • Instructional design skills: Instructional design teaches you how to include adult learning theories into the design of your contents.
  • Competency-based trainings: In Australia we use a vocational education system based on nationally recognised competencies included in endorsed Training Packages and Accredited Courses. You need to become familiar with understanding and interpreting these Training Packages to construct your curriculum.
  • Assessor skills: You will be required to assess your students against the requirements included in the Training Package your are using as benchmark, and make competency decisions.
  • Evaluation design skills: More and more, trainers are asked how the training is going to contribute to performance improvement outcomes. Learn the business language. Learn the basic data-analysis skills required to evaluate your training programs. This is critical if you are going to pursue a training career.
  • Technological skills: A lot of training happens online. Learn the technology related to creating computer-based training content, and what is needed to deliver online sessions.

Be open to negative feedback. Trainers begin with this big idea that they are going to facilitate a great session. In reality, the session may become challenging for various reasons, and things may not work out as you imagined. Be prepared to take negative feedback in a constructive manner, and move along. Your passion, optimism, and aspiration will help you develop along the way.
Learn organization skills. Training is an event, so just becoming a great trainer will not make your session successful. Learn what happens "backstage" for a training event. There is planning, scheduling, getting materials ready, booking the venue, and handling the logistics—each thing counts!

Understand your motivation for training. Is it for yourself, or your audience? Training is not about performing on stage in front of an audience. It is always related to the participants and their needs. Remember, you are not an orator; you are there to facilitate learning for a group of people. Are you filling a learning need for them, and creating a meaningful experience?
Be passionate. This is one of the most critical competencies that a trainer should possess. You have to be passionate about the subject as well as facilitating, and believe that you are helping someone develop. You need high levels of energy throughout the session to keep your audience engaged throughout. Your passion for what you do can carry you through the entire session.

Training can be fun, but it can also be very challenging. There are some minimum quality standards that you will have to meet if you want to work within the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) Quality Framework, those are the rules of the game for trainers. Learn those standards (Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015) and relevant compliance requirements.

I started working as trainer more than 20 years ago because I wanted to help people develop new skills and succeed in their goals. During the years my job had change the name, new technology has been adopted, and I have had the opportunity to work with people with different backgrounds and needs; but the reason why I still I love my job, is because every day I have a new opportunity to make a positive impact in individuals and organisations helping them to achieve their goals.

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